ECONOMIC NOTES

Neo-Liberalism and Nationhood

THE anti-colonial nationalism that informed the struggle for liberation in third world countries was, as is well-known, of an entirely different genre from the bourgeois nationalism that had emerged in Europe in the seventeenth century. There is a tendency in the West, including even among progressives,   to treat all “nationalism” as a homogeneous and reactionary category.

The Household and the State

SIMPLE analogies can be deceptive, even dangerous. An example is the analogy often drawn between the household and the State. Just as a household cannot “live beyond its means” for ever, and sooner or later its creditors not only stop giving loans but take away the assets of the household for defaulting on loan repayment, likewise, the State cannot “live beyond its means” for ever and go on borrowing ad infinitum; sooner or later its creditors stop giving loans and even attach its assets.This is a very common argument.

Three Decades of Economic Liberalisation

IT is thirty years since India adopted neoliberal policies in 1991, though some would date their introduction even earlier to 1985. Newspapers are full of assessments of the impact of these policies on the economy, and liberalisers from Manmohan Singh downwards, have suddenly become visible, lauding their handiwork, while lamenting at best that the benefits of liberalisation have been unevenly distributed.

The Nationalisation of Banks in 1969

ON July 19, 1969, 14 major banks were nationalised in the country. Today, after 52 years there is some talk again of privatising the nationalised banks, which naturally raises the question: why were banks nationalised at all? The answer to this question is usually given in terms of the specific advantages of bank nationalisation; this is correct and appropriate, but what needs also to be kept in mind is the overall perspective underlying bank nationalisation.

Profiting from Debt

IN a stealthy game played over two decades, corporate India is walking away with huge wealth transfers, largely from the public banking system. After much delay, the halting process of settling the bad debt of defaulting corporates using the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) is being completed in a rising number of cases.

Is Socialisation of Investment Enough?

JOHN Maynard Keynes was by far the most insightful bourgeois economist of the twentieth century. He could not afford to be a mere apologist of the system, since he was writing in the midst of the Great Depression and in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution. To pretend at such a time that everything was fine with the capitalist system would have been the biggest disservice he could have rendered to that system which he so dearly loved.

The Poverty of Economic Conservatism

IN terms of economic policy, the Modi government must be perhaps the most conservative in the world. During the entire period of the pandemic when millions of people lost their incomes and livelihood support, most governments around the world provided universal cash transfers to the people, but not the Modi government. True, many other third world countries too did not provide such universal cash transfers, but their hands were tied; they had contracted heavy external debt and were enjoined to austerity by agencies like the IMF that helped them roll over their debt.

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