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.

Property Rights and Pandemic Deaths

A SPADE must be called a spade. The biggest ally of the coronavirus today as it decimates mankind is the institution of capitalist property rights. The Economist estimates that the actual death-toll across the world from the virus so far is not  three million as officially claimed but 10 million; and the virus is far from finished. The only way that its march can be checked is through universal vaccination of the entire population of the world.

The Proposal for a Minimum Global Corporate Tax Rate

FOLLOWING its $1.9 trillion Covid-relief package, the Biden administration has further announced an infrastructure package of $2.3 trillion. But in contrast to the former which is to be spent within months, the latter is to be spent over an eight-year period. And this package in turn is to be followed by a “human infrastructure” package. All this adds up to a massive stimulus for the economy as well as a massive redistributive programme, especially since the infrastructure package is proposed to be substantially financed through an increase in corporate tax rates.

Destitution, Hunger and the Lockdown

ON March 24, 2020, Narendra Modi had announced that the country would go into a lockdown after four hours! This nation-wide lockdown was to last till the end of May, after which there were local lockdowns but not a general one. It brought acute hardship to millions of the working poor, among whom the migrant workers’ woes received global attention.

Patents versus the People

ON October 2, 2020, even before any vaccines against Covid-19 had been approved, India and South Africa had proposed to the WTO that a temporary patent waiver should be granted on all such innovations. In the following months, 100 countries had supported this demand. And on May 5, the US, usually the most ardent defender of the patent system, agreed to a temporary patent waiver on anti-Covid vaccines, committing itself to “text-based negotiations at the WTO”.The basic argument for such a move arises from the urgent need at present to expand vaccine production.