A Stock Market Boom amidst a Real Economy Crisis

SOMETHING very odd is happening in the United States. The coronavirus toll keeps rising with no end in sight. The economy has virtually collapsed with more than 40 million people filing for unemployment. Thousands are out on the streets protesting against the rampant racism that marks that society. Relations with China have reached a nadir. Altogether, as philosopher Cornel West put it, the US is showing every sign of being a “failed social experiment”. And yet there is a veritable boom in the US stock market.

The World at Crossroads

THE Financial Times of London is one of the most “respectable” bourgeois newspapers in the world. Even this newspaper has now come to recognise something which the Left has been saying for quite some time. In an editorial on April 3, 2020, it wrote: “Radical reforms in reversing the prevailing policy direction of the last four decades will need to be put on the table. Governments will have to accept a more active role in the economy.

The Mendacity of the “Rescue Package”

THE inhumanity of the Modi government towards the people is matched only by its mendacity. And in both respects the Modi government is far ahead of most other governments in the world. Which other government would have passed off a slew of concessions to foreign and domestic monopolists as a “rescue package” for the people of the country? Which other government would have totted up loan plans for banks, and non-bank financial companies, as succour to the crisis-hit poor?

The War on Labour

EVEN as millions of migrant workers are wearily trudging back to their villages with no money, no food and no shelter, or are locked up en route in shoddy quarantine camps, a war has been unleashed on the rights of workers under the cover of the lockdown. The BJP, true to form, is the political formation leading this class war through its state governments. The Uttar Pradesh government has through an ordinance suspended all labour laws (except just four) for a period of three years.

A Dangerous Course

DESPITE repeated demands by the states, the centre still has not released what is their legitimate due, namely the compensation for their revenue loss owing to the introduction of GST; this has not been paid since August. Meanwhile the Covid-19 pandemic, while adding to the responsibilities of the state governments, has dried up their revenues owing to the lockdown. The main sources of revenue now left to them, leaving aside GST, are taxes on petro-products and alcohol, and stamp duty.

The Exodus of Finance from the Third World

THERE is an exodus of finance from the third world at present, far exceeding in scale what had occurred in 2008 after the financial crisis. Even more important than the actual outflow is the desire on the part of finance to pull out of the third world, including even the so-called “emerging markets”, and move to US dollars or dollar-denominated assets. This is resulting in a depreciation of a host of third world currencies vis-à-vis the dollar, of which the Indian rupee is an obvious example.

The “Sink” for Indian Capitalism

THE distress to which lakhs of migrant workers were suddenly exposed by the Narendra Modi government’s decision to announce a three-week-long lockdown at four hours’ notice with zero planning, has also highlighted a crucial aspect of the Indian economy. This consists in the fact that the village, with its agriculture-based economy and joint-family system, continues to remain the support-base for crores of urban workers who are perennially exposed to the vicissitudes of life under capitalism.