First Quarter GDP Estimates for 2022-23

THE estimates of Gross Domestic Product for the April-June quarter released by the government on August 31 paint a dismal picture of the Indian economy. Since the GDP in real terms (at 2011-12 prices) shows an increase of 13.5 per cent over the first quarter GDP a year ago, and since 13.5 per cent appears an impressive figure, official spokespersons have been putting a cheerful gloss over it. But a closer look reveals an economy getting further bogged down in a state of stagnation.

Sanctions and the Decline of the Dollar

THE hegemony of the US dollar was based on the fact that the world’s wealth-holders considered it to be “as good as gold”, even when it was no longer officially convertible to gold at a fixed rate, as it had been under the Bretton Woods system, after the collapse of that system. These wealth-holders were of two kinds: private individuals and institutions, and central banks that held the foreign exchange reserves of their respective countries.

Scandinavia and Imperialism

THERE are many misconceptions about Scandinavian capitalism. A very common one is the belief that since the Scandinavian countries developed vigorous capitalist economies, without ever having acquired any colonies of their own, they constitute a clear refutation of the claim that capitalist development necessarily requires imperialism. This is an argument that I have heard for decades, but it is based on a misconception, not just about Scandinavia but above all about imperialism itself.

“Heads I Win, Tails You Lose”

THE craftiness of imperialism is boundless. In several countries of the world at present there are neo-fascist governments, propped up by their respective big bourgeoisie (all aligned to globalized capital), and implementing neo-liberal policies with their characteristic ruthlessness; in many other countries, there are neo-fascist outfits attempting to get into power by promising to their big bourgeois patrons that they would do the same if in power. A neo-liberal-neo-fascist alliance in short has become quite pervasive.

The Indian Economy is Heading for a Stationary State

ADAM Smith and David Ricardo had been haunted by the idea of capitalism ending up in a “stationary state”, by which they meant a stable state of zero growth. Marx used the term “simple reproduction” to describe such a state, where there is no net addition to production capacity and the economy just reproduces itself at the same level period after period. The Indian economy appears headed for such a state.

Tendency towards the Emergence of an “International” Middle Class

THE chancellor of the exchequer of Britain, whose official residence is only next door to the British prime minister’s, is Rishi Sunak, a person of Indian origin. Britain’s home secretary is Priti Patel, also of Indian origin. The US vice-president Kamala Harris, is of mixed Indian and Jamaican parentage. One can go on; and there are many striking instances of “success stories” in the international business world. These are not persons who are necessarily cut off from their countries of origin.

The Inhumanity of Capitalism

FOR over two years now, the world has been facing a pandemic the like of which has not been seen for a century, and which has already taken 15 million lives according to the WHO, without being anywhere near an end. This is an unprecedented crisis for humanity as a whole, which requires a massive effort on the part of every government, especially governments in third world countries where the people are particularly vulnerable not just to the disease but also to the destitution it brings in its train.