ECONOMIC NOTES

The Yellow Vest Movement

NOTHING shows the crisis of neoliberal capitalism more clearly than the popular uprising in France that is occurring under the banner of the “Yellow Vest” movement. Thousands are congregating in Paris over week-ends to protest against the intolerable burdens being imposed upon them in the name of “austerity” and to demand that resources be raised instead through taxing the rich.

Real Wage Growth in the World Economy

THE International Labour Organisation (ILO) has just brought out its Global Wage Report 2018-19 which provides data on real wage growth in the world economy for 2017, the latest year for which such data are available. This shows that real wage growth for the world economy was 1.8 per cent in 2017, which was not only lower than the 2.4 per cent growth of 2016, but was the lowest annual growth rate since 2008, and certainly lower than what the world economy experienced before 2008.

Begging and Criminality

ON Wednesday August 8, the Delhi High Court decriminalised begging in the capital. In the course of its hearing, it had raised the question how begging could be an offence in a country where the government was unable to provide food and jobs; its final verdict is in line with this thinking.

Ranking Universities

THE proposal to eliminate the University Grants Commission and to tighten political control over the higher education system in India, has been mooted at the behest of Narendra Modi who is apparently concerned about the dearth of Indian names among the top-ranked universities in the world. This concern is not confined to Modi alone; it is shared by large numbers of persons in the country’s political establishment, and by many in the general public.

Capitalism’s Discourse on “Development”

CAPITALISM’S discourse on “development” which has become quite influential all over the third world in the neo-liberal period proceeds as follows: (i) “development” must consist in shifting the work-force from the traditional (petty production) sector which is overcrowded with low labour productivity, and hence constitutes a repository of poverty,  to the modern (capitalist) sector which has much higher labour productivity.

A False Theory

FIRST it was the finance secretary who said that if the government borrowed less then more savings would be available for the private sector to borrow. Then it was the deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India who talked of government borrowing “crowding out” private borrowing.

The State of the Economy

NEWSPAPER headlines over the last few days have highlighted three facts which point to the current abysmal state of the Indian economy. The first relates to inflation, where the June 2018 wholesale price index was 5.77 percent above that of June last year; this is the highest inflation rate witnessed since December 2013. The second is a burgeoning trade deficit: the trade deficit in June, at $ 16.6 billion, was again the highest for any month in the last five years.

Has There Been an MSP Hike for Kharif Crops?

MUCH has been written by now exposing the fraudulence of the government’s claims of a “historic” rise in the minimum support price for kharif crops. It has been pointed out for instance that while the Swaminathan Committee had recommended that the MSP should be fixed at 50 percent above the cost of production C2 which includes rental on own land, a recommendation that the BJP  in its 2014 election manifesto had promised to implement, the current MSP still falls way below that level.

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