Co-Lending: Towards Recolonising the Peasantry

IN colonial times, the peasantry had to borrow from private moneylenders. According to Provincial Banking Enquiry Committee reports, these moneylenders in turn borrowed from commercial banks. But while disbursing credit to the peasants and charging exorbitant interest rates, the money lenders at least bore the whole of the lender’s risk. The banks from whom they borrowed did not bear any risk in case the peasants could not pay back the loans they had obtained from the moneylenders.

Yet Another Contradiction of Capitalism

IN the United States there are still four million persons who remain unemployed compared to before the pandemic; and yet the Biden administration’s attempt to stimulate the economy has already run into a crisis with the re-emergence of inflation not just in that country but elsewhere in the capitalist world as well. The Federal Reserve Board (the equivalent of the US central bank) is planning soon to raise interest rates (that are currently close to zero), and even the fiscal expansion will be difficult to sustain in the face of inflation.

Privatisation and the Constitution

IN a recent report the People’s Commission on the Public Sector and Public Services has rightly drawn attention to the sheer un-constitutionality of the Modi government’s plan to privatise en masse the assets of the public sector. The constitution of the country is not just a set of procedures and rules for the governance of the polity.

US Inflation and India’s Economic Recovery

THE very day, December 11, when the Indian finance ministry spuriously claimed a robust recovery in the post-pandemic Indian economy, newspapers carried news of an acceleration in the US inflation rate. The inflation rate in November 2021 over November of the preceding year had been 6.8 per cent in the US, which was higher than the corresponding rate in any month over the previous 40 years; in particular, petrol prices had increased in November 2021 by 58 per cent, which was the highest for any month since 1980.

The Strangulation of the MGNREGS

THE MGNREGS was introduced by the UPA-I government despite opposition from the neo-liberal lobby within it, owing inter alia to the active intervention of the Left which was supporting that government from outside. It was restrictive from the beginning: it promised a maximum of only 100 days of employment in a year, and that too for just one member of a rural household.

The Peasantry’s Victory over Imperialism

PARTICULAR battles often have a significance that goes beyond the immediate context, of which even the combatants may not be fully aware at the time. One such was the Battle of Plassey, which was not even a battle since one side’s general had already been bribed by the other not to lead his troops against it; and yet what happened in the woods of Plassey that day ushered in a whole new epoch in world history.

The Scourge of Demonetisation

IN the entire history of post-independence India, no single economic measure has been as devastating for the people and as utterly futile in achieving its stated objectives, as the demonetisation of currency notes, of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 denomination, decreed by the Modi government on November 8, 2016.