Demand-Constrained Versus Supply-Constrained Systems

THE idea is an old one, but the Hungarian economist Janos Kornai clearly conceptualised it, by drawing a distinction between a “demand-constrained system” and a “resource-constrained system”. A demand-constrained system is one where employment and output in the system are what they are because of the level of aggregate demand is what it is; if the level of demand increases then output and employment in the economy will increase, with very little increase in the price-level.

Demonetisation and the Question of Bank Credit

THE demonetisation of currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 denomination in November 2016 suddenly brought a large amount of cash to the coffers of the banks. Since the banks had to pay interest on the deposits that the public was forced to make with them, they also had to use this cash in a manner that would earn them some income; otherwise its lying idle in their tills would erode their profitability. How the banks used this excess liquidity that had suddenly accrued to them is highly instructive.

The Rise in Inflation Rate

EVEN as the growth rate of the Indian economy is slowing down, and the index of industrial production actually showing negative growth for three consecutive months, August to October (over the corresponding months a year ago), the inflation rate in the economy has started accelerating. Significantly, the acceleration in inflation has been the sharpest precisely during these very months when the contraction in industrial output has been the most pronounced.

Fiscal Fallacies

“MAINSTREAM” economics does not appear to understand the functioning of the bourgeois economic order; and nowhere is this more evident than in matters relating to fiscal policy. It holds to this day that a fiscal deficit “crowds” out private investment by reducing private borrowing. This presupposes that there is a fixed pool of savings in the economy in any period, of which if the government takes more (for meeting a fiscal deficit) then a correspondingly lesser amount is left for the private sector leading to a reduction in private investment.

Pathetic State of the Economy: Modi Government Hides Data

THE National Statistical Office (NSO) has decided not to release the quinquennial survey data on consumer expenditure for 2017-18. This is because these data, leaked by The Business Standard (November15) show a drop of 3.7 per cent in real per capita consumer expenditure between 2011-12 and 2017-18, from Rs 1,501 per month to Rs 1,446 per month (at 2009-10 prices).

The Argument about Competitiveness

WITH the government being forced to withdraw from the RCEP agreement, an argument has arisen: if India is not competitive with other countries in producing a whole range of goods, which is why the producers of such goods within the country objected to the agreement in the first place, then why should it go on producing them? And a related argument states: in protecting uncompetitive producers, the country is penalising consumers who would have otherwise accessed cheaper imported goods; is this not unfair?

A Dangerous Agreement to Sign

ON October 24-25, there were widespread peasant protests all over the country against the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) involving sixteen nations which India is currently negotiating. As negotiations near completion, such protests are escalating, with the All India Kisan Sabha planning to organise a nation-wide protest on November 4, just before the RCEP agreement is due to be signed. And the Kerala government too is organising a protest.