ECONOMIC NOTES

The Emerging International Regime

THIRD world economies are now facing a reduced export demand for their goods and services for two distinct reasons. One is the world capitalist crisis which entails a reduced aggregate demand in the world economy and hence reduced aggregate exports for all countries taken together; the other is the protectionism of the US, which, by garnering for that country a larger share than it would have otherwise had of this reduced world market, leaves correspondingly less for others.

Vilifying the Intelligentsia

NARENDRA Modi said the other day, rather disparagingly, that the “Urban Naxals” live in air-conditioned comfort. Since all who speak or write in public upholding the right to dissent from the Hindutva positions, including even known critics of the Left, which means virtually all members of the intelligentsia who display any integrity, have been dubbed “Urban Naxals” by his government, his remark in effect amounts to targeting the entire intelligentsia.

Neo-Liberalism and the Diffusion of Development

THE level of economic activity under capitalism is subject to prolonged ebbs and flows. When the economy is on an upswing, this very fact acts as an elixir that emboldens capitalists, who begin to expect that the “good times” are going to continue; this makes them less worried about taking risks, more “adventurous”, and hence more prone to taking “bolder” decisions in their asset preference. And because of this they also undertake investment in physical assets like construction, equipment and machinery which makes the boom continue, and thereby justifies their euphoria.

The Modi Government’s Spat with the RBI

THE Modi government’s spat with the Reserve Bank of India, like its sudden resurrection of the Ram temple project, indicates the desperation it feels at its dwindling electoral appeal. Having dealt a huge blow to the small-scale sector through its measures like demonetisation and the GST, having aggravated through its inaction the impact on the Indian economy of the world capitalist crisis, and of Trump’s protectionism that has followed, it is now quite desperate to salvage some support for itself as the Lok Sabha elections approach.

What Caused the Bengal Famine?

2018 marks the 75th anniversary of the Bengal famine, 1943-44 that led to three million civilian deaths from starvation. The famine was caused by a deliberate policy of raising resources from the Indian people, through an engineered ‘profit inflation’ described by John Maynard Keynes as a practical measure for reducing the consumption of working masses and extracting forced savings to finance abnormal wartime expenditure.

India’s Pension Scandal

INCREDIBLE as it may seem, the union government of India provides a pension to the elderly which amounts to an absurd sum of Rs 200 each per month, and even for  accessing this the beneficiary must belong to the BPL population which, as is well-known, is notoriously underestimated. True, the state governments add something to this amount, but, their resources being meagre, the additions cannot be large. What is more, this figure of Rs 200 has remained unchanged since 2006-07; even the elementary courtesy of indexing it to inflation has not been accorded to the elderly.

Ayushman Bharat

THE fraudulence of the claim made by the Modi government with regard to the “Ayushman Bharat” scheme launched recently surpasses all its previous efforts. This is hardly surprising for a government for which what matters is not what it actually does but how it creates perceptions about what it is doing.

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