ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Annals of Stagnation

Annals of Stagnation A K Das Gupta Prices and Economic Fluctuations in India, 1861-1947 by A K Ghosh; S Chand and Company, New Delhi; pp x + 100, price Rs 25.

Income Distribution in Economics

December 15, 1979 there may be between the classical and the neo-classical approaches to economic theory, the "basic puzzle" (as our author calls it) remains Production rather than Distribution. Ranadive laments, as did Edwin Can- nan long ago, the systematic neglect of the problem of "personal distribution" by our economists. A true theory of distribution, she argues, should be seen comprehensively, so as to cover the problem of inequality of incomes. Now, there have been empirical studies concerning the latter, and of late there have been attempts at a measure of inequality also. Our author offers a faithful account of these attempts. The so-called empirical law of constancy in factor shares comes in for critical examination. Our author's attitude to the finding is somewhat sceptical, even though she attaches importance to these studies; THIS is a scholarly piece of work. The author, K R Ranadive, traces the history of the theory of distribution since Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations". In the process she traverses almost the whole field of economic theory. Rightly; for distribution is integrally associated with the other branches of economic theory. The author does not claim originality. Yet, going through the survey which she presents, one would be surely impressed by the skill and erudition with which she has offered to her readers an overall view of the comp- , issues that surround the problem of income distribution.

Idol-Breaking

Idol-Breaking ? A K Das Gupta The Origin of Economics Ideas by Guy Routh; Macmillan, 1975 pp xii + 321, price

Misleading Superimpositions

The Classical Economists by D P O'Brien; Oxford, 1975; pp xiii + ON what or on whoman author .should write is his own concern; the reviewer is not expected to question the author's deeision. Yet, when the subject-matter concerns Definition, one is tempted to ask this rather odd question: Is the scope that the author covers consistent with the title that he chooses? Who are the Classical Economists, whose contributions the author of the book under review proposes to discuss? How does D P O'Brien define Classical Economists?

Criteria of a Rational Wage Policy

Criteria of a Rational Wage Policy A K Das Gupta There has been a lot of debate in recent years concerning the appropriateness of the marginal productivity theory as an explanation of the wages of labour and of wage differentials. The debate has centred on the wage-profit relationship. It is now generally agreed that the theory involves circular reasoning; that the technical condition of production being what it is, one does not know what the marginal productivity of labour is unless one knows what the rate of profit is. And it is not capital alone that is involved; we have to deal with heterogeneous sorts of labour, and this makes the problem more complicated. Further, there are enterprises whose products are not saleable: in these cases, it looks as if it is more appropriate to say that marginal productivity is derived from the price of labour than that the price of labour is derived from its marginal productivity! These logical difficulties apart, the concept of scarcity makes little sense when there is widespread unemployment of labour. In a situation like this, the concept which is relevant is just that of a minimum supply price. And so we find ourselves back to the classical world, to "cost of reproduction" and all that.

Unequal Partners

Unequal Partners A K Das Gupta Economics and World Order (ed) mans, 1972; pp xii+365. A COLLECTION of essays is normally difficult to review, particularly when they are written by different authors. In the present case, however, the task of the reviewer has hern made relatively easy by two things: First, the essays have a unity of purpose; sponsored by an educational foundation, the World Law Fund, they address themselves to a chosen set of questions. Secondly, the editor, Jagadish Bhagwati, provides us with an excellent summary view of the issues with which the essays arc concerned.

Tax Concession as a Remedy for Evasion

The Union Budget for 1974-75 carries a considerable amount of concession in direct taxes. Not only has the exemption limit been raised, there has been also a reduction in rates at all levels of taxable income.

Gandhi on Social Conflict

Gandhi was not a mere visionary. In fact, there are some unrecognised similarities between the social philosophies of Gandhi and Marx. Both recognised social conflict as a fact. But in addition to conflict between capitalist and labourer, and landlord and cultivator, Gandhi recognised the conflict between village and city where the terms of trade offered for food and raw materials by the latter were exploitative.

On Pricing in Public Enterprises

A K Das Gupta The 'no profit no loss' principle held such sway in the early stages of planning in India that public enterprises were run without any consideration for profit. But in the context of planning where one of the recognised sources of finance is profit from public enterprises, this was an untenable policy and there was pressure for its reversal. As always happens, the argument was turned the other way round and from 'no profit no loss' we have now moved to 'maximum profit'.

Sachin Chaudhuri-Some Reminiscences

December 31, 1966 in today's context is morally untenable. For far too long has the Vietnam war been allowed to drag. If in the early stages of the war, it was seen as a tussle between China and the United States, that view is no more valid. In the first place, North Vietnam itself has perceptibly moved from the Chinese to the Soviet orbit, and the Soviet Union has made it Sachin Chaudhuri Some Reminiscences A K Das Gupta PEOPLE have often asked me here and abroad: What is the background of Sachin Chaudhuri, editor of "The Economic Weekly"? Sachin started "The Economic Weekly" in 1949 when his contemporaries had already established themselves in one way or the other. What was he doing all these years? What was his specialisation as a student? Was he a Professor at any time? Which British university did he have his education in? How was it that the man who set the tone of economic thinking during the formative period of our economic planning and led over the last 15 years or so a whole generation of economists in our country, remained so obscure till he was on the wrong side of forty? These are some of the questions that, as one of Sachin's closest contemporaries, I have had so often to answer.

The Fourth Five Year Plan

A K Das Gupta One should expect the Planning Commission to have underlined shortcoming of the earlier Plans, to have analysed their underlying causes and to have pronounced on the nature of change that would be called for in order that these shortcomings were not perpetuated. Instead, one finds the Commission putting up before the public a Plan which is just a repetition of the earlier ones, with all kinds of pious promises incorporated.

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