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

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A K Dasgupta on Gandhi and the Economics of Austerity

A K Dasgupta spent his lifetime teaching and researching on the classical, marginalist and Keynesian theories of value and distribution associated with the writings of Smith, Ricardo, Marx, Marshall and Keynes. In the last part of his life he was much attracted to the writings of M K Gandhi as well as the notion of austerity contained in the writings of David Ricardo and John Stuart Mill. The questions Gandhi had raised still continue to be astonishingly relevant. This article briefly explores this literature.

William Baumol (1922–2017)

William Baumol made seminal contributions in many areas of economics, in understanding externalities, the economics of performing arts, entrepreneurship, and the notion of fairness, to name a few. He identified the “cost disease” of rising relative costs of services such as education, healthcare, and opera singing, where the human component is the key to the delivery of the service. Baumol had a profound understanding of the history of economic thought that sought to explain the real world.

EPW: A Unique Journal

The Economic & Political Weekly has been able to successfully raise, elaborate and theorise on those aspects of economic and social reality that one finds around oneself. And it has been successful to a remarkable degree. Of course, one also comes across some academic economists who regard themselves as purists, and when it comes to EPW, have an attitude of disdain for the kind of writing it employs. This should be regarded as par for the course.

Revisiting India's Growth and Development

I G Patel's lifelong concern was to think about framing and implementing policies to lift India from the morass of low per capita income and low levels of social indicators to that of a country which was economically strong and one which would be able to hold its own in the comity of nations. This called for growth at a rapid pace, but, as he always emphasised, in a manner which would necessarily pay adequate attention to the welfare of the poorest sections. It was this which was his abiding concern.

Keynes Reconsidered

Keynesian Reflections: Effective Demand, Money, Finance and Policies in the Crisis edited by Toshiaki Hirai, Maria Cristina Marcuzzo and Perry Mehrling, New Delhi, Oxford University Press, 2013; pp xxiv + 317, Rs 850.

A Refreshingly New Perspective

Economics: A Primer for India by G Omkarnath (Hyderabad: Orient Blackswan), 2012; pp xix +271, Rs 325.

Indian Economy in 2011: Dualism in Policy Formulation

Our policymakers face a dilemma: should we have adequate food and nutrition for all or should we have world-class airport terminals? In an ideal world, one could possibly have them both. But if there are limited resources and there is a question of setting priorities, then surely it should be possible to hold the view that the former should get precedence. Well-trained neoclassical economists can often employ much abstract modelling to prove the opposite.

Anatomy of the Financial Crisis: Between Keynes and Schumpeter

It is instructive to see how the issue of business cycles was looked upon by John Maynard Keynes and Joseph Schumpeter, each of whom wrote masterly tracts on the subject in the 1930s. Though Keynes was concerned with a short-run problem, Schumpeter was concerned with the long-run dynamics of the capitalist system. Given the present financial crisis, it is possible to argue that the true rationale of a stimulus package in countries such as India that are still low in terms of their average level of living ought to be to address fundamental, long-term, rather than short-term, issues.

In Praise of Economic Reforms

 In Praise of Economic Reforms Pulin B Nayak This book is about the reform process in the Indian economy initiated in 1991. This is a competent account and the reader stands to learn much from a close reading of the book. The sequence of events leading up to the start, and even the inevitability, of the reform process is well adumbrated. This is however not to say that one need straightaway agree with every nuance of the analysis that the authors have to offer. Though there are many who may claim to be the intellectual progenitors of the reform process it would perhaps not be incorrect to say that the two principals amongst them are the then finance minister Manmohan Singh and his political mentor and the then prime minister Narasimha Rao. There is no denying that the Indian economy at the beginning of 1991 was in the midst of a deep fiscal crisis as well as a payments crisis in the external sector. The fiscal crisis was the result of decade-long spell of extravagance in government expenditure, both at the central and state levels, running substantially ahead of available resources. The foreign trade sector was beset with poor showing on the export front coupled with rising foreign exchange outgo owing principally to sharp increases in oil prices.

Deft Draughtsmanship sans Broader Vision

By not paying attention to the wish lists of business and industry groups, P Chidambaram has done the right thing. The measures related to tax reform in Budget 2007 are the correct ones, but fiscal consolidation is being achieved by compression of capital expenditure. The recent tragedies of Nandigram and Dantewada are symptoms of a developmental process that has gone horribly wrong and there is a need for a new vision of development. Time, however, is running out.

Development and Human Rights

Human Rights The Right to Development: Reflections on the First Four Reports of the Independent Expert on the Right to Development edited by Franciscans International, Geneva, January 2003.

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