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

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Neo-liberal Restoration at the Barrel of a Gun

Some characteristics of the contemporary phase of global neo-liberalism in light of the recent coup organised by the extreme right-wing forces in Bolivia against the leftist President Evo Morales in 2019 are examined. Despite having minuscule popular support, the backing of the armed forces and United States imperialism emboldened the post-coup government to aggressively restore neo-liberal policies in an unabashedly dictatorial fashion. The coup in Bolivia becomes a paradigmatic case that highlights how neo-liberalism as a political–economic doctrine continues to articulate with racism and religious fundamentalism to establish and maintain its dominance.

The Overseer of the Plague

A critical reading of the Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex with a focus on the protagonist as a ruler overseeing a city under a plague, is illuminating for our times. The role and responsibility displayed by Oedipus can be compared and contrasted with the performance of the major political leaders of our own contemporary world during the COVID-19 pandemic. Civic duty and the sovereign’s responsibility towards their people during the crisis are examined.

Towards More Inclusive Water Management

As much as it is a domestic, agricultural and industrial necessity, water is also a basic human right and should be managed as a public good. However, policy and practice related to water management have failed to create inclusive solutions due to blinkered disciplinary thinking about a resource that plays multiple sociocultural, environmental, economic and ecological roles. It is crucial for decision-makers to engage with interdisciplinary approaches to create truly democratic water systems.

Procedural Rationality in the Time of COVID-19

Homo economicus , the typical economic man, is a rational agent whose goal is to find the optimal solution to any problem. However, this may not be feasible in complex situations like the current global pandemic. We argue that in such environments where Knightian uncertainty plays a big role, the behaviour of countries, sectors of the economy, and individuals may be characterised by procedural rationality. Instead of focusing on the outcome, it is argued that the decision-maker draws upon similar experiences and follows a consistent procedure.

COVID-19 and Infectious Misinformation

In these times of pandemic, we are witnessing the continued dissemination of pseudoscientifi c misinformation about the disease as well as dubious claims of alternative cure. In some instances, such claims appear to be getting offi cial endorsements. Enabling people to identify unscientifi c claims and hoaxes, is the way forward to build rational immunity to halt the infectious spread of misinformation.

Parliaments in the Time of the Pandemic

Democratic accountability demands that the executive decisions and actions during the pandemic need to be subjected to legislative scrutiny. However, this process is absent as the Parliament is adjourned and even the parliamentary committees are not functioning. Taking a cue from the parliaments worldwide that are functional during the pandemic, modalities to ensure the functioning of parliamentary institutions need to be devised.

Encroachments on the Waterbodies in Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu has many legal provisions to protect its waterbodies. However, encroachment on waterbodies is rampant and many encroachers are resorting to violence to silence those who oppose them. Recurrent droughts in the state necessitate that these waterbodies be restored and protected, and encroachments are removed.

Economic Implication of a Novel Disease Outbreak

Novel disease outbreaks have a history of ravaging the regional economies. The world economy has taken a massive hit due to COVID-19 and is expected to go into a recession by the next quarter. As such, it has become highly imperative to invest in total epidemic preparedness involving health and non-health interventions, research and development as well as capacity building at all levels.

Marginalised Migrants and Bihar as an Area of Origin

Outmigration from Bihar in search of livelihood has been normalised over several decades, with Bihar being one of the topmost states of origin for the migrants. Unemployment rate in Bihar remains higher than the country average. Agriculture has become unviable over the years due to low yields, increasing landlessness and lack of financial support by the state. The return migration to the state in the wake of COVID-19 necessitates that the state generate farm and non-farm employment to address the crisis situation.

Challenges in the Midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated a rethinking of the contours of state intervention, especially in social sectors like health. The argument for rolling back the state has become questionable even among mainstream commentators. Kerala’s experience shows how public investment in healthcare and a participatory mode of governance with empowered local governments can help in pandemic mitigation. A truly federal set-up with shared responsibilities between the centre and states is better suited to deal with situations like the present one rather than a centralised system.

COVID-19 Pandemic and Racism in the United States and India

The novel coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in many ways. Among the several implications for humanity, is the lesser talked-about issue of racism that has inherent psychological impacts. This article examines the rise of racial discrimination in the two largest democracies of the world—the United States and India. It argues that the stigmatisation of a certain race triggers racial division and hinders the collective fight against the pandemic, and can be as deadly and dangerous to humanity as the virus itself.

What Is So Wrong with Online Teaching?

A university teacher assesses what is wrong in visualising the online space as a place for regular education. In the context of the pandemic, the situation is even worse, not better, for the suitability of online teaching as a surrogate. It also has a particularly heinous effect for women, both female students and female family members. Given the grossly unequal burden of domestic work that women share at home, often the female students would have to take up additional domestic responsibilities during lockdown. In a different situation, enforced carving out of silence and privacy in the cramped domestic space may imply that the mother adjusts her own work-time and domestic schedule silently.

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