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

Global Economic And Financial CrisisSubscribe to Global Economic And Financial Crisis

The Impact of the Crisis on the Indian Economy

The effects of the global financial crisis have been more severe than initially forecast. The turning point was the decision in September 2008 to let Lehman Brothers fail, an event that had a series of ruinous cascading effects. Given the depth of the crisis in the United States and Europe, it was only to be expected that India too would be affected. But India's well-regulated banking system and adequate policy responses should ensure that the fallout, at least on the banking sector, will be contained.

Understanding the Financial Crisis

This paper attempts to understand the nature of the current financial crisis by identifying the main characteristics of the system that became vulnerable to collapse due to falling asset prices. It highlights the shadow banking system, which lacked the explicit backing of a monetary authority on the one hand, and escaped largely its regulation on the other. This system fostered a circular rather than a vertical network of credit interdependence, which had its advantages but was also spectacularly vulnerable. The financial system may be stable and flush with liquidity through injection, but in the absence of sufficient demand for liquidity from the real economy, the depressive economic conditions may continue. The politics of trying to save capitalism by saving only the financial capitalists may well turn out to be the last twist of the knife from free market fundamentalism to pave the way for a deeper and lasting recession.

Banking, Complex Securities, and the Credit Crisis

This paper describes the current credit crisis and explains aspects of its macro and micro features. In particular, it describes the mechanism by which sub-prime mortgages and securitisation products helped to exacerbate the problem. In contrast to many other descriptions, it employs no advanced mathematical techniques, allowing non-specialists to appreciate the important dynamic processes at work.

The Economic Crisis and Contemporary Capitalism

A democratic agenda for coming out of the recession must have at least five elements: first, the nationalisation of financial institutions in the leading capitalist countries where they have basically become insolvent; second, controls on cross border financial flows; third, protection introduced to defend peasants and other petty producers of primary commodities (ideally through agreements among producing countries) in the case of all commodities whose world prices are "demand-determined" (as opposed to "cost-determined"); fourth, a coordinated fiscal stimulus to the world economy provided by a group of leading countries; and fifth, a system of grants whereby the increased surpluses generated by such a stimulus are given as grants to the less (or least) developed countries on the condition that they do not merely add these to their reserves.

India amidst the Global Crisis

Contrary to popular belief, there were palpable signs of the Indian economy losing steam long before the outbreak of the global crisis. But there is little doubt that the global meltdown has seriously aggravated the problem and made the task of reversing the domestic downturn much more difficult. For an adequate appreciation of the country's ongoing economic slide, this paper considers the domestic as well as the external factors at work both before and during the crisis.

Tackling the Current Global Economic and Financial Crisis: Beyond Demand Management

This paper highlights the depth of the crisis confronting the global economy. It presents the various ways of understanding demand deficiency, which was the underlying feature of the earlier downturns in capitalist economies. A resolution of the problems faced then was possible with demand management using Keynesian tools. But the current economic crisis is different from the past ones and the lessons learnt from the past may not be applicable to solving the crisis of 2009. The arguments presented here imply that demand management alone will not work because capitalism faces a basic crisis. One implication is that we need redistribution, but that is not on anyone's agenda today.

The Fate of India Unincorporated

While evaluating the Indian policy responses to the global crisis, this article focuses on the likely extent of the spread of the crisis to India and how it will affect the domestic economy. In India, exports have declined, foreign institutional investment has fallen, and share and real estate prices have crashed. The social cost of the slowdown has been unemployment. India's policy response has so far addressed the issue of reviving the real economy but has done little to build firewalls around the financial sector and provide safety nets for the vulnerable sections. Some measures which could go a long way towards attainment of the last two objectives are outlined.

Causes, Cures and Myths

Our sights must be set on moderating the recurring cycle of financial crises and our solutions must go beyond the instruments, institutions or individuals of the day. Blaming offshore financial centres or the complexity of derivatives for the current problems misses the point. This article proposes counter-cyclical capital charges to push banks to develop incentive packages that are more encouraging of longer-term behaviour and a valuation method based on the relative maturity of an intermediary's funding. What the latter will do is allow any institution in a liquidity crisis to set up its own internal "bad bank" mechanism so long as it has sufficient long-term funding to support it.

Profound Structural Flaws in the US Financial System That Helped Cause the Financial Crisis

We are now in the midst of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. This crisis is the latest phase of the evolution of financial markets under the radical financial deregulation process that began in the late 1970s. This evolution has taken the form of cycles in which deregulation accompanied by rapid financial innovation stimulates powerful financial booms that end in crises. Governments respond to crises with bailouts that allow new expansions to begin. As a result, financial markets have become ever larger and financial crises have become more threatening to society, which forces governments to enact ever larger bailouts. This paper analyses the structural flaws in the current United States financial system that helped bring on the current crisis.

When the Facts Change: How Can the Financial Crisis Change Minds?

This essay argues that pragmatism as a temporary prop to stabilise the crumbling financial system is distinct from pragmatism as a governing ethic. The emerging common sense worldwide and in India aims to be the latter. Yet, in the absence of sufficient grounding in a broad theoretical doctrine, this incipient pragmatism may be insufficient to dislodge the prevailing doctrine of neoliberalism and thus may, in fact, end up being a temporary reaction.

Steering Out of the Crisis

The global financial and economic crisis is of such magnitude that 2008 will probably be looked back upon as a turning point equivalent to 1945, 1971 and 1989. The silver lining is that the crisis has discredited many established ideas about how societies should run their economies, and the impact of this discrediting will last well beyond the recovery. The crisis provides opportunities for advancing a social democratic vision of a moral society, with more of a balance between economic democracy and political democracy, especially in finance; one in which states regain confidence to surveil markets, as in the Keynesian era. A three-stage programme to steer out of the crisis towards something better and very different from what has been followed under neoliberalism is set out. The first deals with the immediate crisis. The second with the restructuring of finance. The third - to which virtually no attention has yet been given - deals with respecialising western economies. Getting far with most of the items would require a step-up in multilateral cooperation.

The First Network Crisis of the 21st Century: A Regulatory Post-Mortem

The current financial crisis should be viewed as a network crisis, because due to a whole series of deregulation measures, financial reforms and technological and financial innovations, the world has become closely networked into a global market, with laws, and policies functioning within national boundaries. This essay points out that the increased integration of the global market today brooks no further postponement of major reforms. The risk is that if sound, transparent and effective regulation is not built into the international financial architecture to foster open trade in goods and services, emerging markets would neither have the confidence for investment abroad, nor would they have the confidence to open their markets to higher volatility and contagion risks. This crisis therefore is likely to trigger considerable changes in the way we think about the behaviour of markets and the proper role of regulation and governments, particularly in crisis management. What is needed is a dynamic, evolutionary, interactive, and holistic understanding of how complex markets evolve and mutate.

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