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

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Climate Change of Another Kind

Changes in the climate of economic policy affect more directly and immediately our everyday life compared to changes in the global physical climate. And, yet, while physical climate change receives a good deal of attention and research, economic climate change is seldom noticed and rarely commented upon. The sustained attack on Keynesian demand management in the name of "sound fi nance" has re-established the dominance of fi nance capital the world over, except in a few Latin American countries where social democracy has forced its way into policy in a new guise. India's subservience toWashington and to global fi nance is shameful because even as its economy has done well on the growth front, the people have not.

Like vegetation that changes with climatic conditions, economic policies too change with the climate. But it is a different kind of climate – the climate of economic opinion. Both are consequences of industrialism, particularly the idea of rapid industrialisation as an unavoidable component of economic development. Nevertheless, there is an important difference. Changes in the climate of economic policy affect more directly and immediately our everyday life compared to changes in the global physical climate. And yet, while physical climate change receives a good deal of attention and research, economic climate change is seldom noticed and rarely commented upon. This is hardly surprising. Since the change in the climate of economic opinion is usually brought about by governments, a sufficiently pliable media beholden to them, and their equally pliable economic experts who become influential by virtue of proximity to political power and influence, changes in the climate of policy are orchestrated and presented to the public as necessary reforms, indeed compulsions of the day. The changes can then go largely unopposed under the syndrome of There Is No Alternative (TINA).

Things are more apparent when political power is heavily concentrated. Fascism required state power to be under the control of big business; official communism wanted it under “the dictatorship of the proletariat” (read the Communist Party). Between these extremes lies the spectrum of liberal democracies which come in a bewildering variety, from social democracy to the stance of a minimalist state and “free market”.

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