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Politics over Economics

This is with reference to the EPW editorial “An Economics That Demystifies Economics” (EPW, 21 September 2013) and the letter “New Language of Economics” (EPW, 30 November 2013). Economics and politics have a dialectical relationship. Both affect each other but politics has the upper hand at the end of the day. The crisis in mainstream economics is a reflection of the crisis in politics. It cannot be corrected by “cleansing” economics from “financialisation” simply because it cannot be “cleansed” without a nudge from politics. But then politics will not provide any alternative imagination until people themselves give sharp kicks from below to the dominant political ideas of “testosterone” nationalism and neo-liberal orthodoxy through mass mobilisation in support of people-centred policies instead of Dalal Street-centred ones.

As the content of politics changes, changes in every other sphere follow. From literature to cinema to media to academic discourse to judicial pronouncements, everything changes. As an example, we can see that the “Chicago school” ideas, in our country as well as elsewhere, did not get to a position of hegemony at one go. Over time, as and when mainstream political forces got co-opted by the Bombay industrialists, formal “financialisation” began. People now need to prepare themselves for mobilisation through academia, media, and other forums.

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