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

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Piketty’s Capital and Ideology

Capital and Ideology by Thomas Piketty, Cambridge Massachusetts: Harvard University Press; pp 1104, $39.95 (hardcover).

Bringing Economic History Back into Curriculums

Pluralistic Economics and Its History edited by Ajit Sinha and Alex M Thomas, Routledge, India, 2019; pp xi + 310, ₹ 1,495 (hardback).

Reimagining Public Policy Studies in India

Public Policy: A View from the South by Vishal Narain, New Delhi: Cambridge University Press, 2018; pp x + 213, ₹ 495.

From Balmikis to Bengalis

The reorganisation of informal household garbage collection work in Delhi is analysed, as migrants from eastern states like West Bengal have begun doing manual waste work, even as their Balmikis deal only with monthly cash payments. Drawing on fieldwork, the effect on the Balmiki jamadars is noted, and the Bengali Muslims, who newly contend with the practices of untouchability in their neighbourhoods of work, are focused on. These newer migrants come to justify the shame they experience by focusing on the equivalence of scrap with money, which has redemptive potential. This reveals a dynamic process through which caste differences are being remade—”casteification”—in relation to economic life.

The Future of Globalisation

An analysis of globalisation in a historical perspective can help us understand how the past or the present may shape the future. In so doing, this article outlines the contours of the present era of globalisation since its inception, circa 1975, to find that the successive epochs of globalisation during the second millennium came to an abrupt end because of their own consequences embedded in the process. Given this, the article seeks to focus on the present conjuncture, at the intersection of economics and politics, when globalisation is again in crisis to reflect on its future.

India’s Slowdown

Investments in industry have slowed down considerably in the recent years, as has agricultural growth. Falling levels of capacity utilisation, building up of food stocks and the state of liquidity in the economy sufficiently prove that the problem today is the lack of demand. Rural distress, rising inequality and falling real wages are driving down demand. The government’s response to the slowdown has been woefully inadequate. The biggest impediment to policymaking is not the lack of ideas, but the blinkered vision of economics.

What Does CORE’s The Economy Offer Students and Teachers?

Responding to the special issue, “CORE’s Economics Textbook” (EPW, 16 June 2018), a teacher who has used the book in class explains why the book has proved useful in conveying concepts in economics and inculcating an interest in the study of social sciences at large. The Economy is not only a well-thought-out and ideologically eclectic textbook, but an interactive and dynamic teaching and learning tool that incorporates digital resources.

A Better Economics for the Indian Context

Reflecting on their experience of using The Economy to teach undergraduate students in India, two teachers of economics discuss the need for a version of the alternative textbook that addresses the needs of students who seek to understand the Indian economy. The possibilities of such a version of the textbook are discussed.

Poverty and Inequality in a ‘Principles of Economics’ Textbook

The new economics textbook The Economy, by the Curriculum Open-access Resources in Economics Team or the CORE Team is discussed from the point of view of introducing students to the topic of poverty and inequality. It is argued that mainstream textbooks adopt a framework that reduces the explanations largely to luck, choice, or ability. The new book, by paying careful attention to frictions in the economic institutions that underpin the market economy, provides an alternative framework where inequality of opportunity becomes clear and visible.

Teaching Macroeconomics

The Economy presents a new approach to teaching macroeconomics. It starts from real-life institutions of macroeconomic policy management, teaching models that engage directly with these institutions. Money and monetary policy are explained in the context of modern banking systems, while the Phillips curve is derived from the labour market model. By emphasising empirical applicability, and the linkages with microeconomics, it provides students with a more intuitive and realistic understanding than standard approaches.

Macroeconomics in The Economy

The Economy is a worthwhile initiative that seeks to teach students about the economy, as opposed to teaching economics. The macroeconomic aspects of the textbook are critically scrutinised to understand what is being taught, and how different the treatment is from extant approaches.

Game Theory in Economics

Adding to the ongoing debate on how best to understand game theory and its relevance to economics, a response toAtanu Sengupta and Abhijit Ghosh’s “Non-cooperativeGame Theory and Pay-off” (EPW, 28 January 2017).

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