Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Case Against Curtailing Public Subsidises in Higher Education

Nivedita Sarkar and Anuneeta Mitra 

 The contribution of education in economic development has been investigated since the early 1960s, originating in the University of Chicago (Schultz, 1961; Becker, 1964), championed by the Human Capital School – in which expenditure on education is regarded as an investment. It was argued through the endogenous growth theory (Lucas, 1988; Romer, 1990) that spending in education is crucial for increasing labour productivity and accelerating the pace of economic growth. Over the last three decades it has also been proven beyond doubt through numerous empirical researches that individual earnings are positively associated with years of schooling along with the fact that education confers a gamut of positive externalities to the society. Therefore, the much discussed possibility of market failure associated with positive externality brings forth the rationale for public intervention in education. However, public spending in the form of subsidies, on higher education is often argued to be highly inequitable – advocating a drastic cut in subsidies (Psacharopoulos, 1994; World Bank, 1994). This view has gained currency of late and draws attention to the skewed distribution of public subsidies in higher education, with its incidence shown to be distinctly pro-rich. Therefore, spending meagre government resources to finance the higher education of the rich is considered to be a colossal inefficient use of public money. Thus, it is often strongly suggested that scarce government resources should be redirected in favour of basic/primary education. In this article we attempt to scrutinize whether curtailing public spending in higher education would help in achieving the principle of equity? To do this we first investigate how much the government spends on higher education anyway.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Women’s Oppression as a Tool for Accumulation

Sona Mitra

A book review of 'Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation' by Silvia Federici, Phoneme, New Delhi, 2013, pp. 285, Rs. 350.00

It is indeed ironical that I was reading to review this absolutely brilliant book by Sylvia Federici around Halloween, which narrates the dark saga of Witch Hunts in Europe during the 15th-17th Century. In fact Witch-Hunts had consumed Europe for more than 200 years, a practice that coincided with the rise of capitalism in Europe. In this extremely thought-provoking book, Federici explores the origins of capitalism rooted in the severity of oppression of workers and within that, in the brutal subjugation of women.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Interview of Prabhat Patnaik on Marxist Theory

Eminent Marxist thinker Prabhat Patnaik reflects on some of the contemporary debates on Marxism in an interview with Satyaki Roy.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Palestine: A Brief History of Imperialism

Abdul Rahman  

Yet again Israel is bombing Gaza. This time too the number of dead Palestinians (till date) is as high as it was the last time in 2009 during the Operation Cast Lead. The reasons of the current attack is almost same if we are not bothered about the details, the Israeli ‘right to self defence’ (whatever that means). Yet again the world community namely the United Nations and leaders of the ‘big states’ are ‘worried’ about ‘the disproportionate use of violence’ by Israel. They all agree that Israel has the ‘existential threats’ and Hamas should not ‘attack’ Israel with its ‘rockets’. Meanwhile, surprisingly common people in all these countries and some of their leaders with their backbones intact have tried to stood up and argue differently.