Friday, November 28, 2014

Just Growth (noTM) or just growth? *

Nandan Nawn

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Introduction: ecological disruptions from functioning of capitalist system

It is a fact that without an expanded reproduction, a capitalist economic system will die its own ‘natural death’. There can never be a ‘zero growth capitalism’. Alternatively, to sustain itself, such a system needs to exploit the sources that contributes to the value, so as to generate the necessary surplus value, or simply surplus. 139 years ago, K H Marx in Critique of the Gotha Programme had identified them:

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Higher Education and Student Politics in Contemporary India: A Note

Saqib Khan

The recent unrest in Jadavpur University and Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla has once again brought student politics into the forefront. The unrest seemed to create a ripple-effect across campuses in the country. This note is a modest attempt to understand changes in university systems and higher education and implications for student politics.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Whither Imperialism?

Chirashree Das Gupta

A book review of ‘Geopolitical Economy: After US Hegemony, Globalization and Empire’, by Radhika Desai; Pluto Press New York 2013.

Setting the long history of the emergence of the multipolar world in context, Radhika Desai in this book takes on the concept of a world unified by markets alone and its concomitant proposition of a ‘hegemonic’ or ‘imperial’ state in the dominant paradigms of globalization, hegemony and empire. Discarding these paradigms on the basis of historical evidence, Radhika Desai puts the ‘materiality of nations’ and the ‘dialectic that the Bolsheviks termed uneven and combined development’ as the foundation of ‘geopolitical economy’ to elaborate three arguments: 1. the centrality of nation states in capitalism 2. the failed US and unrepeatable UK imperialist experience demonstrating the inadequacy of Hegemony Stability Theory (HST) and 3. the conceptual inaccuracies of theories around  ‘empire’ and ‘globalization’ including its latest  terrain of ‘transformationalist’ arguments. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

On Neglected ‘Middle Class’ in India

Surajit Das


According to the official estimate of poverty in India (based on the Tendulkar methodology) during 2011-12 (NSSO large sample survey), 22% (25.7% rural and 13.7% urban) of the population lives below the poverty line – the rural and urban poverty lines have been defined as the monthly per capita consumption expenditures less than or equal to Rs.816 and Rs.1000 respectively in 2011-12 prices. However, in response to that, the media was full of criticisms, arguing that per head per day consumption expenditure of Rs.33 for urban India and Rs.27 for rural India in 2011-12 prices may not be sufficient for sustenance. Acknowledging the fact that any expenditure above Rs.33 and Rs.27 may not be enough for promoting one above the poverty line (APL) from below poverty line (BPL) status, some of the experts have argued that these poverty lines are comparable with the previously set poverty lines. This means that the poverty lines are historically set to be low in India. However, Prof. UtsaPatnaik (EPW, 2013) has argued that the rural poverty is as high as 90% and the urban poverty is 73% during 2009-10 according to the comparable direct poverty estimates. This means that the combined poverty head-count ratio would be around 80% in India – some people simply deny believing this.