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

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Rammohun Roy A Journalistic Biography

transferred to the third world. Women in south-east Asia can be made to lose their eyesight working on microchip circuits round the clock. All that women in America and Europe will suffer is headache and occasional birth of a deformed baby. Such inconvenient happenings need not threaten the industry simply because the inexorable laws of scientific verification will let decades elapse before any connections are established. Yet, there is evidence of worker resistance reaching annoying levels in many corners. Decline of peace markets is even more evident, and many computer giants have begun to get the uneasy feeling that they had all got it wrong somewhere.

Economic History and Economic Theory

Economic History and Economic Theory Bhabatosh Datta Epochs of Economic Theory by A K Dasgupta; Oxford University Press, A K DASGUPTA has written a short and compact book on a grand design, covering in 145 pages of text the epochal changes in the questions asked by economic theorists in Britain over the 160-year period from Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations" (1776) to Keynes's "General Theory" (1936). More than a century and a half ago, James Mill, and much later in 1890, John Neville Keynes had written on relativity in economic theory and there have been others from time to time who had emphasised the historical basis of theoretical development. Dasgupta has confined himself to the British econo- mists and the British economy and has therefore precluded any discussion of the ideas of the German Historical School, which was emphatic in holding that the Smith-Ricardo economic analysis was a product of the historical changes that had taken place in Britain and that such an analysis would be inapplicable to the countries seeking economic growth under the shadow of a country which had already the advantage of an early start.

Central Budget Only the First Phase

Bhabatosh Datta When all is said and done, the facts about the 1987-88 budget that stand out are the feeble efforts to increase revenues, the failure to control expenditures and the continuance of large inflation-potent deficits. Since there seems to be little prospect of successful control of expenditure, revenues have to be increased. And if revenues have to be increased, there have to be more taxes and increases in the administered prices in the coming months. The present budget then becomes only the first phase of budgeting for the yean subsequent phases coming later through supplementary tax bills and price-increases through executive orders.

Suppressed Critique

Suppressed Critique Bhabatosh Datta Reserve Bank of India: Annual Report 1985-86; Bombay, August 1986, ONE can appreciate the embarrassing position of a body like the Reserve Bank of India when it has to report on the state of the economy in the past year (July 1985 to June 1986) and also to present some evaluation of the immediate prospects. It cannot (and does not) avoid the presentation of the actual developments and can permit itself to point out the deficiencies, shortfalls and disappointment of expectations. Its critical analysis has to be cautious and it has to be careful to conform broadly to the line of approach taken by the government. And it has to be more than cautious in making forecasts about the future. Sometimes, the pessimism about the past year is followed by a mild op* timism about the new year, without indicating the non-sequitur that may be involved. Nothing that the Bank has said about 1985-86 prepares the reader for the hope held out that "the performance of the economy in 1986-87 could be expected to be better than in the previous two years".

Economist as Adviser

Economist as Adviser Bhabatosh Datta Essays on Economic Progress and Welfare; In Honour of IG Patel edited by S Guhan and Manu Shroff; Oxford University Press, Delhi, 1986;

Central Budget 1986-87 Wind of Change

Bhabatosh Datta In the course of the last eleven months the Union government seems to have learnt some lessons. It has seen that despite substantial tax reliefs, the industrial production index has risen only 6.4 per cent in 1985, a rate substantially lower than the 8 per cent growth on which the Seventh Plan estimates are based. The government has also realised that the opening of the doors to imports of machinery and industrial ancillaries has led not only to an intractable balance of payments crisis but also a considerable damage to indigenous producers of such machinery, These producers have been led up the garden path by the theology of import substitution, and they include a large number of public sector enterprises. On the Plan side, the government has shown some recognition of the fact that, in the Indian situation, poverty cannot be alleviated by depending on market forces and expecting the benefits of increased production to trickle down to the poor automatically From the fact that certain lessons seem to have been learnt, one has some grounds for expecting a wind of change. But such a wind

Monetary Reform

Monetary Reform Bhabatosh Datta Report of the Committee to Review the Working of the Monetary System, Reserve Bank of India, Bombay, 1985; pp 371, Rs 50 (hardback), Rs 35 (paperback).

Bringing Back Wage Flexibility

Bringing Back Wage Flexibility Bhabatosh Datta The Share Economy: Conquering Stagflation by Martin L Weitzman; Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass, 1984; pp 167, $ 15.00.

Not Official History, Not Independent Evaluation

Not Official History, Not Independent Evaluation Bhabatosh Datta Reserve Bank of India: Fifty Years, 1935-85 by E P W da Costa; Reserve Bank of India, Bombay, 1985; pp 161, Rs 50.

Finance Ministers on Show

 plan of a stable anti-Sandinista regime open to US investment as long as it can be achieved short of regional war. CONCLUSIONS Where does this configuration of government and corporate forces leave us?

The Central Budget and the New Economic Policy

The Central Budget and the New Economic Policy Bhabatosh Datta The right-ward shift of economic policies has become pronounced with the set of measures proposed in the Budget for 1985-86. It had appeared for some weeks before the Budget that private industry was confident about such a shift The behaviour of the commodity and share markets did not show any pre-Budget nervousness and was in fact remarkably steady. While economists who were taking for granted that the public sector outlay in the Seventh Five Year Plan would be around Rs 1,80,000 crore (at 1984-85 prices) assumed that there would be strong measures for additional resource mobilisation right from 1985-86, the business world was banking on cuts in direct taxes; and on wider incentives to private investment It is this group which has anticipated everything correctly 7 he new government has been persuaded to adopt an Indianised variety of what used to be called 'supply- side economics' a few years ago THERE has been for some years now a visible change in the Union government's attitude towards planned growth. The Planning Commission has been systematically demoted and there have alongside this been a series of policy measures entailing a right-ward shift of the economy. People in the highest positions have spoken disparagingly of the public sector and have expressed themsleves strongly in favour of decontrol The chairman of a high-power committee on foreign trade policy openly urged liberalisation, even before the committee had finished its discussions with people outside government, Tax reliefs have been given every year with a view to meeting the pressures launched by the private sector. Investment allowances had converted some of the biggest companies into zero-tax assessces. The evil in this particular case went so far that the government had to take partial corrective measures.

Mixed and Mixed Up Economies

the critics after a time lag, got attributed to HYVs. Some examples: spread of tractorisation with its anti-labour consequences, started much before HYVs came, and there is no evidence of its acceleration in the post-HYV period. Same is the case with power tillers. In Indonesia, the substitution of traditional 'bawon' system of rice harvesting (where every one was free to participate and thus got some share of harvest) by 'tehasan' system (where farmer sells his standing crop to a middleman for harvest and the latter not guided by traditional obligations employed a small number of wage labour who often used sickle rather than labour-intensive knife for rice harvesting) became common following major changes in the political environment in the country after the suppression of communists in 1965 is mistakenly attributed to HYVs. Land reforms and liberal facilities to farmers in the post-independence period also generated a vast.class of middle and upper level fanners in most of the countries. This is a stronger force than the traditional handful of very large land-holders to induce process of polarisation. Finally, using a simple neoclassical framework, authors demonstrate that in the context of rising population, return to labour compared to land are bound to decline and inequities are bound to increase. To an extent technology can counterbalance it. Hence, rural inequities have increased not because of the new technology but because of the inadequate extent of new technology.

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