Shankar Acharya

Everyone knows about the ‘old’ threats to sustained rapid growth in India, including poor infrastructure, distorted labour markets, competitive populism, the weak record of human resource development, painfully slow reforms and the reduced dynamism of industrial countries, post-crisis.  Read more

Shankar Acharya

By Shankar Acharya

What might 2011 hold for us? Given the intrinsic uncertainty about the future, the really honest answer would be: I don’t know. But that would be far too boring a response and, perhaps more to the point, would not fill a column. So, at the risk of looking foolish in a year’s time, here are some predictions for 2011. Read more

Shankar Acharya

Suddenly this month the esoteric world of international finance is resonating to the clash of currencies. On September 27 Brazil’s finance minister stated that an “international currency war” has erupted. In its October 16 issue the London Economist put “Currency wars” on its cover, with evocative imagery of an aerial dogfight between paper planes of currency notes from different countries. Read more

Shankar Acharya

The proximate cause for this column is the publication by BS Books of the India Health Report 2010 edited (and mostly written) by Ajay Mahal, Bibek Debroy and Laveesh Bhandari. For anyone interested in India’s health status, access to healthcare and medicines, emerging health problems, infrastructure of health services, medical ethics, healthcare financing, government programmes and regulations and key issues in health sector reform, this report is an excellent introduction-cum-survey. Here I provide a selective summary to whet the appetite of readers to peruse the full report. Read more

Shankar Acharya

Just over 18 months ago, Barack Obama became the first African American man to be sworn in as president of the US, after having won the Democratic party’s nomination in June 2008 and then having convincingly defeated his Republican opponent, John McCain, in the November election Read more

Shankar Acharya

These are uncertain times for global economic governance. For over six decades after the second world war the west framed the rules of engagement for the global economy.

In the initial years, the United States was the preeminent power, which oversaw the creation of the Bretton Woods system (International Monetary Fund and World Bank) and the initial rounds of trade liberalization under the newly-born General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (which became the World Trade Organization at the end of the Uruguay Round in 1993).

As Europe recovered from the ravages of war and Japan launched on its high growth phase, these new leviathans (especially Europe) increasingly asserted themselves and won greater voice and roles in world economic governance. But it was still an essentially western enterprise, with a demilitarized Japan content to go along in return for an American nuclear umbrella.

The Soviet Union and its satellites were not an integral part of this economic system and the developing countries didn’t carry significant economic clout, not even the populous Asian giants of China and India. Read more

Shankar Acharya

In March the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) published the balance of payments data for the October-December quarter of 2009. It elicited surprisingly little comment. Surprising, because for the second quarter in a row the current account deficit was well above 3 per cent of GDP. Read more

Shankar Acharya

The pre-budget Economic Survey of the government, published at the end February, exudes optimism on economic growth: “Indian gross domestic product can be expected to grow at 8.5 +/- 0.25 per cent (in fiscal year 2010/11), with a full recovery breaching the 9 per cent mark 2011/12.” Read more

Shankar Acharya

This post is part of an occasional series on the Indian economy.

The people of India suffer from terrible health. Around 40 per cent of all children under three years are stunted. Nearly 80 per cent are anaemic. Over half of all married women (age 15-49) are anaemic. The incidence of communicable diseases is rampant. Even the well-off often fall victim to outbreaks of diseases such as dengue, diarrhoea, malaria and hepatitis, not to mention swine flu. Read more

Shankar Acharya

This post is part of  an occasional series on the Indian economy.

Economic policy in India, and perhaps in other countries, is constrained by powerful prevailing myths and prejudices. Sometimes these myths simply reflect lazy thinking or an apparent immunity to facts. Sometimes they are shored up by strong vested interests. Sometimes all three. Whatever the reason it is hard to dispute the potency of myths in economic policy making. Here are my 10 favourites, some old, some new. Read more