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...Yet, immigration is the faultline running through both major British parties. While the recent election consolidated votes with the Conservative Party and Labour, these parties remain fragile internal coalitions vulnerable to splitting over immigration. The British want to have their cake and eat it too: the “soft Brexit” of continued, unfettered access to the single market without the free movement of people. The EU would baulk at such a request, so political elites face the compromise of trading off some market access for some limitations on free movement. But immigration is such a toxic issue that no party can speak the pragmatic language of bargains and trade-offs while holding its troops together and bringing the electorate along. Recall that the reason for former Prime Minister David Cameron calling the referendum in the first place was Tory infighting over the EU. ...Live Mint on June 19, 2017, 11:42 p.m.
...Long under threat from rising powers with their own brash forms of modernity, this hegemony has just been shattered by the election of an unhinged, low-watt pyro-capitalist as "the leader of the free world." The world is indeed free, free at last from the hubristic goad of western cultural superiority.Ironically, India is attempting to become a global manufacturing hub precisely at the moment that the global north wants to "bring jobs back." The unravelling of hyperglobalisation will only push our manufacturing dream further away.Thus we in the rest of the world can hardly snark from the comforts of secure civilisation. Not only are our own houses far from being in order, quite the contrary, but we're all aboard Spaceship Earth together. The question before us seems to be: will the liberal order unravel in an orderly or disorderly fashion? Will there be a cooperative downscaling or a rush to the exit? ...NDTV on Dec. 3, 2016, midnight
...To the extent that some portion of these notes will remain unexchanged by the deadline, the argument goes, these notes will stand cancelled as liabilities of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). With its liabilities thus reduced, the RBI can afford to fork over more surplus, known as seigniorage, to the government as a one-time bonanza. This argument is based on a misreading of the central bank’s balance sheet. Currency notes are not the same thing as having a checking account with the central bank. Seigniorage is paid out of the RBI’s income flow but cancellation of currency notes changes only its net worth. Conflating both income and value as well as currency and credit can have seriously monetary consequences. How does the RBI or any central bank make money? At one level, the same way any regular bank makes money: it borrows short and lends long, making the “spread” between borrowing and lending. ...Live Mint on Nov. 17, 2016, 12:01 a.m.
...Elites in the West are in trouble. Their careful curation of the polity and economy is coming badly unstuck. Their credibility in delivering consumerist goodies is shattering. They have worked so assiduously to eliminate and denigrate all alternative social models that the frustration people now feel has no where to go, no reasoned idiom in which to express itself, so it comes out all over the place. This is what a dark age feels like. The only alternative grand narrative to the liberal market that withstood its celebratory march was nationalism. Especially after 9/11, nationalism of a particularly conservative kind was consistently mobilized by elites in the West in order to create the conditions for an aggressive foreign policy and as a complement to the panglossian idea that unfettered markets created the best of all worlds. Nationalism and neoliberalism were mutually reinforcing up to the point where capitalism continued to deliver the goodies. Once the goose stopped laying those eggs, this dynamic became antagonistic. This is what we are seeing today. ...NDTV on June 27, 2016, midnight
...So what's happening?It might be tempting to conclude that that old bugbear of the left, nationalism, has reared its head to cut down an argument for economic justice. Yet this narrative is only appealing because class and nation are seen as mutually-exclusive arguments by those on the left, perhaps especially the British left.It should be clear by now that the argument for economic justice cannot win as such; it has to be folded into a positive story about identity if it is to succeed. This was Ed Miliband's signal failure, but not his alone.So yes, nationalism is part of the answer, but only because the left doesn't seem to have a place for it. What we are missing across the world is a progressive patriotism. Without it, people in several constituencies are merely defaulting to the right.Amplifying this dynamic is economic stagnation. ...NDTV on May 15, 2015, midnight