As the neoliberal edifice crumbles in the face of rising prices, a rationing regime becomes the only way of protecting the poor from their impact. Prabhat Patnaik writes in the Frontline magazine.
The recent fuel price hike by the government has drawn flak from the left parties, who have asked for a powerful stir against the decision, with a call for a general strike on this issue that hits the masses.
The price of oil should be seen as part of a tax-subsidy framework, serving as part tax when global prices are low and part subsidy when they are high. If the government is willing to compensate oil companies with resources mobilised through taxes on those who can afford to pay, rather than through price increases that burden the rich and the poor alike, prices can be held constant until such time that the inflationary situation is brought under control. C.P.CHANDRASEKHAR writes in the Frontline. Cartoons, courtesy The Hindu and Times of India newspapers.
Nilotpal Basu, Central Committee member of the CPI(M), says that the UPA government's attitude can be summed up as this: " Consumers can go to hell". The cause of Oil Marketing Companies will be used as a ruse to perpetuate the 'windfall profit' of the private oil companies. Neither will there be any revisit on the question of tax exemption which could otherwise substitute the unsustainable levels of customs and excise duties. Courtesy: indiainteracts.com
The task of combating inflation is wide-ranging. In particular, it requires reversing many elements of liberalisation resorted to in recent years; CP Chandrashekar says in The Hindu.
Inflation, an almost forgotten economic problem till recently, now hogs headlines. The issue shot to prominence when the headline inflation rate, as measured by annual point-to-point increases in the Wholesale Price Index (WPI), rose from less than four per cent at the end of December 2007 to more than seven per cent in the second half of March 2008.
An article by Jayati Ghosh
The relationship between oil and the US dollar has been at the heart of the way international economic relations have been organised for more than half a century. International capitalism has relied on the US dollar as the basic reserve currency, and has therefore granted it an essential degree of stability for several decades despite the large external deficits run by the US and the periodic swings in its valuation in currency markets.