Mainstream

Home > 2020 > How Neo-liberalism Works in India? | Arup Kumar Sen

Mainstream, VOL LVIII No 47, New Delhi, November 7, 2020

How Neo-liberalism Works in India? | Arup Kumar Sen

Sunday 8 November 2020, by Arup Kumar Sen

The ideology of neo-liberalism has time and space dimensions. While tracing the trajectory of neo-liberalism, Stephanie Lee Mudge observed: “The spread of neo-liberal policy is well established empirically, though temporal and geographic variations are matters of explanatory debate…neo-liberalism’s expressions in policy and politics are produced at the intersection of the intellectual, political and bureaucratic realms, generating not one neo-liberalism but many neo-liberalisms.” (See ‘The State of the Art: What is neo-liberalism?’ in Socio-Economic Review, Oxford University Press, August 26, 2008)
The eminent Marxist thinker, David Harvey, in a recent interview, has located the authoritarian turn in neo-liberalism. To put it in the words of Harvey:

“The problem is that neo-liberalism no longer commands the consent of the mass of the population. It has lost its legitimacy. I already pointed out in The Brief History of Neoliberalism (2005) that neo-liberalism could not survive without entering into an alliance with state authoritarianism. It now is moving towards an alliance with neo-fascism…” (The Wire, February 9, 2019)

The recent developments in India testify how the pro-Capital and anti-people neo-liberal ideology of the State gets combined with its anti-minority Hindu majoritarian politics.

In the neo-liberal paradigm of governance operative in India, the key actor is the State, which is dismantling the relative autonomy of important institutions, including the central bank of the country. To put it in the words of the former Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Viral V Acharya: “…large-sized government debt and deficit tend to be driven by short-term populist pressures, whereas the central bank is mandated to achieve long-term stable objectives for the economy and the financial sector”. Acharya made a passing remark in this particular context: “…the RBI lost its governor on the altar of financial stability”. (Viral V. Acharya, Quest for Restoring Financial Stability in India, Sage, New Delhi, 2020)
Yogendra Yadav has nicely summed up the political implications of neo-liberal governance in contemporary India under the BJP rule (September 6, 2019, www.thehindubusinessline.com. ):

This new architecture of power is already changing the ground reality in multiple ways: Concentration of effective power with the supreme leader, erosion of autonomous institutions, dilution of civil liberties and dismantling of the secular State…We are witnessing a mobilisation of the public for dismantling the republic.

Notice: The print edition of Mainstream Weekly is now discontinued & only an online edition is appearing. No subscriptions are being accepted