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Neoliberalism: An era of growth sans justice


NEOLIBERAL ECONOMISTS ARE IN THE habit of arguing that the acceleration of gross domestic product (GDP) growth after 1991 lifted “millions” of people out of poverty, but the pandemic has pushed them back. When reminded of the dire situation that had prevailed even before the pandemic, they blame Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation and “faulty” manner of introducing goods and services tax (GST). Their narrative is that neoliberalism was fine until Modi came along like a bull in a china shop.

This narrative is simply false. Not that Modi has not played havoc with the economy, but people’s acute distress long predates Modi, who has only worsened the situation. In fact, the entire neoliberal period has seen alongside an acceleration in GDP growth an increase in the relative magnitude of deprivation in its most elemental form, that is, nutritional deprivation.

Poverty in India used to be officially defined, but not since it has become…

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