By Swaha Pattanaik
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.
(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)
There is no doubt that India’s growth has not picked up in line with expectations. In fact, most activity indicators -- whether it’s manufacturing growth, corporate earnings, power generation, passenger vehicle sales, exports growth or non-food credit offtake of commercial banks -- have shown increasing weakness in recent months.
Are the Tories and Labour the Tweedledum and Tweedledee of UK politics? In most things, there’s not much to choose between the UK parties’ economic election pledges. Both want to cut the deficit gradually. Both want to splash out on the National Health Service. And both have a smattering of silly micro-policies. The big differences are that Labour would tax the rich more and the Tories might take Britain out of the European Union.
The response of the dismal scientists to their collective failure to anticipate the global financial crisis has been dispiriting. Economists have refused to set aside their abstruse models, even though these models failed to predict the economic catastrophe. During the boom years, almost all economists applauded Alan Greenspan’s easy money policy. After the bust, the same people continue to deny – in the face of common sense - that the low interest rates of Greenspan’s Federal Reserve were largely responsible for the debt bubble. In short, economics has failed to address its intellectual weaknesses.
For all the measures India's central bank has taken to increase transparency in policy making, predicting rate moves by Governor Raghuram Rajan is still difficult.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen may signal later today that she is no longer patient about when to consider raising rates but any eventual hike is likely to come after June, judging by how many key economic reports so far this year have undercut expectations.
Negative interest rates show finance has gone postmodern. The system has become self-referential and value-free, in a way that might please cultural theorists. That’s supposed to help the real economy run more smoothly. But it’s risky, high-handed and not fair to savers.