4 August 2016   3 comments

India has passed a constitutional amendment call a “Goods and Services Tax” which is one of the more important economic reforms implemented by the government of Prime Minister Modi.  India has 29 states and 7 union territories, and all of them has the ability to impose taxes on each other.   These taxes were an important source of revenue for each state and a method of competing with each other.  But the multiplicity of taxes made investment and manufacturing decisions very difficult and offered tremendous opportunities for corruption.  The new tax system is the beginning of a unified domestic market for India which will lower costs for many, but which will also make small business very vulnerable to larger firms (the Walmart effect in the US).  We will see how this neoliberal experiment affects the average Indian.

We have lost countless numbers of cultural forms over the centuries.  Some of these activities simply atrophied; some were ruthlessly wiped out by imperialism.  Retrieving old cultural forms is a way of asserting identity, particularly those forms that were wiped out by an invader.  Ukraine had an old tradition of the “flower wreath” which was discouraged under the rule of the Soviet Union.  Recently, as Ukraine struggles against Russian intrusions, the flower wreath has resurfaced as a way of re-establishing Ukrainian identity.

I have been following the health of the banking sector for some time.  My concern is that many international banks (such as Deutsche Bank) are perilously weak and I fear a repeat of the financial crisis of 2008.  One of the intriguing aspects of the banking industry is that many governments buy the debt of banks of their own country.  This observation seems trivial and easily explained by a sense of national loyalty.  But if weak governments systematically buy the debt of weak banks, then a serious feedback loop exists.  New research indicates that this condition in fact does exist and seems to be politically intractable.



Posted August 4, 2016 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

3 responses to “4 August 2016

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  1. I love the flower wreath! Ukraine’s experience makes me think about Nigeria which has cultural forms that were threatened by imperialism. Many have survived. The masquerades are one of the strongest cultural forms that outlived the British control. Ancestor worship did not survive, nor did killing twins. But giving children names that are meaningful sentences or phrases did survive. I’m writing more about cultural forms in my second book, now underway.


  2. I’m intrigued by how the choices are made. I look forward to reading your book!


  3. The wreath is magnificent.
    The brilliantly colored beadwork around her neck is very very reminiscent of necklaces from South Africa, and the coral, very similar to the pieces worn in Nigeria!
    What a breathtakingly colorful world we have the great fortune to live in!!
    Tell that to Mr. Trump!


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