Illuminating economics

Prabhat Patnaik is a colleague of considerable national and international reputation, well known for his penetrating analysis of economics and national (and international) politics. He has been described as a "staunch critic of neoliberal economic policies, and is known as a social scientist of Marxist-Leninist persuasion. He is also a prominent member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)." Currently away from his position in the Center for Economic Studies and Planning at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, he is Vice-Chairman of the Planning Board of Kerala. His most recent book- released last week- is The Value of Money, from Tulika.

What determines the value of money vis-à-vis non-money commodities? The monetarist answer to this deceptively simple question is that the value of money in any period is determined by its demand and supply. A second answer, termed propertyist is that the value of money is fixed from ‘outside’ the realm of demand and supply, whether by the relative quantity of labour embodied in it (Marx), or because some commodity’s price is fixed in terms of it (money wages in Keynes).

This book, takes a close look at the Walrasian–Monetarist, Ricardian, Marxist and Keynesian systems, highlighting in particular the monetary theory embedded in each. In the process, it also provides a reinterpretation of the Marxian theory of value and price (and of the so-called ‘transformation problem’), emphasizing the dissimilarities between the Marxian and the Ricardian theories.

As a distinguished academic who has thought long and hard on these basic issues, Patnaik brings scholarship and erudition to a complex problem. An important and necessary addition to our Economics Section. In hardcover, 264 pages, Rs 500. ISBN 9788189487423.

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