At a New York University conference on finance capitalism sponsored by a “Rethinking Capitalism” initiative, I had a chance to meet the great Indian economist Prabhat Patnaik. My interview with him is summarized in an essay, which is posted on a number of websites, including the Monthly Review. It begins:
After an engaging half-hour interview with India’s pre-eminent Marxist economist during a conference at New York University, I told a friend about my one-on-one time with Prabhat Patnaik.
“There are Marxists in India?” came the bemused response. “I thought India was the heart of the new capitalism.”
Indeed, we hear about India mostly as a rising economic power that is challenging the United States. While there certainly are no shortages of capitalists, there are still lots of Marxists in India, as well as communist parties that have won state elections. Patnaik represents the best thinking and practice of those left traditions — both the academic Marxism that provides a framework for critique of economics and the political Marxism that proposes public policies — which is why I was so excited to talk with him about lessons to be learned from the current economic crisis.
I asked Patnaik two main questions: First, is there a “golden age” of capitalism to which we can return? Second, can we ever expect ethical practices from the financial sector of the global capitalist economy?
To read the entire piece, go to Monthly Review online.