ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Multilateral Agreement on Investment-An Analysis

The Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) mooted by the OECD will bring about major changes in the foreign investment regime. Existing policies of government regulation of foreign investment would have to be altered completely and in their place would have to be introduced policies for the protection of foreign investors. By truncating the powers of nation-states, the proposed foreign investment regime raises several important issues. One critical question relates to the implications of lifting of controls over the movement of all forms of capital. Another fundamental issue is the future of the post-war multilateral framework built essentially around sovereign states having inviolable rights over their economic domains.

Hijacking of WTO Ministerial Conference

The contentious issues of most concern to the developing countries - most importantly, enlarging their exports' access to developed country markets were kept out of the deliberations of the WTO ministerial conference in Singapore. Instead the conference concerned itself actively with bringing new areas within the purview of the WTO, which the developed countries have been pushing for.

Foreign Direct Investment and Domestic Savings-Investment Behaviour-Developing Countries Experience

Savings-Investment Behaviour Developing Countries' Experience Biswajit Dhar Saikat Sinha Roy Two main arguments have been advanced in support of the role of foreign direct investment (FDl) in stimulating growth processes in developing countries. The first, essentially a short-term view, maintains that FDI can help mitigate problems encountered in external debt management. The second takes a longer-term perspective while arguing that FDl has the potential of meeting the domestic resource gaps of developing countries thereby enhancing their growth prospects. This paper examines these two views by looking at the experience of 16 developing countries which have attracted the largest flows of FDl and have the largest stocks of FDl in the developing world.

Few Universal Solutions

Few Universal Solutions Biswajit Dhar Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific, United Nations, New York,
IN the past few years, the Asia-Pacific region has been the focal point of attention due to the remarkable growth performance of the newly industrialising countries even as the industrialised world was struggling to find a way out of the persevering recession. The economic dynamism exhibited by the former has prompted many to comment that the Asia-Pacific region would emerge as the new growth centre of the global economy. This view has found support in more recent years as the growth syndrome of the NICs has had a spread effect with the countries of south-east Asia showing similar economic performance. Coexisting with these dynamic countries is another set of countries in the region that arc among the poorest in the world and for whom stepping up of economic growth has become a daunting task. Yet another dimension of Asia is provided by the central Asian republics which are in the midst of unparalleled economic decline. These contrasting faces of Asia are extensively documented by the ESCAP in its annual Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific. The latest survey, apart from providing a useful round-up of the Asia-Pacific economies, analyses in depth two of the more vexed issues of present times, viz, financial sector reforms and social security. What makes the Survey distinct from the other attempts made by intergovernmental organisations while addressing similar issues is its emphasis on the analytical content rather than on simple-minded prescriptions. By bringing forth the degree of variation in countries as regard these issues, the Survey gives an important message that there are no quick-fix solutions to such intricate problems as financial sector reforms. The macro-economic overview of the region has been provided by considering a mi x of analytical and subregional categories of countries. Thus, while the least developed countries (LDCs) and the developed countries have been treated separately, the remaining countnes have been classified according to the sub-regions to which they belong A point worth considering here is whether strict analytical categories would have been better suited for the purpose than the mix of categories stated above. This could have been done in the Survey without making any significant reclassification of the countries since the sub-regions are broadly found to conform to analytical categories. Thus, south Asia comprises essentially the low income countries, south-east Asia of the middle income countries and the central Asian republics of the economies in transition. Countries of the sub-regions of east Asia and the Pacific can be reclassified into their appropriate analytical groups.

Abandoned Agenda

Abandoned Agenda Biswajit Dhar South-South Trade and Development by Steen Folke, Niels Fold and Thyge Enevoldsen; Macmillan, London, 1993; pp xiv + 267.

Trade Policy and Development

Trade Policy and Development Biswajit Dhar AS countries in increasing numbers have taken to the now dominant policy of economic liberalisation, academic discourse has become replete with studies prescribing strategies that countries should adopt in keeping with the framework of liberalisation. Joshi and Little's article [Joshi and Little 1993] is another contribution to the long list of literature that is available. Our comment on the Joshi-Little contribution would focus more on the formal structure within which the authors make their suggestions about the elements of the future of the trade and foreign exchange policy for India. We would briefly examine the available literature on trade policy to present our views.

Patent System and Pharmaceutical Sector

Patent System and Pharmaceutical Sector Biswajit Dhar C Niranjan Rao ANALYSIS of the impact of changes in patent laws have acquired prominence in the context of the patent regime that the Uruguay Round of GATT is seeking to introduce. The volume of literature produced on the subject has been phenomenal which has contributed to the ongoing debate. But unfortunately there is also a flip side to the debate. Articles have been produced without adequate understanding of the terrain that is sought to be covered. Authors of such articles tend to take a predetermined position and then try to produce masses of data to overawe the uninitiated. The contribution by Prasad and Bhat (1993) forms a part of this category of articles. Right from the manner in which the problem is posed to the methodology adopted, nor. to speak of the inaccuracies in factual details and interpreta- tions, the article appears to be some what contrived. The intent of the authors may have been to express their support for the Dunkel proposals and to convey the message that India should not be afraid of the proposals. But even in doing so they should have made a more competent attempt at handling the complex of issues involved.

Trade Policies and Development-Conventional Wisdom Questioned

classic treatise on contagious disease De Contagiosis Morbis.
In the period examined here plague was absent from the Florentine state but there was a massive predominance of other infectious diseases particularly tuberculosis, typhus, malaria, small pox, influenza and gastrointestinal diseases, the diseases of underdevelopment. Cipolla states "Diseases do not develop in a vacuum. It would be a grave mistake to limit oneself to an aetiological concept of diseases which considers only the action of microbes or viruses. Epidemiological studies have made us increasingly aware of the role of environmental and socio-economic factors in the aetiology, incidence and prevalence of diseases. The pattern of morbidity in a given society is determined above all by socio-economic and hygienic conditions." This uncontestable conclusion is marred by one paragraph where the author restates his familiar position on the relationship between the demographic changes induced by mortality and its economic effects[5]. Seductively simplistic, if fallacious, this argument has been effectively demolished a number of years back by Brenner[6]. Cipolla's restatement of the 'dominant paradigm' of what Brenner called secular Malthusia- nism, in spite of empirical evidence to the contrary, is one further example of the power of ideology to overlook inconvc nient facts.

Trade and Environment The GATT Perspective

the Soviet Union since the rupee was being devalued frequently against the basket of hard currencies. But the interests of both countries would have been better served by arriving at a realistic rupee- rouble exchange rate with the Soviet Union providing for fluctuation of the rouble value also in relation to the same basket of currencies. Instead the former Soviet Union preferred to continue with the unrealistic fixed rouble-dollar exchange rate.

Dunkel Draft on TRIPS-Complete Denial of Developing Countries Interests

Complete Denial of Developing Countries' Interests Biswajit Dhar C Niranjan Rao The Dunkel draft on TRIPS is heavily biased in favour of the patentees. While their rights have been enlarged, their obligations have been considerably watered down. This marks a reversal of the spirit of the 70s when the issue in international negotiations was how to make technology transfer between the north and the south more equitable. The TRIPS negotiations have focused exclusively on the monopoly rights of patentees from developed countries and, in doing so, all the issues raised in the debates on the 'Code of Conduct for Transfer of Technology' and the 'Code of Conduct for Multinational Corporations' have been conveniently forgotten. The developing countries have to contend with an unequal world order. This is the most important message of the Dunkel draft on TRIPS.

Factors Influencing Technology Selection Case Study of Thal-Vaishet and Hazira Fertiliser Projects

Case Study of Thal-Vaishet and Hazira Fertiliser Projects Biswajit Dhar Earlier studies have emphasised that the dependent nature of industrialisation in the developing countries can be traced back to the dependence of these countries on imported technology. This monocausal explanation does not seem to be quite valid when some more advanced countries are considered. In countries like India the gradual maturing of the industrialisation process has resulted in the development of modern technology by the local firms in some sectors of the economy.


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