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

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Contemporary Macroeconomic Analysis

Looking Back at Macroeconomics 101: A Ringside View of the Global Financial Crisis from Asia in Real Time by Alok Sheel; Academic Foundation, 2015; pp 422, ₹1,295.

The author, Alok Sheel, is a bureaucrat, who could well have been an academic. He is a historian with a doctorate in economic history who moved on to do a master’s degree in macroeconomic policy with distinction. He had the privilege of occupying a key assignment at the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, often functioning as an interlocutor in major international conferences, during the sub-prime crisis and the global financial crisis that followed, before being appointed as member secretary of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council till the end of 2014. He has been a prolific contributor to national financial newspapers during this entire period. About 80 of these articles have been collected under two broad categories, “Timelines” (50 essays), and “Thematic” (30 essays), each grouped under four categories and preceded and concluded by an extremely thoughtful “Preface” and “Postscript,” issued in the form of this book.

Why should a book admittedly with a provocative title but mainly composed of newspaper articles, some possibly dated or, even worse, repetitive, be of interest? Can it be other than “academic?” But two alternative and equally possible meanings can be attached to the phrase “academic interest:” “having no importance or consequence,” or “scholarly and technical” having a bearing on institutionalised education. Can such a book be considered an important intervention requiring serious consideration?

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