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

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Problems of Market Economy

Economic Challenges for the Contemporary World: Essays in Honour of Prabhat Patnaik edited by Mausumi Das, Sabyasachi Kar and Nandan Nawn, New Delhi: Sage, 2016; pp 324+xvii,₹1,195.

Prabhat Patnaik is one of the most well-known names in the Indian economics profession. He is internationally renowned as a Marxist scholar who has created an extensive body of research critiquing the workings of a capitalist economy. He has, during his long stint at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning at Jawaharlal Nehru University, also mentored and nurtured a large number of students who have now in their own right become well-known academics. Patnaik has been known for championing a left-wing alternative to mainstream economics. He has contributed in numerous newspapers and editorial columns too. He always took a stand on contentious issues keeping alive a strong heterodox tradition in the profession. Three of his students have edited this Festschrift in his honour.

The purpose here, of course, is not to talk about Patnaik and his work (which incidentally is well covered by the editors in a lengthy introduction to the book), but rather about the book itself. I found the book difficult to review because it contains 19 essays by different scholars covering a wide range of topics and using quite different analytical methods. Putting them together must have been a challenging task for the editors. However, it is in a way a tribute to Patnaik. It reflects the wide range of interests that he had and allowed his students to pursue—from macroeconomics to dynamic optimisation, to simulation techniques, to monetary economics, and Marxism. If only one thing could bind all the essays together then that would be the fact that each contributor addresses a problem of the market economy, and tries to probe it to seek implications for long-term development of society.

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Updated On : 21st Sep, 2017
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