December 08, 2008
Should we call it policymaking by inertia — to do nothing until external conditions force a reaction? Or policymaking by habit — the wait-and-watch, one-step-at-a-time method in the ongoing economic madness? At a time when economic history is being written and when public policy is being forced to resonate and respond to global cues, are the sharp interest rate cuts by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Saturday combined with marginal tax cuts and increased government spending on Sunday enough to prevent a further slowdown?
Then there is the corporate sector that is able to organise ideas, entrepreneurship, material, money, and physical and intellectual resources under predictable conditions, overplaying the ‘Cry Wolf’ card. For, no amount of relief — fiscal or monetary — seems enough to this set of opinion-makers. Even before the packages were announced, the whining of their being ‘not enough’ or 'too little too late’ had begun. Sensing that the weekend package is only the first of many, the corporate, like a smart entrepreneur, has realised that the new currency for policy transactions is ‘dissatisfaction’. So, whatever the government does today will end up being ‘inadequate’.
Column in Hindustan Times