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WRPE 8.1 Contents & Abstracts



Articles

Big Data, Platform Economy and Market Competition: A Preliminary Construction of Plan-Oriented Market Economy System in the Information Era
Binbin Wang and Xiaoyan Li

Political Economy of Agency Employment: Flexibility or Exploitation?
Abdullah Z. Sheikh

Employment Generation under Globalization in India: Adverse Implications of Capitalism
Jasbir Singh

Kyrgyzstan’s Accession to the EEU: Why Do Apples Matter Anyway?
Deborah Dergousoff

Modernising Russia’s National Economic System: The Potential for Reindustrialisation
Sergey Bodrunov

Political Economy of Taxation in Sri Lanka
W. D. Lakshman

Book Review

The Buck Stops Here: The Return of US Decline
Michael Keaney

BIG DATA, PLATFORM ECONOMY AND MARKET COMPETITION

A Preliminary Construction of Plan-Oriented Market Economy System in the Information Era

Binbin Wang and Xiaoyan Li

Abstract: Whether the planned economy, as one of the two main economic systems, can be reconstructed in the era of big data is an extremely important proposition in theory and reality. With the great debate on the feasibility of the planned economy in the 1930s, Lange model of centralized planning and market simulation came into being. After the information revolution in 1970s, the thought of planned economy characterized by market democracy and model of “democratic planned participatory socialism” rose in the west and the plan-oriented market economy system is expected to build in the era of big data. This kind of economy system should coordinate centralized planning and democratic planning, take big data as technical condition, platform economy as institutional and organizational conditions, to forming the big data–based and state-owned enterprises leading operated Internet platform economy in the field of competition, which can achieve to “make the market play a decisive role in the allocation of resources and the state play the leading role,” and achieve the comprehensive goals of reflecting consumer preferences, playing a role of law of value, highlighting the guidance of industrial planning, strengthening macro-control and reducing the cost of bureaucracy.

Key words: big data; platform economy; plan-oriented market economy system; centralized planning; democratic planning

POLITICAL ECONOMY OF AGENCY EMPLOYMENT

Flexibility or Exploitation?

Abdullah Z. Sheikh

Abstract: The proliferation of agency employment in Pakistan is a serious labour problem and a public policy concern because of the potentially negative implications for agency workers’ basic statutory rights. Agency workers are normally given a vastly different, often negligible, package of benefits from their permanent counterparts. They are especially vulnerable to instant dismissal and are generally excluded from collective bargaining arrangements. Unions regard the use of agency employment as exploitative, and a threat to their jurisdiction and membership. This article reports on an in-depth study of “pay-rolling” agencies. Pay-rolling agencies are a particular form of employment intermediaries through which employers attempt to bypass statutory obligations concerning workers’ benefit entitlements and trade union rights, simply by paying workers through an agency. A total of 97 interviews, undertaken in six case studies across three industrial sectors with employees, employers, agency and union officials, and industry specialists revealed sufficient evidence on the use of pay-rolling agencies. The results confirmed the anecdotal evidence that some employment agencies are not truly genuine. The evidence suggested that there is a growing trend for agencies to be simply a sham arrangement, refuting the notion that temporary agency work has only been a natural and inevitable response to changes in the economy.

Key words: pay-rolling agencies; statutory rights; exploitative employment practices

EMPLOYMENT GENERATION UNDER GLOBALIZATION IN INDIA

Adverse Implications of Capitalism

Jasbir Singh

Abstract: Globalization-led economic reforms of 1991 have added new dimensions to strategy of economic planning, and it has been presumed that gains of growth will equally reach to the labour. But globalization has negatively affected Indian labour market. The large-scale technological developments have reduced the demand for labour. India is termed as youngest country in the world as its population in the 15 to 34 age group was 430 million in 2011 which is expected to rise to 464 million in 2021. Though it is a positive signal, this increased workforce brings along with them the possibility of increase in unemployment rate, unless this workforce is diverted towards new employment opportunities. Capitalism-led competition has resulted into capital deepening technique of production. This has pulled the wages down and increases the casualization of workforce.

Key words: globalization; capitalism; wages; jobless growth

KYRGYZSTAN’S ACCESSION TO THE EEU

Why Do Apples Matter Anyway?

Deborah Dergousoff

Abstract: The Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) came into effect in January 2015 with the goal of creating an integrated single market in the Central Asian region. Among the measures Kyrgyzstan needs to adopt for accession is reorganization of the agricultural and agro-processing sector to comply with EEU requirements. With this in mind, I apply a relational conception of food to examine and understand how a capital-dependent agricultural system comes to bear on smallholder production in Kyrgyzstan. Examining apples as relational allows me to illustrate and analyze what is changing, what may be unalterable, and why. My analysis demonstrates how food security and the impact of the EEU on agricultural production can be analyzed and understood so as to grasp the transformative potential of food through processes of abstraction, and to more concretely understand the small states problematic in the broader context of multipolarity.

Key words: Eurasian Economic Union (EEU); food security; Kyrgyzstan; agrarian political economy

MODERNISING RUSSIA’S NATIONAL ECONOMIC SYSTEM

The Potential for Reindustrialisation

Sergey Bodrunov

Abstract: The author analyses the problem of reindustrialisation as the basis for the modernisation Russia’s national economic system. The main goal of reindustrialisation has to be restoring the role and place of industry as the basic component of the country’s economy. In Russia, the “invisible hand of the market” cannot by itself ensure the necessary structural shifts in the material and technical basis of the economy; so to supplement the self-regulation of the market, our country needs both stimulation of business and limitations on it, consciously imposed by the state. Thus, selective state regulation is indispensable in Russia, and the main objective is to identify key areas for development.

Key words: reindustrialisation; productivity of labour; modernisation

POLITICAL ECONOMY OF TAXATION
IN SRI LANKA

W. D. Lakshman

Abstract: This article is about determinants of tax revenues and about constraints affecting taxation policy and its reform. Its analysis is in the context of a neoliberal policy framework practised in a small developing country, Sri Lanka. As in other countries in similar conditions, neoliberalism has created a fiscal crisis in Sri Lanka too. There has been almost continuous increase in public debt, associated with declining overall levels of taxation. The examination of related issues systematically highlights the crucial relevance of a series of socio-political as well as economic factors in respect of Sri Lanka’s government revenue problem. The main theme emerging from a political economy perspective on taxation, including as an essential ingredient an historical view, is that while technical and administrative aspects of tax reform are crucial, the sustainability of reforms requires an understanding of how reforms become legitimate and accepted by the people. The focus on institutional designs and other technical tax issues would be incomplete if the essential political nature of taxation is ignored.

Key words: tax structure; tax reform; neoliberalism; colonial taxation; state capacity for taxation

THE BUCK STOPS HERE

The Return of US Decline

Michael Keaney

Abstract: The widespread perception of the relative decline of the US as a global power in recent years was given particular impetus by the global financial crisis. This has prompted renewed reflection on how the US came to pre-eminence, how it exploited its dominant position, the processes and manifestations of decline, and the impact of decline on the domestic front. The position of the US dollar as global reserve currency remains for now, but increased awareness of the challenges it faces has prompted deeper consideration of the implications of any decline in its hegemonic status for global security, as well as for domestic politics.

Key words: national security; hegemony; United States; financial crisis; legitimacy

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