‘Growth is Dead. Long Live Growth.’
The world economy was still reeling from the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 when the COVID-19 pandemic struck like a bolt of lightning in late 2019. Whatever remained of the neoliberal credo – based on the salience of free markets – was upended, and economic nationalism fast became the new stock ideology.
In Negotiating the New Normal, Saurav Jha clinically examines why, in the wake of the coronavirus shock, strong economic recovery in the developed world is more doubtful than ever. Instead of throwing its weight behind a multipolar world order, China, by far the largest economy among the BRICS nations, has chosen to create a Pax Sinica. However, it is unlikely to make much headway owing to both internal economic contradictions and pushback from the West and beyond. And what of India? Can it become a ‘new China’ to serve as a key engine of global growth, overcoming the pandemic-induced setback as well as earlier policy missteps like demonetization?
Answering all these questions and raising many more, Jha’s deeply researched and cogently argued account examines the ‘new normal’ of a transactional, even predatory geo-economic climate where central banks are fast running out of answers and heavily indebted governments are desperately searching for silver bullets. This work of extraordinary depth and ambition, tracing the destinies of the major economic centres of the world, provides a nuanced, if sobering, context to the reader as it suggests what India must do to rise in this grave, new pandemic-ridden world.
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