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Prabhat Patnaik

Prabhat Patnaik is an Indian Marxist economist and political commentator. He taught at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning in the School of Social Sciences at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, from 1974 until his retirement in 2010. He was the Vice-Chairman of the Planning Board of the Indian state of Kerala from June 2006 to May 2011.[1]

Early life and education

Prabhat Patnaik was born in Jatni in Orissa in September 1945 and after early schooling in his home town, studied at Daly College, Indore, on a Government of India Merit Scholarship. He passed his B.A. with Economics Honours from St. Stephen's College, Delhi. He went to Oxford University in 1966 on a Rhodes Scholarship and studied at Balliol College and later at Nuffield College. He obtained his B.Phil and his D.Phil. degrees from Oxford University.


Patnaik joined the Faculty of Economics and Politics of the University of Cambridge, UK in 1969 and was elected a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge. In 1974 he returned to India as an Associate Professor at the newly established Centre for Economic Studies and Planning (CESP) at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. He became a Professor at the Centre in 1983 and taught there till his retirement in 2010. At the time of retirement, he held the Sukhamoy Chakravarty Chair in Planning and Development at CESP. .

His specialization is Macroeconomics and Political Economy, areas in which he has written a number of books and articles. His books include Time, Inflation and Growth (1988), Economics and Egalitarianism (1990), Whatever Happened to Imperialism and Other Essays (1995), Accumulation and Stability Under Capitalism (1997), The Retreat to Unfreedom (2003), The Value of Money (2008) and Re-envisioning Socialism (2011).[2] He is the editor of the journal Social Scientist,[3] which under his stewardship has become a highly effective vehicle for progressive ideas and fertile research.

He is married to Professor Utsa Patnaik, who retired in 2010 as a faculty member at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning (CESP) in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi.

He served as the Vice-Chairman of the Kerala State Planning Board from June 2006 to May 2011.

Patnaik was part of a four-member high-power task force of the United Nations (U.N.) to recommend reform measures for the global financial system. Chaired by Joseph Stiglitz, the other members were Belgian sociologist Francois Houtart and Ecuador’s Minister for Economic Policy Pedro Paez.[4]


Prabhat Patnaik is a staunch critic of neoliberal economic policies, and is known as a social scientist of Marxist-Leninist persuasion.[5] According to him, in India, the increase in economic growth has been accompanied by an increase in the magnitude of absolute poverty. The only solution is to alter the class orientation of the State.[6]


  1. "Home Page of the Kerala State Planning Board". Retrieved 29 January 2009. 
  2. "Publishers' note on Re-envisioning Socialism". Retrieved 26 March 2011. 
  3. "Social Scientist Home page at The Digital South Asia Library". Retrieved 29 January 2009. 
  4. "Prabhat Patnaik in U.N. task force". The Hindu. 24 October 2008. Retrieved 29 October 2008. 
  5. "The Centrality of Leninism". People's Democracy. 12 November 2006. Retrieved 16 February 2012. 
  6. Lessons from the Indian Experience by Prabhat Patnaik [1]

External links

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