Dr Padma Desai, Harriman Professor of Economics and Director, Centre for Transition Economics, Columbia University spoke on the Global Recession Recovery by comparing the markets and banking systems of Asia against those of Europe and the USA in a talk organised by the Institute of Management, Nirma University at Ahmedabad.
Dr Desai detailed the origin of the financial crisis in the USA and its spread to the European markets. Comparing the banks of USA to those of India and China, she stressed that the main difference between Indian and Chinese banks and those of their counterparts in US was that India and China had conservative banking systems that were well regulated by the government. She emphasized the need for policy makers to react swiftly to avoid any further debacles such as the current one. She said the system will have business cycles if not booms and busts and quoted Adam Smith’s assertion that survival of American capitalism would require prudence. She concluded with her perspective on financial regulations for the future – “larger capital requirements for banks, registration of hedge funds and greater transparency of activities”.
Dr Padma Desai is the Gladys and Roland Harriman Professor of Comparative Economic Systems, Director of the Center for Transition Economies at Columbia University and an elected member of the Council on Foreign Relations. President of the Association for Comparative Economic Studies (2001) and US Treasury’s Advisor to the Russian Finance Ministry (1995), she is regarded as a leading scholar on the Soviet Union and Russia, while her writings extend also to the problems of other transition and emerging market economies. Her main books with leading publishers include Marxism, Central Planning and the Soviet Economy; The Soviet Economy: Problems and Prospects; Perestroika in Perspective: The Design and Dilemmas of Soviet Reform; Going Global: Transition from Plan to Market in the World Economy and Work Without Wages: Russia’s Non payment Crisis. Her Financial Crisis, Contagion, and Containment: From Asia to Argentina was described by Paul Krugman as the ‘best book yet on financial crises’. Her Conversations on Russia, published by Oxford University Press, was selected as a Best Book of 2006 by The Financial Times and her C.V. Starr Lecture on it was taped and broadcast by C-Span Book TV.
Desai, who earned her doctorate from Harvard, is married to formidable economist Jagdish Bhagwati, who is also a professor at Columbia University. She has combined scholarly publications in the leading professional journals with frequent writings in the The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Financial Times and many appearances on the MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour, CNN, BBC, Debates-Debates, Bloomberg TV, Jim Lehrer News Hour, and the Charlie Rose Show. Dr. Desai is also recipient of the Padmabhushan award.
Also present were Dr N V Vasani, Vice Chancellor, Nirma University; Dr H V Trivedi, Head of Academic Research, Institute of Technology and Dr C Gopalakrishnan, Director of the Institute of Management, Nirma University. This event was the first in the series of guest lectures organised at the Institute of Management, Nirma University.