entertaining ghostwriting by jerry rao for milton friedman.
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Trust this invisible advice
Posted online: Saturday, November 25, 2006 at 0000 hrs IST
Dear Dr Singh: As you have doubtless heard from the press, I have entered the Great Beyond and have had the privilege of meeting up with the father of our profession, Adam Smith (if I remember correctly, you earned a prize named for him during your university days). As it happens, one of our first topics of conversation was about your grand country — a country of so much promise and potential, a country unnecessarily cursed with widespread poverty, a country where we all hope you will leave behind a legacy of freedom and prosperity. If you remember, Adam Smith had been an early opponent of the East India Company (a state-sponsored monopoly house) which did so much economic damage to your country and incidentally to Britain, which would have been much better off with India as a prosperous trading partner rather than as an impoverished dependency. Monopolies and quasi-monopolies, be they state-owned or state-sponsored, work arduously to stifle economic competition to the detriment of large numbers of people and for the benefit of a select cozy oligarchy. I don't need to tell you this. Your government has been trying against great odds to dismantle state monopolies. You have had some success in the airlines and telecommunications industries but you are still struggling with coal, electricity distribution and so on. Where you have succeeded, prices have dropped, employment has shot up, consumers have benefited, wealth has been created, citizens are better off. Where you have been held back, the country too seems to have been held back.