Saturday, December 04, 2010

Professor Jagdish Bhagwati on how economic reforms have transformed India

dec 4th, 2010

bhagwati would have got the nobel prize in economics 'reserved' for an indian. but that clever amartya sen-rothschild married his way into the prize. 

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This is how economic reforms have transformed India 

December 3, 2010 

Jagdish Bhagwati, University Professor, Economics and Law, Columbia University, delivered the Third Hiren Mukerjee Memorial Annual Parliamentary Lecture in the Central Hall of Parliament House on December 2, 2010. Here are the edited excerpts of his excellent analysis of how the economic reforms have benefited India:

Perhaps the most appropriate tribute to the memory of the illustrious parliamentarian, Professor Hiren Mukerjee, would consist in the celebration of Indian democracy of which the Lok Sabha itself is the chief symbol.

India was for decades unique in her democracy among the post-colonial countries that had gained Independence. Today that uniqueness has thankfully disappeared as several countries around the world have followed in India's footsteps.

But our embrace of democracy from the outset does set us apart from, and puts us in a higher pecking order relative to China whose egregious denial of democratic and other human rights detracts hugely from admiration for its stellar economic performance.

India has not just the Lok Sabha and elections; it also has all the elements of what we now call a 'liberal democracy'. I must add that our democracy has been a source of immense gratification, not just to elites, but also to the common man.

It is easy to slip into the fallacy that the masses yearn for economic gains, not for political rights. I have long argued that economic betterment, in a country with an immense backlog of poverty, inevitably takes time.

Even bitter critics praise India's boom

But let me to turn now to the central question that I wish to address today: the question of economic reforms, what they have accomplished, and where we are and should be headed.

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Raghu said...

The irony is inescapable: The KKangress party brought us to the brink of disaster with its' financial profligacy. The Balance of Payments crisis, and the "socialism" behind it, is NEVER mentioned today. India HAD NO OPTION but to change. The Commie crowd and a large section of the left-leaning Kkangress, bolstered by the maverick Amartya Sen in their midst still haven't got it!The same crowd with the same Madmohan Singh is back in the saddle, looting India without any compunction. Do we have any vision that is really ours, really Indian?

Non Carborundum said...

Maybe he can get a prize for medicine. He discovered a cure for insomnia.

san said...

Narasimha Rao should have gotten the credit for the reforms, and not the feckless Manmohan Singh.

Amartya Sen got his Nobel for attacking Pokhran-2 and Indian defense spending.

Meanwhile, Wikileaks shows that Intel threatened Russia that it would send jobs to India if Moscow failed to allow Intel staff more latitude on encrypting data on mobile devices. Hah, fat lot of good that would do when India is pressuring others like RIM over Blackberry encryption.

chitrakut said...
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Arvind said...

jagdish bhagwati deserves no prize for anything. this fraud was a shill for gatt/dunkel draft and then for imf and then for wto. he kept claiming that india's road to success lay in consumerism!

consumption is good when it is done to meet demand. you do not artificially start consuming like crazy and spend away your money. that is what bhagwati wanted. when they say he is an "expert" on trade, what they mean is that he was a puppet of imf and wto.

i agree with san that pvn deserves credit and not manmohan singh. manmohan was carrying out the wishes of imf (such as guaranteeing the profits of enron). it was pvn who froze this in 1994 and started focusing on liberalizing india.

nizhal yoddha said...

bhagwati as a free trader kept suggesting that india should junk socialism and import substitution. the latter of course are amartya sen-rothschild's forte.

when finally narasimha rao did junk socialism, and india opened up at least half-heartedly, it proved that bhagwati had been right all along, by quickly accelarating from 2-3% (nehruvian) to 8-9% (hindu) rate of growth.

Arvind said...

i agree he was for junking socialism, but he was definitely not a keen advocate of import substitution. if anything, he had some official connection to gatt and advised all sorts of stuff that would harm india's economy. prime among these was to measure wealth through spending and the next was to accept the conditions in dunkel draft. yes, he was a free-trader but he drew the line where his masters wanted him to.