[From the Berkeley blog June 2003 archives.]
Why is India poor? As some have argued, India is poor by choice. I will explore that idea a bit here.
Of course, that does not mean that every poor Indian has chosen to be poor. Someone else in a position of power made choices whose consequences are evident. India’s leaders – past and present – have consistently made choices that have had, and are having, a disastrous effect on the lives of hundreds of millions of human beings. What motivates these people is a question that directly follows from any attempt to answer the question of why India is poor. Nehru epitomizes the class of people that have through their choices doomed India to being an almost irrelevant nation of one billion humans.