From the archives: Bhagwati on Markets and Democracy

Jagdish Bhagwati

This one is hauled from the archives from Aug 2013. Bhagwati on Democracy and Markets. In that post I quote Bhagwati’s three broad lessons that arise from his typology of countries into a democracy-market space.

The first is that where neither democracy nor markets function, incentives for production and innovation will be so weakened as to impair productivity and growth. The second is that markets can deliver growth, with or without democracy. The third is that democracy, without markets, is unlikely by itself to deliver significant growth.

The last proposition, which speaks naturally to India’s postwar experience until the current reforms, is perhaps the most interesting to contemplate further. Why should the relative lack of well-functioning markets nullify democracy’s possibly favorable effects on development?

The answer leaps out from the pages of modern Indian history. Democracy, with its civil and political rights–including freedom to travel, study, and work abroad–has enabled elite Indians, who have had access to modern education for over a century, to master and even improve on innovative ideas and technologies from everywhere.

Worth a read.

Author: Atanu Dey


2 thoughts on “From the archives: Bhagwati on Markets and Democracy”

  1. More than 6 years have passed since your Jagadish Bhagwati post. 6 years back you were upset with Amartya Sen for suggesting Modi being unfit for PM.

    What do YOU think now? Assume there is going to be an election with exactly the same parties and leaders offered on the menu as available during 2019 elections. Assume that Atanu Dey is the only single voter. Assume there is no NOTA button. Whom would you choose?


    1. Amartya Sen and I don’t see eye to eye. His rejection of Modi then was for different reasons from my support of Modi then. After Modi became the PM, I revised my opinion of Modi but my reasons are different from Sen’s reasons even now.

      I would reject Modi and all the rest of the bunch that were on the stage then — and now. In any case, I don’t vote as a matter of principle.

      Liked by 1 person

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