India’s Prosperity is Made in India

prosperity2 I am not a fan of the Modi government’s “Make in India” advertising drive. My view is certainly unpopular. I think that advertising cannot (and must not) replace real changes in policies that could make India attractive to domestic and foreign manufacturers. As it happens, the prevailing sentiment, even among many domestic manufacturers, is that India is really a very hard place to make things. Which partly explains why so much of what’s consumed in India is made in China. So trying to woo foreign manufacturers through advertising slogans is pointless.

I wrote this piece for the July edition of India Currents. Here it is, for the record. Continue reading

My assessment of Modi government

I have been a long-time supporter of Shri Narendra Modi. But I am seriously disappointed at his performance as prime minister. Certainly he has done better than his predecessor, Sonia Maino. But she’s an Italian who really did not care for India. Doing better than Sonia Maino is no achievement. I expected better than this from Modi. I think Modi’s greatest achievement so far has been political. He disarmed the Maino mafia. But I fear that there are Maino moles in the Modi management team.

Anyway, here’s a piece I wrote for the New Indian Express where I claim that India is still on the same old policy path. It was published on June 14th. I reproduce the piece here, for the record. Continue reading

Speaking of Freedom of Speech

“If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led like sheep to the slaughter.” –George Washington

The importance of the freedom of speech is underestimated by most people.

George Washington stressed the instrumental role of the freedom of speech — as a defense against oppression. But freedom of speech, like the right to be left alone, is also something of value in and of itself, even if there was no possibility of being oppressed.

I wrote this piece for India Current (June 2016 issue). I reproduce it here, for the record. Continue reading

India Needs a New Constitution

Human societies are rule-based. Rules not just define human societies but rules also differentiate between societies. Sufficiently large collectives of of people (say 100,000 or more) are indistinguishable in terms of their endowments because we all belong to the same species and we are just random draws from the same gene pool with minor variations. IF that is so, then what’s the origin of the inequality we observe in the wealth of nations? Why is Burundi not as wealthy as Sweden? The answer is that different societies follow different sets of rules, and the outcomes differ. Out of all the rules, norms, customs and traditions of a people, the formalized high-level set of rules is called the constitution.

In the following piece, co-authored with Rajesh Jain, I argue that India needs a new constitution. It was published today in Quartz. Here it is, for the record.
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Individual Freedom and Bondage

0781_8477 First post of 2014 and therefore sets the tone for the rest of the year — freedom. Individual freedom. Actually, freedom is about individuals. Collectives are really an abstraction and in reality only individuals exist. So to say that a particular collective is free — Indians or Americans or Africans — what is really meant is that each individual in that collective is free. The question is: what is the individual free from? From coercion by other individuals. The following is an opinion piece published last month in Niti Central.

Best wishes for a wonderful 2014.
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Leadership through inheritance is a compelling sign of a poor or a declining nation

Ruling a banana republic does not require special qualifications

Item: Captain John Wright, 58, is retiring as a senior pilot. He has had a distinguished flying career with 35 years of sitting in the left hand seat in the cockpit, much of it of heavies like the Boeing 747s and Airbus 340s. But it’s time that he hangs up his wings and retires from a job well done. Bluesky Air, the airline that Captain Wright served so competently, has announced that on Capt Wright’s retirement next month, his seat will be occupied by his son Jack. Jack will move from his job as a janitor at Burger King to be the chief pilot at Bluesky Air. He will fly the planes that his father flew.
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