Finding Substitutes for State Functions in India


Here's an interesting article in The New York Times about Gurgaon, India, where "economic growth is often the product of a private sector improvising to overcome the inadequacies of the government."

In 1979, the state of Haryana created Gurgaon by dividing a longstanding political district on the outskirts of New Delhi. One half would revolve around the city of Faridabad, which had an active municipal government, direct rail access to the capital, fertile farmland and a strong industrial base. The other half, Gurgaon, had rocky soil, no local government, no railway link and almost no industrial base.

As an economic competition, it seemed an unfair fight. And it has been: Gurgaon has won, easily. Faridabad has struggled to catch India's modernization wave, while Gurgaon's disadvantages turned out to be advantages, none more important, initially, than the absence of a districtwide government, which meant less red tape capable of choking development.

As you'll discover, the district isn't a utopia, libertarian or otherwise. But it's a fascinating study in the ways people pool their resources to fill the gaps left when state services are inept or absent. "To compensate for electricity blackouts," the Times reports, "Gurgaon's companies and real estate developers operate massive diesel generators capable of powering small towns. No water? Drill private borewells. No public transportation? Companies employ hundreds of private buses and taxis. Worried about crime? Gurgaon has almost four times as many private security guards as police officers."


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  1. India’s got plenty of endemic obstacles to overcome, but it, not China, is the future economic power in Asia. Maybe along with Japan, but China’s got too many problems to make the transition to a long-term economic powerhouse without major, major changes.

    1. What do you think a generation of boys will do without girls to marry?

      1. Attend Broadway plays?

        1. They will adapt like libertarians

          1. I hate to break it to you, but that stereotype doesn’t hold true. For instance, I’ve got a hot wife. And I don’t think I’m alone in that. Episiarch, for instance, only buys hot prostitutes and slave girls.

            1. My wife is hotter than your wife, and my daddy can beat up your daddy.

              1. I cannot gauge other wives in this virtual environment, but I find it amusing that some people attack libertarianism as some sort of single boys living with mom business.

                Aside from any mating prowess, a number of us are pretty affluent, too. You know, with monocles and top hats.

                1. I think it’s the libertarians who work in IT that create that stereotype*. The other 10 percent probably have smoking hot spouses to go along with their monocles and top hats.

                  *I used to own a network consulting business.

                  1. Could be true, though even IT people break out of that stereotype on occasion.

                    It’s funny, but in the early days of the Internet boom, it seemed like everyone in IT was libertarian. Now it appears that was an illusion, because there seem to be a lot of lefties in the IT sector.

                    1. Had I not moved to Europe I’m sure I’d be single or worse by now. Come to think of it, I’d probably still be a leftie. Nothing like living under socialism to turn one off of socialism.

                    2. I hear people frequently who come from former Soviet Union countries and issue warnings about how bad things are getting HERE in regards to socialism/communism. They fled those countries to get away from it, only to find it growing right here in America.

                    3. What’s really scary is the younger generation in post-communist countries that are mostly full-on socialists.

                      I understand that left-wing ideology is a disease of youth, but one would expect these people to be somewhat inoculated, even if they don’t directly remember much from the communist era.

                    4. Now it appears that was an illusion, because there seem to be a lot of lefties in the IT sector.

                      That meshes with my observation as well.

      2. Video games and internet porn.

        1. Oh, right, of course. This is the correct answer.

      3. Sex robots!

      4. uh, you can go gay, or better yet, wake up and realize how nasty other people are. both males AND females shit, sweat, have bad breath, body hair, age. men have saggy wrinkly ballsacks, while women spend 1/4 of their adult life leaking a nasty bloody concoction from between their legs. and they all look like shit by age 40 anyway.

        spouses/partners are for the pathetic and weak, the same type of person that thinks they NEED a big powerful govt to run their lives. be an individual for fucks sakes.

  2. Guragon has discovered the secret we’ve all known for years – prosperity can only be achieved when you eschew public roads.

  3. I was in Gurgaon in April, and it is an amazing laboratory for business. The infrastructure is appalling, and you see families of wild hogs living in ditches in even the most developed areas. But I’m very bullish on India. For years, migration of the educated was uni-directional. Now both brain power and capital are flowing back into India, and with a young population, it is pretty well positioned for the future.

    1. Yes–and it doesn’t hurt that we educate their youth, and then kick them out of our country.

  4. “Why are the all running to ColoradoGurgaon?” he asked. “What have they got down there that we haven’t got?”

    The young man grinned. “Maybe it’s something you’ve got that they haven’t got.”

    1. Well, that’s what I get for using the modern del tag instead of the primitive s tag, then not doing a preview.

  5. Guragon has discovered the secret we’ve all known for years – prosperity can only be achieved when you eschew public roads.

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