Reason Writers Around Town: Shikha Dalmia on the Futility of the Raj's Largesse to India


The darndest political dispute has broken out across the pond between England and its former colony, India. The British government has been begging India to accept hundreds of millions of dollars every year in aid. And the Indian government has been telling the Brits to shove it.

But the fact of the matter, Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia notes in her latest column at The Daily, is that this inter-governmental jousting has more to do with the egos of the elites in the two countries and less to do with the purported goal of the aid: helping the poor.

She notes:

[T]he point of the aid wasn't to save India's poor but to save British face. It wasn't about making India's impoverished feel better, but making the British establishment feel good.

But if England's aid is about national aggrandizement, so is India's refusal to accept it.

Why would a government that truly cares about its poor not accept help on their behalf? Because it doesn't care. India's ruling classes largely represent the aspirations of the country's middle classes and nouveau riche. And they are so inured to the poverty around them that it is no longer even visible to them.

Read the whole thing here.