Attention New York Reasonoids: Sign Up Now For a Dynamite Reason Panel on India Next Tuesday


India watchers know that the country's explosive economic growth after it ended its daft autarkic policies and rolled back the License Raj lifted nearly 300 million people out of poverty. The country's IT sector became the global outsourcing hub. And Indians started harboring delusions of grandeur, talking loosely about India becoming the next

Meanest Indian/Foter/CC BY-NC-ND

super power.

That was then.

Now, the country's growth has plummeted to a mere 4 percent, raising fears that India might be headed back to the days of the dreaded Hindu rate of growth of 2 percent. Given that every one percent drop in GPD growth consigns millions of Indians to poverty – defined as living on $1.25 a day —jumpstarting India's economic miracle is not merely an academic question but a vital human issue.

Given such stakes, it is no overstatement that national elections this spring are the country's most momentous since Independence in 1947. The Congress Party, that formed a coalition government in 2004, is facing a serious challenge from the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Narenda Modi. Although tainted by his failure to prevent a massacre of the minority Muslim population in 2002 in the state of Gujarat, where he remains chief minister, Modi's promise to fix India's abysmal infrastructure, tackle its hidebound bureaucracy, attract foreign investment and end affirmative action has made him the darling of business.

But a new threat emerged in the form of the Aam Adami Party (literally: Ordinary Man's Party) in the state assembly elections in December. AAP's leader, Arvind Kejriwal, a political neophyte, ran a populist campaign promising relief from inflation and rampant corruption of the established parties, riding to victory in New Delhi.

But do any of the parties or candidates have what it takes to reignite India's economy? Are they campaigning on the right issues? Will this election produce a government that can fix India's broken governing institutions and restart its economic miracle? Will any party gain the moral authority to enact the next wave of liberalization? Or will the elections produce more political fragmentation with no political party obtaining a clear mandate to enact a bold reform agenda?

These are the questions that Reason Foundation plans to address at a panel it is co-sponsoring with Asia Society and the South Asian Journalists Association on Feb. 4, Tuesday, 6.30 p.m., at the Asia Society's Park Avenue premises. I'll moderate a stellar lineup that includes American Enterprise Insitute's Sadanand Dhume, a Wall Street Journal columnist, Arvind Panagariya, a Columbia University economist who has co-authored several books with the inimitable Jagdish Bhagwati (and Amartarya Sen's nemesis) whom interviewed here, and Carnegie Endowment's Milan Vaishnav.

Reason still has a few complimentary tickets to give away that you can get if you rush to this website and register now.

Bonus material: My column on the noxious Narendra Modi and why India ain't going to catch up with the West any time soon.

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  1. ding dong the witch is dead . . .…..-end-year/

    Longtime Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman announced Thursday he will not seek reelection in the fall, becoming the latest architect of the Affordable Care Act to announce his retirement.

    1. He can go back to his mole people proud at his valiant attempts to destroy human government.

      1. Shit. “…destroy the human economic system”

        1. Alex, I’ll take “Capitalism” for $1,000.

  2. Dynamite panel on India? Is it something that will land me on no-fly list?

  3. Coincidentally, I had leftover navratan korma and paneer tiki masala last night, along with some garlic naan. Yum.

  4. India ain’t going to catch up with the West any time soon

    Sad but true. Lots of colleagues who came from India. None who want to go back….manager the next office over came over with $7 in his pocket. His parents moved back some years ago – he literally only visited to attend his mother’s funeral over Christmas.

    A country with so much potential, their biggest export is their best and brightest people. Sad, sad, sad…

    1. Long term, I think India will likely be the major economic power in Asia. But that’s going to take a good amount of time and a lot of change.

  5. OT: a lot of you were talking FB polarization and political discourse on the morning link comments and I was wondering if anyone saw this last week:
    From James Taranto’s “Best of the Web” today over at the Wall Street Journal:

    One explanation for this phenomenon comes from social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, author of “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion.” Todd Zywicki, coincidentally on the same day Cuomo made his remark, summed up the relevant finding in a Volokh Conspiracy post:

    Haidt reports on the following experiment: after determining whether someone is liberal or conservative, he then has each person answer the standard battery of questions as if he were the opposite ideology. So, he would ask a liberal to answer the questions as if he were a “typical conservative” and vice-versa. What he finds is quite striking: “The results were clear and consistent. Moderates and conservatives were most accurate in their predictions, whether they were pretending to be liberals or conservatives. Liberals were the least accurate, especially those who describe themselves as ‘very liberal.’ The biggest errors in the whole study came when liberals answered the Care and Fairness questions while pretending to be conservatives.” In other words, moderates and conservatives can understand the liberal worldview and liberals are unable to relate to the conservative worldview, especially when it comes to questions of care and fairness.

  6. The rest:

    In short, Haidt’s research suggests that many liberals really do believe that conservatives are heartless bastards–or as a friend of mine once remarked, “Conservatives think that liberals are good people with bad ideas, whereas liberals think conservatives are bad people”–and very liberal people think that especially strongly. Haidt suggests that there is some truth to this.

    Haidt has a theory that moral reasoning is driven by, as Zywicki writes, “five key vectors or values of psychological morality: (1) care/harm, (2) fairness, (3) loyalty, (4) authority, and (5) sanctity.” Haidt posits that “conservative values are more overlapping than liberals–conservatives have a ‘thicker’ moral worldview that includes all five values, whereas liberals have a ‘thinner’ view that rests on only two variables,” in Zywicki’s summary.

    Thus conservatives have a far greater capacity to understand the liberal worldview than vice versa–and, applying the theory to the case at hand, Cuomo and de Blasio are simply unable to overcome their own cognitive limits.

  7. Just wondering if you guys think this might be a possible valid AND VERIFIABLE explanation for muppet fucktards like Tony, Buttplug and Tulpa….

  8. “jumpstarting India’s economic miracle is not merely an academic question but a vital human issue…”

    Put the name of any other country in there (or some big cities, e.g., Detroit!), and the statement is still true. Rising wealth, leading to rising standards of living, will leave ANYONE better able to deal with and flourish despite the inevitable economic and natural calamities that will afflict us in the future, whatever form those misfortunes may take. Our great project is to make EVERYONE rich, in comparison with the economies of previous eras. If they then look around, find income inequality, and lament that millions remain “poor,” that’s an attitude problem, as long as the poorest person alive today can live better than kings could in previous centuries, we’re going the right way. So which tools are best to use in this ambitious undertaking? All evidence points to free-enterprise in the economic sphere and the presumption of liberty (not to mention fundamental respect for individuals and their private property) in the political sphere.

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