CRF Blog

Modern India & Efficiency

by David De La Torre

In Liberal worries, The Economist reviews Gurcharan Das’ new book India Grows at Night: A Liberal Case for a Strong State.

Mr Das insists that liberal ideas offer the clearest answer to many of India’s woes. Corruption, for example, will not be beaten with a big, new authoritarian bureaucracy, as anti-graft protesters want. Instead discretionary powers must be wrested from dodgy bureaucrats and politicians, the state made smaller, and markets allowed, openly and freely, to allocate resources. That means making the state more efficient. Every Indian factory-owner must, Mr Das writes, on average, confront 17 different inspectors, each with the power to close his business. (In other words, they must be bribed.) His solutions to the slowdown in economic growth would include making it easier for companies to hire and fire and to make the buying and selling of land more transparent. [more]