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Why Amartya Sen is wrong: Jagdish Bhagwati

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Sen is not simply wrong; he also poses a serious danger to economic policy in India. Indeed, having opposed implicitly or explicitly the liberal reforms that, starting vigorously in 1991, transformed the Indian economy and pulled it out of its abysmal growth rate, and pulled millions above the poverty line, Sen had suffered the misfortune of having seen Indian policy and economy pass him by. Now, he seeks to resurrect himself by endorsing programmes such as the National Food Security Bill, or NFSB, (which, of course, predates Sen’s endorsement by a long shot) which promise substantial “redistribution”.


But, for reasons discussed by many (such as Panagariya and Arvind Subramanian among them), therein lies, not glory, but yet another disaster that will make Sen the only well-known economist to have inflicted damage twice on Indian policy and therewith on poverty reduction: first, by supporting the counterproductive policies that undermined growth prior to the 1991 reforms and now, by supporting populist measures such as NFSB that would deal a blow yet again against the poor (as I explain below). The road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions. Read More

  1. Anil Modi Reply

    July 24, 2013 at 11:56 am

    Let me make it clear that I have no intention to educate the educated. But, it needs no big education to understand that by policies in the name of welfare which basically are nothing but providing alms to the so called poor will never reduce their poverty but make them lechers/beggars/pilferers, which they already may have been due to their own unwillingness to work. These can never be called the work of the Government. They should be left for the charitable organisations. How ridiculous it is that we have no time to look into the most important issues as Education, Water, Environment and R&D. The best of the brains like the Supreme Court takes its own time in deciding issues which have a direct bearing on the future of the students e.g. Medical Exam NEET issue, where the poor students have no remedy but to curse their own luck for not knowing what to do, which issues should should have been decided within a week in any situation, is an example of how we see our human resource. I wonder why politicians are at all allowed such spending of national money. They must be permitted to do so only if it is their own earned. The worst thing in our country is that people who do not earn spend the most like our worthy parliamentarians. How can we imagine to be world leaders if we have such an approach to work.
    Till a good sense of self respect,patriotism and morality is conferred upon us by the almighty, let us all succumb to the feudal vagaries of the high and mighty.
    Anil Modi

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