Socialism Kills

by Don Boudreaux on October 30, 2009

in Cleaned by Capitalism, Competition, Complexity & Emergence, History, Man of System, Standard of Living

What would have happened in India if that country had liberalized its economy ten years earlier than it did?

Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar does a commendable job supplying a plausible, if gruesome, answer.  He

finds that with earlier reform, 14.5 million more children would have survived, 261 million more Indians would have become literate, and 109 million more people would have risen above the poverty line. The delay in economic reform represents an enormous social tragedy. It drives home the point that India’s socialist era, which claimed it would deliver growth with social justice, delivered neither.

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{ 12 comments }

sandre October 30, 2009 at 4:49 pm

In India, the extreme socialist era was called the license raj. India unleashed the creative minds by getting rid of many unwieldy regulations, license requirements etc. India is still very corrupt, but bureaucrats don’t have nearly as many opportunities to seek bribes with less licenses to issue. India is still socialist, but it is going in the right direction

Anonymous October 30, 2009 at 5:02 pm

What about India’s caste system?

sandre October 30, 2009 at 6:23 pm

what about it?

Anonymous October 30, 2009 at 7:54 pm

How much have you read about the caste “system” and what do you know about it?

Anonymous October 30, 2009 at 8:01 pm

My basic 50K foot view of it is that it’s a way of dividing up Indian society into groups that are completely divided socially and economically.

Anonymous November 2, 2009 at 9:55 am

the caste “system” isnt a state policy. it was once upon a time a way to classify people based on their professions. there is no state sanction to it (except than the equivalent of affirmative action/reservations).
the caste system today is used as a vote bank/special interest group. luckily,so far, the govt doesnt mandate affirmative action/caste based gratification of special interest lobbies ,for private companies.
urban india is quite caste neutral.
the caste system is only as bad as the ‘race system’ if you want to call it thus,in the US.

Justin P October 30, 2009 at 11:21 pm

Socialism kills people? OMG somebody tell those Russians and Chinese…their leaders might try and hurt them.

jorod October 31, 2009 at 1:10 am

Everyone knows this of course… except the socialists.

a reluctant analyst October 31, 2009 at 5:43 am

The sad part is that there is still a lot of scope left of liberalizing the Indian economy. Plus, we still have ‘socialist’ describing the State in the constitution. That forces all political parties to be at least socialist in name. Socialist, divisive politics still rule in India, with a new breed of politicians advocating self-sufficient states garnering a greater share of the votes this election.

Capitalism is still sneered upon, even among the educated middle class and upper class. This week, the Indian newspapers, news magazines and TV media have been nostalgically remembering Indira Gandhi on her 25th death anniversary. The lady was responsible for a wave of nationalization and also enforcing a political emergency – and singlehandedly set India back by 25 years.

Looking at the present times does not leave me too optimistic about the future of India.

Gil October 31, 2009 at 5:45 am

And I s’pose if there was never any Socialism and statism ever then humanity would be spread around the Milky Way Galaxy figuring out how to get Andromeda Galaxy. If humanity can go from the first powered flight to landing men on the Moon within a century of evil statism, depression and war in between then a 5,000 years of unfettered innovation would produce far, far more.

Then again why would more people have survived? The population would have overrun the food supply leading to violence and the same people would have been killed anyway. Either that or people would have been wealthier and had no incentive to have a large family thus the children wouldn’t have been born in the first place.

a reluctant analyst October 31, 2009 at 7:03 am

Oh Gil, that’s so stupid. You should be deported to India.

Gil October 31, 2009 at 7:51 am

Why? I watched a documentary where Indians, who were starting to enjoy the trappings of modern living, were thinking of delaying baby-making for longer. Heck! Sub-replacement birthrates may started with the West but Japan has the worst-case scenario of population sub-replacement.

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