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India: Asia’s Quiet Miracle

June 11th, 2003 · No Comments

Bruce Gilley writes in WSJ about India’s economic reforms (link via Atanu Dey):

Almost unnoticed by the outside world, India over the past two decades has witnessed an economic transformation of staggering proportions. It is a transformation that has cut poverty to 20% of the population today from something like 40% a few decades earlier (estimates vary), while adding nine years to the life of the average Indian. Most important, it is a transformation that has been achieved through open processes of reaching a fair and consensual policy, which in the lexicon of the dissatisfied is now being disparaged as “politics.”

The democratic nature of India’s economic miracle, as frustrating as it is to those who like the stroke-of-a-pen changes of authoritarian countries like China, has ensured that reforms are more just and therefore more enduring. Inequality has remained moderate while opportunities have expanded for all. By bemoaning the incremental nature of India’s economic reforms, critics are liable to undermine the very foundations of the country’s stirring success.

India’s reforms are not just an economic issue. The country is forging a proudly democratic model of economic reforms. It is the kind of model that many developing countries, despairing that they do not have the dictatorship of China to force through difficult reforms, can hope to emulate.

The BJP government should be kept honest and chided when it falls down. But the politics that it plays are mostly the politics of balancing interests and views that, if not addressed, might threaten the entire movement. Those who criticize the consensual nature of India’s economic reforms risk undermining Asia’s quiet miracle.

Good to see a positive article on India in the international press.

Tags: Emerging Markets

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