Monday, August 07, 2006

On inequality

Via New Economist, an article by Pranab Bardhan in the Financial Times, on Inequality in India.
Its important to realize that these statistics are for all of India- a huge place. There is a lot of variation within the country.
However, it is broadly true that your well-being, and the social status that you enjoy, is largely determined by the family that you are born in into.
In the long run, this could cause India to go the way of Latin America. While the US followed a policy of homesteading (read this article by Hernando De Soto on the squatters who built America), land in Latin America was distributed by the government. Naturally, the wealthy and powerful grew even more wealthy and powerful. This could be one reason why wealth in Latin America has been tainted, and society has bene torn apart by the conflict between ultra-conservative reactionaries and redistributionist radicals.
This is related to one reason why I am against restictions on immigration into the large cities. In a country that fails to provide basic health-care and education to its rural poor, the alternative to internal migration is revolution.


gaddeswarup said...

There is a discussion of Pranab Bardhan's article in I have not read De Soto's article yet but there is a brief discussion of his book in "Saving Capitalism from the Capitalists", a book which I am still reading.

Rajeev Ramachandran said...

Went there- thanks for the comment!