dr anonymous's blog

Industrialisation Hai? (3)

By: on 16 May 2008

The last two posts discussed an overview of political economy in India and why the market/state dichotomy is largely irrelevant to understanding it.  This last one covers some ideas about what might be more relevant to understanding what leads to industrialization if it's not "the market" or "the state" or the precepts of any overarching ideology imposed from somewhere else, as well as some brief comments about social structure in India.

What leads to industrialization?  This question is more important than the ideological debates among (elite) statists and (elite) market fundamentalists and extremely sensitive to local history, politics, social structure, etc. (by local, I mean the bounds of a particular state, not a particular town). In this vein, I'd highlight the importance of policy autonomy for developing countries - the ability to shape their own ideas; it's not a coincidence, imo, that India and China are the largest and most powerful among the developing countries; that they both staked out non-aligned policies in different ways during the U.S.-USSR rivalry; and that India didn't wholeheartedly pursue socialism and China (and India) haven't wholeheartedly pursued liberalism. To put it slightly differently, ask yourself why they were among the last to be able to resist the demands of the IMF/World Bank/U.S.-led global system and why they are the ones that are succeeding the most now in terms of GDP growth and hype. Coincidence?

Industrialisation Hai? (2)

By: on 11 May 2008

In the first post, I gave you an overview of what I've learned about the political economy of development in India. This post covers the first of three related major debates that I'm interested in or are overly discussed:

1. market vs. state
2. what empirically leads to industrialization
3. the difference between "development" and "development"

I would argue that number one is a red herring. Ideologies come and go--before, it was socialist planning, now it's liberalization. It masks two, more real, arguments, I'd say, in the same way that ideological disputes among the Indian statebuilders at independence masked the fact they were ALL part of the Indian elite (caste-wise, education wise, power-wise). However, in the interests of laying out the details:

In short, markets are good at providing discipline (i.e. you go out of business if you can't compete) but bad at long-term investment in creating or upgrading industries in terms of their technological and organizational competitiveness. The Indian state, at least, proved good at providing long-term investment in industry, but not good at ensuring that the subsidies didn't become monopoly perqs for businesses, rather than an incentive for industrialization.

The minimal amount of looking into India's political economy I've done has exposed exactly how flawed the recommendations of neoclassical economists have largely been. The idea so prevalent today that if you just 'remove' political interference and let the market work ignores basic realities of developing countries (like they might not have a functioning market or state yet and that they're condemned to remain extremely poor if you focus on sectors that they have a 'comparative advantage' in because there's a difference between growth and industrialization, as kawaa pointed out earlier)

Tidbit: Shoot Me Now and Shoot Me Later?

By: on 6 May 2008

...in separate conversations last week, no fewer than four McCain staffers and advisers mentioned as a possible vice-presidential pick the 36-year-old Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal. They’re tempted by the idea of picking someone so young, with real accomplishments and a strong reformist streak.

It might also be a way to confront the issue of McCain’s age (71), which private polls and focus groups suggest could be a real problem. A Jindal pick would implicitly acknowledge the questions and raise the ante. The message would be: “You want generational change?

Industrialisation Hai? (1)

By: on 1 May 2008

You hear a lot about liberalization, India Shining, etc. This is at best a simplified and overly ideological (Americanized) version of the story of how India is changing, and is probably more reflective of the ideological predilections of the Indian elite class--which includes the so-called "middle class" that is, at best, around 20% of the population and probably much closer to 8 to 10 million people among over 1 billion.

Since the conversation about the broad topic of Indian industrialization and its history has come up in the comments thread for another post, I'm going to use blogger's prerogative and boost it to the main page since it's an important and current issue. Please feel free to offer in-depth critiques and simple questions, because this series of posts will be in-depth and I'm too caught up in jargon a this point to remember that not everyone has spent too much time reading debates about class structure in India in the 1960s.

To lay my cards out on the table, the trajectory of Indian development as I have been taught it is as follows:

Tidbit: Vote For Your Favorite Intellectuals!

By: on 29 Apr 2008

Foreign Policy / Prospect is conducting a poll of your favorite public intellectuals.  I was frankly pleased by the number of people from the global South they had there (Ashis Nandy?  Abdolkarim Soroush?  Who knew?), given the circumstances.  You can also write in anyone you want at the end, in addition to (or perhaps in lieu of) your five choices.

Here it is.

Grading the Editors: NYT Editorial On Pakistan Barely Passes

By: on 29 Apr 2008

Grade: D

suggestions for improvement: awareness of recent events and familiarity with U.S. politics is good; in comparison, your discussion of the structure of the Pakistani government/politics could benefit from the same level of detail given to the U.S. (see Jalal, Alavi, Siddiqa for specifics on social basis of politics, role of the military, and implications of U.S.-Pakistani relations; and Talbot and Jaffrelot for basic background); writing that is a bit less polemical and has more careful word choice would improve the piece; deeper analysis was required--you have too many conclusions that rest on unsubstantiated and at times challengeable assertions--but a good start!!!!

Making Their Own Mistakes [this sounds pejorative--another phrase?]

When Pervez Musharraf was running Pakistan he repeatedly cut deals with tribal leaders intended to calm the country’s lawless regions [generally speaking, it's misleading to describe any single person as running the government of Pakistan, rather than some combination of military, bureaucratic, and civilian leadership; also be careful with language "tribal" and "lawless" evoke Orientalist depictions]. The results were always disastrous [always? would be good to include background here and what you mean by "disastrous"]. The Taliban and Al Qaeda used the time to regroup and launch attacks both inside Pakistan and against Afghanistan [be careful of conflating in your discussion the interests of the Pakistani state, the Afghan government, the U.S., and the people of the respective areas].

Tidbit: Peace In Our Time?

By: on 25 Apr 2008

The New York Times and Al Jazeera report that a pro-Taliban regional leader has reached an agreement with the new government of Pakistan to stop warfare in the border area with Afghanistan.

For background, here, kawaa's excellent series of posts from the time of Bhutto's assassination and on media coverage on "the jihad" based in Pakistan, and at Chapati Mystery, various posts.

Update: Bomb blast. So much for that?

Tidbit: Jimmy Carter on Hamas

By: on 21 Apr 2008

Jimmy Carter:

"The problem is not that I met with Hamas in Syria," he said.

"The problem is that Israel and the United States refuse to meet with someone who must be involved."

That about says it all.

Read more here
Crossposted at Open Left for those interested in American politics.

Someday, we will talk similarly about Kashmir (he says, wistfully).

What Is Success?

By: on 17 Apr 2008

There was a running debate among those interested in women's rights on whether or not its appropriate for women to choose to have a family. I understand this from four positions: 1) an unreconstructed position that accepts having a family as the norm; 2) a feminist critique that rejects traditional gender roles by not pursuing options like having a family; 3) a position calling itself "post-feminist" that ideologically advocates for going back to traditional roles; and 4) A feminist individualist perspective that acknowledges the history and social roles of women but, in the context of one's own life, decides to pursue what would be considered a "traditional" role, but pursues it imbued with a feminist mindset and with the vantage point of understanding all options and pursuing the one that makes the most sense personally.

The reason I have been thinking about these different perspectives is that I've been considering my own notion of success. This came up, somewhat humorously, in the context of facebook poker, where I decided that I could "beat" the other people at my table and should continue to play. This is an idea of success that relies on pursuing an activity competitively and achieving more than other people in it. I then considered--is this really the way I want to lead my life?

A Brief Interlude In Defense of Blog Snobbiness

By: on 1 Apr 2008

I'm speaking for myself, here, not any of the other bloggers or anyone else.

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