Saturday, November 14, 2009

Teachings of Deepak Lal

There is a great piece in today’s BS by Deepak Lal. Some excerpts:
  • ………..why a country with a firmly-established democracy and many world-class institutions and firms, and which is an emerging superpower growing rapidly, should in many dimensions of human well-being have a worse record than many sub-Saharan African countries.
  • India, for millennia, has been par excellence an anarchical society held together by its unique cosmology. Hindu civilisation was born in the vast Indo-Gangetic plain, which no single political authority could hope to conquer for any substantial period of time.
  • ………the decentralised and apolitical social and economic system, which emerged as a Hayekian “spontaneous order”, local public goods were provided by the semi-autarkic village communities. Thus, the decentralised civil society which developed did not need a state for its functioning.
  • India’s ancient civil society has had greater independence from the state.
  • For, in this ancient anarchical society, statist solutions will always fail, as these go against its historical grain. The only wise course is to intervene, if needed, by utilising the decentralised social channels which have maintained social order for millennia.
  • the state needs to redirect its substantial expenditures away from its own agencies towards a system of vouchers for deserving individuals and households to use these private markets. The vouchers are best administered by local panchayats at the ward level. For, “Panchayati Raj” remains the only channel to get the improvement in human development indices, as it goes with the grain of India’s anarchical society.

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