Thursday, November 11, 2010

India had world class skill training system

Mr.Aiyar had pointed out in his piece in yesterday's ET. I do have some concrete research works on the arguments he made in the article about the India's past advanced skill training system, may I will post something a little later. Some excerpts:

  • Economic success depends not just on economic reform but on institutional strength and historical skills — what economists call ‘initial conditions’. India and China are historical superpowers that accounted for 70% of world industrial production before the Industrial Revolution .

  • They declined during 300 years of western colonialism, but are now clawing themselves back to their initial high position. Indian bankers and traders in the 17th century were bigger than the East India Company .

  • Robert Clive thought that Murshidabad, which he entered after the Battle of Plassey, was richer than London in his time. Shajahan had the money and skills to build the Taj Mahal: his European contemporaries did not.

  • Seen in this light, the decline of India and China in the last 300 years was a temporary blip. Africa and Latin America will find it difficult to replicate the growth spurt in China and India because of very different initial conditions.

  • Lumping nations of Africa and Asia together into something called ‘developing countries’ is a political gimmick. In Africa, most agriculture was still slash-and-burn cultivation as recently as the 1970s. But most of Asia moved from slash-and-burn to permanent cultivation 3,000 years ago.

  • This provided leisure and opportunity for the ruling classes to develop considerable engineering and other skills. The exploited peasantry of 3,000 years also developed a cornucopia of skills and innovative techniques for survival. Africans emerging from slash-and-burn cultivators lack such skills: their economy had no markets or mercantile skills. Indians are not inherently superior in any way.

  • Its strong initial conditions range from skills developed over 3,000 years to institutional strength developed over the last 60 years. Countries without these initial conditions will find it difficult to replicate India’s performance.

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