Friday, December 30, 2011

Thanks 2011!

So, the year 2011 is coming to end. I thank you all for being part of this Blog. Your interest in this Blog encourages me a lot to do more. Of course, more justly. The purpose of this particular blog post is to recount and record my publications 2011 both online and printed versions.

For me, this year has not only opened a new window of opportunities but also helped me to communicate with others by writings less (un)known ideas from my readings on Indian liberalism. What I have done in the last 6 or 7 months is a piece of my vast readings. I know it sounds big. Given the vastness of the present day ignorance I have to say that.

First Visit to USA:

I had faced all kinds of problems while I was arranging the necessary things in order. Often I felt helpless and therefore I thought I should give up my try. But many friends and others like minded persons have encouraged me lot to try my level best. They all did not only constantly but quite honestly. I thank all of them.

After I returned from Mises Institute's Austrian Scholars Conference 2011, I got opportunities to write as well as to give lectures on my paper presented in the Conference. My paper was on "Was B R Ambedkar a free market economist?"

Talks and Lectures:

I am very much excited to share with you my talks/lectures. I have written my speeches for all the invited talks and lectures! Among them, the most enjoyed lecture was the one which I addressed 50 plus 2011 LAMP Fellows of PRS. It was one hour lunch on lecture. The following are the talks and lectures list of places I was invited to share the findings of my research on Ambedkar's free market economics:

1. On April 29, 2011 I gave a very brief talk at 'CCS Chintan' organised by The Centre for Civil Society, New Delhi.

2. On May 14, 2011 I gave one hour long lecture (Tamil) in Chennai, organised by The New Horizon Media.

3. On May 29, 2011 I gave brief talk at National Conference on "Shala- India’s National Interest: Towards Shared Visions" in Pune, organised by The Takshashila Institution 

4. I addressed 50 plus 2011 Legislative Assistants to Members of Parliament (LAMP) Fellows, on “Some Aspects of Dalit Issues in India” on July 13, 2011, Constitution Club, organised by PRS Legislative Research, Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi

Popular Articles Publication:

The following articles were published in printed versions with large circulation:

1.Ambedkar, the forgotten free-market economist, Pragati: The Indian National Interest Review, April 14, 2011 (available online freely pdf)

2. The Untouchable Case for Indian Capitalism, The Wall Street Journal Asia, May 31, 2011 (available online freely here)

3.Gandhi, the Liberal, Pragati: The Indian National Interest Review, July 2011 (available online freely pdf)

4.Population in the 21st Century-The Ultimate Resource, If Only They are Skilled, The India Economy Review-Great Indian Dream, IIPM Think Tank, August, 2011 (available online freely here)

5.B.R. Shenoy's Forgotten Voice of Dissent (co-authored), Forbes India Magazine, July 29, 2011 (available online freely here)

6. Growth Trends in Services Sector (co-authored), Yojana, Vol.55, September 2011 (Abstract available here)

The following articles were published in popular online run by classical liberal Institutions:

1. India’s Great Free Market Economist, The Ludwig Von Mises Institute, July 5, 2011 USA (available online freely here)

2. Twenty Years of Economic Reforms to the Free Market India (co-authored), published in French Journal, In Eco Veritas, August 31, 2011 (available online freely here)

3.20 years since India’s economic reforms (co-authored), November 28, 2011, The Cobden Centre, UK  (available online freely here)

A token of gratitude:

In general, I wanted to thank in a big way to my friends of classical liberals for their continuous support: Vipin, Nitin Pai, Toby, Harsh Gupta, Raj Cherubal, Abheek, Ghanshyam, Anand, Parth, Chris, Sanjeev Sabhlok, Satya, Satyajit Dey and Dhanu.

Come 2012!

For 2012, I have already penned few equally interesting pieces for publication. Hope all goes well with the time to come and the same I will share with you all in due to time.

Thank you all, 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Madan Mohan Malaviya and Prof B R Shenoy

Today India celebrates 150th Birth Anniversary of great liberal Madan Mohan Malaviya (1861-1946). One of the great free market economists of 20th century India was Professor B R Shenoy (1905-1978). 

"actively participated in the freedom struggle and was jailed at Nagpur where he came under the close contact and immense influence of Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya." 

In his presidential address to the Lahore Congress, he said:
  • “If millions of people in this country are to be rescued from poverty, if new avenues for employment are to be opened and prosperity spread over the land, it is essential that an extensive system of technical and industrial education should be introduced in the country. The examples of other countries point out that to be road to prosperity.”

It is worth to quote his message on the founding of the Banaras Hindu University:
  • “India is not a country of the Hindus only. It is a country of the Muslims, the Christians and the Parsees too. The country can gain strength and develop itself only when the people of the different communities in India live in mutual goodwill and harmony. It is my earnest hope and prayer that this centre of life and light which is coming into existence, will produce students who will not only be intellectually equal to the best of their fellow students in other parts of the world, but will also live a noble life, love their country and be loyal to the Supreme ruler. " 
See my earlier post here.

Lessons for Lokpal, from Karnataka Lokayukta

The following are a excerpt from the article by Narayana A., Sudhir Krishnaswamy and Vikas Kumar (faculty at Azim Premji University, Bangalore):
  • …..between 1995 and 2011, Karnataka’s Lokayukta carried out only 357 suo motu raids against individual officials but received and responded to over 2,159 complaints against 2,681 officials (and 59 private persons). In other words, for every six cases investigated in response to citizen complaints, only one is initiated by the department suo motu. 

  • Institutional leadership is seen to have a significant impact on the agency’s performance as more than 66 per cent of the raid cases were initiated between 2006 and 2011, when Justice Santosh Hegde was the Lokayukta.
  • A department-wise analysis of prosecution of corruption by the Karnataka Lokayukta reveals that more than 80 per cent of the trap cases are related to four essential functions of government: local government (24.06 per cent), administration (37.65 per cent), welfare (17.61 per cent) and regulation (2.54 per cent). The rest of the cases are divided between agriculture and irrigation (3.76 per cent) and economic activities (12.75 per cent). Analysis of raid cases reveals a similar departmental distribution.

  • In Karnataka, nearly half of the officials against whom Lokayukta has proceeded against are officials in the lower bureaucratic scale while about 10 per cent are senior officials. Only 0.8 per cent belong to the IAS, IPS, IFS and KAS cadres. 
  • The core of the problem for the Karnataka Lokayukta is the criminal trial, over which it has little control. Over 95 per cent of the cases in which charge sheets have been filed are under trial. The cases under trial are, on an average, more than five years old. In any event, only 16 cases overall have resulted in convictions. This is a conviction rate of 20 per cent of completed cases and a small fraction of pending cases. This is much lower than the rate of convictions in criminal prosecutions in anti-corruption cases in India in recent years, which is between 34 and 40 per cent. Hence, the key problem at the core of a criminal conviction model for tackling corruption in India is the trial stage.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Media folly on B R Ambedkar, yet again!!

In the print version of today's The Times of India, the newspaper has quoted two lines from the writings of B R Ambedkar on ethics and economics. It tells public only the half truth by saying he was "politician and jurist". What stops them saying "he was economist too"?

He had double degrees of Masters in Economics and double degrees in Doctorate in Economics.

Anyway the full quote is as below:


"History shows that where ethics and economics come in conflict, victory is always with economics. Vested interests have never been known to have willingly divested themselves unless there was sufficient force to compel them."

Read the below two compilations from his writings:

  1. Commandments of B R Ambedkar
  2. Thus Spoke Ambedkar

Interesting readings

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Make work choices

On 21st of this month I was invited to participate in the third Annual School Choice National Conference organised by the Delhi based free market think thank: Centre for Civil Society headed by Dr Parth Shah.

Out of four sessions, the session on "Disruptive Innovation in Education" was not only great but also a classic. You might ask what made me to say its classic. The two speakers of this session was equally genius and great thinkers on children education. 

The first three sessions were on learning outcomes of children studying in government schools vs private schools. None of the presenters said that the children studying in government schools scored higher in the learning outcomes. Similarly, there was hotbed debate on how teachers perform in government school vs private schools. But it was total blame on all kinds of teachers. 

The interesting part.

Professor Sugata Mitra gave wonderful presentation on how children learn with computer you leave them "alone". It was great fun as well as learning. He explained plainly how we adult should try and understand the use of common senses of children if you leave them alone with an instruments or a thing. If you are not known to Prof Mitra's works. I recommend you should know. I read his piece on "Hole in the wall" some years ago. Also read this one.

The second speaker was Mr.Suneet Singh Tuli, CEO, Datawind. Though, Mr. Tuli's presentation was not that great as compared to Prof Mintra's but the power of speech he gave was no less than amazing and allows you to ponder over a while to get over on next lines!

Just one thought: Unlike other countries constitution Indian constitution has provision for parents to choose their choice of school to send their children. There are no mandatory option for parents to send their children to school.

‘Tiruchengodu CR' (C. Rajagopalachari)

Blinking links

Dr.Surjit Bhalla on says perhaps rightly so "I think a liberal society, which I hope and want India to be, has absolutely no place for reservations of any kind." and "And reservations is not the right policy to enhance the well-being of the poor. Maybe after the noise has settled, Parliament will sponsor the creation of a new Constitution, one based on the principles of rights and justice, and not on the ad hoc principles of state intervention."

Shekhar Gupta explains Mera Neta -dalit, tribal, OBC, upper caste-Chor Hai

Dr. Shubhashis, Research Director,India development Foundation writes something interesting about Indian social science researchers dealing with data: 

  •  the other issue that was brought up was the difficulty of obtaining Indian data. Any researcher reading this will, I am sure, be able to recall many instances of this. In my own experience, I can think of at least two instances that stand out in my memory: (a) in one I could not get the type of access that a foreign researcher could; and (b) in the other, I got access from the foreign researcher at a time when the government organisation in charge of the data was refusing me access to it! In fact, what has helped research is the Right to Information Act and I know of many academics who have obtained data through this Act.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Buddies works!!!

Impact of Innovation in Public Service Delivery (PDF) by M. Saravanan and K. Shreedhar

India'sstates can be laboratories for policy innovation and reform by Karthik Muralidharan (This piece is must read one!)

Prof Amartya Sen: conflicts in liberalisation

On December 16th of this month, I had a great opportunity to listen to Prof Amartya Sen. This is the first time I got to see him closely and observe his actions in telling something about economics, politics and his friends like Dr Manmohan Singh. The session was chaired by Business Standard Chairman Mr T N Ninan.

The reader of this blog know that I came to know the fact that Prof Sen won 1998 Nobel Prize in Economics Science through my Tamil Language teacher.

Any way, Prof Sen delivered a lecture at Hotel Le Meridien, New Delhi and it was a part of 2011 Delhi Economics Conclave. Prof Sen's lecture was not on any specific topic. He briefly touched broadly on: (i) global financial crisis, (ii) the Euro crisis, (iii) implications on Indian economy and (iv) poor performance of social development indicators in India.

Prof Sen's understanding on 2008 financial crisis might be exceptional but given the ideological lean what he informed the hundred of industry member was not new at least in my view. So basically, he summarized by stating simply that the 2008 crisis erupted due to over confidence of banks (on lending, risks, etc), lack of rational confidence and inability of regulator. He also said that Adam Smith never used the word "capitalism" in his all works. According to Prof Sen Adam Smith only used the word "market" to analyse the players in the society.

On Bush and Obama: Prof Sen explained that Bush era saw the unrestrained capitalism, crisis of government and bailout to banks.

On Euro: Prof Sen said Euro is not worth having because there is no fiscal union in the political economy of EU. He also pointed out that the central problem of Euro crisis is epistemology and the crisis of government efficacy resulting from the fundamental like freedom and actions of key decision makers. He further went on to argue that the people who are reading the crisis in wrong side. He also talked about the 1943 EU movement of unity in Euro.

On Indian economy: Prof Sen's views are not new but some of his views expressed during this lecture is worth reading from the print media:

  • "We [India] need to maintain economic growth as growth generates public revenue and with public revenue we need to do things such as health care, immunisation, education...The government has to do a lot more,"
  • "I spent an hour with Manmohan Singh yesterday but I did not have any illusion that if I could convince him that everything will go fine, not because he is not a good Prime Minister, as I think he is, because that's not the way Indian democracy works".
  • "In a democracy, you have to carry the party, the coalition and the political system, including the opposition with you."
  • "I do not think that there is any conflict in liberalisation.... Each time you have to see if it is doing good for the people or not," 
  • "What we need is economic reforms, but reforms are not just about doing enough to addressed issues which are of great importance to those relatively prosper...Reforms are right but the formula that works for the only 20 per cent people of the country is not right,"
I must record here that Prof Sen rejected the way in which the Team Anna is trying to do with fighting corruption in India. I consider fasting for corruption is age old wrong doing. And I agree with him when he said that:
  • "What I had, in fact, said was that the judgement and penalty for corruption cannot be a matter for street justice, and must come through the democratic procedures that we cherish in India, including the courts and Parliament," he said in a communication.
  • "we do not not have to tie accused people to trees to deliver summary justice to meet the demand of most Indians to extend the process of democratic accountability in a more full-blooded way to corruption."

Monday, December 19, 2011

Make market forces work

  • Madan Mohan Malaviya said “Mere industrial advancement cannot ensure happiness and prosperity to any people; nor can it raise them in the scale of nations... Formation of character is even more important for the well-being of the individual and of the community than cultivation of intellect. Hence the proposed university (BHU) has placed formation of character in youth as one of its principal objectives. It will seek not merely to turn out men as engineers, scientists, doctors, merchants, theologists, but also as men of high character, probity and honour... It will be a nursery of good citizens instead of only a mint for hallmarking a certain standard of knowledge,”

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Blinking links

Surjit S Bhalla argues ....At the outset, let me state that there are sufficient rumours about the possibility that the RBI is being dictated to by the Delhi combine of Manmohan Singh and his chief (and it appears, only,) economic adviser, C. Rangarajan. 

Barun point how India missed yet again at Durban....."India has improved its carbon intensity by 32% in the past 15 years as it began to reform its economy and prepared to compete globally. Yet today, India’s carbon intensity is still seven times higher than Japan’s (Chart 2). This indicates there are still huge structural and policy challenges that are preventing India from adopting the best technologies and practices currently available in the world."

Can we have like this one (or more) for spreading liberals values in India?

"Godrej supports the contentious provision. “What the Companies Act envisages is that there is a recommendatory level of 2% of profit after tax for corporate social responsibility and in case you’re not able to spend that much, you must explain it in your annual report,” Godrej said on the sidelines of the second annual conference of the Dalit Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “I think that’s a fairly reasonable provision and I personally do support it.”

Surath Giri from Nepal argues.......quite interestingly that "Free market capitalism that rewards entrepreneurship, risk-taking and innovation, and at the same time provides easy universal access to economic activities to all citizens is a blessing. There are enough evidences that when allowed to work, the market has lifted more people out of the mud and misery of poverty than any government. And it has been true regardless of the culture, tradition, religion, economic base, and civilization of the society practicing it. The most prevalent myth about free market capitalism in Nepal is that in free market capitalism the economy is dominated by cartels and syndicates."

Thursday, December 8, 2011

SV Doraiswami and his book "Indian Finance, Currency And Banking"

Here is a very interesting article which recounts the forgotten Indian economist S V Doraiswami and his important work in monetary theory. Doraiswami's principles are well formulated and strongly refuted the Lord Keynes theories in monetary theories. 

B R Ambedkar also took the note of Doraiswami's contribution to Indian finance and banking.

My friend says "... the entire literature produced by the Keynesian economists is not worth a page of wisdom in Doraiswami’s book."

Of course, I read this very interesting book on Indian Finance, Currency and Banking by S V Doraiswami. This one was published in 1914 and 1915.

I strongly recommend the reading of full article which is here.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

MP's can't dance SALA!!

Excerpts from Barun Mitra's piece on disrupted democracy
  • It is time to recognise that disruptions in Parliament are not just a reflection of the declining political acumen of our time. Enlightened political leadership may help, but will not be able to deal with the symptoms. The real root of this parliamentary disease is the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution, popularly known as the anti-defection law that was passed in 1986, with almost total unanimity across the political class and the intelligentsia. 

  • This anti-defection law has empowered political parties at the cost of democratic debate, particularly within Parliament, since defying a party whip can lead to disqualification from the House. Since MPs can’t vote as per the merit of the debate, but must follow the party diktat, there is no reason for MPs to prepare for a debate. Consequently, many MPs don’t even bother to attend the House during important debates. And if MPs can’t debate meaningfully, then disruption becomes the main form of registering one’s opposition. 

  • Let us stop bemoaning the loss of parliamentary discourse, look at the root of the present problem, and try to revive good parliamentary practices. Here are a few suggestions. First, restrict the party whip and invocation of anti-defection law to money bills and confidence votes. Second, a no-confidence vote must be accompanied by a confidence vote on an alternative leader of the House and government, so that each term of the Lok Sabha can run its full mandate of five years. Third, a mid-term poll can only be called if two-thirds of the members of the House supports the motion. Fourth, allow debate on all major issues, and extend sitting of the House where necessary to allow members to express their opinion. Fifth, allow members to vote on issues and legislations as per their conscience. Sixth, even if the government loses a vote on a specific issue, this need not reduce its capacity and legitimacy to function effectively. Finally, allow the government to pursue its policies, let the ruling side argue its case, and win back the support of a majority of MPs

Teachings of the great liberal from South India-Rajaji


“I have struggled for thirty years”
Said my friend,*–
“He was preparing for a Jubilee.
“But who that lives struggles not?”
I asked, and he agreed.

Life is a struggle all the time
One or another sort for every one;
From when the child is pushed
Head foremost into the cold world
Each breath is a struggle
And every thought is a struggle,
For struggle is the throb of life.

Envy not, for every soul
And every breathing body struggles.
And those who live in ease
They struggle too against hated ennui.
The fatigue you feel as the years grow
It is the gentle voice of nature
That you must round your stalks
And prepare to fall away.

Spring! And Summer! Then Autumn comes
And the leaves that served the mother tree
And shone in the splendour of active life
Softly they drop with rounded stalks;
And in golden yellow quietly smile
At the leafy vanities that are over.

Ah, men!
Our foolish loves
And our more foolish hates
They also find their dropping dates,
And sometimes suddenly the date arrives,
Yet always as an unfailing friend does Death
Ring down the curtain on our follies.

* Late Sri K. Ramakotiswara Rau, Founder-Editor, Triveni.–Editor
–Reprinted from the Silver Jubilee Number of Triveni, Jan. 1955

Retail polity

In the on going debate on FDI in retail sector, even the so called liberals are grouped in different camp. If you  glance through the following pieces you will get to know what I meant so called liberals. But the fact is that Walmart is not the only guy who is going to stay here for long, after all the king of competition is going to help us  in improving our life style. These pieces in my view are must read, if at all you bother to get some concrete view about why we should or should not allow FDI in retail sector in India.

Market economy or market society by S.Gurumurthy

Exploring pros and cons of FDI in retail by Bibek Debroy

The party of no principle by Surjit S Bhalla

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Teachings of the great liberal from South India-Rajaji

(This was published in the Swarajya on August 5, 1961)

"When one sees a great evil, one must fight it. Otherwise, there is no purpose in life … I have seen landslides of moral standards like mountainsides toppling down during an earthquake. I have seen callousness and greed replace all traditional sensibility and restraint, all ideas of SwadharmaMy great age and varied experience have enabled me to see changes and contrasts, and the consequent distress is great.

This is an attempt to explain why I have broken away from valuable friendships and time-honoured camaraderie, which to many is still a mystery and is cause for distress and adverse comment. The sacrifice of comradeship and affection that I have made now, giving up that precious possession, and earning displeasure and dislike in the highest quarters – these are no less a sacrifice than what I made when I was forty, and full of potential for worldly advancement, gave up my practice at the bar grieved my aged father, withdrew my children from school and college, and went into the wilderness in 1920.

I have often thought of those days when a spirit of adventure and a passionate abhorrence of foreign rule helped one to undergo any sacrifice ...

But should we not defend freedom, should we not defend democracy, should we not defend Dharma? We must not allow India to be debased, mistaking mass selfishness for patriotism. We must love India and learn why we should love India. We must fight Statism, we must fight one-party rule, and we must stem the tide of greed and corruption. We must bring again into being a cadre of sternly honest officials to administer our affairs as was done till recently. It is a sacred duty, if there be any purpose in life and if we are not just spinning tops...When the morality of the nation and its elite is being undermined and threatened with destruction, there is no question of any alternative or surrender to superior force. We must fight and protect the soul of the nation from being overwhelmed and destroyed. It is the duty of each citizen to resist it to the utmost without waiting for others or counting the cost. For if the nation’s morality is lost, there will be nothing thereafter to save."

The mighty Kumbhkaran of socialism and communism

There are 'evil goondas' who does all kinds in getting away of some works published. It is also true in the case of spreading liberal values in India. Here is the evil goondas who are none other than the bloody lover of communism and socialism. 

You might be wondering why I suddenly rreferring lover of socialism and communism as evil. Read this nanny article and you will realize. 

Why there are no much works/talk on Rajaji, B R Shenoy, R B Lotvala, VS Srinivasa Sastri, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, Minoo Masani, B R Ambedkar etc.

Surely, the Indian academic is in coma. It is also the mighty kumbhkaran yet to awaken for the truth rule out.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Economist Mark Blaug passes away, 1927-2011

I had better feeling of my own interest in doing research in the area of history of economic thoughts. But some how that feeling was broken when I heard the news that one of the greatest economists of history of economic thought Mark Blaug passed away. Though I differ on many of his views in methodology of economics applications. I learned a lot from Mark's articles on the pathetic situation which is still prevailing in the development of history of economic thoughts.

See here for brief bio of professor Blaug.

The New Menace of Gandhism by Murray Rothbard

A friend of mine sent me the following excerpts from 1983 essay (PDF) by Professor Murray Rothbard on M K Gandhi:

  • "Gandhi's India, which led t o Mrs. Gandhi's dictatorship and the horrifying experiment in compulsory sterilization" ...... AND ........."The comparative record of non-violent revolutions is, then, worse than that of violent ones, for the violence of the American Revolution after all brought forth a pretty good result, while non-violence has accomplished nothing fruitful at all.
  • ‎"Let us not mince words: Mahatma Gandhi was an economic crazy. For Gandhi , not only modern technology but almost any technology was sinful and evil. Railroads were evil, the industrial revolution was evil, cotton textiles were evil, modern medicine was evil, education was evil."
  • "It should be clear that the life of Mahatma Gandhi was essentially a scam, from start to finish. Making a big show of his allegedly deeply-held principles, claiming t o make his life and thought a seamless web, he always ended up betraying those principles. H e rode on railways, he fell back repeatedly on Western medicine and surgery, and he continued to "test" his chastity with various females until the end of his life".
  • Thus, after the first nationwide  pogrom  against  the  Jews  in Germany,  in December  1938, Gandhi counselled the Jews t o  react in a non- violent  manner:  "if  the  Jews can  summon t o  their aid  soul-power  that   comes only  from  non-violence,  Herr  Hitler  will bow  before  the  courage  which  he  will  own  is  infinitely superior to that shown by  his best storm troopers." And after the news  of the Holocaust  became  known,  Gandhi, in 1946, counselled retroactively. 

  • The  Jews  should have offered themselves to the butcher's knife. They  should  have  thrown  themselves into the sea  from cliffs  . . . It  would have roused  the world  and  the people of  Germany.  (Geoffrey  Ashe, Gandhi: A  Study  in  Revolution,  London,  1968, p.  341.) Perhaps what the Jews lacked  was little Bapu  to  give them their "training."

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

20 years since India’s economic reforms

Here is our latest piece on Indian economy published by The Cobden Centre, UK. This piece is co-authored with my friend Vipin. French version of this article was also published here.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Blinking links

  • Manish Sabharwal writes "...the most articulate non-economic case for urbanisation was made by Nandan Nilekani in his book Imagining India: “It has been fashionable in our cultural commentary to refer to India’s cities as places of vice, corruption and loss of innocence. But cities are, and have historically been, a powerful catalyst for political reform. Leaders such as B.R. Ambedkar recognised this and found the Indian city liberating after the sink of localism and den of inequity that was the village. Upward mobility for the backward castes is therefore most tangible in our cities because it becomes difficult to enforce silly notions of caste purity and pollution in the forced proximity of our city buses and trains.”

  • Niranjan reviews a new book Grant Pursuit..."The Industrial Revolution had shown glimpses of a better future, though there was little historical reason to believe that societies could escape the poverty trap. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engelspredicted that capitalism would inevitably push workers into penury and the entire economic system would collapse in a heap. Engels comes across better than Marx in Nasar’s book. Marx, it seems, wrote about the horrors of industrial life without even once seeing the inside of a factory. He lived in London not too far away from two outstanding thinkers: Charles Darwin and George Eliot. He never bothered to either meet or correspond with them."