Thursday, January 9, 2014

Professor Bhagwati's Poor Economics!

During the debate on Sen vs Bhagwati, I uttered to a friend that I am not big fan of Professor Bhagwati. I could not give him a good solid reference, but here goes:

For all those Indian liberals especially my generation I wanted to inform them what Prof.Bhagwati said about Prof B R Shenoy (1905-1978). While reviewing Shenoy's book (Indian economic policy, 1968) in the Economic Journal in 1969 (
Vol. 79, No. 315 (Sep).

Prof Bhagwati said:

"his overall view of Indian economic policies is flawed seriously by his antipathy to planning per se"

Bhagwati also did not agree on Shenoy's criticism about foreign aid. 

This is what Bhagwati said about Shenoy on foreign aid:

"his unfortunate tendency to condemn foreign aid (which he shrewdly sees as making the expansion of the public sector relatively more rapid and easy) for the wrong reasons."

Some people argues that Prof.Bhagwati might be too young and have changed his views about Shenoy in later years but that seems not very clear. When Bhagwati wrote the above lines, he was about 35 year old and was educated in England and USA. It seems to be that he was like any other typical persons who had views of mainstream economists.

What I wanted to say is that we should not forget these facts while crediting for his good old ideas of advocating for globalization, liberalization, free trade etc. Even he changes his views about Shenoy, it is still important for me to judge him his economic thoughts. We know he was one of economic adviser to Indira Gandhi in the 60s. "Mrs. Gandhi followed the advice of her economic advisers, including Bhagwati, and devalued the currency, with all its attendant complications".

Another point is that while Bibek Debroy accuses Manmohan Singh for coining the Garibi Hatao slogan for Indira Gandhi, why not for Bhagwati for his role in devaluing the rupee in Indira Gandhi's government?

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