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Albert Hirschman (1915-2012)

Albert Hirschman's scholarly inclinations were broad as was his audience and readership. He often married economic and political reasoning in his scholarship and made a lasting impact in such specific areas of study as development and international political economy.

Politics of Economic Growth in India, 1980-2005

India's economic growth has not accelerated dramatically. What aggregate change is noticeable predates the liberalising reforms by a whole decade and industrial growth in the post-reform period did not pick up. Moreover, the problems posed by India's current pro-business model of development include disquieting implications for the quality of India's democracy. Why should the common people in a democracy accept a narrow ruling alliance at the helm? Is ethnic and nationalistic mobilisation a substitute for pro-poor politics? And, is India increasingly stuck with a two track democracy, in which common people are only needed at the time of elections, and then it is best that they all go home, forget politics, and let the "rational" elite quietly run a pro-business show?

Politics of Economic Growth in India, 1980-2005

For the last quarter of a century Indiaâ??s economy has grown at an average rate of nearly 6 per cent per annum. The widely embraced argument that this growth pick up is a result of the Indian state's adoption of a pro-market strategy is inadequate for three reasons: the growth pick up in India began a full decade prior to the liberalising reforms in 1991; post-1991 industrial growth has not accelerated; and uneven growth across Indian regions defies any simple market logic. Instead, Indiaâ??s economy has grown briskly because the Indian state has prioritised growth since about 1980, and slowly but surely embraced Indian capital as its main ruling ally. This pro-business growth strategy is likely to have adverse distributional and political consequences. The political economy argument for the growth in the 1980s is developed in Part I, and for the post-1991 period in Part II, which will be published next week.

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