Why Growth Matters: How Economic Growth in India Reduced Poverty and the Lessons for Other Developing Countries. By Jagdish Bhagwati and Arvind Panagariya.PublicAffairs; 290 pages; $28.99 and £19.99. Buy from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.ukFrom The Economist
INDIA needs more market liberalisation to promote economic growth. A few years ago, with its economy expanding at an annual rate of nearly 10%, there was talk of India one day rivalling China, or even overtaking it. But policymakers have grown complacent. They assumed rapid growth would continue, but did nothing to foster it. The result is that India now putters on at less than half what it could achieve. Investors are anxious and the politicians are bickering.
In their new book Jagdish Bhagwati and Arvind Panagariya, both economics professors at Columbia University, outline a series of measures to boost growth. “Why Growth Matters” is a blunt book; almost a manifesto for policymakers and analysts. It explains how rapid expansion has brought India immense gains, and why more change is needed—and needed soon. Both men are champions of globalisation and they hope their ideas will stiffen the resolve of India’s leaders.
What they have to say is convincing. Increasing growth rates over the past couple of decades lifted some 200m Indians out of poverty. That is an immense gain. In 1978, say the authors, more than half of all Indians were below the poverty line; today it is roughly a fifth. Gradually even those politicians who put their trust mostly in redistribution and the early roll-out of welfare grasp that a bigger economy means more resources to share around. Read More