Tuesday, March 1

Mishraism gets a slam

My ferociously erudite and diabolically brilliant friend, Salil Tripathi knocks the socks off a rather strange whiney article on India and China’s progress written by that strange character, Pankaj Mishra. I have to admit, I have yet to understand why he is rated that well, I mean, d’oh. Anyway, Salil writes back to the Mishra article. I quote this:

To put Indian growth in perspective: when it grew at 7.5% last year, India's income rose by an amount higher than the total income of Portugal ($194 billion), Norway ($183 billion), or Denmark ($178 billion) that year. It was the equivalent of adding a rich country's economy to a very poor one. More important, India has reduced the number of people living in abject poverty, even though its population has increased significantly. Once again, facts: In 1991, 36% of India's 846 million people, or a little over 304 million people, lived on less than one dollar a day, the measure economists at the World Bank use to define absolute poverty. That number - of 304 million people - represented possibly the highest-ever agglomeration of poor people in the world in one country at any time. Ten years later, the proportion of India's poorest dropped to 26% - a decline not only of 10 percentage points, but also in absolute terms. By 2006, India's population had risen to 1.02 billion people. If the proportion of poor is still at 26%, it means 267 million people now lived in absolute poverty. What it also means is that even though India added 156 million more people to its population during that decade - a figure combining the total populations of Britain, France and Spain put together - during that period, the number of poor people in India actually fell by 37 million, or the size of Poland. Had the poverty level remained the same, there would have been 361 million poor in India. Instead, the Indian economy had lifted 94 million people out of absolute poverty during that period - that's 12 million more people than the entire population of Germany, the most populous state in the European Union. Such growth would simply have not happened if India had not put in place macroeconomic changes in 1991.

People who moan about inequality need to understand that there is no crime or problem in people being rich. its when the poor remain or are kept poor is where the problem starts. Here are some of my responses about inequality here, here.

Then Mishra responds to Salil’s note here. Now besides the economic fallacies he exhibited in his first post, he now adds historical incoherence to his post, which Salil takes apart in the rejoinder to the rejoinder here. If nothing else, Mishraji, try to simplify your language. See these 2 statements:

1. Old assumptions of moral and civilizational superiority shape the neo-liberal view of Chinese and Indian history, in which the Indians and Chinese appear as deluded socialists and famine-struck peasants, who could only have been saved by western-style neo-liberalism.

2. I can only mention one here: the challenge of postcolonial reconstruction in countries devastated by war and colonialism, in a harsh geopolitical situation which forced ruling classes everywhere to choose sides in the cold war

Say what?

bah!, and seems like Mishraji gets slammed in other areas as well. Here’s another book review kerfuffle that he got involved in and the book’s author poked him

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