Thursday, June 21, 2007

"India Unbound"

Read this book on a recent long-haul flight. It is written by Gurcharan Das, former head of Procter & Gamble, India. It is partly biographical, but mostly an account of post-independent India's economic policies. Written in an engaging, informal style, peppered with anecdotes, it is a very easy read. Author is clearly a believer in free markets and recounts with frustration the socialist policies India adopted and the kind of impact they had on the economy.

Even though most people blame Nehru for taking us down the road of Fabian socialism, Gurcharan seems to think that larger share of the blame has to go to Indira Gandhi. Nehru at least had the excuse that at that time ('40s and '50s) central planning was considered the way to go by a number of leading economists world wide. When P.C. Mahalanobis came out with his Second Five Year Plan document in 1956, it was hailed as a master piece in economic planning. But by the '70s it had become apparent that central planning was not all that it had been cracked up to be and the author blames Indira Gandhi for not only refusing to change the course but actually taking us deeper into socialism.

Overall, a very informative book for anyone interested in history and India.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Got to read this one... Nothing surprising probably, but should be an interesting read. Well, interesting you had never mentioned you read one such... and not sure how I missed this post all this time. We shall talk more after I read it, right? :)