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Just a reminder: our target



On Sun, 4 Oct 1998 prabhu.guptara@ny.ubs.com wrote:

> And yes, what we are trying to devise is policies which can help India
> to take her rightful place in 
>  the world (I am actually sceptical about the desire to make India
> "the number one country in the world".  I would be happy if India WERE
> the  number one country but, as a policy objective, I would be quite 
> satisfied with India becoming a prosperous and just rather than a 
> rich-POOR country as it is today).  
>     
> However, a Manifesto or Agenda needs to be suitably MOTIVATING, on 
> these grounds I have no actual objection to this kind of excessive 
> language.

Professor, The target we have in mind is 100 years away. Even if the very
best policies were adopted by India, we could not beat the USA in less
than one hundred years. With the kind of policies we have at the moment,
we have been constantly slipping behind; we are worse, in relative terms,
than what we were in 1947.

Thus, neither you nor I nor even our grand children will see that day. It
will be left to our great grand children to see the day when India takes
its rightful place as the #1 in the world in 3 things: wealth, sports, and
knowledge. 

However I personally will NEVER be satisfied (particularly as a ghost!)
with mediocre goals like just becoming prosperous. We were the #1 in the
world (or close to that) in 1750 AD. We must revert to our #1 status. Our
competition should be with the Great China and not with these itsy bitsy
countries like USA or Singapore. 

Please check out the data and the calculations I have provided at:

http://www.indiapolicy.org/debate/Notes/data1.html

and

http://www.indiapolicy.org/debate/Notes/crossover.html

In fact, I'd be grateful if someone - the younger economists like Andrew
Vargo, perhaps, or Iris, Yazad or anyone else, could please work on these
two web pages and make these 100% authentic (these should be 100%
authentic even now, but a second check does not hurt). 

Let us EMPHASIZE to the people that we have FALLEN BEHIND in the past 50
years of socialism rather than catching up. Without knowledge of this
basic fact, people in India keep saying rubbish like, "We have made a lot
of progress the past 50 years." Well what progress? With reference to
what? Everything has to be in relative terms. This rubbish about our being
the 5th largest PPP nation in the world does not impress me at all. Even
in PPP terms we have fallen behind. I mean, we were WAY, WAY ahead of the
West in 1750 (say: our GDP was at least 10 times the GDP of England). How
can I take pride in being No.5 with 1/20 of US income (in PPP terms), 250
years later? It is a great shame. Nothing to feel good about.

We could have had 10 times the income, half the population and 20 times
the nobel/ olympic prizes had we followed good policies in these 50 years.
Nobody will of course believe that - so let me drop that.

But we will be 400 times poorer than USA (in USD terms) and have 6 times
its population if we do not switch from socialism to capitalism (as
defined on the web page) right away. That is the essential message. Of
course the task is huge: building the right institutions, building a civil
society, building a sense of national purpose. But this is something we
have to do now, else our great grand children won't forgive us.

SS


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