Thursday, May 31, 2007

Grand Myth of Indian Inequality...Or is it not?

This is really good edit in Times of India today. It is bang on target. Read it -
...It brings up questions of inequality and class envy — notwithstanding that India's score on the Gini coefficient, the measure used by economists for inequality, stands at a moderate 0.33. It's far more egalitarian than comparable economies in BRIC — Russia scores 0.40, China 0.45, and Brazil is off the charts at 0.54.
India does well even by the standards of developed economies, scoring the same as Canada and Belgium and better than the United States (0.41). Looked at in this frame inequality is not India's most pressing problem, poverty indubitably scores higher...
The moment the economy does well, it becomes incumbent on every one of us to develop a bad conscience. Which is why the prime minister who, in his capacity as finance minister in a previous government had launched India's economic reforms, succumbed to the established political wisdom of the day and called for capping CEO salaries to stop the poor from being discontented. The hackneyed ideology of trusteeship evidently dies hard — poverty is a constant, but the rich can help by hiding their riches better...
Inequality could be the hallmark of dynamic societies undergoing rapid economic growth, but that's better than wallowing in the stagnation of universal poverty. We celebrate our IITs, yet see merit as an elitist principle. Rather than obsess about inequality of outcomes India would do better if it focused, instead, on opportunity. Every Indian should have the means to fulfil her aspirations. Rather than pushing for reservations at higher levels, it's much better to provide universal access to infrastructure and education...
...China is more unequal than India, but far more successful in addressing poverty than India...
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