Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Let's thank Indira Gandhi for our 1990s boom

I generally read newspapers for their opinion pages, not their news. In my early days in America, therefore, I was genuinely puzzled to discover that the Washington Post (whose opinion pages hosted George Will, Charles Krauthammer, the late Michael Kelly, and other specimens of the raving right) was regarded as a "liberal" newspaper. I figured it's because they "balance" this with more centrist (not leftist) opinions, which the right-wing media there (Fox News) would never do.

Even so, I found today's editorial on the recently deceased Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet, jaw-dropping. The editorial points out that he ruled Chile for 17 years; he ceased to rule 16 years ago; and Chile has boomed in the last 15 years. And it somehow credits the boom to Pinochet. (It also, by the way, blames the democratically elected Salvator Allende for "creating the conditions" to be deposed by Pinochet.)

Let's all thank Indira Gandhi for the boom that began around 1991, which was undoubtedly due to her, since she had been ruling only seven years previously.

Thankfully, the Post is balanced, so includes Eugene Robinson's column as a very effective rebuttal.

(Note - I've been slow at posting because real life intervened, in the form of the next generation.)

4 comments:

Abi said...

Congratulations on the real life that intervened!

Gosh, is it too much to expect you to be a little bit more explicit? It's not as if we are asking for a photograph or anything ...

[As for that dictator, don't forget to check out today's NYTimes op-ed.] It's fabulous.]

wildflower seed said...

Rahul
Congratulations!

On your post, even though the attribution to IG is intended in jest, it may not actually be too far from the truth! There is a very influential paper by Dani Rodrick and Arvind Subrahmanyam which argues that in terms of economic growth, the breakpoint in India can be dated at somewhere in the mid-80s rather than the more conventionally accepted 1991. The paper is controversial, but I think the message is that it is really hard to point to *a* specific causal factor when it comes to rapid economic growth.

Rahul said...

Thanks abi and ws!

I was not sure how much to say -- I haven't opted for total anonymity in this blog, like ws and tabula rasa (both of whom I know well in real life), but I didn't want it to focus on my personal life either. Besides, it's more the kid's life than mine, and he may or may not appreciate finding himself on the wayback machine 15 years down the line... Maybe I'll do another post later.

ws -- I haven't read that paper but can't think of any of IG's policies that could have been responsible for accelerated growth in the mid 80s. More likely it was her son. I remember the tremendous optimism and goodwill that surrounded him in 1985 (that he totally squandered, but for a while, it really looked like he was doing good things).

Mahesh said...

Rahul,

Let that jaw hang there for some time; don't pick it up yet. So what if the WaPo is dubbed liberal, the MSM in the US dub our own The Hindu moderate!. This rag whose editors behave no better than lackeys has never failed to praise every commie thug and mass murderer (since the chief lackey N.Ram took over) from Stalin and Mao, thru Castro, and Kim Jong Il.

Here are some interesting snippets about Allende from Wikipedia http://tinyurl.com/7rvgq.

Allende's kookiness makes our own "Planning Commission nincompoops" look like geniuses

"Allende also undertook Project Cybersyn, a system of networked telex machines and computers, [that] transmitted data from factories to the government in Santiago, allowing for economic planning in real-time."

How the socialist paradise unravelled,
"In the first year of Allende's term, the short-term economic results of Minister of the Economy Pedro Vuskovic's expansive monetary policy were unambiguously favorable: 12% industrial growth and an 8.6% increase in GDP, accompanied by major declines in inflation (down from 34.9% to 22.1%) and unemployment (down to 3.8%). However, these results were not sustained, and in 1972, the Chilean escudo had runaway inflation of 140%. The average Real GDP contracted between 1971 and 1973 at an annual rate of 5.6% ("negative growth"); and the government's fiscal deficit soared while foreign reserves declined [Flores, 1997]. The combination of inflation and government-mandated price-fixing, together with the "disappearance" of basic commodities from supermarket shelves, led to the rise of black markets in rice, beans, sugar, and flour."

"In 1971...Cuban president Fidel Castro took a month-long visit to Chile. The visit, in which Castro participated actively in the internal politics of the country, holding massive rallies and giving public advice to Allende, was seen by those on the political right as proof to support their view that "The Chilean Path to Socialism" was an effort to put Chile on the same path as Cuba." Despite this the Chileans were spared of the glorious times of Castro-commie'ism.

Pinochet no doubt was a cruel dictator and as Abi alleges made 'disappear' a transitive verb. But as we criticise him let's not forget of the other thugs in power today Kim, Castro, Mugabe, and a host of others whom the lackeys of Indian MSM never tire of praising.