The Human Cost of Zoning in Indian Cities

scep1_corporatetower_1Read my article “The Human Cost Of Zoning” on FEE.org. I hope zoning in the third-world gets more attention with essays like this. I am glad that Financial Times, Bryan CaplanTyler Cowen, Alex Tabarrok, ACI Scholarly Blog IndexOrange County Register, FreakonometricsUrbanomics and economist Ajay Shah blogged about this article. Government Of South AustraliaQuartz shared it, and NYU Stern School Of Business’ Urbanization Project, Marron Institute,  and Brandon Fuller tweeted it.  Continue reading “The Human Cost of Zoning in Indian Cities”

Inflation In India:A Reading List

The plain truth is that our political leaders have brought on inflation by their own money and fiscal policies.

Government action is the reason why inflation exists. The monetary base is under the Fed’s complete control, and it virtually always goes up. Thus, if the Fed took no action, inflation would almost always be lower. In fact, as George Selgin emphasizes, the natural tendency of a growing economy is mild deflation. If you think this is obvious, let’s see what happens if inflation gets much higher. Not only will the public hunt for scapegoats; but even a lot of economists will avoid pointing the finger at the Fed. (And needless to say, the Fed will not point the finger at itself!) The Fed (like all central banks) virtually never “fights inflation.” Of course, sometimes the Fed creates less inflation than at other times. But popular talk about the Fed moving into “fighting inflation” mode is pure obfuscation. It makes about as much sense as saying that an orange farmer who cuts back orange production by 20% is “fighting oranges.” If you’ve taught monetary for years, you may dismiss this as obvious, too. But when I was an economic novice, it was a revelation. And if you don’t hit your students over the head with it, most of them will never get it.-Bryan Caplan, What The Mainstream Can Learn From Murray Rothbard Continue reading “Inflation In India:A Reading List”

The Nerds Shall Inherit The Earth

There were times when brawn mattered more than brain.

A lady who thinks that there is always a touch of Aspergers in high IQ men was describing a friend of hers: “He is able to walk, speak, write and care for himself. He is a wonderful writer. But, he does not make eye contact. He cannot read social cues. He does not understand sarcasm. He tells inappropriate jokes. But, he is very kind, and assumes that every one is honest.”, she said.

I asked, “There is a boy who stays behind my flat. He is often surprised when I say “America’s Great Depression, Page no. 63, Last paragraph.” or words to that effect when he asks me questions like, ‘Where does Murray Rothbard discuss the effect of savings during an economic depression?’. It was a book I had read seven years ago. Is that how your friend is?”
 
She said, “Yes. That is how our friend would answer. He remembers every word he has ever read of every book, even from thirty years ago.” I named him. When she asked, “How do you know?” I replied, “His knowledge is encyclopaedic.”, and she said, “You are very astute.” Continue reading “The Nerds Shall Inherit The Earth”

India’s Urban Youth Favors Economic Freedom

The worldwide survey result (with an urban bias) of the Pew Global Attitudes Project shows some good signs. India tops the list on favorable attitude towards the free market economy. 81% of the Indians surveyed agreed that people are better off in a free market economy. China (79%) came second. The results were largely the same on free trade. India was on top with 96 % supporting free trade. India (53%) came second to China (87%) in satisfaction with the direction in which the country is moving.73% Indians believe that the country’s economic situation is good, whereas it is 88% in China. India (63%) was second to South Korea (80%) in the belief that United States is the leading world power. This is a significant improvement from the position seven years ago.

So, what makes Indian’s more and more Capitalistic?

Ajay Shah has an explanation for this on his blog?

1) All Indians know the failure of socialist policies in India. The GDP growth rate was low when India went through Socialism. It tremendously improved when the country opened up the economy. People were better off when they were removed from bureaucratic shackles. Most people don’t know the GDP statistics, but they instinctively grasp the truth. (In my opinion, the GDP growth rate is not an accurate indicator of the performance of an economy. But, what the statistics say is largely accurate.)

2) A large part of the people surveyed was young Indians. Young people are usually not sympathetic towards the mawkish ideal of Socialism. The CMIE household survey shows that most of the Left supporters are middle-aged Indians. Ajay Shah has another hypothesis: “Maybe it is the experiences of young people which convert some of them from being un-Left when young to being Left supporters in middle age. Maybe political attitudes are not stable through time; maybe the young of today will turn left when they reach their late 30s and early 40s.” However, in my state Kerala, most of the youngsters support the left. I was the odd one out in college. In other parts of India, other than West Bengal, youngsters realize that Communism is a philosophy which keeps the poor in that state forever.

3) “India does not have a welfare state and is unlikely to build one. Voters do not seem to want a large welfare state. The intellectuals are not pushing a welfare state.” It is true that voters of India are not actively supporting a welfare state.

I have yet another explanation drawn from my own experience. Indians have only loosely defined ideas of the concept of the free market and free trade. Most Indians believe that Capitalism is the present economic system, or at best, a system with a higher degree of economic freedom. Few Indians (whether urban youth or not) would support Ayn Rand model Capitalism. I lost count of the number of times I heard influential Indian’s say in the media that growth needs to be “inclusive”, and Capitalism should have a “human face”. It is not difficult to figure out what they are driving at. Maybe the youth finds such statements more appealing than the worn-out bromides of the Left.