The Niche That She Found

tumblr_me72yeT3W81rlif9vo1_500If Howard Roark were an architect in India, he would have been lynched by the mob. In The Fountainhead, Howard Roark is a kind, gentle man with strong values and principles. But, in a country where humility is considered the fundamental moral virtue, they would have sent this arrogant young man to a lunatic asylum, to see to it that he is salted away for a very long time. He could not have reached them through rational arguments. It is not surprising that the “mystic muck of India” evoked nothing but contempt in Ayn Rand. I do not blame her.

But, for many young Indian men and women, Howard Roark epitomizes individualism and character strength. There are ardent socialists who consider Ayn Rand the greatest novelist in history. Much to the chagrin of their boyfriends, many women want their men to be like Howard Roark. A collegemate once told me, “Women do not know that it is not possible for a man to be Howard Roark. He can only pretend to be Howard Roark. Hell, he can’t even pretend to be Howard Roark.”

As a teenager, whenever I felt depressed, I turned to Gail Wynand for inspiration. Once when I met a girl who has the same cognitive and personality traits of that of mine, she told me that her favorite novelist is Ayn Rand, her favorite novel,The Fountainhead, and her favorite fictional character, Gail Wynand. It is strange. For nearly four decades after the Indian Independence, every aspect of the Indian economy was “planned” and “regulated” by the socialistic state. The economy has become far more liberalized in the past two decades, but India’s is still one of the most controlled economies in the world. Virtually every literate Indian has heard of Karl Marx. Karl Marx’s political views are much closer to the typical Indian’s than Rand’s. Outside the market niche she has found, Ayn Rand is virtually unheard of. Yet, Ayn Rand outsells Karl Marx by sixteen-fold in India. This is in all likelihood an understatement because I first noticed her works when I was a teenager, in a rickety street stall in a small town. Those were pirated copies.  Continue reading “The Niche That She Found”

The Interviews with Tyler Cowen, Avinash Dixit and Cyn-Young Park

Tyler Cowen

Tyler Cowen is one of the greatest minds of our times, and one of the economists who have influenced Bryan Caplan—my favorite living thinker.

Excerpts from the interview I did for Business Standard when he was in Delhi:

“Q. You think that an artist is as much a trader as a businessman, and that the making of a Bollywood movie demands as much talent as that of a Satyajit Ray movie. Many would disagree with that.

A. They should try making a good Bollywood movie. When you make a Bollywood movie, a lot of co-ordination is required. In my view, it is not less of an art than a Satyajit Ray movie. It is harder to make a commercial movie, because the audience has less patience with you.  You really have to grab their attention somehow.

Q. Why do you think that Amartya Sen has done good work in economics, despite the fact that he underestimates the importance of corporations and capitalism in eradicating poverty?

A. I think that he grossly underestimates the importance of corporations and capitalism, but, he has done a lot of good work. His work on missing women is important. His work on development and capabilities is very important. But, when it comes to policy, I think he is often wrong.”

Read the whole interview here: Wal-Mart will help improve agricultural productivity in India: Tyler Cowen

Continue reading “The Interviews with Tyler Cowen, Avinash Dixit and Cyn-Young Park”