How the way to the Baba Log Economy was Paved

A Vaidyanathan, in a review of collection of KN Raj’s writings quotes a prophetic insight by the ‘pitamah’ of Indian economists on how state/bureaucratic capitalism can pave the way for private capitalism. This is all the more remarkable since the writings in the book are mainly prior to the 1990s, when finally the dream economy of Rajiv Gandhi’s ‘baba log’ arrived.

Raj was of the view that despite their various internal contradictions, intermediate regimes ‘keep going as a political reality” in several countries. This, according to him, is because the upper middle class and the capitalists are not strong enough to take over and even the radical parties prefer to serve limited sectarian objectives than work for genuine broad- based transformation of society. That this has proved true so far is a reflection of the resilience of the political class and their capacity to manage contradictions. But he did rightly apprehend that “failure to generate surpluses can blunt the growth of state capitalism but also help promote the development of private capitalism.” (emphasis by the blogger)

The name of the book reviewed is Inclusive Growth: KN Raj on Economic Development” edited by Ashoka Mody. Certainly a book I look forward to read.


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