Nobel Laureate and economist Amartya Sen needs no introduction. His views on the India's development have been well documented. Last year he sparred with economist Jagdish Bhagwati on the growth-versus-development debate.
In a recent visit to the LSE, Sen laid out his thoughts in black and white. In an interview to Sonali Campion and Taryana Odayar, he explains why the Narendra Modi government's economic philiosophy is completely wrong — and bound to fail.
"India is the only country in the world which is trying to become a global economic power with an uneducated and unhealthy labour force. It’s never been done before, and never will be done in the future either."
"India is trying to be different from America, Europe, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Singapore, China — all of them. This is not good way of thinking of economics."
Sen then warns of the inherent contradictions of this approach:
"The whole idea that you could somehow separate out the process of economic growth from the quality of the labour force is a mistake against which Adam Smith warned in 1776. "
Sen is harshest when asked about the comparison between India and China
"By 2009 they could bring in a scheme of universal healthcare and by 2012 they are well in the 90s in terms of percentage coverage of health insurance. China are able to do that if ten people at the top are persuaded.
In India, ten people is not sufficient. You have to carry the population. Against the blast of propaganda that happened in the general elections last year — fed on one side by the activism of the Hindutva Parivar, and the other side by the gigantic money of the business community — it is slow to correct ongoing deficiencies."?
Read the full interview here