I spoke on May 15 at The Nudge Foundation’s Charcha 2020 event in a panel on public wealth organised by the Centre for Civil Society. My talk was entitled “Mission 10-20-30: The Nayi Disha for Prosperity.” It built on the ideas I have outlined on the blog in the past month, and expanded on them.
I started by outlining the crisis we face and the importance of thinking differently:
- We are in the midst of The Third World War. The pandemic started it, and actions by governments are going to worsen it. As happens in a war, we are going to see immense economic destruction and the poor are going to bear the brunt of it.
- India has also been hugely impacted. We are seeing falling incomes, rising job losses and failing enterprises. Migrants who came to the cities in search of betterment of their lives have become internally displaced persons. As a poor nation, India faces immense humanitarian and economic crises.
- At a time like this, it is good to keep in mind Milton Friedman’s quote: “Only a crisis-actual or perceived-produces real change. When the crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around.” What we have to do is to bring forth new ideas that can perhaps persuade the policy-makers to make the right decisions.
- India has a choice between two futures – one in which the government is everything, and the other in which we (the people) choose our own destiny. This is India’s Mao or Deng moment. Mao pushed the Chinese people down the road to serfdom and starved over 40 million of his fellow Chinese. Deng’s policies lifted hundreds of millions of Chinese out of poverty and set them on the path to prosperity. What will India do? Continue with policies which have resulted in “perpetually planned poverty” or change the rules so that we can achieve different outcomes?
Tomorrow: India’s Mission 10-20-30 (Part 6)