Progress In India

A blog about business and economics.
March 2 2012 11:38 AM

Progress In India

Amid a sour mood about the past decade's worth of economic life in the United States, it's worth taking a minute to consider that we now live in a world where 6.1 percent GDP growth in India is considered a huge disappointment, when in the '50s, '60s, '70s, and '80s India's growth averaged just 3.5 percent annually. We're living, in other words, through a period of tremendous progress for a huge share of the world's poorest people. Even in the very bleak portrait of Mumbai slum life that you'll find in Katherine Boo's* justly celebrated new book you're looking at a country where basically all the characters are better-educated than their parents. Meanwhile, the country has just no for the first time been officially certified as free of polio, a tremendous achievement for real human welfare.

Incidentally, India would be a great place for all of America's deficit hawks to go and hang out for a while. India is actually in the situation that many people seem to want to believe that the United States is in. The central bank could easily cut interest rates aggressively to boost economic growth, but it's reluctant to do so because the baseline inflation rate is fairly high and the government's budget deficit is big. Fiscal consolidation would lay the groundwork for monetary stimulus, and the "expansionary austerity" of debt scolds' dreams would very likely come to pass, with increased investment boosting both short-term economic activity and medium-term productivity growth. Absolutely none of this is true of the United States, but well over a billion people live in India so it's not as if people with a characterological predisposition to want to talk about budget deficits can't put themselves to some use.


Correction, March 2, 2012: This post originally misspelled Katherine Boo's surname. (Return to the corrected sentence.)

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.



Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

  News & Politics
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.