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Clean India, Clean Laws

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Center for Civil Society (CCS), a pro-market think-tank in India, has created a list of 100 Indian laws that ought to be repealed. (I happen to know some of the people involved, and many are Ayn Rand fans.)

Meanwhile, India's new Prime Minister is crowing about a "clean India" campaign, asking people to go out with brooms etc. and clean up their neighborhoods. 

 

So, CCS is trying to use that current event to highlight that what really need to be clean up are India's laws. They're trying to get traction via a "Clean India, Clean Laws" campaign. Facebook page here

 

Thought I'd post if anyone here has an interest.

 

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What do you think of Narendra Modi?

I dislike him, but I also dislike the other options. Not sure if you're from India or know about its politics, but I'll assume not ...

  • Modi's party (BJP) is religious/nationalist and supposedly a little more free-market.
  • Congress is a little more secular and less free-market

A lot of early economic liberalization in India was done by the Congress, starting all the way in Rajiv Gandhi's time. So, the BJP is wrong to paint the Congress as hugely different from itself on economic policy. Meanwhile, the Congress plays to religious sentiment and has banned books that might upset some segment, so they're wrong to paint the BJP as hugely different from themselves on those types of issues.

 

It is also true that India has recently been facing slower growth in the last few years. Since the Congress did not have a clear majority, it could not make big changes. Since Modi/BJP does have a majority it is possible that Modi and the BJP will be able to open up some more. On the other hand, the BJP has its own constituents to keep happy: so Walmart's entry -- stuck under the previous government -- will probably remain stuck because small retailers are BJP voters. Similarly, Modi's government has put pressure on Skype to stop India-to-India calls where both sides are phones: protectionism for the phone companies.

 

With that said, if I had to guess, I'd say that Modi will push liberalization further. If he does so without allowing the religious wing of the party too much sway, it will be a good thing. Still, the religious wing is for real, and they have some crazy ideologues. So, they'll probably change some history books, ban some more books and movies. I suspect Modi himself is complicit in the killings of Muslims in Gujarat -- even though the courts did not find him guilty. I think and hope he will restrain his worst aspects while Prime Minister, and also that he will gracefully step aside some years from now, if his party is defeated.

 

If that happens -- more liberalization, not too much religion and nationalism, and continued free and fair elections -- Modi would have done something good for India, opening the way for better people to take the con.

 

To me the analogy is to have some religious GOP guy become president while the GOP control both house: someone like Santorum on steriods. 

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