Criticising India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru for shunning market competition, former US Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan has advised New Delhi to shed socialism for optimal economic growth.
Nehru, who ruled the nation for 16 years, perceived “market competition as economically destructive”, Greenspan said in his latest book The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World. India has continued with the socialism inherited from the UK even though it was discarded by Britain, he said.
Recalling the influence of bureaucracy and trade unions on the economy, he said, “India has great potential if it can end its embrace of the Fabian socialism that it inherited from Britain.”
Cautioning that current politics appear to be leading India to a discouraging direction, Greenspan said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, whose government is supported by the left parties, lacked authoritative clout that China’s Deng Xiaoping had in carrying forward agriculture sector reforms.
Greenspan, a close associate of legendary right-wing political thinker Ayan Rand, said, “Beacuse of him (Nehru), socialism has retained a firm grip on Indian economic policy long after it was abandoned by Britain.”
India, he suggested, may find it useful to follow the British, whose evolution seems to have melded the free-market notions of the enlightenment with the sensibilities of the Fabians.
Despite important reforms since 1990, “India remains heavily bureaucratic. Its economic growth rate in recent years is among the highest in the world, but that is off a very low base,” he said adding that can undergo radical reform like China and become a “world-prominent” nation.