Richard Epstein Goes to India

In the most recent installment of The Libertarian podcast for the Hoover Institution, I talked to our own Richard Epstein about his recent travels to India (spoiler alert: Richard didn’t like the food). He talks about what he saw, the need for reform of the Indian economy, and why he regards the argument that certain cultures aren’t fit for market economies as weak. Take a listen:

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  1. Barkha Herman

    Hey Troy -

    I read the article and considered posting a thread on it.  Thanks for posting it here – weight off my lazy behind :-D.

    Yes, India has a socialist past, but it was short lived.  I find that Indians, more than people of other origins, are enterprising.  Perhaps it’s my myopia.  However, if it had the “right” Governement, I see India being the next “free state” of the world.

    I’d be interested in your thoughts.  And of others, of course.

  2. Barkha Herman

    Hey Troy -

    After listening to the interview… 

    Disclaimer:  I’ve lived in the US for 25 years, and lived in India for 21.  To many Indians, I might as well be an alien.

    When I lived in India, I did not know how dirty, disorganized, bureaucratic and inefficient it was.  People are not found being smuggled in shipping containers.

    This is the surprising fact about India.  Indians are proud of being Indian, not the “every one is proud / exceptional a la Obama” way; but the way I grew up reading early Americans speaking of America.

    The skinny worker consuming 2000 calories and expending 2200 may not be ready to uproot and himself and immigrate to the US tomorrow, given the chance. (IMHO).  That is the conundrum  - Indians are happy.  

    What holds India back, though is not it’s people but the (in Dr. Epstein’s word) Fabian Socialism built into the system over hundreds of years.    Yes, there has been some improvement, but there are no revolutions in India.  It took a peacenik like Gandhi to get the country riled up, and the best they could come up was peaceful protests :-D.

  3. Duane Oyen

    I ate Indian food once, on 23rd in Georgetown.  The next morning, my head was swelled up on the left side like The Elephant Man.  I haven’t tried it since, and don’t plan to.  When I visit India, I’ll eat at McDonald’s.

  4. I. raptus

    Troy, you should try to get Hoover to set up a standard RSS feed for this podcast.  It’s puzzling why they don’t have one.

  5. Zafar

    A curry allergy?  Thank you for a vision of hell…

    Duane Oyen: I ate Indian food once, on 23rd in Georgetown.  The next morning, my head was swelled up on the left side like The Elephant Man.  I haven’t tried it since, and don’t plan to.  When I visit India, I’ll eat at McDonald’s. · 

    Try the McTikka (honestly, it exists, and it tastes….like Indian food : – )

  6. Barkha Herman
    Zafar: A curry allergy?  Thank you for a vision of hell…

    Duane Oyen: I ate Indian food once, on 23rd in Georgetown.  The next morning, my head was swelled up on the left side like The Elephant Man.  I haven’t tried it since, and don’t plan to.  When I visit India, I’ll eat at McDonald’s. · 

    Try the McTikka (honestly, it exists, and it tastes….like Indian food : – ) · 0 minutes ago

    Or the maharaja burgers.  India is a bit thin on the beef :-)

  7. Casey

    I’m pretty sure the Hamburglar died of a bad McTikka.

  8. Susan in Seattle

    Disclaimer: I have not yet listened to this podcast but certainly will do so with interest very soon.

    Meantime, the city of Seattle has elected to its council a proclaimed Socialist.  She is from India and is ardently campaigning for a $15/hour minimum wage in Seattle.  With an advanced degree in economics and a teaching position at a local community college, she has likely never had to meet payroll.   We’ll see how things play out. 

  9. Casey

    Troy, you were fascinating.

  10. The Mugwump

    I don’t think we have to worry about free markets being a form of cultural imperialism.  India accepted the English language as a unifier, the English railroads as a step toward modernity, and parliamentary democracy as the only form of government that might be suitable for a large and diverse nation.  These things were not imposed, but rather embraced after the Indian political class came to understand their utility.

  11. Troy Senik, Ed.
    C
    The Mugwump: I don’t think we have to worry about free markets being a form of cultural imperialism.  

    Just to be clear, I don’t either. Anytime my role on a podcast is as a moderator or interviewer, I try to keep my own opinions out of it as much as possible and choose questions primarily based on their usefulness in teasing out the thoughts of the interviewee.  That’s the principle at work both on The Libertarian and Law Talk.

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