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FREE READ ç An Uncertain Glory ☆ ❴Read❵ ➭ An Uncertain Glory Author Jean Drèze – When India became independent in 1947 after two centuries of colonial rule it immediately adopted a firmly democratic political system with multiple parties freedom of speech and extensive political r When India becWhen India became independent in after two centuries of colonial rule it immediately adopted a firmly democratic political system with multiple parties freedom of speech and extensive political rights The famines of the British era disappeared and steady economic growth replaced the economic stagnation of the Raj The growth of the Indian economy uickened further over the last three decades and became the second fastest among An Uncertain Kindle large economies Despite a recent dip it is still one of the highest in the world Maintaining rapid as well as environmentally sustainable growth remains an important and achievable goal for India In An Uncertain Glory two of India's leading economist. I wish this was one of a series of books written on many many countries I would love to read books just like this one on Brazil China Iran Argentina Japan Germany and Nigeria I feel I know so little about so many countries and really do wish I knew But I would particularly like a way to choose books that makes it clear how the country’s history has impacted upon it present how public policy choices have shaped various economic and social particularities of these nations and which pathways might help in addressing long standing issues for the nation – although I would want to make sure I don’t come away feeling that I have been given a one sided account and one that hides than it reveals For instance who would trust a book on the history of Palestine written by an Israeli And that is just an extreme example often the biases authors have are precisely what they spend the most time trying to hideI’m keen to learn about India – I’ve started reading ‘Inglorious Empire What the British Did to India’ immediately after this – but I’m so glad I’ve begun with this one It presents many of the problems India faces you know poverty environmental catastrophe illiteracy women’s rights and violence against women ineuality and the media focus on the upper middle class as if they were the ‘average Indian’ and the conseuences of this The book is referenced to within an inch of its life with government and international statistical indicators and often the authors appear to go out of their way to present what I take to be an even handed account of the issues they are discussing Now a cold shiver always goes down my spine when I say something like that As I said at the start of this review a large part of the reason for me reading this book is my remarkable and near complete ignorance of India so for me to say someone is even handed in their account of something I know next to nothing about well it all smacks a bit of the Dunning Kruger effect where I get to be confident only when I know next to nothing about the subject at hand and just a little knowledge directly diminishes all of my confidenceThe main advantage that is presented about India is that it is the world’s largest democracy But what I found particularly interesting about this is that the authors while clearly very proud of this fact pointed out the many problems that India continues to face and which other nations such as socialist ones – the Soviet Union China – or Imperial ones Japan were able to overcome or even avoid because they were not democratic The most striking of such problems discussed here are literacy economic euity and health care India has witnessed some remarkable economic growth rates over recent decades and yet the benefits of this economic growth have been grossly uneven in their distribution The authors refer to India as being appropriately characterised as consisting of economic regions that most resemble sub Saharan Africa with interspersed pockets of California In terms of literacy while Japan the Soviet Union and China achieved truly stunning transformations of their populations from illiterate to literate I had no idea Japan at the start of the 20th century was printing books than the UK for instance – the Indian caste and class systems are presented here as having been terrified of the changes that might be wrought if too many from the lower classes were educated The effective policy position has amounted to keeping large proportions of the population illiterate although this have never actually been the openly stated policy – the inexcusable is rarely stated uite so boldly as this but illiteracy continues to plague the sub continent and is attributed as being a major reason why nations such as Bangladesh or Nepal have caught up and even surpassed India on so many indicatorsTo me the issues associated with health care in India can be summed up in perhaps one phrase – there are people in India who are in power and are arguing that the nation should adopt a health system based on that of the US It would be nearly impossible to think of a obvious example of a democracy dominated by the rich and powerful than is so elouently expressed in that one policy position at one point in the book they discuss a movement that originated from companies to replace school lunches – where children are given food – with school lunches of biscuits – ie not food This is a pretty elouent example of the same problem The only time the US health system could ever be useful as an example would be if you were arguing ‘what should you only ever do if you hate the majority of your population enough to be prepared to sit back and watch them die from preventable illnesses’ The only thing stupid would be for a nation to seek to emulate the second amendment – give lots of privileged but socially disconnected white boys machine guns so they can mow down ever greater numbers of their school friends Presumably one reason this doesn’t happen is that the rich in India can’t find a way to make lots and lots of money out of it in the same ways the rich in the US can make money out of the death of their childrenThis book certainly does not present the or even a situation to India’s problems nor of the future as being devoid of hope although like the rest of the world India is using its resources by the metre where sustainable usage would dictate using them by the centimetre and this is made all the worse by the fact that too those who face the immediate costs of the degradation of the natural environment and virtually every other policy positioning are certainly not the ones who benefit from intensifying that degradation Finding ways to increase access to democracy in this the world’s largest democracy and ultimately this is framed in terms of literacy and other forms of public sphere engagement are mostly proposed as the key ways to overcoming the existing issues and problems the nation faces Nevertheless the sense of urgency is perhaps not as keenly felt as it needs to be But look that’s just me speaking someone terrified we are watching the world die as we all of us rush it towards its fateI can’t pretend to be happy that India has nuclear weapons but then the idea that Trump has his finger on the button that ends all life hasn’t particularly improved my ability to sleep at night either The danger as always is that a nation having such a weapon appeals to its jingoism while further distracting the poor from addressing the real issues that keep them in their povertyLike I said I really liked this book – and I wish I could get my hands on a series of them and they could do what this one did in regard to many countries The internet and globalisation could have should have made us all so much aware of what occurs in other countries but mostly all we really see are shows of the spectacular but meaningless presented to us so out of context historical and economic that we have little to no idea of what it was we just saw anyway The result is that we in the West and I’m going to speak for the reader of this review as well as myself unless you are from India think of India as a place where people spend all of their time either throwing multi coloured powder at each other or where and I’ve been told this by Westerners who have been there even the dirt poor are so intensely spiritual that they barely notice their own poverty This book goes some why to making it clear neither of these visions of India are sustainable

Jean Drèze  1 FREE READ

S argue that the country's main problems lie in the lack of attention paid to the essential needs of the people especially of the poor and often of women There have been major failures both to foster participatory growth and to make good use of the public resources generated by economic growth to enhance people's living conditions There is also a continued inadeuacy of social services such as schooling and medical care as well as of physical services such as safe water electricity drainage transportation and sanitation In the long run even the feasibility of high economic growth is threatened by the underdevelopment of social and physical infrastructure and the neglect of human capabilities i. First things first the book is well written and is uite insightfulSen and Dreze begin by acknowledging the fact that how successfully India adopted the democratic form of governance after its Independence; how it became the first non western country and also the first poor country in the world to do so They also recognize the rapid economic growth that India underwent in the last 20 years and hope that it recovers that path after a slump in the growth rate All of that is fairly commendable for a country like India But why do the authors call India an 'uncertain glory' What are its contradictions Why are Sen and Dreze saying that the country looks like islands of California in a sea of Sub Saharan Africa Social indicators like education healthcare infant and maternal mortality rates etcdo not present an optimistic picture; public sector is marred by inefficiency ineptitude unaccountability and corruption; delivery record of basic public services like PDS sanitation drinking water etc is poor; and the interests of media are biased and unaligned This they claim represents India’s contradictions “The contrasting picture of rapid economic growth and slow progress in living standards points to the necessity for an intelligent understanding of the importance of economic growth” write Sen and Dreze in the bookNot only they have managed to put an enlightening picture of India’s ills but have also managed to put them all in a comparative perspective with other South Asian and developed countries around the world Historical trajectories and evidences have been used convincingly by them to put across their point For example they assert that the socialist countries – China Cuba Vietnam – prioritised education for their public as a basic goal America Europe and Japan gave heavy priority to education when they were industrializing while India was and continues to be extremely sluggish and unconcerned about the importance of education for its public The book provokes you to think about uestions such as What is development Is GDP the only criterion to measure development How important is transparency and accountability in the delivery of public services What issues should media press upon What should be the role of corporates other than making profits All of such uestions have been discussed keeping in mind the central argument of the book about which Sen and Dreze write that “ Development is not merely the enhancement of inanimate objects of convenience such as a rise in the GDP or in personal incomes; nor is it some general transformation of the world around us such as industrialization or technological advance or social modernization Development is ultimately the progress of human freedom and capability to lead the kind of lives that people have reason to value Throughout the book the authors have tried to nudge and warn the government to think about the kind of development that India needs and to realign its priorities; have advised urgent state intervention in certain important areas; have attempted to urge the media and the privileged people to give a thought about the poor who they claim keep a low profile fatalistically; and have reuested people to be politically active and demand accountability from the government The criticism often labelled on the book and its authors is that they are making a case for India to revert back to its pre reform period and to go back to socialism Nothing can be far from the truth and the reviewers in the media have openly shown their bias and incompetence while reviewing the book maintaining a high growth economy is an important objective along with ensuring good use of the public revenue generated by economic growth It is also essential of course to pay attention to the character of the growth process including its euity and sustainability write Sen and DrezeAt another place in the book they write India's potential for high economic growth is certainly a major asset for the country's development and efforts to enhance its performance must remain an important priority along with making sure that growth is used to improve people's living standardsThey have called for high economic growth throughout the book and have admitted that India indeed benefitted hugely from the reforms All they are concerned about is the distortion of opportunities that have taken place and the inability – or the deliberate neglect – of the government and the media to focus on the majority of the underprivileged population and their issuesThere is one thing I would like to say Lately I have realized how important it is to be political and that most of the people are extremely apathetic to politics which is extremely disturbing Raghuram Rajan the present Governor of RBI in a recent speech said “As India strives to regain its place in the ranks of prosperous nations we must remember that what set poor nations apart from the rich is not people or resources or even luck but good governance which comes from strong frameworks and strong institutions”I could find no reason to dislike the book and hence recommend it to anyone who wants to know about what India and its people should do to make it healthy wealthy and better


An Uncertain GloryN contrast with the Asian approach of simultaneous pursuit of economic growth and human development as pioneered by Japan South Korea and China In a democratic system which India has great reason to value addressing these failures reuires not only significant policy rethinking by the government but also a clearer public understanding of the abysmal extent of social and economic deprivations in the country The deep ineualities in Indian society tend to constrict public discussion confining it largely to the lives and concerns of the relatively affluent Dreze and Sen present a powerful analysis of these deprivations and ineualities as well as the possibility of change through democratic practic. An agonizingly disappointing book seems like its solely written for international readers who enjoyed watching slumdog millionnaire Yes I understand India has glaring ineualities severe problems with primary education healthcare public distribution system and the caste system But hello i have been reading about these issues in my social studies classes since school Repeating the same rhetoric and throwing some numbers and comparisons with countries like Nepal Bangladesh or Sri Lanka hardly ualifies as a masterpiece from a nobel laureate I expected some concrete suggestions an action plan a vision and instead i kept of stumbling upon the repeating lament of the failure of the Indian system in primary education and healthcare over 250 long pagesThe issues raised are the same everywhere albeit in a different form The primary education system in US is not fault free the healthcare system in brazil came at a cost the russians are still paying the price for too much government intervention etc etc A big picture analysis of what could have been done and what may be done in future would have helped least the leading eminent economists can do The ideas in the book are good for writing school board examinations but are useless for someone endeavoring to get a clearer picture of the Indian economy and hunting for any fresh perspectives