The great Indian oligarchy

This piece from The Guardian is a must read. The growing inequality and a ruthless development model that expedites it is one of the biggest dangers that we have to deal with. All other gains could be negated by this.


/ the top 10% of earners now take around 55% of all national income – the highest rate for any large country in the world./

Its richest 1% earned about 7% of national income in 1980; that figure rocketed to 22% by 2014, according to the World Inequality Report. Over the same period, the share held by the bottom 50% plunged from 23% to just 15%./


This nexus between business and politics lies at the heart of the third problem of India’s billionaire Raj, namely the boom-and-bust cycle of its industrial economy. In recent decades, China went on the largest infrastructure building spree in history, but almost all of it was delivered by state-backed companies. By contrast, India’s mid-2000s boom was dominated almost exclusively by its private-sector tycoons, giving the industrialists and the conglomerates they run a position of outsized importance in India’s economic development.


Many experts believe India needs to act. “The main danger with extreme inequality is that if you don’t solve this through peaceful and democratic institutions then it will be solved in other ways … and that’s extremely frightening,” as French economist Thomas Piketty has said of India’s future, pointing to likely rising future tensions between the wealthy and the rest.


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