The Cost Of Western ‘Aid’


a picture of Milton Friedman, the doyen of the Chicago School — he and his cohorts were the other doctors — and their battle to win the hearts and minds of Latin Americans. Middle-of-the-road economists who advocated a more gradualist approach were marginalised — in fact, one of them was car-bombed by Chilean dictator Pinochet’s secret police — as the Chicago boys took over. The war on terror was really a war against all the obstacles that stood in the way (via V V: Capitalism and its violence).

Could India Have Resisted ‘Western Advisors’

While the role of ‘Russian’ advisors has been well documented by Western media, the role of Western advisors is usually forgotten.

This is interesting stuff, because most Indians today forget that the West speaks from both sides of the mouth – and while the “Western’ advisors pushed planned economies, even in the USA, they are today picking holes in India’s growth management record during that period.

Eminent Economists Were Sent To India

A ‘free-market’ economist like Milton Friedman also got involved in the Indian exercize – and like this blog shows, the argument was more about content, rather than the planning process itself.

Few remember that the US deputed JK Gailbraith, an ’eminent’ economist , who was made an ambassador to India, to ‘guide’ the Indian Government, during Jawaharlal Nehru’s time. The major output of that advice was the discredited population policy of India.

Western aid was tied to India following such advice. This continued to happen till 1991 – like this incident shows. MJ Akbar quotes on how American influence was behind Manmohan Singh’s appointment in 1991.

The West was all about planned economies

It must be remembered that West was pushing planned economies not just down Indian throats – but down the throats of a hapless, starving Europe also. The most memorable cases came from Britain. Tired of food shortages, rationing, a desperate Britain announced

ill fated grandiose scheme that were heralded, with many a flourish of political trumpets, before grinding to an ignominious halt under the sheer weight of bureaucratic inertia and slipshod planning. The very names of these schemes – groundnuts from Tanganyika, eggs in Gambia, rice in Nyasaland – will evoke wry smiles among those whose memories can stretch back to the immediate postwar years, when “big is beautiful” caught the imagination of planners and politicans alike.

Colonialism and development- Britain (from Colonialism and development: Britain and its tropical colonies, 1850-1960 By Michael Ashley Havinden, David Meredith)

Colonialism and development- Britain (from Colonialism and development: Britain and its tropical colonies, 1850-1960 By Michael Ashley Havinden, David Meredith)

Modern India

And like this review shows, many of the benefits that we take for granted and proud of, were a result of Nehruian planning!

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