Thursday, April 24, 2014
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印度发生了什么?

芝加哥—全球各新兴市场国家——以巴西、中国、印度和俄罗斯为首——正在减速。原因之一是它们仍直接或间接地依赖于向工业化国家的出口。工业化国家的增长减速,特别是欧洲,具有抑制经济的作用。

但第二个原因是它们各自有着重大弱点,并且没能在繁荣期克服这些弱点。中国的问题是过度依赖固定资产投资带动增长。在巴西,低储蓄和各种制度性障碍导致利率高企、投资不足,教育制度也无法给相当多的人口提供良好教育。俄罗斯尽管拥有教育程度较高的人口,但仍然需要依赖商品维持经济增长。

不过,最难以理解的事情是印度的表现为何会大大低于其潜力。事实上,2010年以来,印度年GDP增长率降低了5个百分点。

像印度这样的穷国,增长应该是很容易的事情,用美国人的话说,“闭着眼睛”都能增长。只消提供公共品就行了:基本基础设施(公路、桥梁、港口和电力)以及教育和基本卫生服务。与其他差不多穷的国家不同,印度已经拥有了强大的创业家阶层、规模足够大且教育程度高者的中产阶级以及众多可以动员起来提供公共品的世界级企业。

满足公共品需求本身就是增长的动力之一。非但如此,一条可靠的公路可以引来大量额外经济活动,如彼此通路区域之间的贸易增长和各种沿路开办的企业、餐厅和饭店。

随着20世纪90年代取消无用的许可证制度,印度各届政府十分理解经济增长的重要性,2004年大选时,印度人民党(BJP)便以促发展为平台,提出了“让印度放光芒”的口号。但BJP领导的联盟在大选中失利。不管人民党的失败是因为选错了合作伙伴,还是因为在太多印度人没有从中获益时过早地强调发展,政客们得到的教训都是一样的——增长带不来选举胜利。

无论如何,那次大选表明,需要把增长得好处带给农村地区和穷人。办法有两个。第一个办法比较费时费力:通过普及教育、卫生、金融、和水电增强农村地区和穷人的收入能力。第二个办法是通过民粹主义补贴和转移支付增加选民的消费力,但补贴和转移通常会流向影响力较大而不是真正需要的地方和人群。

BJP失败后的几年中,除了少数显著例外,印度政客们认为传统民粹主义对连任更有利。这种感觉也与中位选民(通常属于穷人阶级)对印度政府期望较低一致——他们认为,印度政府只会零星地做一些施舍,成不了可靠的公共服务提供者。

几年来,先期改革所造成的势头以及强劲的全球经济增长给印度带来了进步。政客们认为不再需要为进一步改革费心了,特别是那些可能让手握重权的既得利益集团不满的改革。国大党领导的团结进步联盟(United Progressive Alliance)认为,农村就业保障机制和民粹主义农场贷款豁免是其2009年大选获胜原因之一,这强化了印度的民粹主义倾向。

但是,尽管政客将增长红利以定向馈赠——比如油价和燃气价格补贴——的方式花在了穷人身上,进一步改革的需求却在不断增强。比如,工业化要求建设运输系统,建设运输系统要求从农民和部落民手中征地,而征地有要求印度目前不具备的完善土地所有权记录。

随着土地需求和土地价格升高,腐败逐渐横行,某些政客、企业家和官僚利用土地所有权的不透明中饱私囊。腐败的印度精英阶层不再控制许可证,而转向了控制土地等新兴宝贵资源。许可证制度已经寿终正寝,资源统治方兴未艾。

印度人民最终觉醒了。理想主义政客、机会主义政客和非政府组织形成了一个折中主义群体,动员人们反对土地兼并。随着调查记者的加入其中,土地兼并成了一颗政治地雷。

此外,不少以愤怒的中产阶级为成员主题的重要机构,比如国家审计署(Comptroller and Auditor General)和司法部,也开始了调查。随着关于合约和资源分配腐败横行的证据浮出水面,政府部长、官僚和企业高管纷纷被捕,一些人被判处长期徒刑。

但是,这样做也有副作用——诚实的官员噤若寒蝉,不再敢引导企业与印度迷宫般的官僚机构打交道。结果,工业、矿产和基础设施工程陷入了停滞。

民粹主义政府支出以及经济的供给端无法跟上需求反过来导致了通胀高企,而印度家庭找不到安全资产,只能投资于黄金。由于印度本身黄金产量不高,家庭对黄金的高需求就转变为异常高的经常项目赤字。光是这条便已足以打消外国投资者对印度的热情,因此,最近几周卢比出现了狂跌。

与其他主要新兴市场国家一样,印度的命运掌握在自己手中。艰难时世有利于人心齐。如果印度政客可以迈出几小步,证明他们能够克服狭隘门户之见,建立中等收入国家所需要的更透明、更高效的政府,那么他们将能很快地重新点燃印度强大的潜在增长引擎。否则的话,希望和梦想破灭的印度青年一代将会揭竿而起,自己决定自己的未来。

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  1. CommentedPaulo Sérgio

    What is the connection - if any - between India's caste system, and the much spoken of corruption within the state, and India's huge infrastructure backlogs/bottlenecks?

  2. Commentedvishi gondi

    Here's how you fix it: By "Improving access to education, health care, finance, water, land, food and power"

    Technology will take care of education, health care, finance over the next decade.

    Water, land, food and power are resources that have to be actively managed and planned for. I can't see the government managing them.

    I'd say, privatize them, but regulate companies to give 30% of their revenues to subsidize the same resources for people with ration cards. Political parties win by distributing ration cards and picking on issues like gay marriages.

    Building the UUID platform will make the ration card management dynamic and fool proof.

    Mr. Nilekani is on to something.

  3. CommentedMehul Gupta

    Correct! Current economic scenario is also result of conservative approach followed by bureaucrats in their decision making(thanks to CAG). This is a golden opportunity for us(India) to get the system in shape(reduce non-transparency and improve accountability) as the world outlook is not that good. Otherwise we will end up being third world for forever.

  4. CommentedMrudang Mehta

    I appreciate Dr. Rajan's views. He has expressed something many in the country are talking. His views could be understood by even those who do not have much knowledge about economics.

    There are few thoughts which are coming into my mind regarding country's somewhat intentional failure to reform and grow.

    While it is necessary to grow, it is also necessary to see the impact of growth on society.

    Conventional wisdom says that when money comes suddenly more than we have expected, it corrupts mind. People forget that what one needs to live life is not huge cash stored in bank which your 7 generations can not spend in their life time. Moreover, it spoils social culture which may lead to existential threat to the country. It blinds people. So, we must grow at a rate which our society can absorb.

    Another thing is that if you are growing and people are getting money, suddenly if your growth slows down and income stops, people will become desperate and it would create another kind of trouble. Hence, it is essential that if country is growing, it should continue to grow and benefits of growth should spread among people to avoid social unrest.

    Either we made some mistakes in past of growing at 8-9% which we should not have done, or we are doing mistake now of not growing at 8-9%. Only future historians and economist will be able to write in their books what Happened to India in history? Sunrise or Sunset!

  5. CommentedMurali Krishna Hari

    Dr. Rajan,
    Thanx for highlighting corruption as main reason. We might have lost at-least 2 lakh crores in this 5 years because of corruption in various policies. Also economic reforms should not end up in crony capitalism, where Industry controls policy. For example, Government is considering taxing disel vechils , but industry is opposing it. Also Government has still to do lot in Education/Health Care. Atlast, all freebies except food items should be banned

  6. CommentedManish Maheshwari

    Dr. Rajan's speciality is to connect economics and politics, and he does that brilliantly again.

    However, this analysis needs to be taken to the next level. Here's what I think the next level of analysis should look like --- Economics doesn't operate in a vacuum; it operates in a social and political context. Politics, in turn, works in a social context. Ultimately, then, it all boils down to the internal dynamics of a society.

    The common theme running through all the attempts by Indians to pull the country out of the current mess is the inability of indian society to channelise individual angst into collective action. Everyone is individually disgusted with the state of affairs but they have no social dynamic via which they can all come together to fix what's wrong. This fragmentation reflects in small political parties with little more than a caste leader's family holding them together, which leads to weak coalition governments that make compromises and dole our largesse and misuse state resources to buy votes. The vicious circle goes on and on.

    The ancient civilisational bonds which could be used to build trust, create consensus and mobilise the citizens to agree to a common course of action, have, instead of being strengthened when India emerged from 800 years of subjugation, all been destroyed over the last 60 years by Nehru and his Marxist flunkeys at NCERT. What is left is a 1.2 billion-strong mass of brainwashed people who have been totally deracinated and left rootless as well as directionless. They have almost zero sense of a collective interest; they define their interests in the narrowest manner possible. And then these 1.2 billion competing definitions end up clashing with one another. What results in the by now familiar Indian cacophony.

    I also think Rajan has omitted naming specific individuals who have destroyed India's economic revival between 2004 and 2012. Sonia Gandhi and her dynastic slave-monkeys must take all the blame; they have subverted every institution of the Republic --- President, Chief Election Commissioner, Chief Vigilance Commissioner, Collective Responsibility of the Cabinet etc etc --- to perpetuate the Nehru-Gandhi family's stranglehold on power, thus reducing an ancient civilisation to abject helplessness. In contrast, The BJP-led NDA government was rooted in India's civilisational heritage, so was able to conceptualise a collective interest and in service of that collective interest, it provided good governance.

  7. CommentedSankaran Sivaramakrishnan

    India's growth is hampered by the collusion between the elite business class and the corrupt politicians. All that the top business houses have done is to avail all benefits to themselves and enrich their companies.

  8. CommentedAlok Shukla

    Very aptly said about License Raj becoming Resource Raj.
    Though it seems to me public has short memories, every election cycle whoever promises bigger dole and applies a right arithmetic of religion and caste ends up winning elections. And the Raj flourishes again may be in different manisfestation.

  9. CommentedVarghese David

    Well-explained India story. And rightly pointed out the eruption of "Resource Raj" or "Discretion Raj" whatever you may call it following the end of "License Raj" which is the real menace. I believe whatever is happening is good for the economy. If there is rampant corruption in resource distribution, it has to end somewhere and earlier the better. Today, the world is in revolution mode and so should be India. Let there be some turbulence and let the politicians learn a lesson or two from this. The problem is in spite of so much happening, they seem to be arrogant as ever which is really a bad sign.

  10. Commentedsrinivasan gopalan

    Well, Mr Rajan's piece reads like a well-recounted story about the faltering growth story of India even as it chastises the government of the day for not taking a few steps to bring in transparency and efficiency in governance in consonance with its status of a middle-income country. It is not as if the government did not know where the faultlines and fissures had developed but it is amply alive to the problems. In a coalition government, the head had to adjust itself to the tails which more often than not wag disproportionate to their stature as is the case in India. With people increasingly getting parochial by selecting their own brand of leaders at sub-national level and with the national parties such as Congress or BJP do not encourage collegum of le

    1. Commentedsrinivasan gopalan

      encourage regional leaders, the governing class at the Centre is unable to execute its well-crafted reform agenda. It is time India learned the hard lessons that empowering poor people with basic amenities such as education, primary health and a decent standard of living with assured and regular income, no sound superstructure or cruising on a high growth trajectory on illusory promises of prosperity would deliver. India's options narrow down to ensure sound and salutary development of the bottom of the pyramid before it boasts of being in the league of developed countries.

  11. CommentedAmar Harolikar

    Hi Raghuram,

    This is no doubt an excellent analysis around the political and governance issues that are a drag on the economy, however I am not so pessimistic on India.

    My sense is that the long term growth story is still intact and the current problems are more of short term/ cyclical in nature. And as for governance issues, they have always been a part and parcel of the India story. Furthermore, India grew at a fantastic during the past six years, notwithstanding all the scams, global recession, dollar volatility and oil prices of more than 150

    Pasting below an analysis I did just a few days back

    India’s Growth Story Intact: Interpreting macro numbers and trends the right way
    ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯

    There has been a lot of debate about India’s growth story coming to an end, with many top brokerages like Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs cutting GDP forecasts to sub 6% levels. However, my analysis shows India’s growth story is not only intact, it continues on a robust path.

    The gloom-and-doom scenarios being painted today are an exact repeat of the phenomenon that happened during 2008-09 when the debate started that India’s growth story might be over and the Morgan Stanleys and Goldman Sachses of the world cut the GDP forecast for FY10 to sub 6% levels and some to even sub 5% levels.

    What happened next?

    In FY10, India posted a GDP growth rate of nearly 8%!

    So what went wrong with all the doomsday scenarios for India? Two things went wrong.

    First, an undue importance was placed on year-over-year (YoY) growth rates without looking at the trend in absolute GDP. That’s a simple number interpretation issue. A case in point is all the gloom surrounding the sub 6% YoY growth rates posted in the last two quarters of fiscal 2008-09 and the latest 5.3% YoY growth posted for the March 2012 quarter.

    Second, not looking at the long-term trend and the impact of business cycles. That’s an economic analysis issue. Take a look at the chart below. I have compared the trend in absolute values of India GDP with that of U.S. GDP since 2005. I have compared just the India and U.S. trends in order to clearly explain how long-term growth rates and business cycles need to be interpreted. To facilitate a comparison, I have indexed the GDP values by initializing the starting values to 100.



    As you can see, the chart speaks for itself. The trend in U.S. GDP is like a straight line, having grown only a total of 7% in the past six years. India GDP, on the other hand, is on a strong uptrend, having grown more than 80% in the same period. Within this long-term trend, the ups and down of a normal business cycle can clearly be seen.

    Understanding long-term trends and business cycles, more often than not, does not need complex models. Most of the time simple charts and a bit of common sense work well enough. For those who would rather look at complex models, the RBI website is the right source, not brokerage research reports. There is some fantastic analysis available on the RBI site, the summary of which is that a growth rate in the 8% range is now the new normal.

    Current Economic Problems: More imagined than real
    ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯

    The U.S. economy faces some structural issues, which are very real. Meanwhile, in India, the challenges to the long-term growth trend are more imagined than real.

    The problems facing the Indian economy today are more tactical and cyclical rather than of a strategic or long-term nature. It’s not as if everything is hunky dory – no it’s not. There are challenges around fiscal deficit, current account deficits, governance and reforms. But all these challenges have pretty much existed for the past six years during which the economy continued to grow at a very healthy rate.

    So, Is India’s Growth Story Intact?
    ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯

    As of now, yes.

    As the chart clearly shows, the long-term trend in India GDP is fully intact and issues like the slowdowns in 2008 and 2011 are simply the business cycle playing itself out.

    So, is there nothing that can derail the growth story? Of course, there are many factors which can do so. But it’s only major structural changes that can derail India’s growth story, things like a significant fall in competitiveness in services exports, a rollback of reforms and such like. Not factors like dollar volatility, oil prices and minor variances in fiscal deficit.

    India has continued to grow at a steady pace for six years, a period characterized by a slowdown in reforms, the Lehman meltdown, dollar volatility, high fiscal deficits, high food prices and what not. Factors like these have only caused the normal ups and downs of a business cycle in India, and I forecast that they would only cause normal business cycles going forward, too.

    So, What Happens Next?
    ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯

    In the next phase of India’s business cycle, the continuing drop in commodity prices, oil prices and interest rates will speed up the recovery process. Corporate profitability, which has already improved significantly, would post some handsome growth numbers. All these would result in a continuing GDP uptrend.




    Amar Harolikar
    Unknown Insights

  12. CommentedSunil Mishra

    Excellent article, sir. However, on the point of "collateral point about honest bureacrats also not executing decisions", I would beg to differ - if anyone is really honest, they need not fear anything. And that's the extent of the malaise. No file is moving in the bureacracy and that is because each one has a skeleton in the cupboard. Sad but true. If Manmohan Singh is so honest, he could have moved the world. Being personally clean is not sufficient in today's world.

  13. CommentedKuldeep Nayar

    What happened to India? A good question but this is not about economics. Rather India's current situation arises from shortsighted & utterly irresponsible politicians; uncontrolled population; vote banks; educational system that spews out unemployable youth; absolute lack of civic sense; a justice delivery system that make a snail feel like Ussain Bolt; a police force so corrupt that ordinary people go to local hoodlums to get justice; a food delivery system that wastes more than delivers; a power transmission system that loses electricity into thin air; badly built apologies for roads; an antiquated, creaky, and leaky railway system, legacy of the British; and above all a populace that refuses to do their jobs diligently and honestly. Nothing happened to India and nothing has happened for the last 65 years and nothing will happen for the next 65 unless the restless youth decide to take matters into their own hands!

    1. CommentedManish Maheshwari

      // Nothing happened to India and nothing has happened for the last 65 years and nothing will happen for the next 65 unless the restless youth decide to take matters into their own hands!//

      --- and what is the vision or theme that will guide these youths? More of Nehruvian nonsense? if we aren't careful, then such "youth movements" can degenerate into mutants of the Red Guards of China.

  14. CommentedProcyon Mukherjee

    Raghuram has made all the right points about India and his reference to the apparent reluctance of the polity to create conditions of growth as the fundamental driver of prosperity, is correct, although it could be entirely driven by the politics of coalition.

    The current statistics is rather harsh and brings to the fore the sad state of core sector growth, which has come to a grinding halt. Land acquisition had played a vital role, although it is the primary factor for any expansion, but there are other factors at play. The institutions of governance and of gatekeepers of statutes have a bizare way of hastening the impending gloom; environment clearances in two stages need seven years for any mine and some could go to more than ten years. After these clearances are obtained one finds that the infrastructure is woefully inadequate to transport anything (from iron ore, to bauxite to coal). The economy has a backlog of thousands of MW of electricity, which in this plan period would touch ten thousand; new power projects have all been stalled as coal block allotments have virtually stopped. Coal India, the public sector behemoth is running a shortfall of 30-40 Million ton (against fuel supply agreements contractually done); there is no question of fresh agreements to be signed when the old ones are not honored. Some people say that the next twenty year's coal is already contracted, going by the shortfall versus contractually agreed.

    It is scary, to say the least, India has surprised many.

    Procyon Mukherjee

  15. Commentedprashanth kamath

    Easy - It has become a high cost economy with it's land prices soaring. From 2004, non agricultural land prices have risen by more than 600%. Large portion of population is engaged in holding and trading in land/ real estate.

  16. CommentedFrank O'Callaghan

    The closing warning here should echo around the world. We are entering a phase where change may be more rapid that anyone has so far suggested. As Lenin said: “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.”

    the problem in any society where wealth is so unequal and power is abused is broadly the same and it is that there is no investment by the great mass of people in the survival of the status quo. When a passing alternative offers itself there is very little inertia. We are in the age of the dissolution of inertia.

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