I would like to initiate a discussion on this matter. I do not believe that in general the free play of market forces is either necessary (look at China) or sufficient (the US was a more free market economy than it is today when it slipped into the Great Depression) to deliver rapid economic growth. I do believe, however, that something close to the free market ideal is the only sustainable way for India to grow.
Clearly, other things being equal, all politicians would like to promote policies that promote faster economic growth since nothing delivers votes like improved standards of living. It would be worth asking why politicians do not promote such policies in their own self-interest.
Are they held back by antiquated ideas? This can be countered by vigorous public debate such as the discussion on the blog.
Is it interest groups – organized labor, employee unions at electricity boards – that wield political power disproportionate to their numbers and scuttle reform? Mancur Olson has rigorously analyzed the dynamics of collective action to explain why this happens. Mere public debate will not undermine these groups, and certainly not debate that bypasses the vernacular press.
Or is it the inability of the state to tax the winners and subsidize the losers in reform in order to ‘sell’ liberalization? Notice that with the exception of Naidu, no Indian politician has articulately championed reform as key item on the political agenda; liberalization in India has been an elitist project, argued in English by its champions and opponents.