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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/17240/anarchy-in-india/

Anarchy in India

June 9, 2011 by

As Roderick Long notes on his blog, the NYTimes has an interesting article upabout the Indian city of Gurgaon, which has flourished under a relative lack of government, despite its lack of natural resources:

Before it had malls, a theme park and fancy housing compounds … Gurgaon was widely regarded as an economic wasteland. In 1979, the state of Haryana created Gurgaon by dividing a longstanding political district on the outskirts of New Delhi. One half would revolve around the city of Faridabad, which had an active municipal government, direct rail access to the capital, fertile farmland and a strong industrial base. The other half, Gurgaon, had rocky soil, no local government, no railway link and almost no industrial base.

As an economic competition, it seemed an unfair fight. And it has been: Gurgaon has won, easily. Faridabad has struggled to catch India’s modernization wave, while Gurgaon’s disadvantages turned out to be advantages, none more important, initially, than the absence of a districtwide government, which meant less red tape capable of choking development. …

Meanwhile, with Gurgaon’s understaffed police force outmatched by such a rapidly growing population, some law-and-order responsibilities have been delegated to the private sector. Nearly 12,000 private security guards work in Gurgaon, and many are pressed into directing traffic on major streets. …

As my friend Dan Coleman observed, regarding this article, “One of those few times you get a side-by-side experiment. If a rocky, useless, small town without resources can explode like this, it makes one wonder what the US could be like . . .”

Other side-by-side experiments would include the dramatic difference between North and South Korea, East and West Germany (see Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s great De-Socialization in a United Germany), and perhaps Hong Kong versus Red China. And, hopefully, someday, Texas versus the USA.


mothersmurfer June 9, 2011 at 8:40 am

Hopefully not Texas vs. the rest of the US. How about the US vs. Europe. Or better yet the Anglosphere vs. the rest. Or Earth vs. Mars. Hmm. There’s an idea: Let’s ship the socialists to Mars.

Seattle June 9, 2011 at 10:12 am

Come now, no need to waste a perfectly good planet. Invest a few years into terraforming and I could make a fortune selling vacation spots there! No one will want to enjoy a honeymoon on a planet with dead bodies everywhere.

coturnix19 June 10, 2011 at 5:35 am

Sending socialists to mars is not a new idea. I think, by saying that you are infringing on someone’s copyright (i don’t know who came up with this idea first, but it doesn’t matter, as copyright is enforced automatically)

Horst Muhlmann June 9, 2011 at 9:14 am

Some more:

Cayman Islands vs. Cuba
Cayman Islands vs. Jamaica
Singapore vs. Malaysia
Chile vs. any other South American country

Michael June 10, 2011 at 9:38 am

If we look at Singapore vs Malaysia clearly Singapore is far more developed but it’s really not the same kind of comparison as Caymans vs Cuba, South Korea vs NK etc.

Whilst it suffers from a history of affirmative action and nationalisation and a government that still does 5 year plans and gas subsidies the modern Malaysian government only raises around 15% of GDP in taxes and doesn’t do deficit spending.

Furthermore it runs tight monetary policy so the actual damage it’s bureaucracy can do is small and it has enjoyed 7-9% growth for some years. If anything Malaysia (post asian financial crisis) would be better off as an example of what a lack of government achieves rather than a side-by-side with Singapore.

Horst Muhlmann June 9, 2011 at 9:54 am

Anarchy In India?

Is this the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen?
Or is this the Lashkar-e-Toi-bay?
Or is this the ULFA?
I thought it was Indi-ay
Or just another country
Another council tenancy

Eric Bandholz June 9, 2011 at 10:41 am

I just recently returned from Bangalore less than a month ago. I can assure you that India as a whole is no libertarian’s dream. The red tape begins before you can even get into the country.

That being said, it seems like there is so much activity and energy in India that there won’t ever be enough resources to centrally plan (at least in Bangalore). If how people drive are an indication of the culture of Indians, then you will see things get done, but probably at a higher risk than they might have otherwise.

In my opinion as more families create wealth and are able to take care of more than just their basic needs, the culture will shift to solve the issues that aren’t currently as high of a concern.

I’ve uploaded some photos to my website if y’all want to see what it looks like on the ground floor.

Michael June 10, 2011 at 9:41 am

And Indian friend of mine tells me the red tape is quite easily overcome with bribes.

One the otherhand he also says some areas suffer from strongly marxist labor unions which understandably cannot always be overcome with bribes (aka pay rises).

Andras June 9, 2011 at 11:56 am

Sorry to be a party pooper but don’t these examples represent the dictatorship vs. minarchy debate better?

Andras June 9, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Sorry to be a party pooper but don’t these examples represent the dictatorship vs. minarchy debate better?

Jim June 9, 2011 at 12:51 pm

I’ve spent a total of two weeks in Gurgaon during the last year and a half, including looking at office space and condos. By Indian standards the development there is amazing. It looks like much of the retail development is overbuilt, but office space and condos are snapped up. Outside the major office complexes and top shelf condos, power is a serious issue, but that can be said about all of India. Major companies move in. Employees follow. Last time I checked the agent couldn’t find a single decent one bedroom or studio apartment available in the city.

Compared to the rest of India, Gurgaon is heaven. The roads are in good shape and relatively calm. Shops are clean and well stocked. Construction is mostly done to a high standard. Power in the well off areas is mostly private, but expensive. One privately powered condo complex I know of has average summer electricity bills greater than a judge’s salary. Small scale power generation is inefficient.

Unfortunately, most low level staff can hardly hope to live there. Next to the beautiful new complexes you’ll find tin shacks and hungry children. The parts of Gurgaon I saw were most certainly inaccessible to the overwhelming majority of the Indian population. The salary advantages of India are significant’y reduced when hiring in Gurgaon.

It’s built like a Western city. Golf Course Road, the main street for businesses, is one glass building after another filled with Western companies. If you are hiring top shelf employees and want a high living standard, Gurgaon is the best India has to offer. I was mostly looking for lower level employees so I picked a smaller city where they could afford to live.

To the poster who said India isn’t a libertarian’s dream, you’re right. Government is downright abusive if they notice you. I’ve heard horror stories of IRS auditors taking over a house and businesses for days, not letting anyone leave. I came home one night and found that they had covered my front door with glued audit notices for the last resident, and months later I’m still not legally allowed to take them down. Law is just what the man with the guns says it is.

fundamentalist June 9, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Thanks for the confirmation, Jim! Very enlightening!

Vanmind June 9, 2011 at 6:24 pm

How does one pronounce the name?

Abhilash Nambiar June 9, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Gore-a-gaw => Gurgaon. Close enough I think.

pravin June 10, 2011 at 9:29 am

goregaon is a suburb of mumbai.entirely different from gurgaon

Abhilash Nambiar June 10, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Thanks for the clarification.

Abhilash Nambiar June 9, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Don’t take my word for it. Use whatever pronunciation that you think the person you are interacting with will recognize. Pronunciation can get complicated in a multilingual nation with 18 official languages and hundreds of regional dialects.

pravin June 10, 2011 at 9:29 am

good gao~ (as in sao paulo)

Abhilash Nambiar June 9, 2011 at 9:39 pm

I have here a link to a documentary on Gurgaon produced by the Dutch national public broadcasting corporation VPRO


There is development, but it is a messy way of development. Bitter-sweet I would say. There is no euphoria. There is concern but also hope.

pravin June 10, 2011 at 9:34 am

you have to compare gurgaon to chandigarh -designed by le corbusier -the favorite architecture of statists.
chandigarh has broad tree lined streets,no slums etc.but its residents are mostly bureaucrats.the poor arent seen ,because the planners made no provision for them.it wasnt out of compassion ,but out of stone cold design -which bureaucrat tax parasite wants a shantytown outside his window when the govt can provide him with gardeners and ayahs for free.there is no economic vibrancy in chandigarh.it is populated by those connected to power and state.the dynamism is in the suburbs like mohali where there is some economic activity.

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