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The Retreat of Democracy and Other Itinerant Essays on Globalization, Economics, and India

Kaushik Basu (Author)
Synopsis This accessible and stimulating book on some of the major political and economic issues of our time will delight all readers and astonish anyone who thinks economics is unconnected with literary elegance.  Known for his work on economic theory, Kaushik Basu has over the past decade also consolidated his already considerable reputation as a writer who can explain complex issues with disarming ease.  This book contains an expanded and reworked selection of his best journalistic writings on politics and economic themes since the late 1990s.  The books begins with the author's widely-cited essays on globalization and democracy.  These argue that while economic globalization is occurring at breakneck speed and offers large potential benefits, political globalization has been painfully slow.  This represents a dangerous combination of events, a byproduct of which can be the retreat of democracy and the emergence of political instability.  The book then moves to a wide terrain-ideas in economics, anthropological observations on social norms, the role of culture, and travel in India and abroad.  Two recurring themes crisscross the essays.  First, that the ultimate objective of policy-making must be the progress of the most disadvantaged, and simultaneously that to ignore market laws and individual incentives is to court failure.  Second, that for the successful crafting of economic policy it is important to recognize markets as embedded in specific cultures and social norms.  Included here-alongside essays on major economists such as Amartya Sen and Joseph Stiglitz-are humorous essays on everyday encounters with Indian bureaucracy.  These function in part as allegories of the Kafkaesque stranglehold of political structures on the individual.  They caution us against the presumption of individual freedom on which traditional economics is founded.
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About the author

Kaushik Basu

Kaushik Basu is Carl Marks Professor of Economics at Cornell University.  He has been Professor of Economics at the Delhi School of Economics and has to his credit a large number of monographs, edited volumes, and essay collections (including Economic Graffiti and Of People, Of Places).  ‘Kaushik Basu is that triply rare being-an Indian intellectual who is open-minded, an economic theorist who is interested in human beings, and an American academic who has a sense of style.  These, and many other, gifts are on display in this richly readable collection of essays.  In prose that is always elegant and often witty, Basu throws fresh light here on themes of compelling importance to India and the world-the role of the market, the relations between states, the perils and promises of globalization.’

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Bibliographic information

Title The Retreat of Democracy and Other Itinerant Essays on Globalization, Economics, and India
Author Kaushik Basu
Format Hardcover
Date published: 29.05.2007
Edition 1st ed.
Publisher Permanent Black
Language: English
isbn 9788178241913
length x+279p., Tables; References; Index; 23cm.