All entries for Friday 10 February 2006

February 10, 2006

The Right Balance

The Telegraph, 10.02.2006

Abhirup Sarkar presents a well-balanced argument in “Absolute poverty” (Feb 2). However, there can be no denying the gaping inequality in India. Sarkar cites the Human Development Report of 2004, but even in its 2005 edition, the pattern remains unchanged. There is no doubt though that India is far more equal than most countries in a comparable income bracket, and many countries that are considerably richer. We may find John Rawls’s “difference principle” relevant in this context since it allows inequalities as long as it makes the poor better off than before. It could provide us with a useful cut-off line beyond which inequalities must be discouraged. As Sarkar suggests, what is needed is a balanced approach. Extremism in economic policies — be it laissez faire capitalism or socialist utopianism — must be discouraged.

February 2006

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