Friday, June 10, 2011

Is Gurgaon the libertarian wet-dream, a city thriving without government?

In Gurgaon, India, Dynamism Meets Dysfunction - NYTimes.com

Image via New York Times

In Gurgaon and elsewhere in India, the answer is that growth usually occurs despite the government rather than because of it. India and China are often considered to be the world’s rising economic powers, yet if China’s growth has been led by the state, India’s growth is often impeded by the state. China’s authoritarian leaders have built world-class infrastructure; India’s infrastructure and bureaucracy are both considered woefully outdated.
Marginal Revolution ran their post about this article with the following picture, contrast to the one the New York Times chose, above.


The easy way out here would be to say, "the truth is somewhere in the middle." I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to live there. The "some governments are inefficient and corrupt, therefore all government is bad" argument sounds a lot like the gun nut saying, "laws restricting access to and use of guns don't prevent all murders, therefore all laws restricting the right to bear arms are bad." Government is what we decide to do together, as a society. It can be done poorly or it can be done well. When it's done poorly, it can be fixed. If you sit around waiting for the network of "private oases" to eventually deliver a safety net to all the citizens of a country, I think you're going to be waiting an awful long time.

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