On Inequality

On InequalityIn this delightfully short book, Frankfurt argues against the doctrine of economic egalitarianism i.e. what is morally important in the evaluation of a state of affairs is whether everyone has equal amounts of wealth. He admits to caring about the equal distribution of wealth, but only to the extent that it leads to other outcomes that he cares about (such political or social equality). By itself, whether everyone has equal amount is morally unimportant. Continue reading

Three Cheers for Migrants!

borderless economicsMy favorite story in this easy read is that of Mei Xu, the founder of a multimillion dollar multinational firm straddling the US and China. Daughter of two teachers who were “re-educated” at labor camps during China’s Cultural Revolution, Mei was a journalism student at the University of Maryland in the early 1990s when she identified a market need in the US. Though Americans were in spoilt for choice when it came to apparel, she noticed, the same was not true in the case of home décor items. Continue reading

India’s Tryst With Destiny

India's Tryst with DestinyThis book by Columbia University economists Bhagwati and Panagariya—two high profile advocates of liberal economic reform in India—has two goals. One is to provide a detailed rebuttal of criticisms put forth by the opponents of liberal reforms. The second is to put forth a manifesto for further liberal reforms to address country-wide malnutrition, poor provision of social services (healthcare and education), deficient infrastructure, and the expropriation of land of the poor. Continue reading

Behavioral Economics of Poor People

poor economicsThe book is about some puzzling observations that the authors have encountered in studying the economic lives of the poor, defined as those making less than a $1 a day. Why do the poor fail to take advantage of very inexpensive preventative health measures such as getting children vaccinated, chlorinating drinking water, or feed life-saving ORS (Oral Rehydration Solution) to children facing dehydration?  Continue reading