As an angel investor, I was invited to an interesting conference on Investing in India organised by Violet Arch. The keynote address was given by Mr Subramaniam Swamy , who is a colourful person ! He spoke on - Evolving macro picture in India - greater role of financial and judicial activism.
He is a good speaker and provided a lot of food for thought.
Western countries are unhappy about the fact that India imposes tariffs and barriers in order to prevent the import of their capital goods . The fact is that they cry themselves hoarse about the importance of a free market, but they do exactly the same thing when it suits their interests . When we try to export labor to them, they prevent us from doing so, by cleverly framing the issue of preventing the export of labor as being an immigration issue. Aren’t both capital and labor tools of economic productivity ? If they want the free flow of capital goods across the globe, in all fairness they should allow the free flow of labor as well. This is the only way to ensure a level playing field !
Interestingly, he felt that just like a personal crisis is good for people because it allows you to grow , the financial crisis is also a blessing in disguise, because it allows us to get our act together.
By filing the case in the 2G scam, he’s played a key role in mobilizing judicial activism . While this has been criticized in some quarters as over-reach, his hope is that this can become contagious , and if more people start resorting to this, it can force the political system is to shape up and become better and cleaner.
He felt that one of the problems with economic reforms is that the short-term pain these cause result in the reformers losing the election post reform, because the losers vote them out of power. It’s important to keep these political dynamics in mind when implementing reforms, and ensuring that the reforms also provide immediate, short-term gains so that people feel they have been benefited.