Thursday, April 22, 2010

Is India a flailing state?

Lant Pritchett

Here is and interesting analysis on the state of our country. Lant Pritchett has this to say:

How does one reconcile the contradictions of a booming economy and democracy with world class elite institutions and yet chaotic conditions in service provision of the most rudimentary types?

I argue that for India we need a new category.  I argue that India is today a flailing state---a nation-state in which the head, that is the elite institutions at the national (and in some states) level remain sound and functional but that this head is no longer reliably connected via nerves and sinews to its own limbs.  

In many parts of India in many sectors, the everyday actions of the field level agents of the state—policemen, engineers, teachers, health workers—are increasingly beyond the control of the administration at the national or state level.  

The contrast with China could not be more striking.  In China one worries that, due to the lack of the processes of democratic representation the head of the state, while capable, is beyond the control of the citizens.  Yet, at the same time one reads of local government officials being executed for corruption.  Clearly the head has a strong interest in retaining control of the administrative apparatus of implementation. 

To read the full analysis click here

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