Sunday, 28 October 2012

Impossibility of an Indian Liberal Party

We know about the impossibility of a Paretian Liberal, what about an Indian Liberal Party?
Under the Raj there were plenty of Indian Liberals but when it became apparent the Brits wanted out, Liberalism simply curled up and died. Why? Well, the Brit's 'dominance without hegemony' meant what you actually had was a lot of competing local Tiebout models rather than any one overarching 'Classical Liberal' regime which one could either support or rebel against.
 Indeed, Jinnah, Iqbal,  Shurawardy and so on embrace Pakistan without ceasing to be 'Indian Liberals' precisely because that option was the pre-existing Tiebout eqbm. which could only improve dynamically, i.e. fructify more swiftly, with violent ethnic cleansing rather than just old fashioned voting-with-one's-feet. Sikhs also wanted a Tiebout model local public good utopia and pursued ethnic cleansing just as strategically to achieve their aim.
In general, dominant castes have been able to get their desired Tiebout equilibrium because the fundamentally weak Center chose to pretend to be doing Economic planning when all it was actually doing was creating Rents to be divided up on the basis of dominant caste elite competition.
Briefly, 'Liberal' parties or alignments- like the Swatantra Party in the 60's- had an evanescent Parliamentary existence but  only because of a mismatch between dominant caste Tiebout preference and that of the intermediate Congress political class. Once the old 'Freedom Struggle' interessement mechanism was disintermediated, there was no check on 'intermediate class' (i.e. dominant caste in Gramscian guise) Tiebout model rent maximization- I mean what happens when local public goods are more than fully funded and this rent is divided up according to a power law- and this is the reason Indian Liberalism ceased to exist.  It got what it really wanted and the price was not getting rich quite as fast. But getting rich would have either reduced rents to Tiebout local public good provision or reduced uncertainty in a manner which reduced their capitalized value. So, at the margin, the decisive voter will acquiesce in keeping the marginal efficiency of Capital low so as to keep the inertial utility of maintaining the same portfolio profile (in which implicit rents bulk higher) as this  is both dynamically efficient and evolutionarily stable.
So that's why we can't have an Indian Liberal Party- except one composed of Australian citizens who haven't yet met or talked to each other and thus haven't had an opportunity to anathematize each other and split the Party into
1) Indian Liberal Party (Australia)- sole member Sanjeev Sabhlok
2) The Genuinely Indian Liberal Party (Australia)- sole member also Sanjeev Sabhlok because I've just expelled that other guy I saw leering at me in the mirror coz he's probably got the hots for Narendra Modi and just wants to use me for his own vile ends.


  1. [1) Indian Liberal Party (Australia)- sole member Sanjeev Sabhlok
    2) The Genuinely Indian Liberal Party (Australia)- sole member also Sanjeev Sabhlok because I've just expelled that other guy I saw leering at me in the mirror coz he's probably got the hots for Narendra Modi and just wants to use me for his own vile ends.]

    निघाले कॉमेदि एक्स्प्रेस...

    1. What does the devanagari mean? Nidhale I kinda understand and Express but what's in between?

  2. This smacks too much of a Just So story. I did read something a few years back about Spatiality in Tiebout models but I don't know of any result which says that local public goods are over-funded and give rise to rents. Admittedly, not my field, but it sounds counter-intuitive.
    I suppose this is your old idea of Hindu Social Identity as an arbitrage between caste and anti caste and so on.
    The reason the Indian Liberal Party failed was because the Whites wanted to handicap Indian manufacturing with feather-bedding Labor laws and the lawyers and I.N.C politicians benefited from that going forward.
    The bottom line is that for rampant Liberalism you have to have Industries employing biddable women and children rather than men. Chicago became a stronghold of Liberalism only after Black Southern immigration secured its plutocrats a countervailing power over the Wobblies. The New York story is more complex- there was resistance to Black labour even before the Civil War while Boston, of course, was captured by the Irish.
    Still, the idea is interesting- 'Tiebout rents' I suppose you'd call it. What is the literature?

  3. Second order public goods are gross substitutes for first order public goods, so my notion of Tiebout Rents isn't really novel, pace the literature.
    Oh? So Whitey wanted to harm Blacky did that naughty little Whitey? What have you been reading- Niall fucking Ferguson? He gets his facts wrong.
    The truth is Indian Industrialists just didn't want to employ women and kids. Anyway that would have brought them into direct competition with Religion and Prostitution so those Pimps backed off.
    What you don't get is that these guys were making out like gangbusters precisely the system was so fucked in that it was willing to fucking accomodate them anytime. Modi-Lee agreement, old boy, read about it sometime why don't you?

  4. I suppose you could say the East India Company provided a 'Tiebout' mechanism which attracted Indian Capital to their Presidencies. They then were able to establish dominance without hegemony- what you call 'canopy' govt. financed by rent extraction- Mancur Olson's 'stationary bandit' theory. But the comprador element was squeezed out of financing things like Railways and became disaffected while simultaneously rent seeking in the administration was being capped to their disadvantage so they had no interest in Classical Liberalism- especially manufacturers who hoped to cash in on 'swadesi' by capturing the local market.
    The lawyers didn't want to become judges because they were making too much money. Since Nationalist politics increased rather than reduced their fees and had a status competition element, they too couldn't be relied on to advance a 'Rule of Law' regime as opposed to maximizing returns on advocacy.
    One other point is that Indian Judges were never as revered as their counterparts in the UK and U.S because the Common Law tradition did not take root in the same way.
    Still, I don't see why an Indian Liberal Party is impossible. On the contrary, there is every reason for one to succeed now.

  5. I think there's a qwerty problem here- I mean that the current cost of changing things (e.g. from a conventional qwerty keyboard to something optimized for touch typing) outweighs the long term benefit so not gonna happen, buddy.