Another difference between Pakistan and India

Observing India tends to make people more libertarian.  At least parts of the private sector are quite vibrant, and the heavy hand of government can be seen in many places.  Plus you might think “the country is too big in the first place,” so you will be thinking in terms of decentralization, and devolving power to the states and union territories, rather than strengthening the central authority.

Observing Pakistan tends to make people more statist.  The private sector has fewer well-known successes.  The central authority appears too weak, and problems with insufficient tax revenue are extreme, even for a developing economy.  As for federal income tax, there are only about 1.2 million active taxpayers, in a country of over 200 million people.  The very pleasant Islamabad aside, urban public goods seem underprovided, even relative to Indian cities.

It is an interesting question which countries at least seem to provide evidence for which sets of political views.


'which countries at least seem to provide evidence for which sets of political views'

Of course, some people would say that trying to shape evidence to support political views is a fool's game, but those people will never be the figurehead of a public policy institute

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Observing California tends to make people more libertarian. Observing Switzerland tends to make people more statist.

Observing Brexit tends to make people scratch their heads.

Observing Switzerland tends to make people more statist? Why?

Obviously it’s not laissez faire, but along many dimensions it may be the most right wing economy in all of Western Europe....

Because the state in general works really well.
Of course one could spend the rest of the year arguing about why exactly that is!!

It works very well and it also doesn’t try to play overlord, chess master, god mode, make utopia. So it’s as much an argument for limited government as it is more government.

I just got back from Basel last week. They do have some impressive public transportation, but man is it expensive. I kept thinking that the taxes are what drives up the prices...

I saw a good quote on Twitter. "What makes you think billionaires are all going to move to Singapore or some such thing, they won't even leave California."

Thiels big rebellion was to move to LA. lol

What happened to my hyphen?

So if billionaires like California it must be good?

I didn't realize you were such a big fan of billionaires. It must be some kind of social justice thing.

It is just that the contradiction of communist hellhole and billionaire paradise is a bit rich.

Billionaires are likely to be content anywhere. Arafat for one. And wasn’t Castro phenomenally wealthy when he stepped aside?

They hate wealth creation!

OMG, they are the best at wealth creation!

What's the point of being a billionaire if you have to live in some sh*thole red state? Except for Texas. I like Texas.

India is also a massive shithole. The thing is this is what Tyler and Company want to turn the US into.

I like the taste of ass. So even though they are sh*tholes, it's all good, if you know what I mean.

I bet you do. Though we share the same name, we differ in that aspect. To each his own I guess.

Do you er, abuse yourself when you write stuff like that?

I bet you do.

Yes, observing right wing dominated institutions that are "pro-business, not pro-market"* does seem to turn libertarian economists statist as reliably as pro-worker democracy turns them "libertarian".

*to invert a phrase libertarians used, once, when

My word is my bond. In some cultures that's true; in others, it's not. If one works with people from different cultures as I do, one observes very different attitudes about what constitutes a bond. There are those whose word is their bond, but there are others whose word is simply a means to a different end. And my observation is that the difference is partly cultural. I'm not suggesting one is honest and the other dishonest, just different. In a culture where one's word is his bond, a relatively weak state will suffice to keeps the trains running on time, but in a culture where it's not, without a strong state chaos ensues. From behavior in traffic to behavior in business, there's a world of difference.

Singapore is the middle way nation, politically and economically, neither the U.S. nor China. I'm sympathetic: I'm an Episcopalean, the middle way Christian church, neither Catholic nor Protestant. During these tense times between Trump and Xi, we should heed the way of Singapore. I thought about this while reading this interview of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (Lee Kuan Yew's son):

So Singapore is basically an hereditary monarchy, which seems to work OK.

Just like Republics, It works until it doesn't.

Is two non-consecutive leaders from the same family enough to deem a country a hereditary monarchy?

You mean the same family controlling a country 46 years out of 60? Sure. Cuba gets (an even worse) rap for a having a Castro brother succedding a Castro brother.

Where the Pakistan state is present it's especially corrupt and incompetent, Cf. Pakistan International Airlines.

I'm not certain that observing the Pakistani state makes one which for more.

Cultural differences has become a theme for Cowen. I read a article earlier this week about the cultural differences between the old industrial sector and today's tech sector. Of course, the industrial sector was more communal, dependent as it was on the public sector for such things as a large work force and transportation system, while today's tech sector is much more individualistic. But often overlooked is how dependent tech companies have been on government for the rise of the tech sector; it's not as libertarian as some would like us to believe. Tech not only provides the technology for the surveillance state, but the culture that accepts it. I sometimes refer to the libertarian-authoritarian axis, which may seem an oxymoron, but it's hiding in plain sight.

There is no actual observation of anything that makes a person more statist.

Listening to a liar making promises is the only thing that does that.

To drop a random incident of good government, Fort Collins is doing municipal broadband with 1 gigabit download *and* upload speeds. ($60/mo)

Everyone should be completely on board with this kind of thing, I mean a simple investment with high return on investment and potential for growth.

It's sad that we apply litmus tests to these kinds of things, rather look at their practicality.

I agree. Municipal governments are more like private entities in a lot of ways though. Their powers are very limited by law, and it is usually pretty easy to move to another municipality if you don’t like yours.

When people complain about the government, it’s usually about the federal government, against which you really don’t have any recourse if screwed.

Is doing or has done? Big difference. My town has had a similar project in progress for the last half decade.

Here is a fun account by an interested resident:

One of the links shows you can sign up now.

No dog in this fight. But always a good idea to fact check anonymous.

At the direction of City Council and voters, the City is moving forward with building and implementing high-speed, next-generation fiber to be available to all residents, businesses and organizations within the boundaries of the city over the next 36 to 48 months. Our first lit service will be in Q3 2019 with expected completion at the end of 2021/2020.


And the kicker:

This project has been underway for 2 years. So far, 20 homes have been connected.

Why on Earth would this bother you?

Have you ever been the part of any large engineering project?

Did you see the pictures of the Ditchwitch(tm)?

Pretty neat stuff and a pretty terrible quibble.

It doesn’t

Yes as a consultant


Fact checking isn’t quibbling

Observing the US makes one libertarian. When comparing our private sector, where people are generally nice and which creates a hugely disproportionate share of global wealth and innovation, to our government, which is mostly dysfunctional and contains significant elements that are actively malevolent, it is hard to conclude that we should give more power to the latter.

I don't see how anyone in the United States can really rationally become either a full libertarian or a full statist.

Every darn one of our accomplishments has grown out of the mix.

And not just us, every successful market democracy is just that, a mix of democratic government and free markets.

And in terms of economic growth and freedom for their people have market democracies ever been beat? I think not. China's growth has been good, but let's face it, it was achieved by embracing the mix .. for a time.

I would not want the US to be completely libertarian, but certainly more libertarian than it is now.

If you look at the world’s best and freest economies, it’s pretty strongly correlated with how libertarian they are. This suggests there is room to become more libertarian on the margin.

It is also difficult to draw too many conclusions from US success because we did also inherit a huge, extremely wealthy continent whose indigenous people turned out to be susceptible to just the right diseases. I think we would’ve become the world’s wealthiest country under almost any political system short of full communism.

I don't like that so much commentary is about direction, rather than detail. Just saying "less" (or more) government is easy, but empty. It's not really a practical solution for .. borrow a page from Tyler .. growth.

We may do too many dumb things with government, but still too we may be doing too few smart things.

One simple test is whether the government can do the most basic things - pick up the trash, maintain the roads, keep the repeat offenders off the street.

It’s interesting to look at recent private efforts to that cleared tons of trash on Baltimore and LA. It’s a clear demonstration of sustained government failure.

Chicago can’t keep a couple of thousand well known repeat offenders off the street - hundred die. Failure.

At a slightly more complex task, many public pensions are insolvent - Dallas, Chicago, hundreds of others. Incompetence or malfeasance, or both. In any case, failure.

Do you want to try again?

You are an engineer. Give me the percentage of successful garbage collection in the United States (the service availability) in a given month.

Do you ever hurt your back moving those goalposts?

Learn what words mean.

Trash collection was never my goal post oh, it was introduced as a failure of government.

Which is course is nonsense.

which anyone actually disagree with me that America has the best trash collection in the world?

Do we? Your data was for OECD combined.

Our murder clearance rate is 60%.

Compared to 98% for Finland, 85% Britain, 94% Germany, 87% Swiss.

Seems the US has, in general, an issue with government provision of public goods.

So one sock puppet accuses me of moving the goalposts, the other jumps from 98% garbage collection to murder rates.

What is this tag team comedy?

I’m not an engineer or the one with the handle, nor am I slappy.

Anyways, 98% is OECD not the US. Making a point about governmental efficiency requires looking at actual US stats.

Murder clearance, not murder rate, is a good metric of government efficiency in delivering basic public goods.

And answers a point from Engineer, about keeping repeat offenders off the streets.

The examples I cited (Baltimore and LA) have huge piles of trash. There are other cities with similar areas. It’s not a recent problem. National averages just highlight the degree of these failures.

My city of about 125,000 has excellent trash service - no complaints from me. Few potholes, and those are promptly fixed. Burned out streetlights promptly replaced. There are no people sleeping on the streets or begging at intersections.

I don’t think they have a policy on plastic straws or transgender story times at the library - I suppose you can’t have everything.

I found numbers for the OECD nations collectively. 98%

Best in the world.

Oops, the link:

Leaving out city states and petrol states, the top 10 GDP per captia nations are, in approximate order:

Ireland, Norway, Switzerland, USA, Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Taiwan, Australia, Austria.

So, looks like all mixed economies there. (Except Australia, which I've been told is a socialist nation.)

In what ways was the land that became the US wealthy, especially what unique ways?

If you are asking me, my answer is that we are not unique, and that the OECD nations found success by similar paths.

In the big picture we are not that different from say Japan.

I suppose the southern western hemisphere nations do not exist in this model.... (Thiago, after all your posts, Zaua still does not know of Brazil!). It's very silly in view of any history of GDP/capita change, where the US does not show much of a sign of diverging until the world wars - it could have easily not been so.

It's also silly, lump of labour, stuff to suggest that a low population:natural resources ratio is helpful.

You can argue as easily (or better) that an abundance of people for a large and complex market should be an advantage, and indeed folk such as Tabarrok make this argument for the coming dominance of China and India. Indeed, the sophistication and wealth of the economy being limited by the extent of ever larger markets is the standard Smithian growth, free market (and thus "Libertarian") argument. If old world Europe had avoided the stagnation of the world wars and remained the dominant leader, no doubt many more people would have been seduced by this argument.

The reality is that neither a large market nor relatively plentiful natural resources matter compared much to culture, and long term stability in government, and the forces that make that stability possible.

Pakistan had a perfectly fine military dictator, and then the west cheered as he was replaced by inept democratic leaders. Things seem to have been a lot better under Musharraf.

Tyler, there's a shortage of perfect blogs in this world. It would be a shame to damage yours. Please, please, please use one of the many off-the-shelf account/commenting systems and assign some volunteer moderators. Disqus, for example. The garbage is driving away the many valuable commenters who used to post in the distant past of this blog.

If seeing the private sector thrive while the government fumbles made people more likely to become libertarians, John Kenneth Galbraith and his followers shouldn't have been so eager to turn over large chunks of life to the government. "The Affluent Society" was a clear and fair presentation of market success and government failures, followed by an impassioned plea for more government. Irving Howe's "World of Our Fathers" was similar: story after story of government interventions making things worse for their supposed beneficiaries, yet Howe was a life-long socialist. I don't know how to explain this phenomenon, but it seems common. I suspect it has something to do with the sense many people have that intentions matter more than results, together with a naive belief that leftist politicians really do mean well.

In India, as per the constitution, no income tax can be levied on agricultural income. The number of income tax-payers in India is pretty low as well. Indian farmers are world-class exploiters of the rest of the population. They do not pay income taxes, pressurize the state govt to levy very little or no tax on their sales and even some of the things they buy. And on top of it extract a lot of subsidies on water, electricity, fertilizers, seeds, and loans. On top of it they demand loan-waivers. On top of it they demand price-floors (for grains and milk). And above all they complain that they are the most oppressed, repressed, neglected, and disadvantaged etc. World class crookedness.

The cherry on top is that they constantly complain that all these subsidies and benefits are given to only big farmers.

You've been to Iowa I see.

No one has mentioned the salient difference between India and Pakistan. India is a secular state, with a majority religious affiliation, similar to the U.S. in that regard. Read the Constitution of India. Pakistan is a religious state - read the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan if you do not believe me. I have worked with both India and Pakistan since 1970. One is not at all like the other. If the difference is not apparent to you, perhaps you do not understand the difference between a secular and a religious state, and the follow-on implications for economic and political culture.

Pakistan may be very un-secular and very religious but India is pretty funny when it comes to secularism.

The Constitution mentions the word secular in 2 distinct places. First in the article 25 section 2 which pertains to regulating "secular activity.
And second in the 42nd amendment to the constitution.

The 42nd amendment to the constitution was pushed into the constitution during emergency (i.e. without any debate and exactly when most of the opposition party was in prison). It is this notorious amendment, which also made India a "socialist" state.

To date nobody knows what exactly it means to be "secular" in India. Everyone interprets that word as per their interest and convenience.

My personal opinion is that Indian secularism has failed miserably.

To date nobody knows what exactly it means to be "secular" in India.

To the contrary, everyone knows what it means. It means that there are a few select religions that Indians practice (a small closed set, not an unlimited one), and one is not supposed to say anything bad about anyone else's religion (because it will break the peace and cause riots.) It also means that religious belief trumps all other rights; if one is offended by some real or perceived slight to their religion, the state will help them get retribution by riding roughshod over other niceties like freedom of expression.

Pakistan may be very un-secular and very religious but India is pretty funny when it comes to secularism.

The Constitution mentions the word secular in 2 distinct places. First in the article 25 section 2 which pertains to regulating "secular activity.
And second in the 42nd amendment to the constitution.

The 42nd amendment to the constitution was pushed into the constitution during emergency (i.e. without any debate and exactly when most of the opposition party was in prison). It is this notorious amendment, which also made India a "socialist" state.

To date nobody knows what exactly it means to be "secular" in India. Everyone interprets that word as per their interest and convenience.

My personal opinion is that Indian secularism has failed miserably.

Pakistan and India are rated nearly the same by the Index of Economic Freedom, which states about Pakistan “Excessive state involvement in the economy and inefficient but omnipresent regulatory agencies inhibit private business formation.”

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