REINVENTING NEW YORK STATE GOVERNMENT-Using Enterprise Lean and Reform Models

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And Mr Thackeray backed down. This excellent turn of events, however, invited a question: how is it that liberal, secular India has suffered Mr Thackeray and his thugs for so long? One reason is an abiding sensitivity towards language-based agitations—after a spate, in the s, that posed the greatest threat to India's survival.

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It led to a reorganisation of the state's provinces into linguistically more homogeneous units: including, in , the creation of mainly Marathi-speaking Maharashtra. Opposed by India's then prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, the arrangement has proved remarkably effective. Yet Nehru's fear that the reorganisation would harden regionalist sentiments has also been partly justified. Mr Thackeray, who founded his party in , began by attacking poor south-Indian migrants to Bombay, as Mumbai was then called.

Never mind that Mumbai was barely a Marathi-speaking city at all. Almost a third of its population was non-Marathi then; over half is today. Its wealth was created largely by Gujarati, Rajasthani and Parsee traders. India's democracy has spawned many opportunist outfits of the Shiv Sena type, fermenters of ethnic, religious or caste-based grievance.

But it is also in part self-correcting. No communal interest is big enough to secure state-level or national power. To forge alliances extremists have to moderate. During the s the two parties won power in Maharashtra—which allowed Mr Thackeray to rename Bombay—and, as part of a broader coalition, in Delhi. Yet their Hinduist scheme now looks stunted: the BJP and Shiv Sena have lost successive state-level and general elections. In response, Shiv Sena has resumed its pro-Marathi attack. Mr Thackeray has thundered against India's greatest cricketer, Sachin Tendulkar, a Mumbaikar who says he's Indian first, and its richest man, Mukesh Ambani, who says Mumbai is for all.

Stephen Goldsmith

But this cannot disguise Shiv Sena's slide. Congress has hastened it, partly by turning a blind eye to the crimes of the MNS, which, by splitting the Shiv Sena's vote, helped Congress win the most recent state election. This reflects badly on India's ruling party but is in fact grimly consistent with its long reluctance to enforce the law against Shiv Sena—a big reason for the impunity Mr Thackeray has enjoyed. My name is Gandhi and I am a future prime minister. Prone to communal conniption, India needs enlightened leadership, which Congress has often failed to provide.

Instead of defending India's liberal traditions against the chauvinists, it has tended to copy them. In Maharashtra, for example, it has adopted a less rabid brand of nativism than Shiv Sena's. So a recent visit to Mumbai by Rahul Gandhi, Nehru's great-grandson and Congress's next leader, was significant. He had spoken up for Mumbai's battered migrants, prompting the Shiv Sainiks to threaten protests. Yet, unabashed, he came and took a train-ride through the city.

For some who dream of Congress improving under Mr Gandhi, this was promising. But it could not deny Shah Rukh Khan the spotlight. A likeable superstar, he has a record of fighting liberal causes. After Pakistani terrorists ravaged Mumbai in , he sought to avert an anti-Muslim backlash. He is close to Congress, and said to be mulling a political career. Unusually in India, which has a history of venal, useless actor-politicians, that might not be a bad thing.

Many Marathis, in this sense, are not Marathas.

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ASIA'S current-account surpluses have been widely if unfairly blamed for causing the global financial crisis. Large inflows of foreign money helped inflate America's housing bubble, the argument runs. Many Western economists say that Asians should squirrel away less of their income and consume much more. But a more rigorous analysis suggests that in most Asian economies it is investment, not consumption, that is too low. Even economists who believe that most of the blame for the crisis lies in Washington, DC, argue that Asian economies need to shift from exports and investment to consumption as their new engine of growth.

But what about the rest of Asia? A country's current-account surplus is, by definition, equal to its domestic saving minus its domestic investment. So Asian economies can reduce their surpluses by saving less ie, consuming more or by investing more. Which route is appropriate depends in part on why their current-account surpluses widened during the past decade. In China the blame lies entirely with saving, which rose faster than its investment rate.

India's saving rate climbed just as steeply, but it was matched by an even bigger jump in investment, which kept its current account in deficit. In all the smaller emerging Asian economies, however, saving has either fallen or remained broadly unchanged as a share of GDP. The reason these countries have large current-account surpluses is because investment plunged after the Asian crisis and did not recover see chart.


The widespread belief that Asian households do not spend is also flawed. That is lower than in America, which has been overconsuming for years, but it is slightly higher than in Japan or the European Union. In the eight years to , investment accounted for half of China's GDP growth and private consumption for less than one-third. But in most other Asian economies the relative shares were almost exactly the reverse, with consumption the dominant source of growth. A report by the Asian economics team at Barclays Capital concludes that to reduce their excess saving, most Asian economies need to invest more rather than consume more.

Higher investment, especially in infrastructure, they argue, would not only reduce current-account surpluses but also boost growth and living standards. Better roads and railways would help farmers get their produce to cities and enable manufacturers to export their goods abroad. Clean water and sanitation could raise the quality of human capital, thereby lifting labour productivity.

Investment in the smaller Asian economies has certainly fallen sharply, but does that really mean it is too low? These economies could simply have been overinvesting in the s. The goal of economic policy should be to maximise households' well-being and hence their consumption—but over time, not just today.

Consuming too much today will make the next generation poorer.

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By investing and saving , a country sacrifices current consumption but future output and consumption will be higher. The optimal level of investment is the rate that generates the highest sustainable level of consumption over time. The higher this measure, the more it should invest. Assuming extra investment increases output by progressively smaller amounts as the capital stock expands, then at some point extra investment will reduce, not increase, the long-run sustainable level of consumption.

Calculating the marginal product of capital is devilishly difficult. However, it is likely to be higher in emerging economies than in developed ones, because their capital stock is much smaller in relation to their labour force. This means there is huge scope to boost productivity by giving workers new machines and better infrastructure. Yet in Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand investment is no higher and in some cases lower as a share of GDP than in Japan or the euro area. This helps explain why these countries' growth rates have slowed over the past decade.

Mr Hedrick-Wong finds that among emerging economies, those that invest a bigger share of GDP tend to enjoy faster growth. More developed economies, such as South Korea and Singapore, where both the rate of investment and the capital-to-labour ratio are relatively high, are probably not underinvesting. Higher consumption may suit the West, but more investment is in Asia's longer-term interests. IF YOU count bangles, necklaces, anklets and other pieces of jewellery, India is the largest repository of gold in the world, according to the World Gold Council.

Many Indians see gold as an investment as well as an adornment. India's post office sells carat gold coins, as small as 0. The IMF's gold holdings are less decorative than India's, but also impressive: the third-biggest official stash in the world. Its sale to the RBI is part of a plan to offload The proceeds will create an endowment to cover the fund's operating expenses and help expand its lending. It is doing its best not to rock the market by selling first to central banks, in keeping with their agreement in August to sell no more than 2, tonnes over five years. But the gold market is now interested in how much central banks might buy, not how much they might sell. The central banks of China, Mexico, the Philippines and Russia have all added to their gold reserves in the past year.

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The RBI is merely catching up. Its stockpile fell to just 3.