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Wednesday, May 19, 2004

India gets another new Prime Minister 

Manmohan Singh, the economist who masterminded India's ten-year journey from socialism toward the free market, will be India's next prime minister. Sonia Ghandi, whose election on Tuesday roiled India's financial markets, has declined to accept the post. She seems to support Singh's election.

Two things about this story are worth noting. The first is the trend of Asian countries towards electing economically trained leaders. While China's Hu Jintao studied chemistry, many members of his cabinet were trained in economics and finance outside of China. Singh's election provides more evidence of a regional move away from socialism and, in China's case, dictatorship, and towards capitalism and democracy. Personally, I am happy to see technocrats in positions of power. I wish that American administrations thought more about the effects of policy and less about spin.

Second, to quote the New York times:
In a milestone that says much about this vast nation's diversity and capacity for co-existence, Mrs. Gandhi, an Italian-born woman raised a Roman Catholic, is making way for a Sikh prime minister who will be sworn in by a Muslim president, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
nice point for the "clash of civilizations" camp to consider.
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