Report: Symbiosis Centre for Management Studies
Freedom Caravan: The Morality of Capitalism visited Symbiosis Centre for Management Studies on 9 February 2012. The highlight of the day was a talk by Swaminathan S Aiyar, Consulting Editor of The Economic Times and Research Fellow at the Cato Institute. Over 500 students and faculty were in attendance, and the packed auditorium represented Freedom Caravan’s largest audience so far. Those present received copies of the Indian edition of The Morality of Capitalism, a collection of essays by Tom G Palmer and Social Change and Public Policy, published by the Centre for Civil Society.
The day commenced with a short quiz on political and social issues conducted by our partners Liberal Youth Forum. This was followed by a production of A letter from Jonathan Gullible by the Delhi based theatre group Mostly Harmless Ink. The Director of the institute, Dr Anupama Suresh delivered the welcome address and felicitated our speaker.
Mr Aiyar’s began his talk by questioning the morality of democracy itself and the prevalence of ‘Money, Muscle and Influence’ in Indian businesses and politics today. To this effect he quoted Winston Churchill, “Democracy is the worst of all systems except for all the others”. He emphasised on the availability of choice in a democratic society, which is lacking in other forms of government, and stated that it was the same defence which capitalists used. He elaborated with two excellent examples; the inefficiency of Soviet policies which created widespread unrest and poverty, compared to markets, which he compared to computers, which match supply and demand. He also used the case of Berlin; although East Berlin was egalitarian, there was mass migration to the west due to the opportunities present.
The talk concluded with his views on corruption. He stated that although the scale of corruption has increased post liberalisation in India, its prevalence has in fact decreased in comparison to what it was in the pre liberalisation era, considering the relative size of the economy, then and now. He pointed out that the areas that are most corrupted are those with the greatest government involvement (natural resources, real estate and contracting) and backed these using statistics based on in a report by the World Bank on the relative ease of doing business in different countries.
To view photos of the day click here.