Stanford University Press, Feb. 2023
Ashoka Mody, Charles and Marie Robertson Visiting Professor in International Economic Policy
When Indian leaders first took control of their government in 1947, they proclaimed the ideals of national unity and secular democracy. Through the first half century of nation-building, leaders could point to uneven but measurable progress on key goals, and after the mid-1980s, dire poverty declined for a few decades, inspiring declarations of victory. But today, a vast majority of Indians live in a state of underemployment and are one crisis away from despair. Public goods — health, education, cities, air and water, and the judiciary — are in woeful condition. And good jobs will remain scarce as long as that is the case. The lack of jobs will further undermine democracy, which will further undermine job creation. India is Broken provides the most persuasive account available of this economic catch-22.
Combining statistical data with creative media, such as literature and cinema, to create strong, accessible, people-driven narrative, this book is a meditation on the interplay between democracy and economic progress, with lessons extending far beyond India. Mody proposes a path forward that is fraught with its own peril, but which nevertheless offers something resembling hope.