Scholarly Comments on Academic Economics

Liberalism in India

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Abstract

We give an overview of classical liberal ideas and their proponents in India over the last century. The liberal movement in India, especially during the postcolonial era, was defined by the socialist ideas it opposed. We detail the different stages of central planning in India and the liberal opposition to the planning apparatus. The liberal movement consisted of three components. First, dissent from the ideology of planning emanated from the halls of academia. This dissent was led in the 1950s almost singlehandedly by B. R. Shenoy, who was followed in later decades by other expatriate academics. Second, there has been an anti-planning movement in politics and civil society. And third, liberal voices have emerged recently in the media.

Podcast related to this article: Shruti Rajagopalan on Liberalism in India (EJW Audio, September 2015).