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Why is Raghuram Rajan talking about Taylor Swift?

June 19, 2019 21:19 IST
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At the Mumbai launch of his book, The Third Pillar: How Markets And States Leave The Community Behind some weeks ago, former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan served up an interesting mix that included Taylor Swift, Donald Trump, privileged families and a strong dose of commonsense economics.
Videos: Hitesh Harisinghani/

Taylor Swift

Photograph: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Why do we have this photograph of Taylor Swift in an article that talks about economics?

And who would use Taylor Swift to explain a complex economic analogy?

Raghuram Rajan, that's who.

The former governor of the Reserve Bank of India -- in the news as much for his charm and good looks as he is for his economic insights -- made this reference in all seriousness during the recent launch of his latest book, The Third Pillar: How Markets And States Leave The Community Behind, at an event in Mumbai jointly hosted by his publishers, HarperCollins India, and Literature Live!

He began his lecture, which took place at the NCPA's experimental theatre, by explaining how "democracy and capitalism" can be ideal partners in arms.

He also explained -- as you can see in the video below -- that "many successful capitalist countries are also democracies in the true sense" and that "when democracy works hard, it creates the possibility of opportunity for all".




Then, he added a dash of history -- economic history, at that.

"At first," he said, "everything was within the village, the community.... History is about everything separating from the community, markets expanding to and beyond the nation, governance too expanding to an beyond the nation."

To understand this in greater detail, please watch the video below.


He explained how the relationship between the 'three pillars' that his book is referring to -- the State, the Market and the Community -- can have an ideal working relationship.

"If the private sector and the state are separate, the private sector keeps the state from becoming authoritarian, which is very important for democracy...

"The community, through democratic oversight, rises up ever so often to keep the state and the private sector from coalescing into a crony capitalism."

To spice things up, he gave a popular example -- Twitter warrior and 45th President of the United States, Donald John Trump.



Do you think virtual engagement has replaced the touch-and-feel of real-life interactions?

Here's what Dr Rajan had to say.

" To my mind, the virtual communities still have replaced the real communities.

" The virtual adds to the real.

"We will find different ways to reform real communities simply because, over time, the problem of loneliness will become significantly more."

Scary thought, that!


Here's how Taylor Swift comes in.

"Superstar economy," said Dr Rajan. "Being a little less than the best diminishes your earnings tremendously."

And then, there's globalisation which can really impact your life.

And Taylor Swift is... naah! Watch Rajan explain it in the video below.


Parents and kids, listen up!

Raghuram Rajan has some important words of advice.

"Getting into the right school early on is very important," he said, "because that determines what college you get into and what college you get into determines what job you get."

He also had a few words to say about "professional families" and how it can impact your future.

And there's more advice, this time aimed at working people.



Finally, he wound up by explaining how Western countries need developing nations more than the developing nations need Western countries.

"Erecting barriers to trade, stopping immigration, these are the wrong answers," he warns the West.

Because the developing nations can hit back.

Want to know what he means? What the video below.


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