Prof. Jagdish Bhagwati of Columbia University addresses MBA students
The President of India, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan was the Chief Guest at the first annual convocation and many distinguished personalities have graced the occasion ever since. In true IIT Madras style, Prof. Jagdish N. Bhagwati, an outstanding economist was the Chief Guest of the 46th annual convocation. Prof. Bhagwati addressed MBA students in a special session organized at the Department of Management Studies, IIT Madras.
Prof. Bhagwati served as an external advisor to the Director General of the World Trade Organization in 2001. He worked as an economics policy advisor to the Director-General of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade from 1991 to 1993. He has also served as a member of the advisory board to the Planning Commission of India. Paul Krugman,
one of his students recently won the Nobel prize in economics. He is currently University Professor at Columbia University and is a known proponent of free trade.
It was a privilege to have him address MBA students and research scholars at DoMS. Prof. Bhagwati spoke on "The Critique of Capitalism after the Crisis". He spoke about the advantages of a free market economy and its relevance especially after the recent market recession in an environment where countries are turning protective of their economies. Prof. Bhagwati compared the current scenario with the situation after fall of Berlin Wall. He compared the pre-recession times and the prevailing conditions in East Germany before the fall and subsequent unification. The pictures in the two cases were vastly different- Dilapidated state of East Germany vs Upbeat Global Financial Market.
Prof. Bhagwati spoke about drawbacks of a controlled economy by citing examples of Shortages in Russia and the state of India’s economy during “License Permit Raj” in the pre-liberalization days. He contrasted this with positive aspects of capitalism and how capitalist structures can be made effective in post- recession era. He gave examples of the entrepreneurial spirit of South American farmers and the change in India under a liberal regime. He touched upon the multiple causes for the recession and reemphasized that we should not just be content about the recent signs of recovery but we should also ensure that these are adequately nurtured by more economic stimuli.
The session ended with a Q&A session where Prof. Bhagwati addressed some questions and left students asking for more.