Home / Books / HarperCollins India Is Proud To Announce The Publication Of THE THIRD PILLAR By Raghuram G Rajan

HarperCollins India Is Proud To Announce The Publication Of THE THIRD PILLAR By Raghuram G Rajan

We are surrounded by plenty. Humanity has never been richer. Yet, although the  world has achieved economic success that would have been unimaginable even a few  decades ago, some of the seemingly most privileged workers in developed countries  are literally worried to death. The primary source of worry seems to be that moderately
educated workers are rapidly losing, or are at risk of losing, good ‘middle-class’  employment, and this has grievous effects on them, their families, and the communities  they live in…

This is a critical moment in human history, Raghuram G. Rajan argues, when wrong  choices could derail human economic progress.

The Third Pillar asks tough questions: why, when economies of developed countries  are growing, do we feel such economic despair? Why, when exciting new technologies  on the horizon promise to solve our most intractable problems, is unhappiness  so widespread? What about shrinking opportunities for a large mass of people? Why
are even well-educated workers who hold decent middle-class jobs so disheartened?

What is the way forward?

The Third Pillar is about the three pillars that support society and how we can restore  the right balance between them so that society prospers. Two of the pillars are the  usual suspects: the state and markets. It is the neglected third pillar, the community,  that Dr Rajan reintroduces into the debate. Dr Rajan argues that many of the economic  and political concerns today across the world, including the rise of populist  nationalism, can be traced to the diminution of the community. The state and markets  have expanded their powers and reach in tandem, and left the community relatively  powerless.

Dr Rajan departs from traditional thinking. The economy is not based on just two  struts—markets and governments—but also depends on a neglected third: the local  community. Neglecting social issues is not just myopic, Rajan argues, it is dangerous.  He calls for a return to empowering local communities as an antidote to growing
despair and unrest.  There are virtues to a healthy community. Local community government acts as a
shield against the policies of the federal government, thus protecting minorities  against a possible tyranny of the majority, and serving as a check on federal power.  Community-based movements against corruption and cronyism that time and again  prevent the leviathan of the state from getting too comfortable with the behemoth  of big business. Healthy communities are essential for sustaining vibrant market  democracies. This is perhaps why authoritarian movements like fascism and communism  try to replace community consciousness with nationalist or proletarian consciousness.

The Third Pillar is a masterpiece of explication for its wise, authoritative and humane  account of the forces that have wrought such a sea change in our lives. Dr Rajan’s  ultimate argument, that decision making has to be watered at the grass roots or our  democracy will continue to wither, is sure to be both provocative and agenda-setting
across the world.
Society suffers when any of the pillars weakens or is overly strengthened, relative to  the others. Too weak the markets and society becomes unproductive, too weak a community  and society tends toward crony capitalism, too weak the state and society turns  fearful and apathetic. Conversely, too much market and society becomes inequitable,
too much community and society becomes static, and too much state and society  becomes authoritarian. Therefore, a balance is essential, and Dr Rajan presents a way  to achieve it.

In a section focused on India, Dr Rajan observes that India, with its more  pluralistic and open-access political system, is better positioned for the community  to create more separation between the state and markets. Its weakest
pillar is the state. India also has a private sector that is still dependent on the  state, which makes it a feeble constraint on it. So India has the paradox of  having an ineffective but only moderately limited state. India’s challenge in the
years to come is not its democracy, which is probably the only way to keep a  country with such varied communities together, but the need to strengthen   both state capacity and private-sector independence.

Dr Rajan discusses how to harness the strengths of a vibrant but chaotic democracy,  why India has not done as well as China and the threat of populist  nationalism, predicting that a democratic, open, tolerant India will be an important,
responsible contributor to global governance in the decades to come,  though populist nationalism around the world will make this less likely.

Among the points of special relevance to India is Dr Rajan’s observation that  large young migrant populations, both tantalised and shocked by city life, and  yet to be integrated into solid new communities, are ideal raw material for the
populist nationalists’ vision of a cohesive national community—a trend that is  creating a dissention in societies around the world.

HarperCollins is proud to be publishing Raghuram G. Rajan’s new book,  one that we see as one of the most important
works of non-fiction, original in its concept, scope,  research and insight, on a global issue.

Book Releases on February 26, 2019

HB | Society/Economics | 464 pp | Rs 799


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