If Reagan, Thatcher and Modi were to Meet…

Posted by: on Sep 14, 2015 | No Comments

There is a lot of speculation about how Narendra Modi is the Indian Ronald Regan, or in some other circles, the Indian Margaret Thatcher. While the comparisons are not unfounded, the three have distinct personalities and distinct approaches to free market economy. The largest similarity is that they have all been aggressive in the implementation of their free market policies, since they have had years of conservatism to combat and grow deeper roots for capitalism in soil that is not quite conducive to it. Therefore, not only did they have to come up with unconventional policies to tackle the economical terrain of their respective nations, they also had to do it in an environment that was hostile to it. In that sense, they are all pioneers to the cause of free markets in their respective nations and they all displayed a foresight that is commendable. This is why I was inspired to think whether in an anachronistic parallel universe, the three were to sit across a table, what would they say to each other?


Ronald Reagan

As the man who served two terms in office and whose economic policies grew to be synonymous with his name, he could be safely conjectured to be an inspiration to the others in the room. It is only right that he should have the first say. This is what I imagine would have been his advice to other leaders of large and powerful nations:

“… man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.”

As Reagan and Modi are said to have shared a lot in common, including their modest beginnings, their tenacity for hard work and their irresolute faith in God, I imagine he would have had a soft spot for the man who has set a take on what he did, 33 years hence, in a different part of the world. He would have egged him on and cautioned him appropriately.

Margaret Thatcher

After their first meeting in 1975, Reagan and Thatcher had a close friendship and clearly borrowed from each other. They were even referred to as ‘political soulmates’. She would, therefore, have verified the truth of Reaganomics, which had been the basis for Reagan’s own economic stance. I imagine her advice to the budding leader of a developing nation who has set off on their footsteps, to be this:

“We believed that since jobs (in a free society) did not depend on government but upon satisfying customers, there was no point in setting targets for ‘full’ employment. Instead, government should create the right framework of sound money, low taxes, light regulation and flexible markets (including labour markets) to allow prosperity and employment to grow.”

The Iron Lady of England would have been happy to see the evolution of a member of the Common Wealth into an independent economic entity, on the path of consumer satisfaction and individual dignity.

Narendra Modi

The youngest follower in the line of the great proponents of the free market, NaMo would have appealed to the forerunners to invest in India:

“From the ramparts of Red Fort, I call on the world to come make in India. I want to tell global companies that we have skill, talent and discipline. From electronics to electrical, from chemical to pharmaceutical, come, make in India.”

Had they been contemporaries, I believe Mr. Narendra Modi would have won the support and patronage of the stalwarts, leading to an advantageous economic and political liaison for all.

In conclusion, it may be said that this party may have been hosted by none other than David Cohen, the US commentator who has been quick to recognize the similarities between Reagan and Modi, and has publicly voiced his enthusiasm about it.

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