Friday, December 22, 2006

A Real Economist Exposes Tosh

A Blogger considers a sensitive subject about India (and other Asian countries). He has read in a newspaper that there is a 7 per cent deficit in the number of women in India. He is educated, so he asks his ‘professor’ about the deficit and the following conversation takes place:

'You take this book on economic philosophy by Adam Smith and read this, you will get the answer' he said and gave me the book.

Adam Smith told me that where there is excess of any commodity the price falls and when there is really too much available, the seller will have to pay the buyer to take the commodity away.That situation is what is causing the dowry system. Some one pays a man to take away his daughter whom he does not want and he is willing to pay money to get rid of that girl.

The solution to the problem will be to encourage the female infanticide and abortion of female fetus so that there will be an absolute shortage of women in our country. At that point, men will start paying the would be fathers in law for a wife. Woman will be treated properly and she will be in a position of strength and advantage. No woman will be beaten up, burned or murdered, because the man has paid for her, money comes before wife. Thanks to Adam Smith. We should be doing it fast.

But female infanticide will have to continue for the sake of the few women who are still alive.”

What a load of tosh.

This is what Amartya Sen, a real professor, and Nobel (Bank of Sweden) prizewinner for economics, says about this problem, which he discusses sensitively in his book, Development as Freedom, Oxford University Press, 1999, Chapter 4, pp 99-110:

Consider India, where the age-specific mortality rate for females consistently exceeds that for males until the late thirties. While the excess mortality in the childbearing age may be partly the result of maternal mortality (death rate during or just after childbirth), obviously no such explanation is possible for female disadvantage in survival in infancy and childhood. Despite occasional distressing accounts of female infanticide in India, that phenomenon, even if present, cannot do anything to explain the magnitude of extra mortality, nor its age distribution. The main culprit would seem to be the comparative neglect of female health and nutrition, especially – but not exclusively – during childhood. There is considerable direct evidence that female children are neglected in terms of health care, hospitalization and even feeding’ (p 106).

To read the tosh visit: Buhoose kanjoose at:


then read some real economics from Amartya Sen to put these, and other, development problems into perspective, and to place economic development in its proper context (as Adam Smith would have done it).


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