The Idea of South Asia and the Role of the Middle Class
AbstractIn the post-colonial world, the countries of South Asia have evolved politically in different ways, amidst internal and regional conflicts, but retained some commonality of institutions and cultures. Since the 1990s, the promise of market-led development and the growth of a middle class, especially in India, have reshaped expectations in a way not seen since the immediate post-colonial period, and provided the prospect of a region that combines its particular approach to governance with common aspirations and achievement of economic well-being â€“ what might be a new â€œidea of South Asia.â€ This paper examines some aspects of the development of the South Asian middle class, their role in economic development, and the potential of the idea that shared middle class aspirations of material consumption can be a regional driving force. The paper argues that, for this potential to be realized, the middle class in South Asia may need to aspire to something more than private affluence in the midst of public squalor. In that case, a new idea of South Asia will require building social capital in ways that will challenge all of the regionâ€™s societies. Effective collective action across, but first within, the nations of South Asia will be the true test of whether this potential South Asian identity emerges.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz in its series Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series with number qt3868p628.
Date of creation: 29 Apr 2005
Date of revision:
Middle class; public goods; identity; heterogeneity;
Other versions of this item:
- Singh, Nirvikar, 2005. "The Idea of South Asia and the Role of the Middle Class," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt1ph1x8dv, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
- Singh, Nirvikar, 2005. "The idea of South Asia and the role of the middle class," MPRA Paper 1277, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Singh, Nirvikar, 2005. "The Idea of South Asia and the Role of the Middle Class," Santa Cruz Center for International Economics, Working Paper Series qt3868p628, Center for International Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
- P46 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Consumer Economics; Health; Education and Training; Welfare, Income, Wealth, and Poverty
- O57 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries
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