With the emergence of extreme wealth in India in recent years, a number of commentators have drawn comparisons with the Gilded Age of the United States of America in the late 19th and 20th Century, that was famous for its "robber barons" Many of these individuals achieved enormous private wealth on the back of a new breed of large-scale corporations, often facilitated by links with the state.
The presentation will explore the comparison both with the Gilded Age and with the counter-movement in the Progressive Era, that brought both greater regulation of US capitalism and the development of significant elements of a social welfare state. It will argue that there are both useful parallels and some intriguing contrasts, and that these are of interest to India's current political economy.
Michael Walton teaches at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and is a non-resident fellow at the Centre for Policy Research.
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