The Billionaire Raj: A Journey Through India’s New Gilded Age

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In the 1990s the financial assets held by billionaires in India were valued at 1% of the country’s GPA. A decade later, the figure had risen tenfold and continued upward. James Crabtree’s description and assessment of the very rich and their place in India’s economy reveals their tight link to cronyism, to collusion between politicians, bureaucrats, and businessmen.

Billionaires pursue a flamboyant lifestyle, spectacular in a way no one holding equivalent wealth in the western world would dare. They often also have a challenging approach to acquiring public resources, purchasing immense tracts of low-cost land to mine the sand to feed the construction industry. Whatever the industry, and in many, their success defies credibility, a cash outlay comes to hand through manipulated bank loans with a sometimes questionable likelihood of repayment.

Integrity, as understood elsewhere, assumes a cultural interpretation as the riches acquired by mega-chutzpah are achieving astounding results. One journalist explained that too many businesses were accumulating wealth “because of their ability to manage the government rather than manage innovation.” Hands are greased in standard practice, buying favors at high cost, though the chief minister of Tamil Nadu pledging seven million laptops to schoolchildren bordered on exceptional.

The titans and politicians Crabtree interviews are grist for fairytales as well as edge-of-the-chair reading, a rare accomplishment for such an esoteric subject.


Reviewed By:

Author James Crabtree
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 416 pages
Publisher Tim Duggan Books
Publish Date 2018-Jul-03
ISBN 9781524760069
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue October 2018
Category History
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