The three pillars that sustain the economy of a country printed neatly on our social studies textbooks chooses to remain there for a majority of the policymakers. In Raghuram Rajan’s recently released book The Third Pillar, he inspects the construction of these pillars in our country. In a growing economy why do we feel economic despair, he asks. With technology staying closer to us solving our problems with just a click, there is still an aura of despondency surrounding the third pillar.
States, markets, and community form the three pillars of which the state is the weakest and community, the most neglected. The social issues meander through the grounds of the society its tributaries not reaching the other two pillars. The economic choices, when taken with a myopic view on this third pillar, becomes dangerous. The authoritarian ideologies of populist nationalism being imposed on the neglected third are the root cause, points out Rajan.
A healthy community is the result of a strong local body which acts as a shield for the majoritarian policies which could affect the minority. He discusses the need for a balance of the three pillars not overpowering each other but empowering one another. The book presents a way to correct the imbalance that we face and the critically important role of the communities.