FDI in retail spells more gains: Levitt | business | Hindustan Times
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FDI in retail spells more gains: Levitt

business Updated: Dec 02, 2011 23:42 IST
HT Correspondent

Making a pitch for foreign direct investment (FDI) in the retail sector, best selling author and professor of economics at the University of Chicago, Steven Levitt, said on Friday that opening up the sector would benefit everybody and there was no reason why India should not do it.

"I am surprised by the opposition and the only reason I can think of is that the direct benefit for the consumer is miniscule as compared to the loss for the ordinary retailer, hence the oppostition is louder," said the author the bestelling Freakonomics series at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit.

"It is similar to the opposition by the farm lobby in the US. Everywhere else in the world, FDI in retail has helped the consumers and there is no reason why it should be any different in India. There are enough safeguards to avoid any harm anyway."

With major economies around the world reeling under unmanageable debts, a fallout attributed to capitalism, Levitt refused to believe the glory days of capitalism were over adding that governments should steer clear of managing banks instead.

"History teaches us that governments do an awful job at managing banks and financial institutions and are bad at making investment decisions," he said. "Capitalism is not a perfect system but there is no alternative that provides a better system. We are still better off compared to the 60s and 70s."

A self-proclaimed failure at traditional mathematics that forms the bedrock of modern day economics, Levitt also said that terrorism was only a minor problem even though it captures most of the world's imagination.

"More people are killed in road accidents in Delhi every year than due to a suicide bomb attack in India. "It is only our reaction to it that is so extreme that it makes it look bigger than it actually is."