The Strongman Problem, from Modi to Trump

This article originally appeared on this site.

At eight o’clock in the evening on November 8th, India Standard Time, just hours before American voters shocked the world by electing Donald Trump as their next President, Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, went on television to address his country’s more than a billion citizens. At midnight, Modi proclaimed, all of India’s five-hundred-rupee and thousand-rupee notes, worth about seven dollars and fifteen dollars, respectively, and constituting about eighty-six per cent of all cash in circulation, would be banned from use, in an effort to battle corruption. He said that cash was easier for terrorists to use, and that other lawbreakers used it to evade taxes and store ill-gotten wealth.

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