Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Alfred Marshall in Bhiwani

A nice article in Livemint today by Niranjan Rajadhayksha.

Marshall was one of the first economists to ask why certain occupations and industries tend to cluster in a particular town: cutlery in the Sheffield and pottery in the Staffordshire of his times, for example. “When an industry has thus chosen a locality for itself, it is likely to stay there for long: So great are the advantages with people following the same skilled trade get from near neighbourhood to one another. The mysteries of the trade become no mysteries; but are as it were in the air, and children learn from many of them unconsciously.”

Bhiwani for boxing, Kota for IIT entrance, Kolhapur for shooting - these are some of the newer clusters. India has always had clusters like these - Mumbai used to be one for cricket, Sansarpur/Coorg for hockey. But he is right, we could surely use some more of them. How about Kerala for rowing and perhaps martial arts - given their tradition in Kalaripayattu?

How do these clusters happen? Can a government create a cluster? It has to start with one, someone and then many others take it up and it becomes a cluster. So, a good possibility is to start clusters using the names of our current boxers, wrestlers and marksmen. Not to forget badminton where Saina did put up a great show.

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