Where Does the INDIAN Mega-Wealth Come From?
January 7, 2016 10:06 AM   Subscribe

So I'm just doing a bit of research right now on wealth and came across a few documentaries on India and the mega wealthy there, with the caste systems and the great divide between them. My question is how did the mega wealthy get that way? How did they accumulate such fortunes?
posted by watercarrier to Society & Culture (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
were there specifically wealthy people mentioned in the documentaries? Could you just google them?

Here's Forbes' List for India's richest.
posted by sweetkid at 2:09 PM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Also, this would be a good question for Quora.
posted by sweetkid at 2:18 PM on January 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I've actually been reading about this topic recently. The Mughal era in India was one of the richest dynasties to ever exist, so maybe look into that as a place to start. For example, when the English were coming over to India to trade in the 1600s, India's GDP was around 25% of the entire world's economy. The Taj Mahal is an excellent example of the wealth of the Mughal emperors. I think the prevailing theory for how it got to be so poor after the Mughals is the ramifications of the British occupation, which was the end of the Mughal era.

Most of this wealth, as I understand it, was due to the vast resources and skills the country possessed -- silks and cottons, gems, vast amounts of precious metals, etc. The wealth divide was very present then, as it is today. The caste system has been in place since 1500 bc or something like that, so it was always a big part of the culture.

Check out India Unbound: The Social and Economic Revolution from Independence to the Global Information Age by Gurcharan Das for more info.
posted by ananci at 2:47 PM on January 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Old money and time.

Colonial economics, a caste system that stratifies economic mobility (and virtually free labor), essentially no concept of inheritance taxes (only between '53 and '85), no checks on monopolistic practices, nationalized industries, various government corruption ... these are all the ingredients for "the rich people stay rich, and they leave it to their families, and they get richer over time."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:23 PM on January 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you. Google fu failed due to not knowing how to formulate the question. Thank you ananci, Cool Papa Bell and all who replied. It was important to understand the absolute beginnings of where it all began and how and still delving into this important part of the puzzle.
posted by watercarrier at 12:34 AM on January 8, 2016

Response by poster: Agh - I got it! Mughal = Moguls.

posted by watercarrier at 1:13 AM on January 8, 2016

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