Nepal is a country where for much of its history—particularly the past two decades—the business and analysis of politics has dominated everything else, including the economy. This has significantly hindered not only the process of economic growth and the major task of lifting the population out of poverty, but also the production of well-informed and accessible accounts of how and why Nepal's economy has performed dismally and what can be done to remedy the existing state of affairs. Sujeev Shakya's new book Unleashing Nepal: Past, Present and Future of the Economy has been written to remedy the gap.
Written in simple, non-technical prose accessible even to those with no knowledge of economics, the book encompasses, in 12 chapters, all aspects of Nepal's economy from the time the nation-state originated till the present day. It begins with a description of the nature of the pre-1950 state, which was isolationist and preoccupied solely with raising revenue for the spending of the state elite. Shakya then goes on to trace the legacies of this period into the modern day.
Much of the book is devoted to examining various aspects of the political and economic systems that emerged after the opening of democratic space in 1990. There are reflections on the crisis of governance and its impact on the economy, the business sector, the role of the development industry, the growth of the remittance economy and the impact of the Conflict. This is then followed by four chapters laying out the writer's vision of the changes that need to be undertaken if Nepal is to witness a period of sustained economic growth and be integrated with the global economy.