Summary of A Treatise on Onions

Making Sense of India’s Political Economy


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A Treatise on Onions summary
To predict who will win elections in India, forget the polls; look at onion prices.


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The humble onion is a deeply meaningful vegetable, especially when it comes to India’s economy. In this fascinating and elegantly written report, free market proponent Barun S. Mitra eviscerates India’s agricultural controls – policies he considers misguided. Mitra describes the peculiarities of the nation’s volatile markets, and he persuasively argues that the problems extend well beyond onions to larger parts of India’s economy. getAbstract recommends this revealing article to investors and executives seeking insights into India’s sometimes-baffling markets.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why the price of onions plays a powerful role in India’s political economy and
  • How the Indian government’s market interventions lead to supply-and-demand imbalances that harm the economy.


In India, policies governing the farming, distribution and pricing of onions illustrate core dysfunctions within the economy. In a nation where, on average, people devote 50% of their household spending to food, onions are a core staple, and the poor in particular depend on it. Even small changes in...
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About the Author

Barun S. Mitra is founder and director of the Liberty Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization in New Delhi.

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