Essays in Education


Rajan, Raghuram (2019). The Three Pillars: How Markets and the State Leave the Community Behind. New York: Penguin.

Mr. Rajan explains the success and failure of societies through the interrelationship of three social sciences (what he calls pillars): economics (the marketplace), political science (government), and sociology (communities). In Section I, Mr. Rajan describes the origins of each pillar starting at the end of the medieval era. Each pillar has its own tale related to it social science but their stories are interwoven as well. An example: the marketplace and the expansion of trade (both territorially and in complexity) could only occur after the political apparatus of more powerful kings had controlled and stabilized trade routes. However, the influence of each pillar affects the health of the other two. Mr. Rajan believes that when the pillars are in balance a society thrives, when they are not in balance the society struggles. Section II described the historical path of each pillar up to the current imbalance of the pillars – currently the marketplace and political systems dominate communities and their people. Multiple examples are detailed showing Mr. Rajan’s breadth of understanding of the social sciences and history. Section III is more prescriptive; his message is one of hope; we are not hostages to a random series of world and local events, and we need not be pawns in some leader’s devious masterplan. We the community members can, with thoughtful analysis, make informed steps towards a better tomorrow (and a better balance of the pillars).

Mr. Rajan is open about his preferences, he is looking for inclusive communities, where the free-market and democracy flourish. I found the book enlightening. Mr. Rajan’s provides an intricate understanding of how human societies work and demystifies the complexities of progressive and regressive societies.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.