Slumdog Millionaire has already shown us the power of free markets. Now, its song Jai Ho! is showing us another aspect of free societies: spontaneous evolution.
It was reported over the weekend that the phrase Jai Ho may soon enter the English lexicon. It’s currently ranked as a finalist for the “English language world clock”.
English has long borrowed from other languages. From India itself, it has borrowed words such as “curry” or “jail”. This has ensured that while other languages may wither and die, English has evolved and enriched itself.
The evolution of languages is a perfect example of how societies and economies develop. Economists term this “spontaneous order”, when a new concept or a new business achieves prominence without the design of any one man. Instead, this reflects the consensus of thousands.
The Oscar-winning movie reminded us of Mumbai’s entrepreneurial spirit through its rags-to-riches tale. This “creative destruction” is central to any economy’s evolution. As it is to the evolution of words and languages.