The brothers’ intense personal rivalry has loomed large over India’s business scene since 2002, when the death of their father Dhirubhai Ambani, founder of the Reliance Industries group, led to a rift over strategy.
The dispute eventually led to the break-up of Reliance Industries when, in a 2005 peace deal brokered by their mother, Mukesh retained the highly profitable oil and gas business and Anil walked away with telecoms and power.
Both men continued to operate under the Reliance brand, although it was Mukesh whose fortunes prospered. The elder brother is now India’s richest man, with an estimated net worth of $41 billion,
Sure, he started out rich which helps. But the surge in fortune has come from launching free and heavily discounted mobile telecoms services. The same thing which has severely diminished his brother’s fortune.
Who are the people who really benefit from this? Well, sure, he’s a nice stash now, hasn’t he. But what about those hundreds of millions of Indians who have received free and heavily discounted mobile telecoms services? The cumulative gain there is rather larger than his increase in the stash. Very much larger in fact.
Which is why the system works. As William Nordhaus pointed out.