Very well articulated; you completely and correctly clarify why you write the way you do or indeed the focus on MMS .
I only wonder – there used to be a time when this blog was not exclusively dedicated to ranting about the Congress party, but also focused on themes including economics, urban development, education policy in India and the ‘glories’ of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, among other things.
It’s your blog and you can choose to write only about whatever you think matters. If focussing on repeating to readers here that MMS is bad for our present and future is where you want your blog to be, that’s fine. I just miss the fact that this blog used to be a place for intelligent discussion in matters other than Congress-bashing as well.
Thanks, Aaren, for the comment. Now for the answer to the question implicit in it.
This blog is about India’s economic development. Economic development is neither impossible, nor is it inevitable. I mention that repeatedly to underline the fact that India could have been developed but it didn’t and therefore it isn’t.
Development is a complex problem. But that does not imply that the way to bring about development is equally complex. Development happens provided a number of simple steps are taken to allow it to happen. Let me repeat that. You don’t have to do a huge number of complex things to allow a hugely complex thing like development to occur. What you have to do is reasonably simple to do and what is more, is generally known to a fairly large number of people.
Allow me an analogy. The development and growth of a baby in the womb is perhaps the most complex process in the whole universe. From a single cell emerges a living being with trillions of cells that are awesomely specialized to do mind-bogglingly complicated stuff. We cannot even begin to imagine how this happens. A PhD in embryology only allows you to appreciate how pathetic our understanding of the process is relative to how much there is to know. We just don’t know to much about that complex process. Therefore, if someone thinks that he can direct that process, he is clearly out his mind.
(Please make appropriate gender identification substitutions as needed — I just don’t want to write “he or she”, etc.)
The point is that in the process of making a baby, you can only initiate the process (which is fairly easy to do since people have been doing it for a while), and take care of a few minor things. Such as, seeing that the mother has adequate nutrition; does not do things that can harm the baby such as smoking and drinking; has the required rest, exercise, and peace of mind, etc. In short, initiate the process, make sure of a few simple things, and then get out of the way. In a few months, the most complicated process in the world will take place all on its own and you will have a bouncing baby.
(Why babies bounce is not entirely clear.)
Let me repeat that. We don’t know how it works actually at the detailed levels. So let’s not delude ourselves into thinking that we can somehow direct it. What we can do is to make sure we understand under what circumstances does the process work best, then try to make sure that we provide those. And most importantly, don’t mess around in the process itself — it will happen and it will happen as best as it can provided we get out of the way.
(As the Buddha said to Shariputra, “Stop messing around with things. Just sit on your hands. The world will evolve as it should.” And talking of the Buddha, he said some other cool stuff as well, which I have recorded on this blog. There’s the “Tathagata’s Sermon on Economics.” Read that first. And then, “It’s the small stuff, stupid.” They are from 2004.)
Now back to development.
Development is a complicated and complex process. A PhD in development makes you realize how friggin’ complicated it is and that no one has too much of a clue as to how it all works. It makes you appreciate that the best thing you can do is to get out of the way. Only clueless people imagine that their interference in the process will improve things.
For development to occur, there are a few things that are needed. These are fairly well known, and does not require that you have a PhD to appreciate. Top of the list is that there is economic freedom. If people don’t have economic freedom, no development is likely to occur.
Then there are a few other things. Education, energy, transportation, urbanization. Basic infrastructure. An efficient legal system. That’s about it. Not embryology at all.
The point here is that there’s nothing really esoteric or mysterious about what we have to do to get India developed. Like I said before, what needs to be done can be articulated by any competent economist, and indeed volumes have been written on it already. Even on this blog, I have written about what India needs to do to develop.
Knowing what should be done and actually doing it are entirely different things. The problem is that those who are in charge making those things happen don’t have an incentive to do them.
Which brings me to the matter at hand. India needs development. Therefore, it needs to get those bits done that are necessary for development. Therefore it needs policymakers (political leaders and bureaucrats) whose objectives are development oriented. But India has policymakers whose objective is personal enrichment, development be damned.
Therefore we — you and I — have to see that we have a different set of policymakers. This we can do if we use the only thing we have: our numbers. If we can organize and take collective action, we can replace the current set of crooks with people who care about India.
I focus on corruption, the evil that the Nehru-Gandhi family represents, the handmaiden of the whole bunch of corrupt politicians Dr Manmohan Singh, to make people aware that we have to bring about political change. I have written already more than enough about what needs to be done. What I pay attention to now is how to get leaders who will actually do what needs to be done.
Let me repeat that. (I am doing a lot of repeating today.) If the problem was that we really did not know what we had to do to become developed, it would have been a simpler matter: we could have learned from others. The matter is that we do know but that knowledge is useless since
our leaders the crooks will not do what is needed. I am done with exploring what needs to be done on this blog. These days I focus on how we can go about replacing the crooks with people who care.