We are the species that believes in change. We are the beings that can take nature personally and do something about it. We have personal objections to the limited and precarious character of our biological existence: nature is cruelly indifferent to my personal existence; nature does not care about me as a person; nature is out to replace me. We are the animals who care about me, who think in terms of personal identity, who can orient ourselves around the insight that each member of the species is unique and irreplaceable.
Friday, April 30, 2010
After reading this piece by Atanu Dey, I am once again reminded of what B R Ambedkar said something like this: “the purpose of creation of machine is to make people get more leisure time”.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Dr Subroto Roy, economist and adviser to Rajiv Gandhi 1990-1991.” On:
“Public finances in
See his blog here
Sudipto Mundle writes in the TOI:
Sudipto Mundle writes in the TOI:
- How "....the poor through which food and all other BPL entitlements can be channelled. The Radhakrishna committee on credit-related issues under SGSY has reported that such institutions are in embryonic form in women's self-help groups (SHGs), especially in some southern states. Initially set up with government support as collective entities to receive small loans, Kudumbasree in Kerala and Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty in Andhra are now multitasking, taking on a range of different activities. The Weaver's Development Corporation is playing a similar role in Tamil Nadu. If these SHGs are used for distributing PDS grain, BPL cards or NREGA job cards, we would see a sharp improvement in the effectiveness of a whole range of anti-poverty programmes, including the right to food."
A bureaucratic understanding of the recent financial is presented in this article:
The below is a sample:
- A large part of the world has witnessed, in the last few years, a mindset which has emphasised “self” interest and glorification of the self even at the expense of social or community well-being. This has been based on a kind of blind faith in the philosophy and thinking promoted by intellectuals of the kind of Ayn Rand and others. There has been a disproportionate emphasis on individual self and personal freedom which, therefore, has, as a natural outcome, led to a society epitomising those very same values, which ultimately manifest in a culture of greed and blatant selfishness, regardless of all else. The consequences of such a mindset are now being witnessed.
- Firstly, there is a need for a change in societal “mindset”, away from one promoting greed and blatant selfishness, and towards one based on respect for community and larger whole. This is not an impossibility. It only requires a conscious promotion of the values of selflessness and sacrifice.
What we need is the change in ‘socialist mindset’ not “societal mindset” as they call it.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Zakaria’s purpose is to educate the reader on the broad history of democratic theory. He calls for a new balance of thinking. Zakaria’s view is that democracy, as power-down populism, in its political, economic, and even cultural manifestations, has gone too far. Instead, he argues for a return to “self control” and balanced thinking with respect to the concepts of democracy and liberty and their practical applications for governing. The book’s main purpose is to draw attention to the history of illiberal or constitutional liberalism. That is, political systems that balance individual liberty and freedom, and “illiberal” representative governing institutions. In addition to free and fair elections, illiberal governing includes the rule of law and separation of powers, as well as the basic liberal freedoms of speech, religion, assembly, and property. In short, Zakaria provides a civics lesson for his readers in the context of current events and challenges for governing institutions in all corners of the globe.
Robert Langreth writes:
Robert Langreth writes:
- His second book, The Upside of Irrationality, comes out in June. In one chapter he describes experiments suggesting that large bonuses won't improve executive performance. He teamed up with Carnegie Mellon economist George Loewenstein and others to test 87 residents of a poor village in
on a variety of tasks involving memory, fine motor skills and creativity. Some were promised a few hours or few weeks of pay if they did the tasks well. Others could get much larger bonuses--the local equivalent of six months of pay. Performance plummeted when people knew they were in the big-bonus pool. "The way to understand it is we are rediscovering choking with money," Ariely says. "For some reason nobody ever thought this applies to bonuses with executives." India
- Ariely says textbook economics is a fine approximation of the world--perhaps half of the time. The problem is that "we take economics too seriously as a society" and assume it works all the time. The world, he says, would be better off if economists spent more time in the field. "In every other field of science data is worth more than theory," he says. Unlike some behavioral economists who focus on high finance, Ariely looks broadly at everyday decision making. He has a knack for taking a complex phenomenon and encapsulating it in a simple experiment. One set of experiments shows that college students are more likely to cheat on a task with financial rewards when they know a confederate from the same university is doing it and getting away with it. If they know someone from a rival school is cheating, they are less likely to cheat.
- Standard economics, Ariely argues, provides few solutions to the world's problems because it assumes people are making perfect decisions. "People are making mediocre decisions. If you get them to make better decisions, you might have a better world."
The advantage of bottom-up management by parents and local officials is that these groups are likely to be the best able and most motivated to monitor educational quality. The act effectively rules out a major possibility for enabling these stakeholders to act on their knowledge, however, by ruling out voucher-type programmes that could enable poorer parents to vote with their feet. It states that parents who choose ‘non-aided’ schools shall not be eligible to make a claim for reimbursement and notes that the right to go to school does not extend to the right to go to private schools.
- Explores this paradox by looking at the ground-level realities in local governance through the Panchayati Raj, the issues of agricultural productivity and value addition, and the role that the business sector could play in rural transformation.
- The recommendations of the current study entail enhanced public responsibility for rural livelihoods. But the roles of various stakeholders would change with reforms that ease the monopoly of government institutions in implementation of public programmes, and in the use of public assets and financial resources. The report concludes that the rural service enterprise model will create the momentum for a broader systemic change that includes the social sectors. — Courtesy: U.N. Information Centre,
Atanu Dey writes in his blog:
………the damage that Kasab has done is infinitesimally small compared to what the Congress rulers have done over the last half century. Who needs Kasab when these people rule?
Libertarians often say that good governments are those which govern least. What this really means is that the government's job - in a democracy, at least - is to be a facilitator, or regulator, and do everything in its power to help citizens get on with their lives and pursuits with the minimum of sarkari obstruction or interference. In other words, a truly democratic government is one that is an enabler: one that imparts a can-do attitude to the polity.
Monday, April 26, 2010
From today's ET Citings
CONFLICT OF VISIONS by Thomas Sowell
- ONE of the curious things about political opinions is how often the same people line up on opposite sides of different issues. The issues themselves may have no intrinsic connection with each other. They may range from military spending to drug laws to monetary policy to education. Yet the same familiar faces can be found glaring at each other from opposite sides of the political fence, again and again. It happens too often to be coincidence and it is too uncontrolled to be a plot. A closer look at the arguments on both sides often shows that they are reasoning from fundamentally different premises. These different premises — often implicit — are what provide the consistency behind the repeated opposition of individuals and groups on numerous, unrelated issues. They have different visions of how the world works. It would be good to be able to say that we should dispense with visions entirely and deal only with reality. But that may be the most utopian vision of all.
- Reality is far too complex to be comprehended by any given mind. Visions are like maps that guide us through a tangle of bewildering complexities. Like maps, visions have to leave out many concrete features in order to enable us to focus on a few key paths to our goals. Visions are indispensable — but dangerous, precisely to the extent that we confuse them with reality itself. What has been deliberately neglected may not in fact turn out to be negligible in its effect on the results. That has to be tested against evidence.
Friday, April 23, 2010
is not yet quite clear about Tagore’s status in public life. He surely can’t be the Poet Laureate as that’s indeed a government job, or a “stipendiary poet”, as Edward Gibbon described it when he identified Petrarch as the first to hold that title. But is Tagore India India’s National Poet, in the sense that Neruda is of , or Shakespeare of Britain? In popular discourse he is indeed one of Chile ’s several ‘national poets’, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee and Subramanya Bharathi being among the others. But none of these men, Tagore included, is held by popular acclaim as representative of the identity and belief of India ’s national culture. India
- In fact, to many in
Delhi, Bharathi is not much beyond the name of a prominent road, despite the Tamil poet having spent years in Varanasito appreciate ’s cultural diversity. And poor Bankim is remembered outside his India Bengalas the man who composed the ‘rival’ national anthem, ‘Vande Mataram’, his more material identity as the father of modern Bengali prose being relegated to obscurity. In ’s babel, if Tagore is best recognised among his fellow National Poets it is because of him being the composer of Jana Gana Mana, the national anthem. Linguistic division has turned India ’s national culture into a mere phrase. It is rather hypocritical, therefore, to claim that Tagore occupies a similar place on the mind of the average Indian as Cervantes does with the Spaniard, or Kazi Nazrul Islam with the Bangladeshi. India
- In strictly political terms, one wonders if there were more disagreements between
Washingtonand in the height of the Cold War. Gandhi, it seems in retrospect, was not quite familiar with the evolution of Tagore’s works, from a sectarian and nationalist phase when he was under his father Maharshi Debendranath’s (died 1905) influence, towards an internationalist outlook and an infinitely more tolerant view of the West than Gandhi’s. He no doubt coined the term Mahatma for Gandhi and possibly liked him too. But Gandhi made the blunder of taking him for a swadeshi supporter. Gandhi was the messiah of Independence but Tagore saw its dark underbelly and left its vivid account in his novel, The Home and the World, which was made into a gripping film by Satyajit Ray in another age, in short stories, poems, and in an essay poignantly titled, ‘The Cult of the Charka’. Moscow
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Tushar Gandhi writes:
- “Bapu had said that it is a patriotic duty to fight against an anti-people government, even if it was one elected by us. What is happening in Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Jharkhand is the beginning of this battle. On the face of it, it does appear that Maoists or Naxalites are waging a war against official
, but in reality they are succeeding because they have convinced the rural poor and especially the tribals that they are fighting on their behalf. The Maoists have convinced the rural poor and the tribals that the government is their en emy and the only way they can get what is rightfully theirs is by waging war on the government and to destroy by violence the system and society that denies them their rights as citizens. India
- India has been a independent democracy for more than sixty years and in that period, successive governments have successfully created two very different nations, a minority one in its developed, parasitic, affluent urban areas and the other deprived, undeveloped, poverty stricken and criminally exploited in its villages, populated by its majority poor citizens. An affluent, westernised, high net worth
and a poor, illiterate, undeveloped Bharat. Two nations deeply divided by poverty, disparity, illiteracy and official apathy. In the not too distant past, the present homer minister, who was then the finance minister, shamelessly toasted the boo ming economy of India Indiawith the barons of Indian industry in . It did not matter to him that the women of rural India were still defecating in the open, it did not matter to him that village children had to travel 25 km one way to reach schools imparting higher education, it did not matter to him that tribals in many states were dying of malnutrition and starvation, it did not matter to him that farmers in Vidarbha were committing suicide because they were facing total economic ruin. New York
- ,………..the massacre of the security forces, must be condemned in the severest terms, but the government is more to blame for this then the Maoist, Naxalite killers. Look at the working conditions of our police and paramilitary forces.
- The war on the Naxalites, Maoists will not be won by police action. If the Maoists, Naxalites are to be defeated, the government will have to work to bring about ‘Gram Swaraj’ that the Father of the Nation envisaged. An
made up of self sufficient, self reliant, equitably developed villages and villagers.” India
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar has a good piece in today’s ET. Some excerpts:
Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar has a good piece in today’s ET. Some excerpts:
- Anand Chandavarkar's recent book Unexplored Keynes and Other Essays has a lovely anecdote about Nehru's unwillingness to see beyond Fabian socialism. Nehru asked B P Adarkar, Trade Commissioner to
West Germany,” What is the secret of 's phenomenal economic recovery?” Adarkar forthrightly responded: “Mr Prime Minister, I know the answer but you will not like it. It is free enterprise.” An impassive Nehru merely looked out of the plane window! Germany
- Rajni Kothari and several other contributors to Economic and Political Weekly forecast in 1991 that economic reforms would make Indian industry collapse or become indentured labour to MNCs. They also claimed that accepting patents in the Uruguay Round would destroy
's pharma industry. Events soon proved them economically illiterate and intellectually bankrupt. Kothari moaned in 1989 that India had moved from self-reliance to Reliance. He could not even conceive that it would be a change for the better! India
- Nimai Mehta of
makes a separate point. Nehru and other Indian leaders did not have an inferiority complex, he says. Rather, they had a superiority banias complex with respect to their own citizens — shudras and lower castes — whom they regarded as lesser mortals requiring a guiding hand from great minds. “The trade of ordinary Indians, whether in gold or food grains, was suspect from the start. In this sense, Nehru perhaps was equally infected by what Hayek has termed as socialism's fatal conceit — the belief that others should live their lives as per his wishes.” American University
- Mehta is right. Nehru and Co felt that Indian Brahmin-intellectuals were superior to whites, but also that Indian marwaris and banias were inferior. Their superiority complex on the moral and intellectual plane co-existed with a deep inferiority complex on the business plane. Their solution was to go for central planning. This approach assumed that benevolent planners knew better than producers or consumers what should be produced or consumed. The licence-permit raj asserted that people were best off when they had no power at all to decide what should be produced or consumed — that was best left to the rulers!
- But this was more than what Hayek called the fatal conceit of socialism. Their socialist conceit was compounded by caste conceit.
's high-caste leaders could not stand the marwari and refused to believe that any economy could thrive if it gave marwaris more freedom than Brahmins. India
- Let me quote a telling passage from Nehru's Autobiography.
- “Right through history, the old Indian ideal did not glorify political and military triumph, and it looked down upon money and the professional money-making class. Honour and wealth did not go together, and honour was meant to go, at least in theory, to the men who served the community with little in the shape of financial regard.” (Readers, please note this was Nehru's own Brahminical viewpoint: non-Brahmins like Shivaji and Jagat Seth would have disagreed.) “The old culture managed to live through many a fierce storm and tempest, but though it kept its outer form, it lost its real content. Today it is fighting silently and desperately against a new and all-powerful opponent — the bania civilisation of the capitalist West. It will succumb to the newcomer, for the West brings science, and science brings food for the hungry millions. But the West also brings an antidote to the evils of this cut-throat civilisation — the principles of socialism, of cooperation, and service to the community for the common good. This is not so unlike the old Brahmin idea of service.”
- So there you have it from the horse's mouth. Nehru himself says that socialism is a form of casteism, one that rightly puts the bania in his place. Will today's socialists please own up too?
Monday, April 19, 2010
Salil Tripathi reviews the book Gandhi: Naked Ambition,
- This "is a curious book. It tells the West, jaded by sexual scandals, of Gandhi’s behaviour and practices that are meant to shock, but may have the unintended effect of making his politics appear less radical than it was. And it tells India an aspect of Gandhi’s life it already knows but doesn’t talk about in public, a possible consequence of which would be to arouse nationalists to call for a ban on the book (which is always a bad idea), or to dismiss Gandhi’s importance, now that a British historian has laid all out in the open."
A piece of mind from K Natwar Singh:
“The fact is that progress is not inherent in history. Progress is not a law of nature (I am excluding scientific progress).
The 19th century was passionately devoted to the gospel of progress. The 20th century mocked the 19th century. Two world wars, the invention and use of nuclear weapons are not signs of progress. The 20th century began on a high note — growth in human consciousness and the scientific revolution lit the horizon. But, “Darkness at Noon” soon put an end to that hope. The 21st century has so far had a very bumpy ride. 9/11 is now a melancholy part of the English language. Next, George W. Bush, whom the “people of
“The record of the human species up to this time suggests a grave deficiency in social intelligence… The problem is, therefore, primarily genetic and only secondarily institutional.”
“On the economic plane, traditional confusion between the standard of living and the quality of life needs to be dispelled. People are not necessarily happier because their per capita income is higher. The gross national product is not an index of gross national contentedness.”
Friday, April 9, 2010
J P Narayan has put it in a very nice way to see the politicians and business making:
- “From time immemorial, politics and business have been inextricably linked. Clean politics needs clean money. Good and sustainable business needs political support.
- Wise and mature statesmen always accepted money from business, but kept policymaking and governance beyond its reach. Gandhiji accepted business support, but evolved strategies for national liberation. Patel declined large contributions when there was a hint of seeking favour. Jimmy Carter put all his personal wealth in a blind trust so that his private interests would not influence his public policy, and emerged out of White House as a pauper who lost all his assets.
, politicians have developed an inexhaustible appetite for illegitimate funds. With increasing disconnect between politics and people, voluntarism is dead, and mercenaries have to be hired even for simple political activities. With vote disconnected from outcomes and public good, the voter has to be persuaded with money, liquor and other inducements. The first-past-the-post electoral system — where marginal vote is all-important for determining victory — exacerbated vote buying. In , Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, an expenditure of Rs 5 crore for an Assembly candidate is quite common.” India
Thomas Sowell on Compared to What?
- Often some minority, with no political power, has outperformed the dominant majority in lucrative or prestigious professions — the Tamils in colonial Ceylon, the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, the Chinese minority throughout southeast Asia, the Huguenots in France, the Ibos in Nigeria, the Japanese in Brazil, the Lebanese in West Africa, the Jews in medieval Spain. The list could be extended almost indefinitely.
- An extremist movement began in
when a journalist hyped the fact that the indigenous people of the region were almost totally missing among the business elites of that city. The seeds of a disastrous civil war in Bombay were planted by politicians who hyped the fact that the Tamil minority was over-represented among the owners of businesses and among university students. A military coup in Sri Lanka Fijiwas provoked because the descendants of people from were likewise doing so much better than the indigenous Fijians. India
Thursday, April 8, 2010
From ET ‘Citings published on 5th April, 2010
“Consider that 20 years ago
“Consider that 20 years ago
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Monday, April 5, 2010
Recently, a friend of mine asked a question
Have you read the book The Beautiful Tree?
I have met the author of this book, I said
How come? Because the author of this book is no more now!!
Do you heard James Tooley, I asked
No, never he said
Then I asked who is the author of the book The Beautiful Tree
He said the author name is Shri.Dharampal
Who is he? I asked
Then he showed me this article.
Following my research and quest for knowing what all he has written. I find the below is worth to read.
If one gets time to read, it is worth to spend once time to know the education system that existed during pre-colonial period. And what has changed since then.
“A study on competence level of doctors in the PHCs found, in treating diarrhoea, that a typical doctor often recommended harmful therapies. According to a 2005 Transparency International study, healthcare services account for 27% of the bribes paid for public services in the country. Again, if public doctors miss their clinic opening timings or render poor service, they still get their salary.”
Thursday, April 1, 2010
“The campaign left the RBI top management fuming. It was unable to figure out why the Bank was being attacked with such single-mindedness and ferocity. Often, concern was privately expressed over whether persons in the Government were instigating these attacks.
The Planning Commission, which has nothing to do with the management of the financial sector, also joined the hunt. The Raghuram Rajan Committee, as it is known, was appointed by it to recommend steps to modernise the financial sector. The RBI was not consulted.”
If this fall was waiting for one thing
It is you, the crooked RTE, are not you?
So long, more than sixty years, being republic
What has been packed earlier?
Killed millions of children, already
Rules formed helped no children,
But, The State Power to rule for nothing
Convert nothing into nothing is the learning
In the name of common man of ‘uncommon’
The State did all these years at the cost of
The people, no matter how rich/how poor are you
Pay the price for crooked man once again
We have not lacked anything in ideas
But it does not mean that everybody get provoked by those ideas
Often saying among the State functionaries is the slogan of
Look forward, future vision, out of box thinking, innovative, nowadays
All these are forged in the crooked school textbooks to
Produce good and bad number as ‘marks,’ nothing more or
Every five year election melas, yatras, etc and, then
Self celebrate, we the democracy won everything!
What is still behind out shoulder even after these 18 years of economic reform?
Is the half cooked child the “Nehruvian Socialism?”
These are some of my thoughts, wanted to put here, not to educate you, but to share the sense of the meaning of edification and its nonsense that has been continuing on this land of magacrime! As I have traveled more like a one man army from the North Arcot (called in
- Is that the State was in self imposed mode of political and bureaucratic regime?
- How can the people tolerate all these nonsense which they can not just do it under the British Raj?
- How far the State rule is fundamentally different from the British Raj in promoting development of people?
With these words, let’s now look at what the so called experts of educationist/policy maker/teachers, say on this:
Economic reformist Chacha Dr. Manmohan Singh said in the morning:
- “Let us together pledge this Act to the children of
. To our young men and women. To the future of our Nation” India
Supreme Court grinder will recook crooked RTE!!
A finest economist (whom I have immense respect) writes:
- “Heard of model rules? No? When an Act is passed in Parliament, there may still be vague areas that need closer attention. Model rules are written to help implement the Act. But the rules can never be better cooked than the original law was when poured into the parliamentary pressure cooker. No creative legislative masala can help cover up half-baked khana and half-thought laws.
- All students must be in the classroom? Yes sir! Teachers? Teaching? Learning? No. No. And hopefully.”
Vimala Ramachandran writes:
- “No right, however just and timely, can become a reality unless societies as whole and interested actors in particular make an effort to educate and enforce”. But she, herself is unaware of which year the 86th Constructional Amendment was done.
The country’s education minister Mr.Kapil Sibal writes:
The country’s education minister Mr.Kapil Sibal writes:
- “The Constitution (86th Amendment) Act, 2002, making elementary education a Fundamental Right, and its consequential legislation, the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, comes into force today. The enforcement of this right represents a momentous step forward in our 100-year struggle for universalising elementary education.”
Sorry I said, only sixty years!!
- “Yet there are “invisible” children — children bonded to work with an employer, young boys grazing cattle or working in dhabas, girls working in the fields or as domestic help, or caring for younger siblings, and children being subjected to early marriage. Many of these children are formally enrolled in a school, but have either dropped out or have never been there. Many others, such as migrant and street children, live in extremely vulnerable conditions; denying them education is against the universal nature of human rights.”
- Then minister went on to say (in contrast of what economist Parth J Shah have said) “The right to education goes beyond free and compulsory education to include quality education for all. Quality is an integral part of the right to education. If the education process lacks quality, children are being denied their right. The Act lays down that the curriculum should provide for learning through activities, exploration and discovery. This places an obligation on us to change our perception of children as passive receivers of knowledge, and to move beyond the convention of using textbooks as the basis of examinations. The teaching-learning process must become stress-free, and a massive programme for curricular reform be initiated to provide for a child friendly learning system, that is at once relevant and empowering. Teacher accountability systems and processes must ensure that children are learning, and that their right to learn in a child friendly environment is not violated. Testing and assessment systems must be re-examined and redesigned to ensure that these do not force children to struggle between school and tuition centres, and bypass childhood.”
Last but not least think of Prof Williams words:
- “Conflict would emerge solely because the decision was made in the political arena. Why? The prime feature of political decision-making is that it's a zero-sum game. One person's gain is of necessity another person's loss. ……….As such, political decision-making and allocation of resources is conflict enhancing while market decision-making and allocation is conflict reducing. The greater the number of decisions made in the political arena, the greater the potential for conflict.”
Mark Fisher on Roman back flash. Some excerpts:
- "Historians cite the late second century as the turning point of the
Roman Empire, when the once-proud, feared society began its descent into infamy. As the ruling class was undermined by civil wars and attacks by outsiders, respect for law and social institutions began to erode. In the end, a combination of political and economic mistakes led to the empire’s downfall.
USgovernment’s version of bread offerings proliferated throughout the fiscal crisis, in which collapse was averted only by a massive financial bailout and an endless supply of paper money, along with the rest of the seemingly endless sustenance being shoved down ’s throat. America
- Even more unsettling is the government’s inability to fix the financial crisis. After a stream of stimulus programmes and bailouts, the Federal Reserve continues to print enormous quantities of dollars and buy the nation’s debt.
- Once the world realises that the
USis the new , the traditional tenets governing asset correlations will no longer hold, and we can expect a breakdown in traditional stock-bond portfolio theories. Since paper assets are ultimately shoved down to zero, expect hard assets to benefit along with commodity-related equities. The name of the game going forward—let’s say the next five years—will be buying ahead of whatever China and other developing nations are trying to accumulate and diversifying away from the US. Rome
continues to thrust its dollars at all things commodity-related, it’s hard not to laugh when hearing President Barack Obama speak about trying to identify ‘environmentally sound’ opportunities in energy. It’s only a matter of time before the mechanism that has allowed the government to sustain its trade deficit for longer than it should have—similar to the Asian dollar peg of the 1990s—causes a simultaneous decline in the China currency, asset prices and the economy. As people begin to realise that their paper currencies, stocks and bonds are all garbage, we can expect a meltdown. US