Modi Needs You to Transform India

Here we go again. Now that India’s 2019 general elections are just a few months away, Mr Modi wants you to help him “transform India.”

Here’s an opportunity for India’s best brains to work for PM Modi’s campaign in 2019. 

Take a sabbatical from your current job and work with Nation with NaMo till May 2019.

Dedicate your 8 months to transform India in the next 5 years.

“… work with Nation with NaMo …”  Seriously? Couldn’t find a decent copy editor even?

It’s déjà vu all over again, as the great sage Yogi Berra said.  Continue reading

Curing a disease by intensifying its causes

“War is a judgement that overtakes societies when they have been living upon ideas that conflict too violently with the laws governing the universe … Never think that wars are irrational catastrophes: they happen when wrong ways of thinking and living bring about intolerable situations.”
— Dorothy L Sayers.[1]

That quote is from E. F. Schumacher’s book Small is Beautiful [2] where he meditated upon the causes of the bind that humanity finds itself in and indeed is responsible for. He posited that it was lack of wisdom that impels people to ‘cure a disease by intensifying its causes.’ Here’s what he wrote:  Continue reading

What Should the Government Do?

In a comment baransam1 asks, “Should the government fund primary education, fund higher education, fund research in basic sciences?” The answer is “No, no, and no.” Emphatic no’s.

No for the same reason that the government should not be in the business of income and wealth redistribution. It should not be in the business of charity. It should not be in the business of taking care of the indigent, the sick and the victims of accident and natural disasters. The government should not be in the business of religious indoctrination, or indeed indoctrination of any kind. The government should not engage in commercial activities like transportation and communications. It should not run hospitals and hotels, clubs and cafes, factories and farms. It should not run banks and non-banking financial institutions.

The list of prohibitions — the “blacklist”– is too long. It is best to have a “whitelist” of what the government is allowed and required to do, and nothing beyond that.  Why? The answer is one word: violence.  Continue reading

Credit-constraint — the Inability to Borrow

For anyone concerned about the poor and poverty, the first task is to clearly define the words “poor” and “poverty.” Wealth and income are reasonable measures that usually serve in defining a poor person: one who has less than some defined minimum of wealth and/or income.

But that definition is not comprehensive. What if a person could borrow the money needed for an investment with a sufficiently high return such that it would be possible to return the money with interest, and still have some left over? Then the person is not poor. Meaning, anyone able to borrow is not poor. Conversely, anyone who is unable to borrow is “credit-constrained” and is comprehensively poor.

Continue reading

Shourie’s Address at Mumbai on 12th September

A number of Rotary Clubs of Mumbai had invited Shri Shourie to address them on the evening of Wednesday 12th Sept, 2018 at the Yacht Club in Colaba. The following is a report of what he said. I lay out the main points. I believe I have faithfully recorded the ideas. 

For the record, I admire Shri Shourie immensely. I respect him for his integrity, knowledge, wisdom, scholarship, work ethic, and his tireless dedication to the nation. A brilliant raconteur, his wit never fails to entertain even as he informs. Also for the record, the following should not be taken as endorsed by him. It’s my recounting and could differ (but not substantially) from what he actually meant. With that disclaimer, here goes. Continue reading

Public wealth return

What is not privately owned is public wealth. It’s everything that exists within the territorial boundaries of a country and the citizens have a legitimate claim to it. The question is this: who has the authority and the right to control it? Furthermore, when and how do the citizens of a country get access to their share of what wealth they collectively own?  Continue reading