Politically Incorrect: India’s Corrupt Voters

I am never quite sure why people insist that the Indian democracy is so great. To me it appears to be the greatest curse imposed on India from up on high. It is totally politically (sic) incorrect to take this view, of course. But I don’t apologize for believing so and I am convinced that the Indian voter is corrupt.

Rajesh Jain’s blog has an item on lessons from India’s elections which got me thinking. The claim made by Shekhar Gupta of the Indian Express is that India’s voter has become smart.

Compared to whom? I ask. Compared to Shekhar Gupta?

I guess so since Shekhar Gupta claims that the Indian voter has become smart. For I don’t see any reason to believe that the Indian voter has changed in any substantial way. The Indian voter continues to be a narrow-minded, ignorant, casteist, bigoted, vacuous idiot it has always been.

Here is my reasoning.

  • Exhibit A: I look at the politicians of this country. To a first approximation, they are ignorant, bigoted, casteist, vacuous idiotic criminals. These bunch of unspeakable criminals (where I use the word in its literal sense) are consistently voted into power by the Indian voter.
  • Fact B: A population of wise, informed, well-meaning, broad-minded, intelligent voters cannot continue to vote a bunch of corrupt ignorant bigots as their political leaders.
  • Major Premise C: Voters reveal their character by expressing their preferences at the polls.
  • Minor Premise D: Leaders are endogenous to the group, that is, they emerge from within the group and so reflect the dominant traits of the group.

Mr Gupta writes that the voter is not swayed by charisma. Well, how would we know? We need charismatic people first and then if the voter is unmoved, we can say that it is true.

We do know that the Indian voter is swayed by “big names”, though. Why else would they trot out an uneducated chap (Rahul Gandhi) as the Congress mascot unless they were confident that the Indian voter will be swayed?

What else explains the tenacity with which the entire Nehru-Gandhi clan is totally into getting into the highest political positions? By their indomitable courage? No. Their astonishing brilliance in academics? None are really even educated. Their thorough understanding of the problems of development? Never done an honest day’s work. Their undying dedication to the hard task of nation building? Shirley, you jest. Their selfless sacrifice demonstrated by their social work? Not a bloody chance in hell.

What then explains the astonishing idiocy of the Indian voter to continue to vote the Nehru-Gandhi clan to power?

Let’s face the facts. I would have loved to report that we are a great democracy. We are not. If we were, we would not be facing the prospect of having an Italian aupair as the prime minister of a country of 1000 000 000 people. She says that she is loyal to her adopted country (never mind that she did not apply for Indian citizen for over a decade). Well, I would ask her whether she has any loyalty to the country that she was born in. No? If a person has no loyalty towards the land of one’s birth, I would not pay a tinker’s damn to any other oath of loyalty that the person takes. If you change your allegiance once, it is all too easy to do it once again. Indians who don’t understand that simple concept are idiots and I don’t care how accomplished they may be in their respective fields. If an Indian says that Sonia’s origin is not an issue for the prime minister’s seat, I would say that Indian is a moron.

I have met only a handful of politicians personally. I have known some of them well and all of them — every one of them to the last person — has accumulated vast sums of money through bribery and corruption. It is a random sample. I have no doubt that the vast majority of Indian politicians are corrupt. Politicians are endogenous to the population. They are random samples drawn from the underlying population. In other words, the sample characteristics give an indication of the population characteristics. The corruption of the politicians is the single most damning evidence that the voters are corrupt.

That is the law.

Liberation and Development — Part II

Last week on May 3rd, I began discussing Liberation and Development which I will continue now. I had written that

I will further argue that it is possible to bootstrap the process of development but only if resources are used efficiently and if problems are solved by addressing causes rather than by alleviating superficial effects.

The point I was making is that energy, credit, and knowledge are the basic ingredients for economic production. Economic production is a pre-requisite for development. Efficient use of the three basic ingredients is important. I had also taken a more generalized view of credit where I considered the stock of capital available to an economy as form of credit. It is intergenerational credit because the present generation can use the capital stock created by the previous generations. The capital stock is represented by the machines, buildings, transportation systems, etc. The source of the capital stock is investment which itself the flip side of a flow of savings. Savings in any period is the difference between production and consumption of that period. Finally, efficient use of savings translates into capital stock via through the investment route.

Does efficiency in the use of savings matter? The chairman of the US Federal Reserve Board Mr Alan Greenspan believes it does. At a conference in Chicago on May 6th, in his speech Globalization and Innovation, Greenspan said:

Although saving is a necessary condition for financing the capital investment required to engender productivity, it is not a sufficient condition. The very high saving rates of the Soviet Union, of China, and of India in earlier decades, often did not foster significant productivity growth in those countries. Saving squandered in financing inefficient technologies does not advance living standards.

Volumes can be written in merely outlining how inefficiently India uses its savings. There has to be a reason for why an economy which has a high savings rate cannot translate those savings into higher production through the intermediate steps of investment, capital stock growth, and higher productivity. One of the primary reasons could be the missing complementary ingredient which is knowledge or know-how. Our savings rate is high but savings are low because our incomes are so low. A poor person with a Rs 1000 income and 20% savings rate will only be able to save Rs 200. Compare that to a rich person with a savings rate of 5% but an income of Rs 10,000, saving Rs 500. Furthermore, the rich person is likely to have better investment advice and therefore be able to mobilize his savings better than the poor person.

In other words, when it comes to savings and what to do with them, we are caught in a classic bind which is exemplified by the lament garibi mein aataa geelaa. I cannot quite translate it accurately but it goes like this: Too much water in the dough has made it unusable; but one is so poor that one cannot afford any more flour to correct the imbalance; thus whatever little one had is also wasted. The caution therefore is that when one is poor, one cannot afford not to be careful about how to use the resources one has. How much water to add to a given amount of flour is a decision taken by policy makers who may or may not be sufficiently knowledgeable about cooking. If at the end of the day, all you have is a lump of useless runny dough, you know that the policy makers have messed up. That is what has happened in the case of India. For decades, absolute morons ruled the country whose idiotic economic policy led to the disaster we see around us today.

The economy is being freed after decades of mismanagement and misrule. But even now, we are definitely not out of the woods. Whether it is telecommunications policy or education policy: the idiots continue to pour too much water in the too little flour we have. I would like to look into the telecommunications policy tomorrow.