Shortages and Nehruvian socialism go hand in hand. Just take scooters, for instance. You could not just take scooters some years ago, actually, thanks to the quota permit license control raj. You had to wait for years before you could lay your hands on one. You could jump the queue if you paid with “hard currency” or paid a premium (black money) to someone who had the foresight to book one years in advance with a view to capture some of the rent that arises out of shortages.
The situation today would have been unthinkable then. Now dealers of two-wheelers practically drag you off the street, give you a cold drink, and by the time you have finished it, they have arranged financing and you roll out the door on your new bike clutching your free gift of a toaster oven. Then your choice was severely limited to four or five models; now a reasonable estimate must be a hundred different makes and models of two-wheelers.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali was at Harvard’s Kennedy School on May 9th. A brief biography of Ms. Ali from the Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership announcement reads:
Ayaan Hirsi Ali (born 13 November 1969 in Mogadishu, Somalia) is a Dutch human rights leader, feminist, and a member of the Dutch Parliament for the liberal party. She is a prominent and often controversial spokesperson, author, film maker and critic of Islamism. Her movie “Submission” on abuse of women in Islam, directly led to the murder of the director Theo Van Gogh in November 2004. A death letter left on the body was addressed to Ms Hirsi Ali.
In 2005 Ms Hirsi Ali was chosen among the world’s 100 most influential people of Time Magazine and Reader’s Digest voted her ‘European of the Year 2006’. Meanwhile, she also receives heavy criticism on her views and approaches for change. Ms Hirsi Ali is under severe and permanent security protection.
She, like Wafa Sultan, is fighting for the emancipation of women in Islamic countries and more generally for reforming Islam. She has a collection of essays called The Caged Virgin, an “Emancipation Proclamation” for women and Islam.
I guess that her life insurance premiums must be sky high. Not just a pretty face, she is articulate and courageous. Here is a short video of an interview of her on Swedish television (I don’t have details on the date of that recording).
There are more videos of Hirsi Ali on YouTube. But before you do that, you must see the Wafa Sultan video — she is unbelievable.
Update (May 16th): There are google videos on Ayaan here.