A couple of paragraphs from Alvin Toffler’s The Thought Leader Interview (hat tip: Anish Sankalia) caught my attention:
QUESTION: How then would you distinguish China from India?
TOFFLER: India is “democratic.” One wonders how democratic life is for its peasants, but it has at least the trappings of a Western democracy. Yet there are certain advantages to not being a democracy. I certainly don’t admire it, but China says, “We’re going to create a market economy,” and bang, everyone does it or else.
There may also be a religious basis for the difference between India and China. Hinduism propagated poverty as a virtue. China, as far as I know, never did that. And as we say in Revolutionary Wealth, people who pray for wealth may never get it, but cultures that pray for poverty usually get exactly what they pray for. [Emphasis added.]
It is not entirely Toffler’s fault that he believes that Hinduism propagates poverty as a virtue. After all, the English media portrays MK Gandhi with his emphasis on poverty as some sort of Hindu spiritual leader. Perhaps Toffler believes that the “Saint of the Gutters” M. Theresa with her insistence on the virtues of poverty (the poverty stricken love Jesus more) is some sort of Hindu icon. Again, thanks to the Indian media which perversely celebrates poverty.
Mr Toffler, time to get a reality check. Hindus most ardently worship Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Ask someone who knows what “Subh Labh,” which is seen in countless places of Hindu worship, means. Hindus quite vehemently reject equating poverty with saintliness or virtue.
He was doing alright as long as he was talking about information overload and the rapid pace of the rate of change. But then he decided to explain the difference between India and China on religious grounds. It is another example of a person carelessly straying out of his domain of expertise and stepping in horse doo-doo.