I had named the first blog I ever had way back in 2001 when I was at UC Berkeley, “Life is a Random Draw.” It was in recognition of the fact that the endowment we are born with (and where) is something that we have no control over; it is truly a random draw from the great big pack of cards in the sky. You are stuck with this naturally inherited set and it powerfully determines your destiny. But wait, there’s more. What you can do with your natural endowment is limited by the environment you find yourself in — that too is random.
Life experiences, successes and failures are all subject to where you are born. For example, a person born in a poor backward impoverished country will have a much lower standard of living and lower life expectancy than another with the same endowments born in a rich advanced country. Where you are born matters.
The Economist of Nov 21, 2012 had an interesting article, “The lottery of life: Where to be born in 2013“. (Hat tip: Nitin Pai.) They asked the question, “which country will be the best for a baby born in 2013?” and to answer it, they created a quality-of-life index from “subjective life-satisfaction surveys—how happy people say they are.” The results are not all that surprising. Broadly speaking, it is better to be born in a rich country than in a poor country.
Here are the results for 2013.
I would definitely go for Switzerland but I don’t care that much for Australia even though it ranks second only to Switzerland. Although the US is ranked 16th, I would go for the US rather than Australia. Perhaps it is because I like living in the US.
I am surprised to see U.A.E. in the top quartile. But otherwise I find nothing surprising in the placements in general. China is 49th — and I am certain that it will move up as the years roll by. India is at 66th and I am also certain that it will probably end up in the bottom in a few years, competing with Pakistan (75th) and Bangladesh (77th). There’s something toxic about the Indian subcontinent. (Hint: it has something to do with a desert religion.)
For comparison, there’s the 1988 survey that The Economist conducted. They compiled 11 economic and socio-political criteria such as GDP per capita, human rights, literacy, and even what they call a “philistine factor”. Here is the table:
Only 48 countries are ranked in this 1988 survey, as compared to the 80 ranked in the more serious 2012 survey. It provides a base-line for understanding the trend. India in 1988, for example, was ranked 27th, ahead of China at 32nd. Thanks to India’s UPA government, India has slipped far below China — and as I claim above, India is likely to continue its slide thanks to Dr Manmohan Singh and his Italian boss Antonia Maino (aka Sonia Gandhi.) Let’s not talk about Pakistan (ranked 43rd) and Bangladesh (does not make the list at all.)
This kind of ranking is not too be taken too seriously, of course. However, while these may not be absolutely accurate, they do point to some truth, some trend that we should be mindful of. India’s slide down the list is not an illusion but rather a reality.
The mainstream media will not point to this inarguable sign of decline under the UPA because they are paid to misdirect and mislead. But we have to take note and worry. Not just worry, we must do something to avert the disaster that awaits us.
Right now India is not a great place to be born in. That’s so because Indians have made really poor choices, and the most significant of those poor choices is in its choice of leaders like Manmohan Singh and the Italian Antonia Maino aka Sonia Gandhi.