Oh what a circus, oh what a show. Silicon Valley NRIs have gone to town. Over the visit of the Indian PM Narendra Modi.
Thousands have gathered in the SAP Center in San Jose, CA, to hear the great man speak. A lot of self-congratulatory speeches will be made, and the successes of NRIs in the US recounted. There is only one truth that will not be mentioned: that all these NRIs are in the US because they voted with their feet. They voted with their feet and came to the US because of what India is. This fact should actually shame Indians and its leaders. But instead they are oblivious to its implications. And it will be a cold day in hell when Indian leaders will ask themselves, these questions: “Why is it that so many hundreds of thousands of Indians vote with their feet? Why do they create wealth for themselves and for those foreign lands instead of creating wealth in India? Could it be because in India the government of India has put massive barriers to the creation of wealth?”
Dear PM Modi, when the circus is over, when the performers have done their song and dance, when the photos have been taken, when the NRIs have all patted themselves on a great event they made possible, do ponder the simple question of why are there so many NRIs? Because there is another phrase that describes these NRIs — economic refugees and economic migrants. When will India be such a place that there will be very few NRIs to welcome Indian politicians in foreign countries?
I don’t mean to rain on the parade but those questions need some attention if not a response.
I remain an NRI supporter of yours,
Governments of successful economies don’t create large corporations.
The economic prosperity of a country is usually the consequence of the economic freedom that its citizens have. Entrepreneurs create a large number of small enterprises. Some of these grow up to become giant globe-spanning multinationals not because of government largesse but because some of those small enterprises created value for its customers and grew organically as more people found its goods and services worth buying.
Google, Facebook, etc etc, were not conjured up by some politician, or a bureaucracy, or through government diktat, or any “Make in India” type marketing campaign. For large corporations to grow in India, what is needed is an environment that is conducive to the small enterprise. This will of course not happen because there’s little hoopla one can engage in by freeing the little guy.
Four days ago, Tuesday, I was in NJ. It was the end of a very hectic East coast visit. I returned the rental car around 9 AM. I had put around 1,500 miles (about 2,500 kms) on it doing trips to Washington DC, Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston. The Hyundai Elantra was comfortable and spacious but it handled turns rather uncertainly. Could have been due to the tires but it could also be because I am used to a firmer suspension on my Saab 9-3. Anyhow, the rest of the day was spent in transit from Newark NJ to San Jose CA on Southwest Airlines. The layover was in Austin TX, a city famous for its music (Austin City Limits).
Upon arrival late evening, I got to know that Yogi Berra had passed away that day in Caldwell NJ. Although I have no interest in baseball, I had always loved “Yogi Berra-isms”. Indeed, I consider knowing them as part of a complete American education. In the final exams I set for econ courses I have taught, I always included one bonus question for extra points: “What is your favorite Yogi Berra-ism?” I kid you not.
Prime Minister Modi is visiting the SF Bay area this weekend. Entreaties to “Make in India” will echo all around. Sadly, little attention has been given to why Indians themselves are unable to make in India, or even make it in India. Indians make it anywhere except in India. Particularly, Indians make it in the US. They are immensely successful as entrepreneurs and as top level managers in major corporations in the US. Why?
I wrote this in February earlier this year. Here it is, for the record.
My little visit to the East coast — which started very early in the morning of Thursday Sept 10th — ended when I arrived at San Jose on Tuesday 22nd night around 9 PM. I had an exciting visit which included a great deal of going places, meeting people, giving talks and generally having a good time. My colleague, Rajesh Jain from Mumbai, and I met lots of new people and discussed the work that we propose to do. I am sure that I will be writing about that in future blog posts. Right now, I am going to generally ramble on, a stream of consciousness kind of reporting.
I am going to be in the East coast — NYC, Edison NJ, Boston, Washington DC, and Philadelphia — over the next two weeks. I am making a couple of presentations at the Global Dharma Conference in Edison NJ. My presentations are on Sunday 13th Sept. Aside from that, my colleague Rajesh Jain and I will be traveling to meet people, visit institutions and universities such as George Mason University, Johns Hopkins, Columbia, MIT etc. I may even go visit the Brookhaven National Labs in Long Island for a bit.
Blogging, which is any case very slim, will get even sparser. Be well, go good work and keep in touch.
From Prager University: Was the Constitution written in a way that was designed to protect freedom and limit the government’s size? Has it been effective in doing that? And what’s the Supreme Court’s record when it comes to protecting our rights? Robert George, Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, answers these questions and more.
Here’s an interesting tweet
Sure, Indians are better known for being high-powered CEOs in foreign corporations than Pakistanis. Pakistanis tend to specialize more in the “peaceful” pursuits of high-powered terrorism, which is consistent with the fact that Pakistan is built on the peaceful foundation of the Religion of Peace. So naturally Pakistanis spread peace around the world.
As the population of the Religion of Peace grows in any place, it becomes more peaceful. In time, peace finally reigns. Syria is getting more peaceful by the day, to the point that people cannot take any more peace and are fleeing Syria. Heartbreaking stories of people drowning is merely the froth on a deep ocean of peace.
Enough of the Religion of Peace.
Time to once again ponder the question. Indians are obviously not incapable or stupid. So why are so many forced to migrate out of India to become successful? What’s it about India that Indians find it hard to be successful in India?
I have been poking around in The Federalist Papers recently. Written between October 1787 and August 1788, they are “a collection of 85 articles and essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay promoting the ratification of the United States Constitution.” Fascinating stuff. (The complete collection is here at the Library of Congress.) Here’s a bit from James Madison, Federalist, no. 39, on the matter of what a republic is:
. . . we may define a republic to be, or at least may bestow that name on, a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people; and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure, for a limited period, or during good behaviour. It is essential to such a government, that it be derived from the great body of the society, not from an inconsiderable proportion, or a favored class of it; otherwise a handful of tyrannical nobles, exercising their oppressions by a delegation of their powers, might aspire to the rank of republicans, and claim for their government the honorable title of republic.
Let’s remember that this was written around 1788. That over 225 years ago!