People all across the world are just the same. Granted there are cultural, geographical, climatic, water and mineral endowment differences among various nations but those differences are not as stark as the differences in economic performance and the level of prosperity. A Somali (2021 annual per capita income of $130) is not by mere nature and nurture alone 645 times less capable of producing wealth compared to a Swiss (2021 annual per capita income of $83,832).
What factor determines the relative differences in the wealth of nations? Much of it is explained by the quality of the institutions that nations have. The most critical institution is the government. If the government is incompetent, meaning if the quality of the people in government is poor, then it is unlikely that the people would flourish. There’s no escaping that dismal conclusion. Incompetence in government is fatal for a nation.
Of course that raises the question about the causal link between government competency and the general competency of the people. I believe the causation is bi-directional: incompetent people cause government incompetence, and incompetent government leads to incompetent people. It’s hard to escape this vicious circle. Sometimes external shocks can break the link but they are rare events. Be that it may, you can be absolutely certain that incompetent people in government does not bode well for the nation.
Watch this astounding level of incompetency and marvel at it. The man exemplifies ignorance and incompetence.
Prakash Javdekar is the “Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change.” The man’s demonstrated that he’s an ignorant moron. It would be a miracle if he knew anything more about those domains than the average illiterate 10-year old. Yet, he is in charge of making decisions in those areas. Every idiotic mistake he makes in policy formulation would cost India hundreds of billions of dollars. With his all-encompassing ignorance, it is impossible for him to not make terrible mistakes. But he gets to make those decisions because the people who appointed him as the minister are themselves not competent. Class A people appoint competent people as their subordinates; class B people appoint class C people, and so on. The rot begins at the top.
Unfortunately, Javdekar’s idiocy is not a trivial matter. He and people of his caliber are responsible for the poverty of hundreds of millions of people. His lineage started with “Pandit” Nehru — arguably the architect of India’s poverty post 1947. Most of the people in charge of the hundreds of Indian ministries (most of them are totally unnecessary and, what’s worse, they waste public assets) are uninformed, ignorant and stupid. They make policies and even run public sector enterprises. Is it any wonder that the public sector bleeds India?
In passing we have to note the difference between the public and private sectors. In the private sector, a firm has to have competent management. If the board of directors are a bunch of retards, then the company goes out of business, and the investors and shareholders lose their money. Therefore, the board has to be competent enough to select the most competent CXOs, or they are toast.
Not so in the public sector. When (note I write when and not if) a public sector firm loses money, the public pays and the managers get to keep their jobs. They don’t pay for their incompetency. Javdekar will have his fancy big house in Lutyens’ Delhi and live lavishly with hundreds of servants and guards, and travel around in first class — all paid for by the Indian citizens most of whom are poor — even though he is an incompetent idiot. You can quote me on that.
I should note that stupidity and ignorance are quite universal. At the head of this post is an example from the US. But the Discovery Institute is a private organization and has nothing to do with the government of the United States. The DI can be as idiotic as it wishes. No one really cares. It gets the ridicule that it deserves. But not so in India. Indians tolerate the most atrocious idiocy and the most blatant corruption in their politicians. Javdekar would have been run out of town on a rail in the US.
I am not a fan of the US federal government (to be frank, I dislike all governments) but at least they don’t put total asses in charge of governmental agencies. For instance, to be appointed the Secretary of Defense, the appointee has to have domain knowledge of defense matters. Here’s the current US Sec of Defense:
Lloyd J. Austin III is the 28th secretary of defense, sworn in on Jan. 22, 2021. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., Austin served 41 years in uniform, retiring as a four-star Army general after three years as commander of U.S. Central Command.
A 4-star Army general who served 41 years in uniform. He earned his position.
Compare that to the various “Minister of Defense, India.” Not one of them ever served in the armed forces for even one day. It would be astonishing if any of them ever held a rifle in their hands. The current minister of defense is Rajnath Singh, a career politician. I guess he knows as much about India’s national defense as you or I know about Chinese calligraphy.
Test your knowledge of Chinese calligraphy here. Which one of the two images is right side up? I cannot tell.
Competency, expertise and domain knowledge matter enormously in general. It becomes a matter of life and death when it comes to governance. Sadly, in the case of India, incompetency rules the roost.
It’s all karma, neh?