Personality Cult Disorder and the Naming of Roads

Getting around in most Indian cities is no cake walk given the awful traffic. What makes the experience worse is that quite frequently addresses are hard to locate. I was in Delhi recently and was trying to locate L-1/18 in Hauz Khas Enclave. It is never easy. I’ve been there about half a dozen times, and each time it involved a good deal of driving around because the numbering is random and unpredictable.

Why Indians have not figured out the simple street numbering system used in much of the world is a mystery to me. Another mystery is the naming of streets. Street names manifest what I call a “personality cult disorder” or PCD.

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Wealth of Nations — Part 5: Markets

I like to quote Ludwig von Mises to my socialist friends (who also do double-duty as the enemies of humanity in keeping with their ideology). Mises wrote, “A man who chooses between drinking a glass of milk and a glass of a solution of potassium cyanide does not choose between two beverages; he chooses between life and death. A society that chooses between capitalism and socialism does not choose between two social systems; it chooses between social cooperation and the disintegration of society. Socialism is not an alternative to capitalism; it is an alternative to any system under which men can live as human beings.”

Socialism Equals Misery

That it’s not mere exaggeration and hyperbole is clear from the fate of socialist economies, both contemporary and of the past. Socialism impoverishes nations. But why? Because socialism does not use markets to conduct economic activities. Instead of voluntary exchange in free markets, socialism uses force and coercion, command and control. That leads invariably to the disintegration of society.

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Friends of Poverty, not the Poor

The Politicians’ Masters

Visiting India for even a short while reminds me of a favorite quote from Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784). In his 1775 work Taxation No Tyranny he pointed out the terrible hypocrisy of the American leaders who were fighting for their freedom from the British. Johnson asked, “How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?”

I ask, how is it that we hear the loudest yelps of concern for the poor from those who engineer the very poverty that the poor endlessly suffer?

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On Islamic Banking

I was recently asked my opinion on Islamic banking. I know next to nothing about that. I am told that it is against Islamic principles to charge interest on loans. As a liberal, I take the position that people ought to be free to do whatever they want with their property. They should be free to lend their money at whatever interest they want (including zero interest or a million percent interest.) The only condition is that there must be no coercion involved.

Therefore, anyone who is handing out interest free loans out of their own wealth will find a willing borrower in me. Although it is obvious that giving out interest-free loans is an idiotic thing to do, I don’t believe it is anyone’s business to force people to avoid folly.

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Did You Agree to be Bound by the Constitution?

Some time ago I published the draft of a “Constitution for a Free India(click to read, right-click to download pdf) which I propose should replace the current Indian constitution. In the preamble of the draft, it says —

“… The people of India as the principals agree unanimously through this constitution to empower as their agents governments at the national and state levels which shall carry out the legitimate wishes of the people as expressed by their political choices in elections. … “

What does “agree unanimously” mean and imply? When you agree to something, you give your consent, assent. Agreeing implies coming to a common understanding or arrangement. Continue reading