3rd September 2011
Arvind Kejriwal’s theory of the state #1
Assuming this is Kejriwals' theory (although not a comprehensive theory of state) let me note at the outset that its broad thrust – of greater local government and more direct representation – is almost entirely consistent with what I've been writing about (in terms of local government reforms). The classical liberal model is strongly compatible with subsidiarity.
However, Kejriwal goes overboard and makes too many wild assertions.
Thus, he says: "we inherited from the British too many of governmental systems that were wholly unsuited to our values and needs". These are fighting words – and might even represent some misguided Hindutva conservatism.
But remember, our Constitution was written ENTIRELY BY INDIANS. To suggest that India's constituent assembly was a bunch of fools who were merely copying institutions that the British had created, and merely created a system incompatible with "our values and needs" (whatever these are), is a serious error of fact.
Indeed, Kejriwal will be well advised to study the history of democracy and note that English democracy itself (which allowed universal suffrage only by 1928), was evolving even as India's democracy was designed a few decades later.
To suggest that we have merely copied UK's institutions or those it established in India is absurd. Ambedkar was eminently educated in law and economics, and was a great scholar. He brought the best of the English and American models to India. True, our current constitution is a hodge podge but it did represent state of knowledge of 1950. No better constitution existed then. The underlying model that is followed in India's constitution (Westminster system) works pretty well in England and Australia even today, for instance.
What Kejriwal forgets to note (and which I discussed in BFN) is that England has moved on in many ways (and others like Australia and New Zealand too) to more incentive-compatible models of governance. Even the Cornwallis reforms in India were diluted by socialists. Kejriwal doesn't seem to display a strong understanding of modern reforms in governance – nor the necessary change in incentives needed in India. I'd urge him to read BFN (and the online notes).
Finally, Kejriwal's handbill says: "In last 60 years, we have tried every political party and every politician. But things have gone from bad to worse. Merely changing parties and politicians won't help."
That's a SERIOUS MISREPRESENTATION. India DID NOT TRY "every" political party. It did NOT try any classical liberal political party – ONLY socialist parties. What can possibly be expected from socialist parties except "scheme raj" (the multiplicity of schemes to "remove poverty") and total misgovernance? Socialism is the underlying cause of India's misgovernance, but Kejriwal's paper doesn't even show the REMOTEST understanding of that. He imagines that simply by having more local power things will become miraculously better.
Once again I invite Kejriwal to read BFN and to consider revising his ideas to understand the causes of India's misgovernance.
There is NOTHING intrinsically wrong with India's model. It just needs to be modernised and made incentive-compatible. And we need to discard socialism in every form and shape. These "schemes" that Kejriwal talks of, must go.
– that's it for now; more comments on Kejriwal's theory later, as I read/understand more. Please send me comments/ links to relevant documents.
ADDENDUM 1 February 2014
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