5th February 2019
Quotes and extracts from Sagarika Ghose’s “Why I Am a Liberal: A Manifesto for Indians Who Believe in Individual Freedom”
I’m making notes here, which will inform my book review:
SAGARIKA’S UNDERSTANDING OF LIBERALISM
â€œThe argument of this essay is in favour of social and economic liberalism in the belief that the two cannot be segregatedâ€
“The liberal, as we have been emphasizing, argues for a limited governmentâ€”a limited role for the stateâ€”for the primacy of individual freedom and individual enterprise to create welfare, uphold justice and to awaken societyâ€™s moral sense.”
“TheÂ marketÂ worksÂ preciselyÂ becauseÂ noÂ economicÂ actorÂ canÂ claimÂ omniscienceÂ orÂ claimÂ toÂ knowÂ exactlyÂ whatÂ allÂ consumersÂ want.Â Therefore,Â theÂ entrepreneurÂ seeksÂ toÂ findÂ incrementalÂ improvementsÂ toÂ aÂ productÂ hereÂ orÂ aÂ serviceÂ there.” [She is willing to have both the government and private sector compete in education and health. She does not agree to the state setting the school or university curriculum. However, she is not for full privatisation of these sectors.]
She rejects all identity politics and collectivism. “InÂ theÂ end,Â justiceÂ andÂ libertyÂ forÂ allÂ isÂ theÂ onlyÂ possibleÂ sustainableÂ politicsÂ thatÂ providesÂ aÂ permanentÂ dividend.” One can agree with her fully on this.
“YouthÂ todayÂ areÂ hungryÂ forÂ inspiringÂ idealism.Â IfÂ liberalsÂ canâ€™tÂ provideÂ it,Â power-brokersÂ willÂ fillÂ youngÂ mindsÂ andÂ useÂ themÂ asÂ cannonÂ fodderÂ forÂ theirÂ ownÂ narrowÂ politicalÂ games.”Â This is where liberalism should come in.
“IfÂ theÂ governmentÂ andÂ politiciansÂ remainÂ determinantsÂ ofÂ ourÂ culturalÂ andÂ moralÂ values,Â individualÂ moralityÂ willÂ disappearÂ downÂ theÂ drain,” One can fully agree with this
Following the tradition of Gandhianism and Trusteeship
â€œFor the purpose of this essay I have chosen to emphasize the Gandhian definition of the term â€˜liberalâ€™. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was, in many ways, the most successful liberal politician of all timeâ€. [Sanjeev: I have shown how Gandhi, in his deep disregard and ignorance for economics – he refused to read Adam Smith but criticised his work vehemently. He wanted to impose his personal opposition to technology on others. He wanted business to do things that may not be in its interest, such as “trusteeship“]
“NotÂ onlyÂ theÂ growthÂ ofÂ theÂ cakeÂ butÂ alsoÂ theÂ equitableÂ distributionÂ ofÂ theÂ cakeÂ isÂ alsoÂ whatÂ RajajiÂ meantÂ whenÂ heÂ spokeÂ ofÂ theÂ â€˜trusteeshipÂ ofÂ theÂ rich”
“TheÂ BigÂ State,Â alwaysÂ inÂ theÂ handsÂ ofÂ someÂ politicalÂ partyÂ orÂ anotherÂ withÂ itsÂ ownÂ motivesÂ andÂ ideologies,Â shouldÂ notÂ runÂ allÂ activitiesÂ thatÂ areÂ neededÂ forÂ peoplesâ€™Â welfareÂ asÂ amonopolisticÂ charityÂ paidÂ forÂ byÂ taxes.Â ThisÂ isÂ whereÂ Rajagopalachariâ€™sÂ notionÂ ofÂ trusteeshipÂ ofÂ theÂ richÂ [Sanjeev: this is originally Gandhi’s notion, not Rajaji’s]Â comesÂ inÂ whichÂ meansÂ theÂ wealthyÂ mustÂ setÂ upÂ institutionsÂ outÂ ofÂ aÂ senseÂ ofÂ socialÂ conscience.”
HER VIEWS ON POLITICAL PARTIES AND POLITICAL LIBERALISM
“Parties see the state or the government as a source of power, and seek to bribe or coerce citizens as a way only to retain power. When vote banks are the only prisms, individual citizens disappear from view. Only vote banks are visible, individual citizens are invisible.” [She has a good grasp on the idea of collectivism vs. individualism]
“TheÂ HighÂ CommandÂ structureÂ ofÂ partiesÂ isÂ reflexivelyÂ resistantÂ toÂ talentÂ becauseÂ talentÂ isÂ aÂ disruptiveÂ forceÂ andÂ impliesÂ aÂ threatÂ toÂ theÂ illiberalÂ SupremeÂ Leader.”
Where I don’t agree with her
“The â€˜sab neta chor haiâ€™ is a highly anti-democratic sentiment.”Â [I can understand where she is coming from, that everyone in government must be assumed to be innocent till proven guilty but Sagarika is wrong on this in the case of socialist India. I was within the IAS and I KNOW that all political leaders are crooks, even though some may not directly take bribes. The system MAKES THEM crooks (see Chapter 5 of my book, BFN). It is not anti-democratic to speak the truth]
HER POLITICAL VIEWS
She definitely does not take the side of any party. She has criticised all parties without pulling punches. Whether it is Indira Gandhi, Mamata Bannerjee, Dev Kant Barooah, Jayalalitha, Kejriwal – no one is spared.
Obviously, and for good reason, she focuses on the enormous failures and aggressions against liberty of the Modi government. One agrees with her on her entire political approach.
On the role of government
“theÂ benefitsÂ ofÂ yogaÂ areÂ undeniable,Â butÂ shouldÂ theÂ taxpayerâ€™sÂ moneyÂ beÂ spentÂ onÂ yogaÂ eventsÂ onÂ aÂ nationalÂ scale?” [One can fully agree on such matters with her]
She hits out very vigorously against Big Government, e.g.Â “TheÂ driveÂ acrossÂ theÂ worldÂ isÂ howÂ toÂ makeÂ governmentsÂ moreÂ transparentÂ andÂ accountableÂ toÂ citizens.Â InÂ sharpÂ contrastÂ todayÂ theÂ reverseÂ isÂ trueÂ inÂ India.Â ItÂ isÂ citizensÂ whoÂ areÂ forcedÂ toÂ beÂ moreÂ andÂ moreÂ transparentÂ andÂ accountableÂ toÂ government.” [This is really good]
On the defence of property rights
“ThinkÂ ofÂ theÂ hundredsÂ andÂ millionsÂ ofÂ cattleÂ inÂ India,Â includingÂ cowsÂ andÂ buffaloes.Â ShouldÂ farmersÂ notÂ beÂ freeÂ toÂ sellÂ themÂ onceÂ theyÂ haveÂ reachedÂ theÂ endÂ ofÂ theirÂ productiveÂ period?AreÂ theseÂ rulesÂ notÂ anÂ assaultÂ onÂ theÂ propertyÂ rightsÂ ofÂ farmers?”
She has only a limited discussion on governance. Nothing on electoral reforms, nothing on administrative system reforms. But there is a discussion on shutting down some Ministries.
- She argues for shutting down HRD and I&B Ministries [But she seems to support making AIR/Doordarshan independent like BBC but that’s a really bad idea. They should be shut down. Period.]
HER VIEWS ON SOCIAL LIBERALISM
“AÂ freeÂ mindÂ isÂ aÂ necessaryÂ preconditionÂ forÂ aÂ freeÂ market.”Â “Respect for dissent is the hallmark of the liberal.” “The crackdown on humour and satire has taken place across political lines, and â€˜secularâ€™ governments have been as repressive as â€˜nationalistâ€™ ones.”Â She laments India’s extremely low levels of press freedom.Â The book has an extensive discussion regarding censorship/ banks and such restrictions onÂ individual choice (except in schools and health). She is obviously against any internet shut downs. (“InÂ 2017,Â theÂ InternetÂ wasÂ shutÂ downÂ sixty-nineÂ times,Â theÂ maximumÂ numberÂ ofÂ shutdownsÂ takingÂ placeÂ inÂ JammuÂ andÂ Kashmir”).
“theÂ questionÂ arisesÂ ofÂ whetherÂ governmentsÂ existÂ toÂ â€˜protectÂ sentimentsâ€™.Â IfÂ theÂ stateÂ canÂ banÂ goatÂ slaughterÂ forÂ mutton,Â isÂ thisÂ oneÂ stepÂ awayÂ fromÂ hypotheticallyÂ banningÂ theÂ azaanÂ inmosquesÂ becauseÂ â€˜sentimentsÂ ofÂ Hindusâ€™Â areÂ beingÂ hurt,Â orÂ hypotheticallyÂ banningÂ DurgaÂ PujaÂ celebrationsÂ becauseÂ â€˜sentimentsÂ ofÂ iconoclastsâ€™Â areÂ beingÂ hurt,Â orÂ banningÂ theÂ saleÂ ofalcoholÂ becauseÂ â€˜sentimentsÂ ofÂ teetotallersâ€™Â areÂ beingÂ hurt?Â IsÂ theÂ BigÂ State,Â aÂ guardianÂ ofÂ sentiments?”
I also agree with her view that: “TheÂ anti-defectionÂ lawÂ isÂ anotherÂ instanceÂ ofÂ â€˜illiberalÂ secularismâ€™â€”howÂ secularÂ governmentsÂ haveÂ oftenÂ takenÂ illiberalÂ actions.”
HER VIEWS ON ECONOMIC LIBERALISM
Where I agree with her
“The Modi years have seen the growth of a massive government whose every new initiative is bringing ever more layers of officialdom, inspectors, permits and rules. It has been called â€˜saffron socialismâ€™ in full bloom, a Big State unwilling to let go of, say, the banking sector or even properly set Air India free from control even as it offers it for sale.”
“ModiÂ promisedÂ â€˜minimumÂ government,Â maximumÂ governanceâ€™Â butÂ suddenlyÂ theÂ HindutvaÂ nationalistÂ stateÂ seemsÂ toÂ beÂ aÂ monsterÂ state,Â itsÂ fingerÂ inÂ everyÂ pieÂ fromÂ educationÂ toÂ cultureÂ toÂ yogaÂ toÂ foodÂ choices.Â ThisÂ isÂ anÂ evenÂ largerÂ governmentÂ structureÂ thanÂ theÂ oneÂ createdÂ byÂ IndiraÂ Gandhi.”
She is strongly critical of the slow disinvestment process.
Where I differ with her
“TheÂ journeyÂ toÂ prosperityÂ throughÂ theÂ marketÂ mayÂ needÂ toÂ beÂ balancedÂ withÂ governmentÂ responsibilitiesÂ inÂ educationÂ andÂ public health,Â inÂ theÂ formÂ ofÂ theÂ democraticÂ welfareÂ state.TheÂ liberalÂ isÂ open-minded onÂ theÂ needÂ forÂ theÂ governmentÂ toÂ shoulderÂ itsÂ responsibilities.Â PureÂ marketÂ economics,Â asÂ pragmaticÂ liberalsÂ understand,Â couldÂ inÂ someÂ instancesÂ drasticallyÂ widenÂ inequalityÂ without,Â asÂ AmartyaÂ SenÂ pointsÂ out,Â accompanyingÂ publicÂ investmentÂ inÂ healthÂ andÂ education.”… “the struggle against injustice has to be connected with constructive demands for basic entitlements.â€™ The delivery of these basic entitlements do need to be addressed by governments.”
These are pretty loose statements. There are no entitlements. There can be a social insurance program. Further, I object to citing socialist Amartya Sen on matters (such as education) where his ignorance is colossal. She needs to read James Tooley at the minimum, if not Friedman and my work.
“whatÂ isÂ neededÂ isÂ toÂ dismantleÂ theÂ entireÂ systemÂ ofÂ controlsÂ whichÂ isÂ creatingÂ andÂ sustainingÂ theseÂ disastrousÂ shortagesÂ inÂ theÂ supplyÂ ofÂ qualityÂ higherÂ education.Â WhenÂ theÂ supplyÂ ofÂ higherÂ educationÂ isÂ leftÂ entirelyÂ toÂ theÂ government,Â howÂ canÂ thereÂ beÂ equalityÂ ofÂ opportunityÂ givenÂ thatÂ demandÂ farÂ outstripsÂ supply?” This is good.
But she is happy for AIIMS type institutes to be set up by government:Â “education is a sector from which the government cannot and should not escape responsibility.”Â “BothÂ theÂ UPAÂ andÂ NDAÂ governmentsÂ committedÂ toÂ creatingÂ moreÂ AIIMS-likeÂ institutions,Â butÂ theÂ promisesÂ haveÂ notÂ beenÂ met.” ][This is entirely wrong. The government should not be involved in setting up or managing any educational institution.]
But I do note that she’s at least asking the question: “YetÂ theÂ liberalÂ mustÂ alsoÂ raiseÂ theÂ question:Â isnâ€™tÂ firstÂ nationalizingÂ educationÂ andÂ thenÂ expectingÂ thatÂ theÂ autonomyÂ ofÂ thoseÂ nationalizedÂ (orÂ government-controlled)Â educationalÂ institutionsÂ willÂ beÂ respectedÂ aÂ bitÂ ofÂ aÂ pipeÂ dream?”
She then identifies the gurukul system of India: “PremodernÂ IndiaÂ didnâ€™tÂ reallyÂ haveÂ anyÂ institutionsÂ ofÂ higherÂ learningÂ beyondÂ theÂ gurukul,”
Sagarika cites Yascha Mounk and in fact recommended (when I met her in October 2018) that I read him. I have commented briefly here on Mounk.
EXCERPTS FROM HER BOOK
Taken from here.
Throughout India’s post-Independence history, the Big State or Big Government has constantly sought to increase and centralize its powers at the expense of citizens’ individual freedoms. Jawaharlal Nehru, even though he was an idealistic constitutional democrat, created the policy and intellectual space for the Big State because of his belief in a socialistic centrally planned economy. Indira Gandhi used agencies of state power, such as ministries and parliamentary institutions to push her ‘Indira revolution’. The Narendra Modi-led BJP has taken state power to new maximalist heights to create a government that pushes its own socioeconomic ideological priorities, through many government agencies. The administrative prowess of the Big State inevitably tends to weaken due to gross government overreach.
As Mahatma Gandhi warned, the danger with the expansion of the powers of the state is that it comes with the expansion of the government’s capacity to use coercion. Coercion takes various forms such as denial of various permissions and harassment of citizens by officials. The government is the only entity in a democracy that is legally empowered to use force and carry weapons. Thus, when the power of this legally armed entity increases exponentially, citizens have reasons to worry. Those of us enamoured of the ‘danda’ to rule India only need to wait until the blow of the danda falls on our own heads to really understand what it feels like. The Big State’s capacity for violence needs to be powerfully checked by the rule of law and solid constitutional safeguards on the limits of power. If it is not, then violence tends to become normalized, even legitimized, with the continuous expansion of the state because the state or government begins to coerce citizens to impose its own priorities.
Also, once it has expanded, since the state still can’t satisfy everybody, some groups are inevitably left out, leading to disaffection – as we have seen in the Jat, Patidar and Maratha protests. This sense of injustice and frustration begins to grow when some groups get state benefits and some don’t.
The Big State is invariably in the grip of the ruling party, and when the government or state becomes too powerful, politicians who control this Big State gain enormous powers over citizens’ lives. As Gandhi believed, the more power is centralized in the government, the more is the government’s potential for unleashing violence and coercion on its own citizens.
Government powers can be used to arrest cartoonists, imprison dissenters, harass citizens through government agencies, deny the cause of justice when ruling party politicians are involved in illegalities (as we have seen in riot cases), give government agencies the power to stage armed ‘encounter’ killings or killings outside the judicial process, deny passports, cancel FCRA licences for NGOs, slap sedition charges on students, writers and intellectuals and come up with policies that take a severe toll on citizens’ well- being.
Censorship can be imposed, hate-speak can be deployed from the bully pulpit and public places can be summarily shut down. Amartya Sen has called the demonetization drive of the Modi government a ‘despotic act…an act that undermines notes, undermines bank accounts, undermines the entire economy of trust.’
Why does a big government tend to cause alienation? This is because a Big Government creates a feeling of loss of individual agency and that one is being controlled by vested interests, elites, power brokers, et al. Citizens feel powerless. Citizens also experience a growing sense of frustration that even though theoretically in a democracy they are told they are the masters of the government, yet in reality, they are not able to get the government to deliver for them or meet their expectations or make politicians fulfil their promises.
This leads to even greater support for populist leaders to rise, on the plank of the disaffection created by the Big Government, which in the end only benefits those in power. Populists seize on the inability of the state to deliver, but when they come to power they put in place their own set of controls. The end result is that the scope and arbitrariness of state power or government power only keeps expanding.
What’s the answer? What’s the right combination in the role of the government? The liberal, like the thinkers in Hindu traditions, believes it is the quest for answers which is more important than the answer itself. When we seek answers, we don’t deny that knowledge is not possible but that it is contextual, so even if we hold strongly to our beliefs, we cannot become blind or dogmatic; we should be willing to test our ideas, respect the right to dissent and not forcibly impose ideas. This is why liberals, as a first principle, seek a limited government, not a Big Government which curtails individual freedoms in personal, social, economic and political choices. Often, absolute certainty among central planners or despots inevitably leads to disruption of individual freedom and economic markets. Choice becomes redundant and citizens are deemed nothing more than sheep to be guided and deployed for whatever reason the planner or supreme leader thinks appropriate.
The answer is not in Big Government or statist solutions or in asking for government protection but in ourselves and the power of what we can do together. This means realizing the importance of liberal, democratic citizenship. The idea of India as we have seen is neither nationalist nor political, instead it is civilizational. It’s an idea that harks to the pluralist ancient genius of a subcontinent where freedom, iconoclasm and rebellion have always been celebrated, an idea that tries to be a beacon in the world. The subcontinent’s long tryst with individual liberty and autonomy was a tradition that Gandhi and our liberal ancestors reignited for the modern era.
Brilliant minds down the years – scientists, doctors, engineers, social scientists-have often believed they had the ultimate answers and should refashion society according to their ideas. A belief in certainty led to many ways of ordering society – along communist or fascist lines. Yet, in subcontinental Hindu, Bhakti and Sufi thought, it has always been the search that was primary, the quest for knowledge; the humility that we do not have knowledge and must constantly seek it was the core belief. Hinduism doesn’t provide answers, it provides only ways to seek answers; the quest for answers prevents us from being trapped in blind certainty. Similarly, liberal democracy is a way of dialogue and argument and counter-argument to create possible answers.
The expansion of the Big State triggers authoritarian impulses among people and a political player soon turns up, willing to ride that authoritarian horse and gallop to power. In many ways, Congress-led dispensations have been ‘soft’ Big States that failed to adequately devolve power. These ‘soft’ Big States laid the ground for the rise of an even greater statist force like the Modi-led BJP or the Hindutva-led ‘hard’ Big State.
Are we aware of who some of the most liberal sections of Indian society are? Those who have been campaigning long and hard for their individual freedom? No, these are not feminists or JNU students, writers, journalists or activists, The are instead certain
communities of fanners, the humble kisana. In March 2018, the Kisan Coordination Committee released in eight-point charter of demands calling for open markers and just prices.
The charter was released by followers of the late farm sector leader and liberal Sharad Anantrao Joshi. Joshi spent most of his lift exposing the injustices heaped on farmers by caging them in all manner of laws and restrictions. The charter calls for the liberalization of agriculture, the end of government intervention in the farm economy, scrapping of the National Food Security Act, direct benefit transfers to the poor, free trade in farm products and the removal of restrictions in creating rural land markets.
Joshi was one of Indiaâ€™s pioneering liberals. He was an urbane, brilliant Syndenham College and Switzerland-educated United Nations diplomat, returned to India to become the most vocal economic liberal of the farm sector. He founded the farmersâ€™ union, the Shetkari Sangathana, in 1979. Joshi had always advocated free enterprise in the rural economy and while in Parliament famously tabled a private member legislation demanding that the ideology [SOME TYPO HERE] Donâ€™t the people of India have a right to choose whether they want to be ruled by a socialist party, capitalist party or liberal party? Joshi believed this clause effectively bars liberal parties from contesting elections. Interestingly, the Janata Party was Indira Gandhiâ€™s sworn enemy but was ideologically almost exactly on the same page as her uber-socialism. While Indiraâ€™s Congress had moved to dilute property rights to actively intervene in the private sector. the Janata Party in 1976 deleted the fundamental right to property altogether. The socialism clause in the Representation of the People Act is yet another illiberal aberration inserted by the Rajiv Gandhi government and needs to be debated. It effectively bars all those who do not want to swear allegiance to socialism, from contesting elections.
Joshi set up the Shetkari Sangathana to oppose farm subsidies, demand remunerative prices for farm produce and gain access to markets and technology. Why is it, Joshi asked, that while finance and industry were deemed worthy of liberalization, agriculture was not? Agriculture is the largest private sector in India. Yet, it is completely ignored when it comes to economic liberalization and ease of doing business!
For too long, the kisan has been trapped in a time warp of the statist politiciansâ€™ imagination, He is seen as a figure seated calmly and wisely next to fields of waving paddy, wearing colourful clothes and uttering profound and simple phrasesâ€”the constant â€˜Otherâ€™ of city folk. The â€˜kisanâ€™ is seen as a representative of an unchanging rural idyll which must be cossetted and protected by successive governments, preserved in a glass case like a museum piece. The ideal underlying â€˜Jai jawan, jai kisanâ€™ has degenerated in the hands of successive generations of politicians who pay lip-service to both groups, only to keep them dependent on state handouts, robbing them of their basic dignity.
Liberals, on the other Hand, argue that the farmer must be set free. The farmer must be freed from land ceiling laws and land conversion laws. The absence of clear titles and deeds means that there can be no free buying and selling of land and there is still no proper market for land. Thus, a farmer cannot maximise his holdings or farm his fields productively as he cannot freely buy and sell. If he builds his own ponds and check dams he could violate drainage laws as per the Northern India Canal and Drainage Art of 1873. If he takes his produce across state boundaries he could be in violation of the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee Act (APMC) or Mandl Act enacted almost fifty years ago, which states the requirement of separate trading licences for every mandi. Farmers can therefore sell to traders only with a licence for a particular market.
While the fruits of liberalizing industry are clear, no thought is given to liberalizing agriculture. An arsenal or legislation prevents farmers from realizing their productive potential because statist policymakers cannot set them free and instead only make them theÂ target of populist hand-outs.
Why is it crucial to recognize farmersâ€™ individual rights? Joshi campaigned for politicians to respect the farmersâ€™ right to trade, sell and make a profit. Joshi wanted FTI in the farm sector, along with the latest seeds and technology. He also wanted to give farmers the option of exiting the farm sector if they want to. Joshiâ€™s key realization was that the woes of fanners were the result of a gross misperception that farming was an ancient lifestyle rather than a
serious modern profession. This mindset has led to the desire on the park of the Big State to â€˜protectâ€™ farmers. Endless red tape has been offered as a lifeline, but it has only bound their hands and legs.
Instead of individual freedom, farmers have been trapped in government policy and are always subservient to the government. The Modi government promised to double farm income in five years by 2022. Yet there have been a spate of farmer suicicles. In April 2017, fanners from Tamil Nadu stripped naked in front of Prime Minister Modiâ€™s office and even consumed their own faeces. A mammoth protest march poured into Mumbai in March 2018, in which 35,000 farmers across Maharashtra covered 180 kin on foot over five days.
A range of controls bears down on the Indian farmer. Not only is he unable to freely buy and sell land, but the prices of his crops are fixed by the government. His wherewithal to farm (such as water, fertilizers and seeds) is either unavailable or of poor quality, and he is thus perpetually tethered to poverty. Writes columnist Swaminathan Aiyar, â€˜Farmers should be treated as producers with internationally competitive potential, not as objects of charityâ€¦ a national strategy on agriculture should include, creating good land records, financial infrastructure and moves to give cash grants per acre per yearâ€
Joshiâ€™s cry was always to set the farmer free from all the controls he labours under, as if to argue, donâ€™t keep us trapped in a home like a bride. Let us come into the world and see what we can do. He said: â€˜We donâ€™t want alms, we want the price of our sweat and toil.â€™ To reiterate a quote from a policy paper written for a Round Table Conference held by a group of Indian liberals in Deolali in lune 2018:
â€œThe economic reforms. which began in the 1990s focused only on non-farm sectors. Indian agriculture was overlooked once more. Indian agriculture is the largest private sector in the country. Yet nearly three decades after the initiation of economic reforms, almost every aspect of agriculture, from land, to crops, inputs, credit, prices, access to market, logistics, value addition, to domestic and international trade, remain captive in a regulatory maze. Consequently, the largest sections of people have experienced little benefit from so-called reform policies, and not surprisingly there is little popular appreciation or support for economic liberalization. Therefore, each small step can only be taken stealthily or surreptitiously, often by sugar coating through subsidies and handouts, which ends up opening new doors for corruption and cronyism, deepening the popular disenchantment with the political process. The farmer is.chained to poverty and then offered charity from the government.â€