Thoughts on economics and liberty

Author: Sanjeev Sabhlok

Let’s get this very clear. India is definitely a Third World (and slave) country

Addendum: New York Times published this: Holding Your Breath in India on 29 May 2015. In response a First Post writer said “Delhi is literally a shithole; but so is all of India“.

In Jan-Feb 2019 I visited India and was so disgusted it will take me serious mental effort to return to India, e.g. see my videos here and here.

===Back to my original January 2011 writeup===

There seems to be an exaggerated sense of pride – bordering on delusion – among at least some of India’s educated “elite”. Some of them claim that India – a Third World nation by ALL objective standards – is already a world super-power! If only wishes were horses.

Note that, as I wrote in the past on this blog, India is “Third World, even though most of its people are first rate.” The fact of the matter is that it is not the people but their leaders – and it is not what they do but the systems they create – that matter. India has a deeply problematic governance system that leads to the worst possible outcome for its millions of people. Instead of being ENORMOUSLY WEALTHY and HONEST as a nation, they have been converted into the garbage bin of the world. A more filthy part of the world can’t be imagined – physically and (at least as far is governance is concerned) morally. [See pics here]

True, at one time I too used to be annoyed with this term, “Third World”. But then I discovered that there is a huge difference between a developing country and a Third World country. A developing country genuinely aspires to develop. Singapore, Taiwan, S. Korea – 50 years ago – were developing countries. They sought to apply world-best policies and create HONEST societies. Hong Kong and Singapore are more honest than even the well known Western societies. But India was a Third World country from day one, or at least after Sardar Patels’ death. Third World countries are genuinely third rate in virtually every way. They are arrogant and refuse to learn. They boast about tiny worthless “victories”. They delude themselves at every step. Their deplorable performance in virtually everything tells the true story about them. 40 years after Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong rose to wealth from virtually nothing, India remains a miserable mess. And struts about on the world stage imagining itself to be a peacock!

If anyone thinks that India is not a third rate country today – then please read on!

I cite (as one of many such examples) the recent comments made by Ravi – a highly educated, active and otherwise highly perceptive commentator on this blog. In the past some of Ravi’s comments have been very perceptive, such as this one: “Very useful article Sanjeev. Really enjoyed it. Its true that critical thinking is lacking in even educated people nowadays.” Clearly, Ravi appreciates the need for greater objective critical thinking. (Or at least that is what this comment implies). So far so good.

But then Ravi posted four comments (on four different blog posts on the same issue – that India is apparently not a Third World nation) that made me pause. I decided to publish all his comments separately. They are published below, along with my analysis.

In my view, denying that India is a Third World country – as Ravi desperately seeks to do –doesn’t hide the truth about India. Satyameva jayate. The Truth Always Triumphs. You can’t hide the truth.

Anyone without coloured glasses can see the obvious reality of India – daily, along any railway line: rows of people defecating. 55% of Indians defecate in the open even today. Ravi, you may have a rich family that can afford a toilet. More than HALF of the Indians can’t afford a toilet. (Also hear what Narayanan Krishna of Madurai saw – an old man eating human feces). OPEN YOUR EYES, RAVI! Or at least your nose.

Note: This post is not written only to debate withRavi, but to highlight to all those who are educated and deluded, the need to become aware of the TRUTH. “Education” is of no use unless our young people learn to observe the truth and speak the truth. Moral standards a crucial. Accepting world-leading corruption as part of daily life or brushing it under the carpet (as Ravi tries to do do in his comments – see green highlight) reeks of deplorable moral standards that are the shame of humanity.

True, India COULD become a great nation, and MAY even become one, but NOT the way it has been going about it for 60 years. The far-reaching governance reforms India needs are so daunting and so distant from its current reality that India is GUARANTEED to remain a Third World nation under its current dispensation.

That is why I write. That is why FTI exists. – to change this deplorable situation. If, however, you feel this is PERFECT, then God save India.


The third world behaviour of India towards its entrepreneurs

India ranks a low 134 among 187 countries in terms of the human development index

Addendum: Reflections On India by Sean Paul Kelley

Below is not a developed country but the worst Third World nation: North Korea. I suppose India is now the Fourth World.


“I am just going to comment on the use of the word “third world” in your post. I have often heard and read people in the west use this term in a derogatory manner. I hope you haven’t used this term in that way, or have you been referred to a third world citizen constantly in Australia, that you have started believing that you are a third world citizen in a derogatory manner. Have some self respect for god’s sake. Being critical is something, but you sound pathetic with words like that. India may suck in many ways, but not from where I see it.

I feel Australia sucks with its sick social order, unemployable youth, violence, racism both institutional and otherwise etc. For people like you any english speaking white country is a godzone. Give me a break for gods sake.

People like you are the ones who give too much importance to countries like Australia, than they really deserve. I have hope for India and am proud of India for whatever little it has achieved unlike you. I get hurt when people use “third world” to refer to India cause this term has been just invented by the academics in the west to most probably misuse it, like you have just done.

I have been living in so called OECD developed “first world” for last 8 years and I know parts of India are far better than the country I am in and parts of “first world” are far worse than India. India is on its way to become at least a mid level power by 2025. Your ranting like a desparado is not going to stop it.

First, India’s emergence as a superpower will show that itis possible to lift millions of people out of poverty within one generationwhile embracing pluralism, a free press and a vibrant multiparty democracy. Most analysts predict that, over the next two decades, India’s GDP will grow at a faster pace than China’s. As the world’s fastest-growing large economy on a sustained basis, India’s rise will put to rest the idea that a command-and-control political system is the only viable route to rapid economic growth and that democracy is somehow antithetical to rapid economic growth.

Second, India has the potential to serve as a leading example of how to combine rapid economic growth with fairness towards and inclusion of those at the bottom rungs of the ladder. In a democratic system such as India’s where even the poorest people exercise their political rights actively, fairness and inclusion will be even more critical for social stability than in China. As it becomes a great power, these values will likely become an enduring part of the country’s DNA.

Third, the prospects are high that, by 2025, India will likely emerge as one of the world’s least corrupt developing economies.While widespread corruption is a reality in almost all developing economies (as well as some of the developed ones), India is one of the very few developing economies with a free press that continues to be vigilant and merciless in exposing the corruption. It is very likely that a vigilant and free press will ensure that the likelihood of getting away with corruption will decline rapidly – with salutary deterrent effects.

Fourth, India will likely emergeas one of the world’s leaders in leveraging information technology (IT) to boost the effectiveness and efficiency of its institutions – the corporations, the government and as well as civil society organisations. As 3G and 4G wireless connectivity becomes widespread over the next five years, it is a near-certainty that we’ll see a rapid diffusion of low-cost tablet computers along with free or near-free applications aimed at self-learning, mobile banking as well as commercial productivity. India in 2025 could well emerge as one of the world’s most connected and IT-savvy societies.

Fifth, India will almost certainly become a leading example of efficient resource utilisation, especially in energy. India relies on imports for a bigger proportion of its oil & gas needs than any other large emerging economy. The situation is likely to get worse, with sustained growth.


you said “In many third world nations like India, these artefacts will likely be stolen and/or melted/ sold in the black market”

So you have proof that many artefacts in museams in India are duplicate etc. They are not properly managed. I think small nations like Australia can only dream of having big (both the size of the building and the value of the artefacts) like the ones in Calcutta Museam etc. As far as I have heard they are well looked after and safe in India. So may be in third world countries its not looked after, but India is not a third world country in whatever way you define “third world”, so its is well looked after.

Your arguments are sounding just as silly as your 80’s education with the terms you have been using. Look at what happens when people in position calls India “third world”. Hayden angers BCCI with ‘Third World’ remark. Now the same Australian cricketers are dying to play in this “third world” for mega bucks. What a paradigm shift.

Dont you think you are still stuck in your 80’s paradigm by using this term. A developing country would be a far better term, you could have used.


I just came across an article where China is mentioned as “third world” as well. Haha if China can be classified as “Third world” in 2010 than I forgive you for your use of the word for India….:) China, a country that is buying up debts of many starved European countries, is still called a third world, than I can only assume the term have multi-faceted meaning..:).


As they say let the dogs (Western academics) bark. The poor world has changed fundamentally. Others are barely coming to grips with the implications Rethinking the “third world “EARLIER this year, Bob Zoellick, the president of the World Bank, grandly declared that “2009 saw the end of what was known as the third world”—that is, the end of a distinct, separate section of humanity that is poor, aid-dependent and does not matter very much. Is he right?” Your use of the term “third world” for India is out of date. Sorry.”


I agree at least with one statement (in blue highlight) that Ravi has made. But his main thesis is wrong. 100% wrong. Ravi (and thousands of ‘educated’ Indians brainwashed by “India shining” slogans) needs to open their eyes to the facts (apart from their nose – as I pointed out above)

The facts never lie. Never look at a single case. A statement like “parts of India are far better than the country I am in and parts of “first world” are far worse than India” – is TOTALLY MEANINGLESS. We must use data and statistics to understand reality. Not a few random observations from inside one’s air-conditioned car.

a) India is the world leader in corruption (see this and this and virtually all my writings. Also try to observe things around you, Ravi). Read BFN.

b) India is the world leader in poverty. 80% of India’s population lives on less than $2 a day. More than HALF of the world’s poor are found in India. The number of poor in India is greater than the number of poor in the entire African continent. Yes, you may be rich, Ravi, but if education has failed to show you India’s poverty, then please go back to the school of life. Get down from your air-conditioned car and walk the streets of India. Travel the interior of India. Look around yourself.

c) Nearly half of India’s small children are malnourished: one of the highest rates of underweight children in the world, higher than most countries in sub-Saharan Africa. (see this)

d) India is the world leader in lack of freedom. (see this) This includes a NOT-SO-FREE press. It is not only bought out by the corrupt businessmen and politicians (see this), but also takes money from foreign spies to work against India’s interests (this).

I won’t go into other details – e.g. India’s pathetic performance in academics, research, sports (except cricket), rotten infrastructure, etc. etc. etc. Every corner, every incident in India reminds us of its Third World status. Even its cricket is contaminated by deep corruption and racketeering. Fourth rate performance on the moral front.

The FEW things that work are working because of the breakdown of governance (see my blog post on India as the world’s largest free market laboratory).

EVEN ANIMALS IN THE WEST (INCLUDING FAR EAST SUCH AS JAPAN AND HONG KONG) USUALLY LIVE FAR BETTER LIVES THAN HUMANS IN INDIA. If this is the final goal of your aspiration for India, Ravi, then God save India. I shudder to imagine what kind of education India imparts to its children that this disgusting mess is the highest that Indians aspire to.

We need to call a spade a spade. The truth must not be hidden away because it is unpleasant. You can’t hide India’s stink by shooting the messenger. So don’t attack me personally. That is really silly. Attack my arguments WITH FACTS, if you can. I’m happy to listen to facts. Don’t bull-doze me with strong words. I don’t get swayed by falsehoods no matter how forcefully spoken.

Note that I am not only a messenger (unlike the academics you cite). I am a REFORMER. I offer a SOLUTION to India’s woes. I am here to lead India, not merely to criticise its bad governance. I don’t write in vain. I write to change things for the better.

Our educated people like you, Ravi, must wake up and use critical thinking. That means they must: (a) RECOGNISE the truth, (b) FIND OUT the solutions, and (c) LEAD India. Let’s not rest content with this level of shoddy performance. (At least that’s not my plan – regardless of what your goals are for India.)

IF YOU HAVE THE CALIBRE TO ACTUALLY CHANGE THINGS THEN STEP FORWARD AND JOIN FTI. Else please keep your delusions to yourself. [Once again, I speak not just to Ravi, who has conveniently offered me an example of the delusions typical of many ‘educated’ Indians. I speak to ALL EDUCATED INDIANS]


The innovativeness of nations – what’s India’s competitive advantage?


5 Feb 2015. I’ve added that India is a slave nation – slave to its governments. The people of India are happy to be bullied and bulldozed by their government. They are a slave nation.

13 February 2015. The filthiest nation.

Further comment about India on 21 March 2015.

3 April 2019
I’ve decided to call India a Turd World country.


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Keynes the incompetent economist

Apart from being a very devious and perverted person (see this blog post) who misrepresented other economists and took credit for things that others had done, he was simply wrong. He was a VERY BAD ECONOMIST.

Indeed, after the Philips curve controversy in the 1970s, the resurgence of the Chicago school (Keynesians were operating primarily from Harvard and the London School of Economics), and Lucas's work on rational expectations that explored the micro-economic foundations of the economy, Keynes was basically dumped from most advanced course work in the major universities.

But he seems to re-emerge from the corners in the kitchen, just like a cockroach comes out when the house owner (government in this case, with the GFC) makes a mess.

Nevertheless it is important that we continue to disprove the theses of these failed economists. Marx's theses must be disproved because the academia continues to be full of old fogies who blindly teach Marx. Similarly there are Keynesians across the world, particularly in the government, whose ideas must be disproved, since they will revert to bad form at the slightest opportunity ("opportunity" that they would have created themselves through bad policy). The fight for freedom is not easy. It can only be won if its detractors are continuously challenged, else their ghosts will emerge in each generation to haunt us. 

And so it is important that we continue to disprove Keynes's theses. 

Surya has very kindly suggested that I read Henry Hazlitt's book, Failure of the New Economics, and I surely will.
Thanks, Surya. Your insights always appreciated. I would be most pleased to publish your analysis of Hazlitt's key arguments (or even a set of relevant extracts). We must try to condense and distil relevant information for the general public, for they are busy in their daily lives and have little time to breathe, leave alone read massive tomes. 

In the meanwhile, below is a short video by Hayek (on Keynes) and an extract from Murray Rothbard – to keep you thinking, and to prove that Keynes was basically incompetent as an economist. I'll put out more stuff in the coming days/weeks. My main task in the next two days is to finish my next article for Freedom First.

(Btw, through the link provided inside this video – on Youtube – I've discovered a treasure trove with leads to many interesting things. These days one thing leads to another, and yet another. These are the times when mankind's ignorance should dissipate rapidly – if only we put in the effort to acquire the knowledge we need to ensure our freedom and prosperity). 

Hayek on Keynes

Note what Hayek says about why he did not critique the General Theory:
Interviewer: Why do you think that the general theory which came out in thirty six and with which you disagreed, any many other economists, why did it have such an enormous influence
Hayek: Well I wish I knew. I was puzzled by it at the time, in fact I did not believe it would succeed, so much so that while I'd spent a year analysing in great detail his earlier book the Treatise on Money and then only to hear from him by the time the second part of my criticism was published "oh I no longer believe in all that" I did not want to invest more effort in criticising the general theory who's success is still a puzzle to me because it reverted to a very primitive idea which had been clearly refuted in the nineteenth century that there is a single relation between the demand – aggregate demand for final products and employment, so much so that Leslie Steven in the eighteen eighties had pointed out the test of a good economist is that he does not make that particular mistake. Well Keynes revived it and gave a plausible explanation and, I should add that he did not succeed while he lived, but when he died he was suddenly raised to sainthood.
Interviewer: But Keynes might not have approved of the Keynesianism which came to dominate policy.
Hayek: Well I am sure he wouldn't, in fact I can positively say so. The very last time I saw him, about six weeks before his death, I was meeting him at the.. I was still having dining rights at Kings College and I was there for a weekend and talked to him after dinner and asked him whether he wasn't alarmed by what his pupils, naming two who I won't name now, were doing agitating for more expansion when in fact the danger clearly was inflation he completely agreed with me, and assured me, "my theory was frightfully important in the nineteen thirties when the question was of combating deflation. Trust me if inflation ever becomes a danger I am going to turn public opinion around [like this]". Six weeks later he was dead and couldn't do it. I think he would have been fighting the inflationary policy. [My comment: Hayek was being VERY naive on this]
Addendum: Also read
  • F. H. Knight, "Unemployment: And Mr. Keynes's Revolution in Economic Theory", The Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science, Vol. 3, No. 1 (Feb., 1937), pp. 100-123 [JSTOR]
  • "Hayek on Keynes" – a blog post by Don Bourdeaux.
  • Y = C+I+G+(X-M)
And now for an extract from Keynes, the Man By Murray N. Rothbard
In The General Theory, Keynes set forth a unique politico-economic sociology, dividing the population of each country into several rigidly separated economic classes, each with its own behavioral laws and characteristics, each carrying its own implicit moral evaluation. First, there is the mass of consumers: dumb, robotic, their behavior fixed and totally determined by external forces. In Keynes’s assertion, the main force is a rigid proportion of their total income, namely, their determined “consumption function.” Second, there is a subset of consumers, an eternal problem for mankind: the insufferably bourgeois savers, those who practice the solid puritan virtues of thrift and farsightedness, those whom Keynes, the would-be aristocrat, despised all of his life. All previous economists, certainly including Keynes’s forbears Smith, Ricardo, and Marshall, had lauded thrifty savers as building up long-term capital and therefore as re­sponsible for enormous long-term improvements in consumers’ standard of living. But Keynes, in a feat of prestidigitation, severed the evident link between savings and investment, claiming instead that the two are unrelated. In fact, he wrote, savings are a drag on the system; they “leak out” of the spending stream, thereby causing recession and unemployment. Hence Keynes, like Mandeville in the early eighteenth century, was able to condemn thrift and savings; he had finally gotten his revenge on the bourgeoisie.
By also severing interest returns from the price of time or from the real economy and by making it only a monetary phenomenon, Keynes was able to advocate, as a linchpin of his basic political program, the “euthanasia of the rentier” class: that is, the state’s expanding the quantity of money enough so as to drive down the rate of interest to zero, thereby at last wiping out the hated creditors. It should be noted that Keynes did not want to wipe out investment: on the contrary, he maintained that savings and investment were separate phe­nomena. Thus, he could advocate driving down the rate of the interest to zero as a means of maximizing investment while minimizing (if not eradicating) savings.
Since he claimed that interest was purely a monetary phenomenon, Keynes could then also sever the existence of an interest rate from the scarcity of capital. Indeed, he believed that capital is not really scarce at all. Thus, Keynes stated that his preferred society “would mean the euthanasia of the rentier, and consequently, the euthanasia of the cumulative oppressive power of the capitalist to exploit the scarcity-value of capital.” But capital is not really scarce: “Interest today rewards no genuine sacrifice, any more than does the rent of land. The owner of capital can obtain interest because capital is scarce, just as the owner of land can obtain rent because land is scarce. But whilst there may be intrinsic reasons for the scarcity of land, there are no intrinsic reasons for the scarcity of capital.” Therefore, “we might aim in practice . . . at an increase in the volume of capital until it ceases to be scarce, so that the functionless investor [the rentier] will no longer receive a bonus.” Keynes made it clear that he looked forward to a gradual annihilation of the “functionless” rentier, rather than to any sort of sudden upheaval (Keynes 1936: 375–76; see also Hazlitt [1959] 1973: 379–84).[1]
Keynes then came to the third economic class, to whom he was somewhat better disposed: the investors. In contrast to the passive and robotic consumers, investors are not determined by an external mathematical function. On the con­trary, they are brimful of free will and active dynamism. They are also not an evil drag on the economic machinery, as are the savers. They are important contributors to everyone’s welfare. But, alas, there is a hitch. Even though dynamic and full of free will, investors are erratic creatures of their own moods and whims. They are, in short, productive but irrational. They are driven by psychological moods and “animal spirits.” When investors are feeling their oats and their animal spirits are high, they invest heavily, but too much; overly optimistic, they spend too much and bring about inflation. But Keynes, especially in The General Theory, was not really interested in inflation; he was concerned about unemployment and recession, caused, in his starkly superficial view, by pessimistic moods, loss of animal spirits, and hence underinvestment.
The capitalist system is, accordingly, in a state of inherent macro-instability. Perhaps the market economy does well enough on the micro-, supply-and-demand level. But in the macro-world, it is afloat with no rudder; there is no internal mechanism to keep its aggregate spending from being either too low or too high, hence causing recession and unemployment or inflation.
Interestingly enough, Keynes came to this interpretation of the business cycle as a good Marshallian. Ricardo and his followers of the Currency school correctly believed that business cycles are generated by expansions and contractions of bank credit and the money supply, as generated by a central bank, whereas their opponents in the Banking school believed that expansions of bank money and credit were merely passive effects of booms and busts and that the real cause of business cycles was fluctuation in business speculation and expectations of profit—an explanation very close to Pigou’s later theory of psychological mood swings and to Keynes’s focus on animal spirits. John Stuart Mill had been a faithful Ricardian except in this one crucial area. Following his father, Mill had adopted the Banking school’s causal theory of business cycles, which was then adopted by Marshall (Trescott 1987; Penman 1989: 88–89).
To develop a way out, Keynes presented a fourth class of society. Unlike the robotic and ignorant consumers, this group is described as full of free will, activism, and knowledge of economic affairs. And unlike the hapless investors, they are not irrational folk, subject to mood swings and animal spirits; on the contrary, they are supremely rational as well as knowledgeable, able to plan best for society in the present as well as in the future. This class, this deus ex machina external to the market, is of course the state apparatus, as headed by its natural ruling elite and guided by the modern, scientific version of Platonic philosopher-kings. In short, government leaders, guided firmly and wisely by Keynesian economists and social scientists (naturally headed by the great man himself), would save the day. In the politics and sociology of The General Theory, all the threads of Keynes’s life and thought are neatly tied up.
And so the state, led by its Keynesian mentors, is to run the economy, to control the consumers by adjusting taxes and lowering the rate of interest toward zero, and, in particular, to engage in “a somewhat comprehensive socialisation of investment.” Keynes contended that this would not mean total state Socialism, pointing out that
it is not the ownership of the instruments of production which it is important for the State to assume. If the State is able to determine the aggregate amount of resources devoted to augmenting the instruments and the basic rate of reward to those who own them, it will have accomplished all that is necessary. (Keynes 1936: 378)
Yes, let the state control investment completely, its amount and rate of return in addition to the rate of interest; then Keynes would allow private individuals to retain formal ownership so that, within the overall matrix of state control and dominion, they could still retain “a wide field for the exercise of private initiative and responsibility.” As Hazlitt puts it:
Investment is a key decision in the operation of any economic system. And government investment is a form of socialism.Only confusion of thought, or deliberate duplicity, would deny this. For socialism, as any dictionary would tell the Keynesians, means the ownership and control of the means of production by government. Under the system proposed by Keynes, the government would control all investment in the means of production and would own the part it had itself directly invested. It is at best mere muddleheadedness, therefore, to present the Keynesian nostrums as a free enterprise or “individualistic” alternative to socialism. (Hazlitt [1959] 1973: 388; cf. Brunner 1987: 30, 38)
There was a system that had become prominent and fashionable in Europe during the 1920s and 1930s that was precisely marked by this desired Keynesian feature: private ownership, subject to comprehensive government control and planning. This was, of course, fascism. Where did Keynes stand on overt fascism? From the scattered information now available, it should come as no surprise that Keynes was an enthusiastic advocate of the “enterprising spirit” of Sir Oswald Mosley, the founder and leader of British fascism, in calling for a comprehensive “national economic plan” in late 1930. By 1933, VirginiaWoolf was writing to a close friend that she feared Keynes was in the process of converting her to “a form of fascism.” In the same year, in calling for national self-sufficiency through state control, Keynes opined that “Mussolini, perhaps, is acquiring wisdom teeth” (Keynes 1930b, 1933: 766; Johnson and Johnson 1978: 22; on the relationship between Keynes and Mosley, see Skidelsky 1975: 241, 305–6; Mosley 1968: 178, 207, 237–38, 253; Cross 1963: 35–36).
But the most convincing evidence of Keynes’s strong fascist bent was the special foreword he prepared for the German edition of The General Theory. This German translation, published in late 1936, included a special introduction for the benefit of Keynes’s German readers and for the Nazi regime under which it was published. Not surprisingly, Harrod’s idolatrous Life of Keynes makes no mention of this introduction, although it was included two decades later in volume seven of the Collected Writings along with forewords to the Japanese and French editions. The German introduction, which has scarcely received the benefit of extensive commentary by Keynesian exegetes, includes the following statements by Keynes: “Nevertheless the theory of output as a whole, which is what the following book purports to provide, is much more easily adapted to the conditions of a totalitarian state, than is the theory of production and distribution of a given output produced under conditions of free competition and a lance measure of laissez-faire.” (Keynes 1973 [1936]: xxvi: cf. Martin 1971: 200–5; Hazlitt [1959] 1973: 277; Brunner 1987: 38ff.; Hayek 1967: 346)
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If you think that “race” is a real concept, then you are an ass

How Europeans evolved white skin – Ann Gibbons Apr. 2, 2015


What I think as common knowledge about skin colour is perhaps not yet commonly known. In my draft manuscript, DOF, I wrote thus:


We have all descended from dark skinned African forbears that were adapted to intense equatorial sunlight. However, as humans moved to the higher latitudes they found less sunlight there, which makes it hard for those with a darker skin to produce vitamin D, so vital for bones and general health. In these higher latitudes, children with a natural mutation that helped them produce less melanin (i.e. those with a lighter skin) had better odds of survival than their darker skinned siblings. Over time, the so called ‘white race’ evolved as a local environmental adaptation. Being a function of random chance, evolution does not lead to exactly the same outcome everywhere.[1]

[1]E.g. Johan Moan, of the Institute of Physics at the University of Oslo, said in a research paper: “In England, from 5500-5200 years ago the food changed rapidly away from fish as an important food source. This led to a rapid development of … light skin.” The Australian, 31 August 2009. [,,26004285-26040,00.html. ]
I’m not sure if everyone in the world knows about this and understand what it means for their conceptions about race-based “superiority”.
It therefore pleased me to recently learn about Nina Jablonski’s work in this area. I spent a few minutes listening to her lecture (below). In a few days, time permitting, I’ll watch her documentary, Skin Deep.
I encourage you to watch this short 15 minute talk, below. More importantly, I would like to urge Indians (and others) who still harbour racist thoughts to learn about the science of human evolution and stop their slavish obsession with skin colour. In particular, the Indian caste system is strongly associated with racism and should be repudiated outright. The Vedas had a merit based system in any case. Let there by multiple “castes” within the same family subject to their individual merit (although why should we have caste at all? – throw away such false ideas entirely).
The idea the skin colour determines a man’s competence is the most ridiculous thought ever created in human history.If you think that “race” is a real concept, I think you are an ass. Sorry (!) I don’t use strong personal words very often – and I’m sure that none of my blog readers think in this manner – but I think we ought to be pretty brutal with those who continue to harbour deeply flawed ideas. How long does mankind have to suffer from the disease of ignorance? Let’s bury the concept of “race” once and for all.

Some asses


H G Wells (1901): “The swarms of black and brown and dirty-white and yellow people have to go. It is their portion to die out and disappear.”

D H Lawrence (1921): “Three cheers for the inventors of poison gas.”

George Bernard Shaw (1933): “Extermination must be put on a scientific basis if it is ever to be carried out humanely and thoroughly … if we desire a certain type of civilization and culture, we must exterminate the sort of people who do not fit into it.”

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Great Indian leaders

Our political leaders have been of such low standard (on average) after independence that we have forgotten what good leadership means. We have therefore formed extremely low expectations from our current crop of "leaders". Today, anyone who can deliver a train that runs in time, or build a road without potholes is considered a "great" leader. Known more for corruption and authoritarianism than for ethical standards, these people are NOT great leaders. Let's be clear about that. 

My list of leaders, below, a Roll of honour, is intended to provoke thought – it is not intended to be complete list nor something everyone will agree with. But if you feel I've left out someone who should definitely have been included here, please send in your comments. If I agree with your recommendation, I'll include that name in the main list.

Note also that I'm covering most fields of human endeavour (except sports, the arts, and the purely religious), for I believe that leadership is not just political. What I'm interested in preparing a list that shows the heights that Indians have achieved – something for us to aim for. More importantly, if you have it in you to lead India to freedom, then join the Freedom Team of India.


Politics and governance

Raja Ram Mohun Roy – for bringing the ideas of modern education and liberty to India, and raising the prospect of independent India

Gopal Krishna Gokhle – for being the voice of reason and liberalism at the commencement of the independence movement

Bal Gangadhar Tilak – for his leadership in making idea of swaraj popular  (although he did, unwittingly, mix religion and politics)

Lala Lajpat Rai – for leadership during the independence movement

M.K. Gandhi – for being a liberal who fought through unique methods for India's independence (although, again, he unwittingly mixed religion with politics)

Jawaharlal Nehru – for being a supporter of science, democracy, and the non-denominational state, and for his work in the independence movement (although his policies post-independence are highly questionable)

B.R. Ambedkar – for his bringing a (classical) liberal approach to the Indian constitution

C. Rajagopalachari – for his work in the independence movement and for having the courage to oppose Nehruvian socialism (not Nehru!) after independence through the Swatantra party 

Vallabhbhai Patel – for his deep understanding of the principles of governance

Subhas Chandra Bose – for having the courage to conjure up a major armed force (not just one or two terrorist acts) for independence. 

M. Visvesvaraya – for outstanding public service and setting unimpeachable standards of integrity and diligence

Minoo Masani – for supporting Rajaji organise the fight against Nehruvian socialism


Aryabhata – for his mathematical and astronomical treatises when the world knew little or nothing about such things

S. Chandrasekhar – for his work on astrophysics and black holes

C.V. Raman – for his discovery of  molecular scattering of light and discovery of the Raman effect

M.S. Swaminathan – for his work on taking the green revolution to the grassroots in India

Hargobind Khorana – for his work on the cell (protein formation)

Social science

See my list of economists here.

M.N. Srinivas – for his work in sociology in relation to the Indian society


Charvaka – a philosopher par excellence with many modern liberal insights

The Buddha – a broadly liberal philosopher

Chanakya – a political philosopher many of whose insights are relevant event today

Swami Vivekananda – a philosopher of Hinduism but with a keen focus on liberty

Rabindranath Tagore – a liberal philosopher

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan – a well-rounded philosopher par excellence


J.R.D. Tata – for expanding the Tata business house in an ethical manner, and for supporting the political party that opposed Nehruvian socialism 

(Many other "famous" business leaders of India are (or were) extremely shallow people without the slightest self-respect. They run after the droppings of corrupt political leaders and support political parties that have led to the severe mis-governance of India. Their (often self-proclaimed) "values" are highly suspect, for they know not the most fundamental values of citizenship. I do not consider most of these as role models.)


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