Thoughts on economics and liberty

Category: Current Affairs

Why RTI is NOT the solution to India’s problems

I was having a conversation with someone by email, and clarified why RTI is not good enough, thus:

=====

Dear Mr XX

I thoroughly commend your work on RTI. That's something I've commended heartily wherever I could. I am 100% committed to this approach. So that's well and good.

But now let me suggest just one thing to you: RTI is (metaphorically) like applying a small water filter to remove muck from a wide and deep, dirty nullah that flows from the Himalayas. The TOP of India's leadership is the source of this dirty nullah that now irrigates the entire nation. You can do three things:

a) Drink dirty water

b) Leave India and go to a place with clean water

c) Filter the water and then drink (e.g.RTI)

d) Remove the SOURCE of dirty water.

I prefer (d). If that doesn't work, I'm 100% committed to (b). I am not interested in (a) or (c), although I strongly commend (c) rather than (a).

India's problems are VERY EASY to solve once the people are determined to solve them. Then they will rise and lead. There needs to be clarity on the path (strategy), the process (tactics), the outcome (the vision). Once that is there, nothing will prevent the source of this dirt from being removed and buried permanently, the ultimate cause of this muck being Nehruvian socialism.

Regards

Sanjeev

===ADDENDUM===

In my usual tearing hurry while writing most emails, I think I mixed the order of things. It ought to be:

a) Drink dirty water

b) Filter the water and then drink (e.g.RTI)

c) Remove the SOURCE of dirty water (or try desperately hard to do so).

d) Leave India and go to a place with clean water.

This order would be more consistent with my views in DOF, where exit comes last. Note that I have spent considerable effort in doing (c) and hence am mentally ready to permanently leave India (d). Just one more attempt – through FTI. If Indians want a good decent society, I'll put my shoulders to the task. Else I'm permanently out. First priority MUST BE ONESELF AND FAMILY. At all times.

Addendum

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/rti-not-a-tool-for-oppressing-public-officials-sc/832395/

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Do Indians have a right to permanent residency in Australia?

Do Indians have any birthright to migrate to Australia? Is it obliged to let all of them in based on what Indians want, not what Australians want?

So it would seem from a reading of the news in the Australian "Student cutback 'threat' to India ties" (28 July 2010).

‎"Education agent Sonya Singh said Mr Abbott's proposal to further reduce Australia's annual immigration uptake by cracking down on family reunion and student visa applicants would harm not only education links, but also hurt tourism and future business relationships."

Utter nonsense! There can't be a one-way relationship where people leave India to come to a better managed country but do nothing to reform their own country and make India a better place in consequence. There is no birthright to permanent residency in Australia! Fix India is what I say. And make it a better place than Australia, so that Australians make a beeline for Indian residency. That's the ONLY solution.

Sometime ago I wrote a draft article arguing against a mindless increases in Australian population. That article has been lying with me for a few months now and I am thinking of publishing it in draft form on this blog soon, to see people's comments. That article makes it clear that economic growth (which CAN'T be the objective of a free society: the objective being freedom) has not relationship with population size (India being a VERY good example of that). [Addendum: I've published it here, now].

So Australia is right to avoid swamping the country with hairdressers or cooks which they don't need in such abundance (a LOT of Indian engineers and post graduates were coming in to get trained as hairdressers because for some reason it was easier to get PR that way! Fortunately that idiotic policy has been modified. Now only highly skilled Indians who are GENUINELY useful to Australia are being brought in. What's wrong with that!) 

I have argued a case for reform very clearly in Breaking Free of Nehru. I have offered to reform India by setting up the Freedom Team of India. I'm even happy to help launch a major national liberal party in India (Freedom Party of India).  But I keep getting Indians who tell me that we Indians are DIFFERENT! The laws of economics don't apply to us! We must therefore invent our own policies, and not 'copy' from others. 

But I don't believe that to reach the moon you have to reinvent physics within India. That would be an outrageous waste of time. So also for social performance and economic prosperity. I am 100% committed to world-best practice reforms, and don't care for where a good thing is invented. My books are my message. I distill the best from the world and offer these ideas to India. That's my goal. Whether Indians take it or use it is not my business. That's their problem! I can't force a horse to drink.

I will write a bit more on this as time permits. In the meanwhile I urge you to read:

a) My comments re: Racism in Australia (6 blog posts).

b) My call for Action to India (15 blog posts)

Many of my posts, such as this one, are 'penned' in a few minutes given acute shortage of time. So ignore the typos/etc. I can write better, when I find time!

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Is USA still a free nation?

Is US still a beacon of liberty in the world? A lot of people believe it is no longer free (or free enough). Since this debate occurs so frequently, I'm extracting from a recent Facebook discussion and an article I recently wrote for Freedom First (to be published on 1 August), to illustrate the position I have formed regarding liberty in USA – even as I believe that India should go well beyond its levels of freedom.

Patriot Act and the 'end of liberty' in USA

A Facebook friend suggested that USA is no longer free, arguing thus: "The reason I signal out "The Patriot Act" is because of many basic violations of civil liberties and norms of democracy. It was passed within 45 days after 9/11 with not an ounce of debate. This act treats all it's citizens as suspects there by creating a new standard "Guilty until proven Innocent". Neither the opposition nor the so called liberal media dare appose it. In theory the US authorities can legally tap conversations of Journalists, Opposition Politicians and even innocent civilians. Some of the measures are so powerful that they will not pass even the Indian parliamentary system. US is no more the land of the free. It has become the land of the paranoid, the recent Arizona law requiring all immigrants to carry documents with them at all times is a good case in point."

In response I suggest that while I agree (in principle) with such concerns, the Patriot Act is nothing. Try living in India where you can be liquidated without trace by the police. 'Encounters' with 'terrorists' are rife. If perfect liberty is 10 then US is at 8 and India is at 2. That's the issue. All relative. Yes, US is not perfect, but where are we!

Note, also, that no believer in liberty can tolerate anyone from within the nation colluding with others to declare war on the nation from within. Under circumstances of war, civil liberty must always rank second. There is no obligation for the USA to give Al Qaeda activists civil liberties on par with those enjoyed by the rest of its citizens. And yes, while theoretically, while "the US authorities can legally tap conversations of Journalists, Opposition Politicians and even innocent civilians", is this law put in practice in that manner? How many innocents have been tapped or arrested? Note that whatever happens in USA is authorised by the delegated of the people under a system of laws. If the people of USA, through their law makers, chose to enact the Patriot Act, and the circumstances were such that at least a case can be made for such action, then I have no reason to dilute my belief that the USA continues to be a free nation

Flag burning

We must also take a lesson in liberty from the US which has ruled out the criminalisation of flag burning. In 2006, an amendment to the US Constitution was proposed by someone to prohibit flag burning. But the US Senate rejected this amendment. Senator Daniel K. Inouye, who lost an arm in World War II, fighting for USA, said that flag burning ‘is obscene, painful and unpatriotic’, … ‘[b]ut I believe Americans gave their lives in the many wars to make certain that all Americans have a right to express themselves – even those who harbor hateful thoughts.’ 

Such unequivocal commitment to freedom is what America teaches us. Our heart goes out to America for clarifying the standard of liberty even on such an evocative issue. Hundreds of its own soldiers die in wars to protect the American flag, but these very same soldiers insist on defending the right of their fellowmen to burn that flag. That is why they fight. For freedom. The true flag we must fight for is the flag of freedom.

Yes, liberty in USA is on the decline

There is no doubt that the USA can do better. I have myself criticised its unfair treatment of Vikram Buddhi (see my blog post on the subject). I have also criticised its financial system which is almost nationalised, statist, and badly regulated, as well as its monetary system which includes a central bank that deliberately distorts the price of money (see my blog post here).

I also see the acceleration of the decline in liberty in the USA through the political victories of Keynesians and social democrats who believe in the welfare state and protectionism. It is becoming moribund, uncompetitive, and fretful, unable to lead the world unequivocally to the higher realms of liberty. It has lost its way. Its government, armed forces, and intelligence agencies increasingly display significant incompetence. In choosing philosophies that oppose freedom, the USA is becoming its own enemy. It will, in my view, if it continues down this path and if, simultaneously, countries like India seriously raise their own level of liberty, severely decline in relative terms to the rest of the world. This is a turning point for the USA, and it is not defending liberty as it should.

It is, in consequence, no longer the people magnet it was a few decades ago. The smartest Indians were ALL (or almost all) found in the USA at one time. That rush to migrate to the USA has subsided in India, even as India has increased its own levels of freedom and increased economic opportunities within the nation. Despite all this, the USA still remains, sufficiently free in my view to rank as the largest free nation on earth. Yes, there are other countries similarly free, but none as large, complex, and difficult to govern. So let's learn from the USA and take from it what is good, rejecting the bad. 

Those who think US is not good enough are obliged to create something better

Indians who raise concerns about liberty in US can't just pat themselves on the back at the first sign of American shortcomings. They must do betterNote that the US model is NOT what I advocate for India, but a much higher standard of liberty. Read Breaking Free of Nehru. Read The Disovery of Freedom (early draft). I want India to be the world's greatest beacon of liberty, not a cesspool of corruption, misgovernance, and police killings of the innocent. 

If you are concerned about liberty then it is time for YOU to do something to increase liberty in India. Are you a Freedom Partner? If not then join up right away!  Join the Freedom Team. And write your theses on liberty and publish your books and blogs on liberty. That's the only way out for us, not bothering so much about those who may be imperfect but still remain heaps better than India.

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My two bits for good relations between India and Australia

Australians don't hate Indians. Let's all become VERY clear about it.

For many months now, I've been posting my views on the internet to highlight and emphasise to Indians that they have SERIOUSLY misunderstood what is going on in Melbourne. See this blog post that received 32 comments.

lambasted India's great idol, Amitabh Bachchan (and one of my favourite actors!), for losing his sense and making ridiculous statements about Australians. Sorry, Amitabh, you are not God. You don't know what you don't know. 

I then implored the Indian media to show some sense and not to become as stupid as India's politicians always are. 

I opposed one of Australia's finest thinkers, Greg Sheridan (whose views I admire and often agree with) for making over-blown and disproportionate comments about Melbourne. Sorry Greg, I call a spade a spade. You were totally wrong about Melbourne.

Then, when I found that one of India's most eminent thinkers has severely misconstrued facts about what is happening in Melbourne due to the misguidance of the Indian media, I wrote out the FACTS of the case and challenged anyone to prove me wrong

CLOSURE HAS COME TO ANOTHER CASE

This blog post notes that one more case seems to be nearing to an end, without any racist motive involved. This is the case of Nitin Garg.

Of the six cases so far, this is the TRUE story:

a) Two Indians were killed by INDIANS

b) One Indian set himself on fire and SHAMELESSLY alleged racist motives.

c) One was killed by a 15 year old teenager in which the Police, after investigation, have found from their "inquiries" that "at this stage,we don’t believe it was racially motivated" Anyone would be hard pressed to prove that a 15 year old represents a RACIST AUSTRALIA!!! A misguided adolescent delinquent. Nothing to do with organised racism. There is a thing called crime and there is a thing called racism. Let's never mix the two.

d) Two cases are not yet resolved (or I haven't noticed further reports about them in the press). So no comment on those.

Conclusion

I find VERY OFFENSIVE that the highly intelligent Indian media (apart from stupid Indian Ministers who will always be stupid anyway) went out of the way to harm Australia. That was in VERY POOR FORM.

I would like to ask the idiots who govern India and its press to apologise to Australia for the harm caused to the good relations between the two countries. This is not a trifling matter. It has not only reduced the number of Indian students who come to Australia to study, it has harmed business relations between India and Australia. But the greatest damage has been done to India itself, particularly to the credibility of its press and political 'leaders'. Across the whole world, India's word would now matter less because of this strong tendency towards hysteria.

More importantly, I'd like to ask the ordinary Indians to NOT listen to their totally useless political 'leaders' and to their hysterical press on this matter but to listen to ordinary people of Indian origin living in Australia. Tens of thousands of people of Indian origin live in Australia. They are very happy and a very active part of Australian community. 

PS: Came across this article the other day. I fully support Bob Birrell's views. There is no evidence whatsoever of any increase in racism in Australia. I do not deny that racism exists, never denied it. It might even have harmed my own prospects in this country to a large extent. But I believe there is FAR GREATER racism in India (perhaps ten times more) than the racism found in Australia today. India's caste system must end. That is the greatest blot on humanity today.

Addendum: I came across this VERY OFFENSIVE comment from Gautam Gupta:

"Federation of Indian Students of Australia spokesman Gautam Gupta said it was too early to say whether the charge would improve relationships between the two countries and it was not about ''one crime, it's about the police attitudes''."

Gautam, you are simply besmirching the Victoria Police for no rhyme or reason. Your attitude is WRONG. There may well be a few problematic Police in Victoria. If so please point them out to the authorities. DO NOT besmirch an entire  organisation.

You are displaying coarse thinking (thick-headedness) and inability to analyse the situation correctly. That actually helps to bias things against Indians in general, as the more stupid among the Australians read such statements and imagine that all Indians are as thick headed as you. (Your stereotyping of the entire Police is no different from a few stupid Australians stereotyping all Indians. Remember NEVER stereotype an entire group. Deal with cases one person at a time. Be clear that there is NEVER a group attitude). 

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