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Re: Just hit a GOLDMINE!!!

     Ratan: don't be taken in by the Skinnerians.  If you want to know what 
     happened as a result of Skinner's experiments, investigate how his own 
     daughter fared.  
     But to the point: electoral reforms will not work in the absence of 
     basic honesty: 
     1.  who will guarantee the quality of qualifications of those who wish 
     to contest election (i.e. whether or not the qualifications were 
     gained by cheating in exams - a practice that is increasingly 
     widespread in India)?  
     2.  Who will guarantee that auditing and filing of tax return on the 
     donations received by political parties has been done accurately and 
     comprehensively - when nothing to do with the government is done 
     accurately and comprehensively, at least when it comes to money (or am 
     I exaggerating)?  
     Can these "guaranteers" not be bribed?   
     It is only when you get some one (or a few people) who is/are 
     "unbribable" AND in authority that you have any chance of making any 
     system work. 
     As for transparency ("which implies public exposure and embarrasment-- 
     a kind of social or conditioned punishment") that only works in a 
     culture where there is a minimum of conscience left.  Let me not name 
     names (I am ignorant of libel laws on the Internet), but am I wrong in 
     asserting that there are many publicly-known criminals in power?  Has 
     their public exposure resulted in any embarrassment on their part or 
     on the part of their supporters?  Not to my knowledge.  I would go so 
     far as to say that at least some of these individuals have publicly 
     scorned the notion that they should be embarrassed; to the contrary, 
     they are proud of being what they are and of doing what they have 
     To refer to another message from another person on the list: is it 
     necessary for us all to undergo religious conversion of some sort and 
     become Jews, Catholics or Protestants if the country is to be saved?  
     I do not know.  But a minimum number of people who are uncorruptable 
     and are prepard to sacrifice their careers as well as the future of 
     their families is needed if Indian politics is to be cleaned up.  If 
     it takes "obscurantism" to produce this quality of commitment, I don't 
     mind it (if obscurantism does not come in too great a quantity!).  The 
     motivation for that kind of commitment cannot IMO come from anything 
     as shallow as psychological or social engineering, and any thing as 
     shallow as electoral reform will certainly not clean up public life in 
     India. Let me remind you of an old adage: "a people get the rulers 
     they deserve" (in other words, in the long run, the moral level of 
     politicians and public servants will be roughly on a par with that of 
     the public they are supposed to serve).  At least, that is so in a 
     democratic society - though some would argue that that is also so in 
     non-democratic societies.
     ______________________________ Reply Separator 

Have been lurking and reading the postings. Here is my 2-cent contribution: The 
Harvard psychologist B.F. Skinner wrote on cultural or social engineering. 
In fact there was a journal "Journal of Behavioral Engineering". 
B.F. Skinner wrote a novel "Twin Oakes". There were started actual experimental 
communes on experimental living styles, some of which were along the 
lines of Twin Oakes. 
The core is: If you want some specific behavior from humans, then you 
have to create a external conditions suitable for that. Don't blame the 
humans. Spell out the conditions and create them. A good start is the 
electoral reforms, qualifications of those who wish to contest election, 
auditing and filing of tax return on the donations received by political 
parties and of course transparency (which implies public exposure and 
embarrasment-- a kind of social or conditioned punishment).


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