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I would go by that



> I heard her saying that the
> morality and ethical standards of Indians, the majority of whom are
> non-Christian, are very high, far higher than those of the Americans !
> 
> Ram Narayanan

I think I would go with this view expressed by Ram, rather than by Prabhu
hypotheses about Indians being affected by some disease.

I do think that this strong sense of morality is the basis of the Indian
family, care for the elderly, and our strong positive feeling for our
country despite whatever we see or hear about it. Some people on this list
have been out of India for 30 years, yet they hold India near and dear to
them.

The problem is the same as we see in other areas: we are excellent brains
and do very well abroad, but fall flat on our faces when in India. Why is
it that good, honest, hard working people, perform pathetically within
India? And this is only true of the past 50 years. Before that we were the
tops of the world in hockey, managed to get 2 nobel prizes despite having
low literacy, and we did have an excellent bunch of people who went
abroad, learnt, and RETURNED to India. Nehru and Gandhi are an example of
that. Now we have only a one-way train: exiting India. Even Ravi Shankar
has left us. And our Chandrasekhars, Khuranas, Bhagwatis, Sens, Kaushik
Basus, and others. Even Prabhu and Charu. And I too am almost convinced
that it is time to get myself out of India permanenty if I am to retain my
self-respect and sanity. It pains me deeply to contemplate the kind of
life I can aspire to live when I return to India. I would not mind the
absence of electricity and water. I do mind the absence of good bosses and
a system of rewards and punishments based on merit.

>From my observation of Indians, data clearly go against the hypothesis
that Indians are particulary more corrupt BY NATURE than other human
beings. Those who are experimental economists can actually test out this
proposition.

All leads point to one thing: defective system design. In fact, a
terrible, system design.

In my limited understanding, it is the TOP of the ladder which sets the
tenor for the lower levels. If our PMs, Ministers, MPs, CMs, MLAs and top
bureaucrats are being pushed up the ladder only the basis of one implicit
qualification: dishonesty and hypocrisy, then the entire system will get
affected by demoralization.

Let us admit (I think we all have, finally) that it costs a hellava lot of
money to run an election campaign and that money has not yet started
sprouting on trees. I think that the consensus we have built on this issue
(I do hope it is a strong consensus toward openeness and recognition of
real costs) will, if implemented, put into place a system where the best
will not only participate but have the incentive to do well. When our PMs
and CMs are impeccably honest people (and there are a HUGE number of such
folk in India, believe you me, who religiously stay out of political
activity), and the economy is run on sound principles, including strong
checks and balances as well as active involvement of the citizens at each
level, then we will be astonished at the rapid pace of progress not only
in the economic front but in our ethical life. The clouds of corruption
will leave our nation and go to China, or Bangladesh.

To the best of my memory (and I don't remember this but vaguely), in India
there was a time some decades ago when private firms were allowed to
contribute to political parties, but that was revoked. Will anyone refresh
my memory on that, and why did this happen?

SS


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