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Re: What is this? Rural Development?

---Sanjeev Sabhlok <sabhlok@almaak.usc.edu> wrote:
> It amazes me no end to partake of these irrelevant debates on
'altruism' vs. whatever when I see only ONE uniformly chrnonic
behavior everywhere: self-seeking. Maybe I was  born blind by nature. 

No you were not born blind.  Your primary observation is entirely
correct: what motivates people to act is self-interest.  That is why
"altruistic" behavior is to be learned, through education and mutual
need.  We are not born civilized, but we learn to be civil. No child
has natural manners.  But as parents we teach them a few manners.  
Precisely because it is not in the nature of man to do good unto
others, the golden rule has been "do not do to others what you shall
not do to you."   It was in the self-interest of Arjun to fight.  But
he did not want to.  Why?  

Where you are exhibiting some blindness is the fact (that successful
soceities have learned) that in the overall and long-term interest of
a society (civilization) some altruistic behaviour is necessary. 
Otherwise the result is chaos.   Your assumption that all humans are
self-seeking and self-serving is correct.  However, I do not
understand why you fail to see that through the process of evolution
and the lessons of history and combined institutional/societal memory,
humans have also learned that they are social animals.  We need others
to live a meaningful life as much as others need us.  Plus if everyone
was for himself/herself the end result is violence, chaos, war and
mutually self assured destruction.  That is why no one at all times
can be self-serving, self-seking.

But I will consider a system STABLE and SUSTAINABLE if and only if,
i.e., IFF:
> 	It gives the solution of social service/ care for the people
> 	through SELF-SERVING and SELF-SEEKING public servants.
> To require public servants to be altruistic is so foolish that I can
> consider it to be what is known as primitive thinking. 

I do not think anyone suggested tht public servants should be
atruistic. In the end they are members of the same society and they
have families and a right to a decent living.  I have always said that
without professionalization of the government you cannot get rid of
corruption and politicization of the government.  Professionalism
means that qualified people are appointed in particular job categories
and these professionals are paid competitive salaries.  In the example
that you gave as to why computers were not working as they should even
in the PM's Office, because they probably do not have enough computer
people, or they are not being paid a professional salary or they are
not just being allowed to do their jobs because of decayed internal
culture and politics.

> I want a society where we DO NOT NEED even a single M.Teresa. I want
> people to be told there is nothing like a free lunch and that they
have to  PAY for what they want. I told you elsewhere that I will pay
for honesty  in my bosses. By the way, while most of you simply TALK
charity, I have  been always DOING it, like curing blindless in the
blind through VOLUNTARY  work, and giving blood, and contributing to
the Wildlife fund, setting up  IndiaPolicy, etc., because I, in my
self-interest, as a citizen of India,  think it is a good thing for ME
to be doing these things. "Altruism,"  as  commonly understood, can be
the most serious form of selfishness ever. I don't want lepers, AIDS
stricken folk, and poor beggars on my streets in India. So I get rid
of the by taking care of them. Maybe by paying someone to do that,
maybe by doing that myself. 

Again let us look at the American society.  The government has done a
lot and still continues to do so, to provide all kinds of assistance
to the sick, the elderly and the not so priviliged.  However,
experience shows that money cannot alone buy service.  Moreover, you
are assuming that all "social service" is something mechanical, that
anyone can provide, provided we are willing to pay.  That is not true
at all.  For example, you can train anyone to be a nurse, but can
money put caring and love in their hearts?  Mother Theresa did nothing
to solve the problem of poverty, but she did provide that loving touch
to the dying which paid people cannot provide, always.

> My single message is: You get what you pay for, as an individual,
and as a
> society. Not too difficult, I think, to understand and appreciate
> Anyhow, I'll talk more on that later. But right now what concerns me
> the miserable system of India where nothing works the way it is
> to, because people who designed these things (including me) used
> false assumptions of the way things actually work. The time has come
> sit back and think seriously about our assumptions.
The solution is in balancing the reality of self-seeking and at the
same time knowing that selfishness when taken to the extreme destroys.
 Teach children to acquire skills and be economically strong either
through business enterprise or a profession.  However, it will be
pathetic if we do not teach our children that they do not live alone. 
That society is much bigger than the self, or the lessons of evolution
and history.  I hope my children will learn the value of volunteerism
-- to learn to set themselves aside, once in a while, and go out and
do something for others.

Lastly, you were rebuking us that we all talk where as you have
already done.  You also cited India_policy.  In that context, can you
tell us what are people like me getting from this effort.  I mean
people who are already here, do not have to go back to India (except
voluntarily), and who are still helping out in this effort?

Yes, ultimately you can say everything is self-seeking.  But I don't
think so. Please see my example of Arjun above.

Kush Khatri.

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