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Re: Sitaramayya's mail
On Thu, 28 May 1998, Ari Sitaramayya wrote:
> > Can you quote any authentic sources to support this? Has the poverty really
> > icreased? I am asking this to know, not to challenge you.
> The source is my own village. The people who used to work on farms as farm
> laborers cannot find work in the villages anymore. To buy the same
> amount of food grains they bought before, they need more money now, lot
> more, because of high inflation in the last 10 years. But the farmer
> cannot pay that much more money for the laborer because the value of food
> grains did not keep up with inflation. The folks who used to be farm
> laborers are now living on the road sides in nearby towns working odd
> jobs, pulling rickshaws etc.
I am not sure that any debate can take place in any "sensible" way if we
state that "I" am the authentic source. Sure. You were requested, dear
Sir, to submit "authentic sources." Your personal "observations" are a
good starting point. But they need solid data to substantiate the
I have no statistics on this specific topic at the moment, but please do
take note of the fact that without fail, poverty has been virtually
eliminated in all South East Asian societies which have followed
capitalist policies (pl. check up data from any library in the world). The
poorest of the poor today are North Korea, Burma and South Asia, including
India which have hung on to the massive distortions in incentives which
have led to our "promoting" handlooms, dead technology, etc., at the
expense of modernization.
And coming to "personal" observation, do you know, that the Handloom
subsidies which are meant for the poor (that is how you get to purchase
handlooms at such ridiculously throw-away prices in cities) are almost
completely misappropriated by the government machinery.
Do you wear handlooms to your office, Mr. Ari? What percentage of your
budget did you allocate last year to purchase our "wonderous, traditional,
handicraft products?" Tell everyone here the truth about how much you have
personally patronized the aritsans of your village and how much you have
patronized superior technology. Please be very precise in your
calculations: what was your total income in the past 10 years, and how
much of it went to these obsolete products which even villagers refuse to
purchase. Scientific inquiry can only begin with honesty.
You ask government to subsidize the purchase of these goods. From where
does this money come? From your taxes. But what is happening to these
taxes? Most of it is cleanly misappropriated by your favorite government
officials. They why not straight-away raise the salaries of government
officials if you love these officials so much?
Mr. Ari, our villagers will all DIE if you do not provide them with modern
opportunities to get out of villages and come to cities. We are having a
few suicides now among farmers. Some engineers have started committing
suicide because of corruption. Educated youth in Assam and elsewhere are
taking to arms in frustration. Many people are abandoning the country in
search of SOME other opportunity. The whole thing will become a flood if
you do not bring in more investment and technology and competition into
our nation, at once. Do you not see this urgency?
Returning to the debate. If you want really authentic reasons why our
Small and Village industry policies have almost completely ruined our
villages and small towns, please take a look at:
at item 9 (Role of Small Scale Industries in Export of Manufactures in
India), a term paper I wrote in 1992 after extensive study both
theoretical, and practical, in the field, in India. Whatever findings came
out then, have been substantiated even more strongly in the meanwhile by
About poverty. Why should India have improved in the last 10 years? Just
because someone said that there is "liberalization." Sure, there has been
a wee bit. But it was more of a flip-flop than a "real" one. A majority of
people are still firm believers that government bureaucrats know best.
Strangely, despite your claim that none on this list have worked in the
field, I have been a rather outstanding bureaucrat (pardon my apparent
lack of humility), and I know not only our bureaucrats through and
through, but I know our political leaders through and through. I also have
said elsewhere that I have not taught IAS officers, as their Professor in
the National Academy, the "secrets" of market control nor do I know of
anyone who has a Ph.D. in market control, yet. And yet you trust these
complete amateurs to run our economy? You trust their judgement? You don't
seem to trust my judgment, why? Simply because I speak the truth?
Please examine the reality yourself, spend some more time in collecting
facts. I have only spent 16 years yet on this task. I am willing to debate
for another 60 years till I die.
What you are seeing in your village are results of continued decadence and
continued control of the economy by people who unfortunately have no clue
about how wealth is produced. They could not run a paan shop successfully,
most of them, particularly if they started subsidizing their "poor"
My predictions are clear: India will further sink into economic decadence,
and will finally split up into small nations, starting with our
extremeties, such as Assam, if we continue to restrict growth with all our
might. Do you have better predictions? You seem to believe that we must
expand our government. So, shall I make all the villagers government
employees? Shall I nationalize every paan shop?
I am a firm believer also that our rupee will continue to collapse, given
our amazingly unscientific policies, and will be the ultimate cause why
our nation will blow up into smithereens.
One fine day, people will realize that they no longer care for this
nuisance called socialism - a synonym for falsehoods at each level. In
Russia the day came when their rouble collapsed from about 1 to the dollar
to 2000 to a dollar. In India they day has been postponed by our mixed
economy, but is nearing ...
There is one way to prevent it, though. If you will take the time, energy
and effort to actually study facts, and not go about trying to impose your
personal observations on everyone.
One lady on this list who was asked similar simple questions on this list,
initially, promptly unsubscribed. I do hope you have the courage of
conviction and the desire to search the truth, and that you will
illuminate us with some of your own personal truth about how much of your
income you spend on the obsolete products produced by our villagers. You
will also be please kind enough to let us have your personal background,
showing whether you have followed your "self-interest" or the
"social-interest" in this lifetime of yours.
We want only authentic people on this list. People willing to explore
their own selves, willing to explore the truth.
If, based on such requests, all of us decide to unsubscribe, it is not I
who will suffer (for I possess enormous talents which can feed me and my
family at least till my faculties are active), but our poor, our villagers
who will be deprived of people to tell them the truth about the way this
world has functioned and will always function.
We are building a consensus based on facts and science, and truth.
Let only the truth win.