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Re: flyer suggestion

[Topics under debate]: GOOD GOVERNANCE
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The two reports by human rights watch leave no doubt about the situation
of dalits in India. Ironically, the high levels of inter-caste violence
coincides with unprecedented amount of political participation by members
of the lower castes if we were to measure political participation by the
number of political parties with an openly "pro-dalit"/activist agenda
(setting aside for the moment the question of how much they actually get
done once they have power). I would like to see a discussion on the
following proposition: govenrment has little role to play in affecting a
change in the situation of dalits and/or other minorities save that of
establishing and maintaing the rule of law where I take "the rule of law"
in a very limited sense. Moreover, laws designed to prevent violence
SPECIFICALLY against a particular group may be ineffective and/or
counterproductive even if implemented vigorously.

In this regard I highly recommend Thomas Sowell's book "preferential
policies" ( which I think was mentioned before by one of the
participants).  In general, Thomas Sowell has found that the relative
(material)success of a minority and/or a group against whom systematic
discrimanation exists is determined by factors other than government
policies/programs designed to alleviate that discrimination. In particular
he has found that the most successful minority groups ( in the presence of
discrimination) are the ones with minimal political representation or
participation ( atleast as members of that group explicitly representing
their interests). In this regard sowell's book "Migration and Cultures" is
also useful reading. 

Offcourse, the situation of dalits in India is much worse than that of say
ethnic chinese in indonesia but perhaps there are lessons to be learnt
about the limitations of governments in this regard and the potentia of a
free market. 

Let me end with one final proposition: The amount of violence against
dalits would be considerably lowered( both in the long and short haul) if
free markets for labor and goods and so on were established in India.
Hoping for a lot of brickbats for this one. 


Abhijit Sarkar
320 s. wisconsin ave.
apt #319
oak park, illinois 60302 USA
708 848-5624

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