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Re: Sanjeev's and Sitaramayya's mail

> From: Ari Sitaramayya <ari@Oakland.edu>
> To: Sanjeev Sabhlok <sabhlok@almaak.usc.edu>
> Cc: india_policy@cinenet.net
> Subject: Sanjeev's mail
> Date: Friday, May 29, 1998 4:34 AM
> On Thu, 28 May 1998, Sanjeev Sabhlok wrote:
> > 
> > I am not sure that any debate can take place in any "sensible" way if
> > 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
> > argument. 
> > 
> > I have no statistics on this specific topic at the moment, but please
> > 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).
> > poorest of the poor today are North Korea, Burma and South Asia,
> > 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.
> > 
> You are right. I have only gone by my observations. Not based on facts
> from any books. 
> About the East asian countries that virtually eliminated poverty: The
> countries that practiced dictatorships (you call them socialist) are
> the poorer of the lot. The countries which practiced capitalism, their
> economies provide cheap labor for the US companies to produce goods
> outside the US. Their fate can be determined by the US congress with 
> a single vote anyday. I would any day prefer my country not to be
> subordinated to the whims of a foreign nation's policies under the
> pretext of globalization. Indonesia must
> be one of those capitalist economies on your list. India is a heck of a
> lot better than Indonesia.

Actually Ari, India is worse off than Indonesia in terms of poverty.
India's poverty rate is over 40% while that of Indonesia's is 15%.
Secondly, there are more Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese, Hongkong, and local
investment than US. The reason for the chaos of the Indonesian economy is
not because of the "whims of a foreign nation's policies or the US
congress" but because of a lose of confidence in the economy by foreign
investors because of CORRUPTION. India will go Indonesia's way and the
ensuing chaos will be much worse not because of capitalism but corruption.
The way to avoid that is not to create some mixed model of capitalism and
socialism but to have a strong economic model based on capitalism with the
greatest amount of TRANSPARENCY. Talk to any reputable economist of any
race and he or she will tell you the same thing.

> Let me say this one more time: Our country would be better off when we
> devise ways to improve the lot of the majority, who live in the villages.

Yes Ari, we are devising policies to improve the lot of the majority

> That is the long term interest. If we just invite any and all investments
> without a plan of what their consequences would be, we will have the
> country wrecked. 
> Just in case you got me wrong, I am not against foreign investment. When
> am the borrower, I decide where to invest. If you want me to borrow, and
> invest it where you want me to, sorry, find another customer. 
> Now handlooms: two things about handlooms; One has to dig into a bit of
> history here. Handlooms were promoted in the 20s to demonstrate to the
> Brits that their products were creating unemployment here. Handlooms
> gave the Brits a taste of unemployment in Manchester. I am not arguing
> that we should promote handlooms today. I just want to express my respect
> for Gandhi and his brilliant idea of creating employment at home and at
> the same time teaching a lesson to the Brits. 
> Modernization should take place. I have no clue why you got the idea
> that I am against 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.
> > 
> Now we are talking past one another. Tell me what this has to do with
> anything I said. A corrupt official is a corrupt official. It has nothing
> to
> do with socialism or capitalism. If you can prove to me that there is no
> corruption in capitalist societies, I will sign up with your group's
> manifesto today. 

Ari, there is a greater influence of corruption  in countries following the
socialist model than the capitalist model.

> > Do you wear handlooms to your office, Mr. Ari? What percentage of your
> > budget did you allocate last year to purchase our "wonderous,
> > handicraft products?" Tell everyone here the truth about how much you
> > personally patronized the aritsans of your village and how much you
> > 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
> > purchase. Scientific inquiry can only begin with honesty. 
> > 
> I don't live in India. So it is irrelevant what fraction of my money I
> spend every year on products you call obsolete. I will give you this
> information which is more relevant. The only things that I bring back
> India are books and sarees. The sarees are 100% from the "absolete"
> village industries you mention. On one visit I actually went to the
> village where they are made. More recently I have been buying them from 
> stores in Hyderabad which sell products made in villages around
> You don't seem to have a clue how beautiful these sarees are! Hope 
> you will go to Hyderabad one day and look at them. I bet you will think
> they were made in some factory!
> > 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
> > officials. They why not straight-away raise the salaries of government
> > officials if you love these officials so much?
> > 
> There you go again. Tell me where I supported corrupt officials. If you
> continue to misrepresent me, I will unsubscribe and leave you alone to
> write the ideal manifesto!
> > Mr. Ari, our villagers will all DIE if you do not provide them with
> > opportunities to get out of villages and come to cities. We are having
> > few suicides now among farmers. Some engineers have started committing
> > suicide because of corruption. Educated youth in Assam and elsewhere
> > taking to arms in frustration. Many people are abandoning the country
> > search of SOME other opportunity. The whole thing will become a flood
> > you do not bring in more investment and technology and competition into
> > our nation, at once. Do you not see this urgency? 
> I do. I have no quarrel with anything you said in this paragraph except
> that it is not necessary to empty the villages and bring everybody to the
> town just because it was the way in the USA. Opportunities can be created
> in the villages too. All factories don't have be in big towns. Do they?

 Ari, nobody is specifically emptying the villages and bringing everybody
to the town. This is a social phenomenon that is occurring across the globe
in every developing country. It took place a two centuries ago in England
and the rest of Europe as a result of industrialisation. It is a phenomenon
that neither socialism or capitalism can stop. Only a fundamentally strong
capitalist model will be able to create  opportunities  of employment for
the greatest number of people. The highest unemployment rate are found in
socialist countries.

> > 
> > About poverty. Why should India have improved in the last 10 years?
> > because someone said that there is "liberalization." Sure, there has
> > a wee bit. But it was more of a flip-flop than a "real" one. A majority
> > people are still firm believers that government bureaucrats know best.
> Sorry I don't buy that. I never believed that bureaucrats know best. If I
> did, I would have believed you and signed up with your theories a long
> time ago.
> > 
> > Strangely, despite your claim that none on this list have worked in the
> > field, I have been a rather outstanding bureaucrat (pardon my apparent
> Another misrepresentation! I didn't say that none of you worked in the
> field. I just said that you should get out of this manifesto writing, and
> do something about the current situation. Don't you wish the students of
> Indonesia wrote a manifesto rather than demonstrate?

Writing a manifesto with good policies for India is important as none of
the present political parties have a good set of policies for the overall
improvement of India. For those Indians  who want to do something straight
away, there is nothing to stop them. Those who are inclined to one form of
action are free to do so. Those who are inclined to another form of action
are also free to do so.

> > 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?
> If I see one more instance of misrepresentation, I would say you need
> remedial help with the English language! I didn't say we have to expand
> our govt. I said the govt would be as big as what it has to be, depending
> upon what we want it to do. I gave the example of people in USA
> for the safety of the food imported, and demanding that inspectors be
> to foreign coutries to inspect facilities. Now that takes staff. I also
> said that there are NO SMALL INTELLIGENT govts that do everything you
> them to do. 

Correction. THERE IS A SMALL INTELLIGENT GOVERMENT......Singapore. Come to
Singapore and ask any man on the street and he or she will tell you the
tremendous good the government has done for the people.A miniscule country
with 8 times the foreign reserves of India.........By the way, Singapore is
a thoroughly capitalist

> > 
> > One fine day, people will realize that they no longer care for this
> > nuisance called socialism - a synonym for falsehoods at each level.
> Even the most capitalist of countries needs socialist components in the
> governance to prevent the country from falling apart. Capitalism
> the wealth of the nation. Socialism keeps it human. A nation cannot work
> with one of them exclusively.  As long as you don't understand that, your
> manifesto will be amateurish. 

What socialist components are you referring to exactly?

> > 
> > There is one way to prevent it, though. If you will take the time,
> > and effort to actually study facts, and not go about trying to impose
> > personal observations on everyone. 
> > 
> > One lady on this list who was asked similar simple questions on this
> > 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
> > income you spend on the obsolete products produced by our villagers.
> > will also be please kind enough to let us have your personal
> > showing whether you have followed your "self-interest" or the
> > "social-interest" in this lifetime of yours. 
> > 
> I do what is good for my family. But I am more than my "personal
> interest." If we reduce everybody to our personal interests, we would be
> living in a Neanderthal society. 
> > 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
> > who will suffer (for I possess enormous talents which can feed me and
> > family at least till my faculties are active), but our poor, our
> > who will be deprived of people to tell them the truth about the way
> > world has functioned and will always function.
> I want India to become prosperous. But not at the pace world bank wants
> or IMF wants it. These folks, and folks like you, would surrender the
> country to foreign merchants in no time. I would rather have India
> become prosperous at the pace that it can sustain for a longer duration.
> It should not suffer the indignities experienced by Indonesia or South
> Korea. Briefly, India should develope on its ideas, not because American
> factories want globalization to sell their products. 

At what pace do you want India to become prosperous at? Remember China is
becoming prosperous at a faster rate than India. Pretty soon China will
have more money to spend on larger quantities of weapons and more advanced
weapons. China will have more money to support Islamabad's military forces
and support guerillas in Kashmir ( through Pakistan), Assam, Nagaland and
Arunachal Pradesh. No Ari, it is folks like you who will surrender large
chunks of India and our people to our friendly neighbours in no time.