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Re: Barun on Shastry on Amartya Sen

Liberty Institute wrote:
. . .

> >(2) Secondly, in democracies, there is another critical fall out. We in
> >India have accepted adult franchise, which is unrestrained by conditions of
> >education, wealth, caste, gender, social class, etc. This implies that
> >irrespective of the initial condition, people have the basic political
> >wisdom / consciousness necessary to participate in the political process.
> >If that is so, what prevents them from investing to build up their own
> >capabilities?

At least a part of the reason people can't invest is lack of
capital.That capital may take the form of money, or time, or both.If
you're implying that letting everyone vote is a bad idea because toomany
people are too stupid or ignorant to know what they're doing, what
alternative do you suggest?

In an electoral democracy, how would you test for competence to vote?
Two systems I know of that have been used in the past- literacy tests
and property ownership do not have any justification that I can see
other than sustaining oligarchies.

> >If on the other hand, we say that we are hardly a democracy, >and
> our problems stem from the ignorant demos, then we should publicly
> and >openly say that we think we prefer a different political
> system. Where >there is an enlightened dictator who strives to
> improve the level of the >people and decides at which point people
> are fit for democratic governance.

What system would you suggest?IMO, an enlightened dictiator is still a

As the examples of pre-WW2 Italy and Germany illustrate, a fascist
dictatorship can be very efficient- the trains run on time. The same was
true of India under Mrs G's emergency. There is enough of a downside to
NOT want a dictatorship.


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