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Reply to Sanjeev on Russia - the facts.

SS wrote on 11 November 1998:

".......Ignorance is bliss as usual. You know, somewhere down the
archives of IPI I had pointed out my father's experiences of Russia. You
can call
him up at his home and  ...........
I do not write all this to "show up" your ignorance. I simply write to
show that ignorance will not solve India's problems. It is just not in
our interest to practice ignorance of the facts........."

Dear Sanjeev,

I believe you when you say you do not tell lies and that it is not in
your nature. But you do get carried away. This is evidenced by your
picking up some side remark in a long statement and going on an on about
it. You were right that I introduced WB as concurring (with A.K.Sen)
that markets were inefficient but you immediately deviated into
commenting on the WB-style of investing and indirectly advising
non-involvement in Stock market.

Your next reply completely ignored the substantial point raised that
India Govt. puts its representatives on the boards of only such
companies as borrow a substantial amount of capital from Financial
Institutions as this money rightly belongs to its Investors and
tax-payers but busied itself in running down the Russian administration
because of my side remark that I did not agree with the timing of it as
given by you of mafia-baazi there. From what you have stated in your
posting, your ideas of what happened there is based on hearsy - what
your good Father told you. There may have been corruption there but
mafia-baazi there was not. Was your father robbed or mobbed there on the
street ? Did anyone aim a bullet at him ? What do you call mafia-baazi ?
I have roamed the Russian streets at 12 O'clock at night and no one
bothered me. If anything, they used to ask what country I belong to and
on hearing that I hailed from India, they invariably used to say, "
India -Rusky Brothers". This was before the Gorbachev era. After him, a
couple of years ago a friend of mine went to Moscow to start a business
: he was robbed in the first week on the street at the point of a seven
inch knife. He returned quite fast since he didn't have the stomach for

You never answered what happened to the sacked employees of the 26
companies closed (Re. BW article quoted by you).

You also avoid answering the important doubts raised about the ethical
aspect of stock trading : you state that it would be a foolish thing for
anyone to jump in the stock market under the impression that anyone can
go in and make gains there. If you are sincere about this statement, why
do you let gullible, uninformed Public go in there all the time
indirectly promising them better returns on their savings. Now even the
pension funds have begun to invest in the stock market.

For your information, Vietnam has remained almost totally unscathed by
the financial turmoil of SEA. The Only reason is, there is a "nothing to
speak of" stock market there and the curency is not convertible. No free
market there.

As I close this, let me remind you :

Point 1. You have Seven strings but play only ONE tune - free markets.

Point 2. Free markets have their usefulness but not of the unfetterred
variety. This has been the thinking among the more         enlightened
thinkers for 150 years - it is not a New idea.

Point 3. Getting carried away is not the right characteristic of a
statesman or politician or anyone who wants to achieve success.

Point 4. Just as ignorance will not solve India's problems, wishful
thinking will not solve it either: One has to practise pragmatic
policies to this end which means a regime of checks & balances.

Point 5. Your expertise lies in the knowledge of what goes on in the
Govt. corridors : if this is unhealthy, bring it out, be the Deep
Throat, motivate others to stand up to it. What I mean is to foster a
culture of Whistle-blowing. Then your contribution will find
direction and make meaning.

Point 6. Lastly, be a little grateful to Russia : it used its Veto power
on a number of occasions to block debate on Kashmir in Security Council.

Point 7. Again be grateful to Russia : 80 % German casualties in WW II
(nearly 16 millions) were on the Eastern front fighting the Russians.
American casualties were about 180,000.


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