article in @SwarajyaMag on economic roadmap for India that concludes that
foreign Investment is the solution to our woes is the trigger for this post.
read that article, first time superficially, as I only was seeing in it what I
have read earlier but in new composition. There is nothing new to it except
that it appears, this time, in a magazine that is perceived as one sympathetic
to Right politics.I could not take the
article out of mind for over two days and none of the reasons was positive. I
thought I will put my counterview here.
article written by Jaithirth Rao, http://swarajyamag.com/magazine/ready-the-east-india-company-hangover/ argues that allowing uninhibited
foreign investment will solve all our economic problems, a-la-China. For this
purpose the measure of success is marked as the achieving of economic
parameters of China. It was so monochromatic an objective, as if nothing else
matters to India.
our school days, we read a story as part of curriculum, that I hardly hear
nowadays. It goes like this. In a village there lived a farmer with three sons.
His field was ripe to be harvested and in that field lived a mother Lark (vanambadi in Tamil) with her hatchlings.
day when the mother had gone out in search of food for her hatchlings, the
farmer arrives at the field with his sons and tells them that it is time for
harvesting the field. He asks his sons to call their relatives to come the next
day to help them harvest.
hearing this, get very agitated and as soon as the mother came home, tell her
that they have to leave immediately, narrating the farmer’s plan. Mother was
nonchalant and assuages her children that there is nothing to fear.
day the farmer and sons arrive at the field and wait for the help to arrive to
start harvesting, but no one turns up. As it became midday, the farmer tells
his children to bring over the village men the next day this time.
when the mother comes home, the hatchlings scramble in fear, yet the mother
tells it is not time to move yet. The next day the farmer again waits for
people to arrive and none turn up. This time the farmer tells his sons that
they can wait no more and the next day they will do the harvest by themselves,
waiting for none.
the mother heard this, she told her children that it is time to move now as
surely the field will be harvested the next day.
is a great RW story, if one gets the drift.
and Buddhism are replete with texts that teach us that the solution to our
problems lie within and not without. Indian minds, especially those from the Convent
educated as well as the political class, are so enamoured with the rose plant
in blooms across the fence that they never tire of telling us that uprooting
that plant and bringing it over our side of the fence is the only way we can
have those flowers. Growing and nurturing a rose plant does not seem to be an option
at all. It is a state of mind that we seem to lack. We do seem to think
that the flowers bloom across the fence because it was borrowed from some
other garden. ‘Up by the bootstraps’ is for those who we hold in awe. We are incapable
of creating, as the colonial education has taught us. We only have many things
to be ashamed of.
the new nations that became global power, Israel stands out as one. Though it
took help from others it never sold itself lock stock and barrel. It looked
inside, found in its strength in own culture, language and ethos. Today, Israel
has one of the best Universities, has built wealth of knowledge in own language
and technology that is home grown. Even simple solutions such as drip irrigation
were one that addressed a local problem with home grown and ground breaking solution.
is not the solution to success but definitely to join the ‘also ran’ club. Most
educated and political class of India only think as much. To them, imitation is
the highest form of knowledge they can acquire and the reason why they think so
is not difficult to understand.
Marx was not entirely wrong when he said that Capital is the surplus labour either.
Those who clamour for foreign capital are also those who have a share in that
economy and from the crony Capitalism of yesterdays.
political classes as well as our Economic leaders have always preached these
kinds of covetous ideologies, desiring to introduce, from Capitalism to communism
to socialism to vassal economy on to a large nation with history running to
thousands of years that have shaped intractable values in each one of us. What
grows in cold and frozen lands during brief outbursts of sunshine may not
thrive in all around sunny weather of India, figuratively.
for many reasons, is not our role model. The impending change in demography in
China is a huge risk to its character as a nation. Demography trumps politics
and politics trumps economics. The west has corroded into the Chinese culture
through evangelism, a carrier of Western capital, its surplus labour.
nation was built by force and not on consensus and the impact of that is
inestimable from where we stand in history. The mindless pursuit of economic
power has left China an environmental disaster waiting to happen. It has
limited Freedom of Expression, the power house that impels a successful economy
to thriving civilization, to growth, success, and leadership. Again, a mere 20
years is a blip in history. Not to fall head over heels on momentary, as least
as of now, of economic success.
an objective level, the educated and political classes in India have failed to
do a proper analysis of our strengths and weaknesses and build on the reality
of our nation. There is an element of ‘predatory capitalism’ in this pursuit of
external solutions. As the West sucked out the juices of their colonies either
through colonialism or through corporatism, the Indian counterparts do see an
opportunity to pick up crumbs and emulate. The agents for foreign capital do so due to
their lack of appetite for risk. By turning agents to foreign capital, while
Individual risk is low, the gain can be enormous, perpetuating their crony
capitalist status in India. The indigenous innovation can be whipped into
obliteration and submission with brute force of money.
US after decimating the inhabiting Indians for economic gains, did invest in
pursuit of knowledge. The country invested in education, research, and
scientific pursuits. The reason the US is an economic leader today is partly
due to chance and partly due to its long term investments in knowledge. US also
have a culture of Freedom, the contribution of which to its growth is often
role of Indian economic leaders in our current state of abysmal economy is
another story. The Tatas, Birlas and the later day Ambanis, Narayana Murthys
and the other IT body-sellers who masqueraded as knowledge bank have actively
contributed in keeping India a follower state.What is their contribution to building nation viz a viz their own
wealth? When these IT Czars pontificate, merely on the strength of their dollar
gotten affluence, not because of their contribution to breaking new grounds in
Science and Technology but due to the favourable chance event that benefited
India, hiring out bodies, one has to be careful not to mistake them for
intellectuals. These are people who would invest in real estates, low risk
assets and Technologies that will allow them to sell more bodies. I recall Modi
ji speaking in an enclave that he wants India not to be a skill pool but a
knowledge pool. Not a provider of work force but a nation of knowledge that
will create opportunities for itself. How did these economic leaders contribute
to that call?
have they done to spawn research that breaks new grounds? Zilch.
admit that this is a mere criticism without offering an alternative. But it
does not mean such ideas do not exist. Another time, another place.
conclusion, Indian revival is not mere GDP numbers. It is about building a
nation; discovering the internal strength that had this great civilization
going for millennium; discovering solutions that spring out of the problems.
is not about adapting models that worked elsewhere. It is not about transplant of
simplified, imitative ideas. We need imaginative political leadership, educated
class of people and economic leaders. We are there in political leadership but
the economic leadership has failed India as it does not try to rise above a
petty brokering role.