We first went wrong with our Economics.
Instead of a free economy based on free exchanges, we opted for a “command economy”.
Instead of rulers who are supposed to get the bad guys and command the police, we got rulers who commanded the businessmen and let the police system rot.
They did not know what to command!
This wrong-headed Economics bequeathed to us a wrong-headed Political Science: instead of “liberal democracy” we got “socialist democracy”, which is no democracy at all.
(Socialist East Germany was also “democratic”.)
With both the Economics and the Political Science wrong, our Public Administration naturally went to pieces. The erstwhile “steel frame” of our Weberian-Platonic bureaucracy neglected its basic duties and became a “spending bureaucracy” hand-in-glove with corrupt socialist politicians.
Where the Economics, Political Science and Public Administration are totally wrong, what will happen to Law? Obviously it will become an instrument of coercion, with “legislation” being used as a means of issuing centralized commands.
We confused “legislation” with Law.
This is how we got all the “social sciences” wrong.
And there is no easy cure to this mess.
Saturday, 31 May 2008
We first went wrong with our Economics.
New Delhi: May 31, 2008: 0730hrs
Robin Cook, the bestselling author of medical thrillers like Coma, has come out with a new book, Foreign Bodies, which takes a bleak look at India’s medical outsourcing industry – which is booming. Read the news report here.
When my mother was in hospital last year, I found a tall gent from Afghanistan, an old man from Lebanon, and a young African boy in her ward.
Indian doctors are good – and their services are cheap, as compared to the west.
My own friend, a German, came to India for dental treatment, finding it cheaper than home – with a holiday thrown in.
Some are now calling this “medical tourism”: that is, get your by-pass done in Escorts and we throw in a free visit to the Taj Mahal.
But there are some worrying signs.
For example, the new hospitals are great – but just look at the mess outside. We might attract other Third World types to our medical facilities, but a wealthy westerner will be loath to get medical treatment in horribly dirty cities such as ours.
And this begs the question: Where did we go wrong?
After all, we have been producing good doctors for over 200 years now. My great-grandfather was a doctor.
We have also been producing engineers for long.
But the sorry fact is that we have failed precisely in the area of “social science”: we got our Economics and Political Science all wrong.
Hence the mess.
And there is no way out of this mess because the government controls education in the social sciences. Their propaganda is force-fed to every child in school.
The crucial point I am trying to drive home is this: we Indians have succeeded in science, medicine, engineering, software and other fields related to the physical sciences.
What has let us down is our ignorance of the basic principles of a free and prosperous society.
And this is why the roads outside our swanking new hospitals are broken and rutted, and garbage is strewn everywhere.
Private affluence; public squalour.
Friday, 30 May 2008
So, here's a great song and music video to boost morale:
Jefferson Starship's "We Built This City On Rock-n-Roll".
New Delhi: May 30, 2008: 0700hrs
Cooking gas prices are set to rise by up to 50 rupees a cylinder. The government, which is a monopolist in this area, claims that its subsidy bill is too large. This is the news today.
Yet, I wonder...
Cooking gas in India is never piped – as it is anywhere else in the world. Thus, the biggest "cost" must be transportation – nothing else.
Travel on any “notional highway” in India and you will invariably come across massive gas tankers ferrying LPG.
Travel in any city or town and you will find trucks, tempos and even cycles ferrying gas cylinders about.
If gas was piped, these transport costs could be saved – and the consumer would gain.
But that requires competition – for which there must be privatization.
Only a private entity taking a long-term view would invest in pipes to carry gas.
A government monopoly would never do that because of the “short-sightedness effect” that politicians suffer from. Because they are elected for short terms, politicians invariably invest public money where there are immediate gains – but heavy long-term costs. They never put the money where there are big costs now, but huge gains long-term. This is why they invest in flyovers but not in modern ring roads that are grade-separated.
Ever since the days of “Gaslight” in London, which used coal gas, private entrepreneurs have found it preferable to pipe gas to their customers.
There is no part of the world that I have visited where cooking gas is transported in cylinders to the final customer.
Therefore, when Manmohan pyarey talks about “lowering the subsidy” on cooking gas, shout for privatization. There is no real subsidy here. Instead, there are political clients engaged in transportation deals.
Thursday, 29 May 2008
New Delhi: May 29, 2008: 0730hrs
In an earlier post, we had commented on the “death of an activist’, referring to the “rural employment activist” who got murdered in Jharkhand.
We also spoke of Professor Emeritus of sociology, Jean Dreze, who was a friend, philosopher and guide to this activist, and who is an activist himself.
Now, there is a report of Dreze leading a procession in the area where the activist was conducting a “social audit” of NREGA projects. There is a photo alongside the report. The banner in Hindi reads “Shaheed Lalit”. The word shaheed means “martyr”. Thus, a bright young man has been “martyred” to Dreze’s cause of rural employment generation and the social audit thereof.
Is this “moral” activism?
I too spent some years in “grassroots activism”. I lectured street hawkers and vendors on why they should ask the government for nothing except the Liberty to carry on their businesses.
No cheap credit – for they were already getting credit easily from informal money-lenders.
Nothing except Liberty.
I gave my stamp of approval to ganja dealers and “dance bars” – that they too need Liberty.
My activism, and that of my handful of volunteers, consisted in explaining to ordinary people why they should ask for nothing from the State – except freedom: the highest political value.
Jean Dreze’s “activism” consists of rounding up poor people to collect the dole.
My activism was in a city; Dreze’s is in remote villages.
Yet, which is really “activism”?
If people want a dole, and if the government gives it to them, there should be no need for activism. What is the need to round up poor people to collect money from the State? How is this “moral” – since the money has come from taxpayers? What is a “social audit”?
My activism consisted in telling small businessmen, some of whose businesses were illegal because of repressive legislation, to liberate themselves and get rich.
This is preaching “self-help”. Nothing immoral about it. Nothing to take from anyone else. No claims on the State. Nothing except khulla dhanda.
Of course, the government is happy with Dreze’s “activism” because it poses no threat to the State.
The government hated my kind of activism – and I was repeatedly attacked by the cops, and their hired goons.
There is a moral lesson in this.
And I hope you got it.
Wednesday, 28 May 2008
New Delhi: May 28, 2008: 1700hrs
The other day I delivered a talk to young people on the liberal theory of society during which I mentioned in passing that I would like to abolish the customs department.
Everyone laughed in disbelief.
The disbelief was founded on some false notions of the societal utility of this department.
Actually, it is nothing more than a great ugly octroi (chungi in Hindi) inflicted on us all.
I have only read of one other economist who would have happily abolished the customs department – and that is Frederic Bastiat.
Here he is, from “A Chinese Tale”.
"There is nothing that does not pretend to serve the well-being and the edification of the people—nothing, not even the customhouse. You think, perhaps, that it is just another instrument of taxation, like the license bureau or the tollhouse at the end of the bridge? Nothing of the kind. It is essentially an institution for the advancement of civilization, fraternity, and equality. What do you expect? To be in fashion today, one must show, or pretend to show, feeling, sentimental sensibility, everywhere, even at the customhouse window where they ask, “What do you have there, friend?”
But for realizing these humanitarian aspirations, the customhouse has, it must be confessed, some rather strange procedures. It musters an army of directors, assistant directors, inspectors, deputy inspectors, superintendents, auditors, collectors, department heads, assistant department heads, clerks, supernumeraries, candidates for the jobs of supernumeraries, and candidates for the candidacy, to say nothing of those on active service—all with the object of exercising over the productive activities of the people the negative action that can be summed up in the word “bar”.
Notice that I do not say tax, but quite genuinely bar.
And to bar, not acts repugnant to morality or dangerous to public order, but transactions that are innocent and, as is admitted, conducive to peace and harmony among nations."
Read the full text here. (You will have to scroll down to chapter 7.)
So let us abolish this huge big ugly barrier to trade.
There is much to gain – especially the end of protectionism.
Na rahega baans, na bajegi baansuri!
I am planning to make a documentary for television on the fact – fact! – that the urban overcrowding we in India suffer from is caused neither by excess population nor a shortage of land.
The only real shortage is of roads.
Next time you fly, take a window seat and keep looking down at the fantastic amount of land available for human settlement – and this is true of every overcrowded Indian city or town.
If there were proper roads into the surrounds, if the market for land was free, even the middle class would live in bungalows with garages for their cars, quarters for their servants, and even a large garden.
Poorer people would live in flats and apartments.
Further, there would be an increased supply not only of urban land and residential property, there would also follow an abundance of commercial property like shops – and this would benefit all trades.
Poor villagers would also benefit from good roads: the value of their lands would rise, there would be real estate instead of all this “unreal estate” – and good transport connections to city markets are good for the poor, period.
The liberal vision of a prosperous India rests squarely on private several property, unilateral free trade, complete economic freedom – and roads.
This means every shop is a duty-free shop – no customs.
This means everyone has a car – the poor buying imported second-hand ones.
This means all dhandas are khulla – and it is noteworthy that the word dhanda has its root in ‘dhan’, which means wealth.
It also means bungalows for all – an excellent “habitat” in a vast country of continental proportions.
Complete and total privatization can fund an excellent public roads and highways system – and this will mean that the public treasure is well invested in “collective property” that all Indians can use and profit from. Even visiting foreigners can use them for free – a boost for tourism, the biggest industry in the world. Public investments in roads are investments in true “common profit”.
Note that I have said nothing about “education”.
So how about some sloganeering by our own cheerleaders:
Duty-free shops for all!
Cars for all!
Bungalows for all!
And a roads network better than the German autobahns.
Under these favourable conditions, all Indians will live well, producing more and more wealth for themselves.
We must first contemplate such a future.
And if it seems realizable and doable, we must go for it.
Tuesday, 27 May 2008
New Delhi: May 27, 2008: 1830hrs
Today is Jawaharlal Nehru’s death anniversary: I found out from the government adverts in the papers.
Why do they spend so much money on adverts, day in and day out, with our money?
Anyway, this reminds me of a course I attended in Germany once, at the IAF in Gummersbach. It had international participation, where I met:
· Someone from Egypt, ruled by Nehru’s friend Nasser
· Someone from Ghana, ruled by Nehru’s friend Nkrumah
· Someone from the former Yugoslavia, ruled by Nehru’s friend Tito
· Someone from Tanzania, ruled by Nehru’s friend Nyrere
And the conclusion was stark:
Every country ruled by a friend of Nehru was ruined!
Do read my “re-assessment of Nehru”, which proves he was an evil man.
New Delhi: May 27, 2008: 0700hrs
The news has it that wheat procurement is at a record level, totaling more than 200 lakh or 20 million tones.
This brings to mind an important lesson in Economics: that we all produce in order to consume.
The farmer produces wheat alright, but wants to get rid of it in the market as soon as possible – so that he can use the proceeds to get those things he really wants.
His actual purpose in growing wheat is to buy other things.
The “results” of all his untiring “efforts” are all those goods and services he buys for his own consumption.
Thus, the great farmers of the “Green Revolution” were horribly cheated – for the market only had shoddy swadeshi stuff on offer: like Old Monkey rum.
Free international trade is the only way to ensure that we all succeed as consumers.
The socialist isolationism of the Green Revolution years actually cheated all our hardworking farmers.
There has been some improvement in the situation since – and this indicates that even a little “liberalization” is a good thing.
Why not then go the whole hog and announce free trade unilaterally?
There are no economic or political arguments against free trade.
What is actually happening today is protectionism, which, as Bastiat pointed out, is “a practice devoid of any principle”.
Any practice without principle is just a racket camouflaged as “policy”.
But every hardworking Indian is the loser – and just a handful of rich people who do not want to work hard gain, in league with corrupt politicians who, of course, do not “work” at all – but want to “generate employment”.
And, of course, they want to teach.
Stay far away from their books.
Monday, 26 May 2008
New Delhi: May 26, 2008: 8pm
There is an interesting discussion on at the Lew Rockwell blog about the 60s rock band Steppenwolf, especially about the contradictory message that emanates from their hit single “The Pusher”, which damns the drug dealer and calls for a "total war" against him.
Actually, if you watch the 60s classic film “Easy Rider” starring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and a young Jack Nicholson, you will realize that the entire film – which starts with the Steppenwolf song “The Pusher” (and only thereafter progresses to their other great hit, “Born to be Wild”) – is an affirmation of faith in the pusher and a powerful critique of the Steppenwolf song.
Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper start out “scoring” cocaine from Mexico, and then, after selling their haul to a rich dealer, proceed to drive to New Orleans on their motorcycles to enjoy the carnival. They are the good guys.
Jack Nicholson is a lawyer and an alcoholic who spends many a drunken night in the local jail. Peter Fonda smokes grass and offers him a joint. He then realizes that there are better highs.
The poster for the film says “They went looking for America, but could not find her anywhere.” They all get killed by the American equivalent of our Bajrang Dal.
In truth, the pusher is a friend, a pal, a man who risks a lot to get me what I want. I will never damn him, like Steppenwolf foolishly did.
Also, the song “Born to be Wild”, which plays as the titles of “Easy Rider” roll, is an incorrect idea of Liberty.
We all learn the art of gainful exchange from childhood, from our parents, and we are never “wild”. Rather, we are “rule-following animals”. We are civilized, only that we do not know why we do what we do.
Our morality lies “between instinct (which would be to snatch) and reason” – which is an understanding of exchange, of catallaxy.
Just as we follow rules in language without being aware of the rules of grammar, so too do we follow rules in market exchanges – without knowing why.
All this goes to show why the student movements of the 60s failed.
They rebelled alright – but they lacked intellectual clarity.
Perhaps Americans of that generation will think correctly now. At least they are talking of the contradictions in their music.
New Delhi: May 26, 2008
There is an interesting comment from Jyoti Basu, the Communist patriarch, that the land taken from villagers for setting up a factory to make Tata Nano cars – using “eminent domain” for a private purpose – cannot be returned, but “the compensation package can be discussed.”
In all such discussions of “just compensation” when eminent domain is used, economists, lawyers as well as judges view this just compensation in terms of “market price.”
This is a grave mistake.
The market price would be a just compensation only if there was already a “For Sale” sign put up on the property.
Where no such signs have been put up, the owner is clearly unwilling to sell at the market price.
Thus, the just compensation for an owner who is unwilling to sell at the market price must be many times higher than the market price.
Only that can be deemed just compensation.
The landowners of Singur are clearly unwilling to sell at the market price.
And anyway this is an unjust use of the powers of eminent domain.
In my judgement, therefore, the compensation should be anywhere between 2 or 3 times the market price.
This will represent only a small rise in the project cost – of which land comprises less than 10 per cent.
And justice will prevail.
Indeed, if the courts issue such a judgement, the precedent set will ensure that eminent domain is used very sparingly, and that too for truly public purposes only – for which it is intended.
Sunday, 25 May 2008
New Delhi: May 25, 2008
The ongoing violent agitation by Gujjars in Rajasthan for inclusion in the list of Scheduled Tribes only illustrates the perverse nature of such "preferential policies".
The classic book on the subject is by Thomas Sowell, the great African-American scholar. Read a review here. I quote one para:
“By preferential policies, Sowell means “government-mandated policies toward government-designated groups,” policies “which legally mandate that individuals not all be judged by the same criteria or subjected to the same procedures when they originate in groups differentiated by government into preferred and non- preferred groups.”
Such policies invariably divide society – and, what is worse, increase the economic stake that people have in government.
It is another instance of economic outcomes being determined by politics: the ugly politicization of economic life.
What should be the stand of India’s liberals on this issue?
Liberals must establish a new moral consensus in India – one that considers gains through markets highly moral (shubh laabh) while labeling gains through government action and politics as immoral.
Our idea of good government is one that upholds general rules that are applicable to all: an “equal justice"; not “social justice”.
We must convince the poor that they are poor because of the repressive, socialist and isolationist policies of the government, and that they will gain much more in a liberal order.
We must convince them that a regime of khulla dhanda will lead to a better life for all – and, further, that a life spent in government service (as a servant of the minister) is a wasted life, wasted in ‘misproductive’ activities like corruption. Such employment destroys the very character of the individual. We must convince all the hordes of Class IV and Class III government employees that they should abandon government service for khulla dhanda.
We must convince them that khulla dhanda and mukt vyapaar with save their souls. This should be the basis of a new moral consensus.
It may sound like a tall order, but it isn’t. After all, reservations will not benefit all Gujjars: only a small fraction will gain. The fact that the politicians gain more than the targeted beneficiaries is amply proved by Sowell in his little book, which is a must read for all Dalits and Gujjars.
Note that the NREGA and reservations both increase the stake poor people have in this inept and corrupt government.
This socialist government rests on three chakkars:
Note ka chakkar
Vote ka chakkar
Aur naukri ka chakkar
Lekin inka note jaali, inka vote bhi jaali, and inka naukri hai chori-chamari.
Onwards to a new moral consensus!
Also read my “The Purpose of Politics”.
And some sher-shayari of recent vintage.
Saturday, 24 May 2008
New Delhi: May 24, 2008
There is a disturbing news report about the murder of an NREGA ‘activist’.
The report says his activism was being guided by Professor Emeritus of Delhi University, the sociologist Jean Dreze, a close associate of Amartya Sen, and one of the principal designers of the NREGA: The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.
Professor Dreze has been camping in the Jharkhand district where this murder occurred.
So all is not hunky-dory about the ‘implementation’ of the NREGA.
Some serious hanky-panky is going on.
This is because the NREGA leads to what Peter, Lord Bauer called “the politicization of economic life”: when one’s economic outcomes are determined by politics.
Another key figure in the design of the NREGA is the RTI ‘activist’ Aruna Roy. We have earlier commented on her belief that the NREGA “strengthens grassroots democracy”, saying that what really transpires is “grassroots civil war”.
It must be another such civil war in Jharkhand over NREGA funds – or this idealistic young activist would not have been killed.
Something is very wrong with India – and all the evidence points to faulty and even foolish government policies, like the NREGA.
The liberal response must be as follows:
We want a complete and total separation between State and Market. The Market determines the economic outcomes of all the citizenry: Mukt Vyapaar.
The State exists only as a punisher of the wicked – the "real outlaws".
And it builds roads.
Roads, roads and more roads.
And that is all.
No ‘education’ – which is very harmful for the mind.
No ‘healthcare’ – which damages the health.
No ‘employment of the rural poor’ bullshit.
No ‘rural development’.
Instead, aggressive urbanization. Free international trade. And a free urban market environment for all the rural poor to participate in – and gain from.
I could add that all the urban roads should have broad footpaths on which poor rural migrants can sleep – and be protected from harm by the city police.
You cannot generate jobs and employment in vacant villages.
The social division of labour is maximized in cities because the markets there are big.
So, we arrive at the same conclusion:
All their theories are wrong.
And they want to teach!
Friday, 23 May 2008
Over 10,000 crore rupees have been doled out to our ‘elite institutes of higher learning’, all government-owned.
Note ‘higher learning’ – not primary education.
Note that all the government’s own academics will get this money.
And all their theories are wrong.
Each and every one.
If you study these theories, your intellect dies.
I will never compromise with false theories – because they always have disastrous results.
My attitude to them is war-like – destroy the enemy; war-like in the Genghis Khan sense.
This reminds me of Margaret Thatcher’s famous Bruges speech, delivered to the College of Europe.
There, she said:
“Mr. Chairman, you have invited me to speak on the subject of Britain and Europe. Perhaps I should congratulate you on your courage.
If you believe some of the things said and written about my views on Europe, it must seem rather like inviting Genghis Khan to speak on the virtues of peaceful coexistence!”
So, peaceful co-existence with false theories is ruled out.
The liberal manifesto on higher education should read:
WE PROMISE TO CLOSE THEM ALL DOWN!
Thursday, 22 May 2008
New Delhi: May 22, 2008
Just read a report on a survey conducted by Assocham among teachers in India’s business schools that found almost all of them to be living in cloudcuckooland.
I have myself experienced the ignorance fostered by B-schools many times.
I have lectured in IIM-L, IIM-C, XIMB, TAPMI, Symbiosis and many other B-schools.
In each of these, I have asked my class to tell me how wealth is created – and the only answer I received was a loud “D-uh”.
Businesses should hire younger people aged 13-16 – as the Honourable East India Company used to do – and train them in-house, on-the-job.
MBAs are a waste of time.
Read my “Teenage Wasteland”. And then get the fuck out of 'education' and step into the real world.
New Delhi: May 22, 2008
We liberals need to offer poor people something substantially better than 100 days of employment under the government per year at the minimum wage.
How about the Liberty To Trade?
Thus, your shop is your private property and what you decide to stock in it is your gamble.
And no one interferes – not even the customs department.
Nor the excise.
Or the police.
Accordingly, your patch of land is your property – and it is your gamble what you decide to grow on it.
I’m growing ganja.
The free market is not about kaam; it is about dhanda.
This means profit-making 24x7x366, round-the-clock, round-the-year.
Big profits for all.
Bugger the NREGA.
Chant down Babylon!
And cry Liberty!
Wednesday, 21 May 2008
There is a historical precedent of socialists legislating a “Right to Work”.
This took place in France, after the Revolution of 1848.
The politics of that epoch are briefly chronicled in Detmar Doering’s excellent biography of Frederic Bastiat, who had been elected to the National Assembly then.
What did the socialists actually do when they implemented the “Right to Work”?
This is what Doering has to say:
“Among the things that went wrong, was the establishment of state-run “national workshops” to enforce the “right to work”. These never really served their purpose, nor were they probably intended to do so. Rather they allowed the socialists to organize support “on the streets” to threaten all dissenting voices with violence.”
Try and think about it in the Indian context.
Local politicians and babus are going about telling poor village people that the government will employ them for money.
Will this happen apolitically?
Or will they recruit their own supporters – and pay them with government monopoly money?
Thus, the naivete of the mainstream press on the NREGA is amazing.
I hope this historical precedent will enlighten them.
Power politics is a dirty game – and socialists play it dirtiest of all.
Read my old article The Realpolitik of India's New Deal. Unfortunately, the web page omits mention of the author, but the article is mine - one of the best I have ever written. Enjoy the read.
Tuesday, 20 May 2008
New Delhi: May 20, 2008
Panchayat elections in Bengal have claimed dozens of lives – and 231 people are in hospital. This is the news today. More 'post-poll violence' is expected.
What makes village elections so violent?
Obviously, there must be economic motives – a pointer to the fact that local elections and politics are extremely important in determining economic outcomes for poor villagers.
Villagers who are deliberately kept poor by perverse policies are being offered the even more perverse incentive of seeking survival through ‘politics’ – though I doubt that this sort of “civil war” can be called politics, which is always based on a ‘recognition of restraints’. Politics is about talking, about airing one’s views in public about matters that affect a community – and being allowed by one’s opponents to do so: this is the vital recognition of restraints, that all are bound by the same laws. Lawless elections are not ‘politics’.
What is happening in rural Bengal cannot be called ‘politics’ as the western world understands the term. Note that politics is a western concept, born in ancient Greece. The rest of the world has tried to emulate it, to import it – but rarely succeeded.
What are the economic incentives offered to poor villagers to engage in this civil war? On top of the list is the NREGS – the employment programme. This is what politicizes all outcomes. Only those fighting for the winning party get a share of the loot.
Therefore, Aruna Roy’s assertion that the NREGS “strengthens grassroots democracy” is nothing short of naive sentimentalism.
This cannot be grassroots democracy.
It is political clientelism: something extremely ugly.
Note that rich businessmen who become Mayors of great cities – as in the west – are never political clients. That is ‘local self-government’; that is ‘grassroots democracy’.
What is astounding is the Times of India editorial that accompanied Aruna Roy’s interview. Their editors also appear as naive sentimentalists.
But are they spin doctors hand-in-glove with the State?
I strongly suspect the latter.
Monday, 19 May 2008
New Delhi: May 19, 2008
Yesterday, I raised a toast to your health.
This morning, I read of another ‘hooch tragedy’: many poor people have died consuming poison labeled as booze.
The news report says that some of this hooch was distributed free by politicians, in order to buy votes.
The newspapers also say that the police have been called in, and they are going to ‘arrest’ those responsible.
I am sick and tired of reading such stories.
In my book, this is a ‘tort’: an act of negligence, for which the victims must be financially compensated by the perpetrator.
The courts can act speedily in tort cases, which do not have to be ‘proved beyond reasonable doubt’ as in criminal trials. In tort cases, the court can decide on the basis of the ‘preponderance of evidence’. These cases can therefore be decided fast – and the compensation paid out immediately.
Why then, when ours is a ‘common law’ country, do we have no relief in torts? Why are all such cases deemed to be criminal cases, with the inept police being called in?
So that the case can be milked by the police, so that the perpetrator pays the police – while the victim gets nothing.
This is definitely not justice.
Read my old article “Ring In Torts”.
Sunday, 18 May 2008
New Delhi: May 18, 2008
Just as 70 per cent of all shampoo sold in India is in sachets, I’ll bet my bottom dollar that 70 per cent (or more) of all liquor sold in India comes in ‘quarters’: 180ml bottles, or 3 large pegs.
Now, the quarter costs as much as a single bottle of beer.
So no one buys beer. They all buy quarters of hard liquor.
I watched the crowd of poor people outside a government booze shop in South Delhi – and each of them emerged with a little quarter.
Yet, beer is a healthy drink. In the old days, the water was unsafe – and beer was the only safe drink available to the poor in Europe.
Adam Smith himself famously said that he got his lunch from the ‘butcher, baker and brewer’ – which implies that a glass or two of the local brew accompanied every lunch.
Why is beer so expensive here? Why do poor people consume hard liquor?
The answer: taxation. The taxes on beer are designed to encourage the consumption of hard liquor.
The government is destroying public health.
The government is in the pay of the hard liquor mafia.
Thus, the protestations of the health minister alleging that he is being ‘targeted by the liquor industry’ are fiction.
As in every other instance, even in the case of alcohol, the government’s policies are perverse.
The government is actively promoting liver disease.
Beer should be tax-free and license-free.
Let a million micro-breweries blossom, serving draught beer on tap to all comers.
Let there be beer pubs on every street.
And I will raise a drink to everyone’s health.
A great Irish toast goes:
A long life – and a merry one,
A quick death – and an easy one,
A pretty girl – and an honest one,
And a cold beer – and another one!
To your health, dudes!
Saturday, 17 May 2008
“Education is also bound up with the same fundamental question that precedes all others in politics: Is it part of the State’s duties? Or does it belong to the sphere of private activity? You can guess what my answer will be: The government is not set up in order to bring our minds into subjection, or to absorb the rights of the family. To be sure, gentlemen, if it pleases you to hand over to it your noblest prerogatives, if you want to have theories, systems, methods, principles, textbooks and teachers forced on you by the government, that is up to you; but do not expect me to sign, in your name, such a shameful abdication of your rights.”
The full text of this recently unearthed document can be found in my The Essential Frederic Bastiat, published in India by Liberty Institute. It does not seem to be there on the Internet.
Buy the book and let the winds of Liberty blow through your brains.
Friday, 16 May 2008
New Delhi: May 16, 2008
If you ever go down the Mehrauli-Guragon road, stop awhile at Sikandarpur, the first ancient ‘town’ just across the border, where Haryana begins.
Just as the Mehrauli-Guragon road – and all ‘development’ – has bypassed the ancient town of Mehrauli, so too with Sikandarpur.
Actually, the rest of Gurgaon, with all its high-rises, came up recently.
Sikandarpur was always there, even when Garden Estate was built way back when – just short of it.
Today, the road has by-passed Sikandarpur. You cannot enter the town market. The shopkeepers have put up signs saying the market is open, but no one can go there, and no one will.
That is because, yesterday, Sikandarpur was off the ‘development’ radar of the government.
Here, you can see the ‘rural-urban divide’ as a government creation, designed to keep people poor.
If the heads of our central planners were not full of ‘rural development’ as a panchayati-raj village vision of farmers and labourers, things might have been different.
To me, it seems perfectly apparent that when villages develop, they become towns – and they should be encouraged to do so.
Sikandarpur would have ‘developed’ if it had been noticed way back then that it was faced with a huge urban opportunity.
Whichever Indian city you visit, take a drive out on any ‘notional highway’ and you will come across countless towns like Sikandarpur.
Thus, their ‘theories’ are all wrong.
And they want to teach.
And all the tiachus of this land have agreed that they should teach, and have even coughed up an education tax for the purpose.
These tiachu citizens belive that just as their education made them into tiachus, the same fate should befall their children.
In the meantime, all this business of Arjun Singh, the minister for education, loudly proclaiming his ‘loyalty’ to The Family should be a pointer to the ugly truth that all this education is merely propaganda.
Indeed, IITs and IIMs are institutes for ‘training’ – not education. They have been there since the 60s – and India remained low-tech. There were only PSUs to ‘manage’: IIM Bangalore specialized in training managers for PSUs way back in the 70s.
Read my previous post on “The Intellectual Bodyguards of the House of Nehru-Gandhi”.
Reject this education!
And pull your kids out of school before they become tiachus like you.
The kids are our only hope – the future, which must be Liberty! And if so, they must study the liberal humanities – at home. That is real ‘education’ – which produces educated people who make leading citizens in all walks of life, whatever 'training' they get.
Thursday, 15 May 2008
New Delhi: May 15, 2008
It is indeed great fun when wars of words occur between senior government functionaries, like the spat between Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of the planning commission, and Praful Patel, the minister for civil aviation, that has been in the news for a few days.
Apparently, Montek had called the privatization of Delhi airport a “complete failure” – and the minister retorted by pointing out that everything the planners do is a complete failure too!
Quite simply, I am just loving it!
(You can find the report on Patel’s letter to Montek here. Montek’s counter-attack is reported here.)
But is Montek high-tech or low-tech?
Central planners in 2008, 20 years since the Soviet Union collapsed, must be very, very low-tech indeed. Complete and total duds.
Montek was with the IMF before this appointment.
Swaminathan Aiyar once said – in public and in Montek’s presence – that Montek always sported pink turbans in Washington, while in Delhi his pug is always blue!
Doesn't that sound like a seriously schizoid personality disorder?
My question is: Did Montek take a hit on his IMF salary when he joined the PC? Is Mamohan paying Montek IMF wages?
I hope some RTI activist will find out.
Wednesday, 14 May 2008
New Delhi: May 14, 2008
A disgusting photo in The Indian Express of today showed a district magistrate in Gujarat, an IAS officer, touching the feet of the chief minister, Narendra Modi, at a public function. A similar occurrence took place in Jharkhand some months ago.
In the op-ed accompanying the photo, the writer, Meeta Rajivlochan, a professor of public administration, says:
“It is the danger of relinquishing a commitment to the Constitution of India in favour of a more personalised commitment, and not corruption, which is by far the greatest malaise facing the civil service today. Corruption merely undermines the moral integrity of the individual. Abandoning of political neutrality undermines the entire structure and logic of bureaucracy.”
Actually, “impartiality” is one of the most important “values” of traditional Weberian bureaucracy. I read of a study conducted in Europe many years ago, reported in The Economist then, in which senior European civil servants were polled for their highest professional values. The overwhelming response was “impartiality”.
Thus, the old “steel frame” has rotted.
The entire system sucks.
Also, read my old article "Bureaucrats And Chairocrats", which puts the spotlight on the traditional bureaucratic value of impartiality. Please excuse the editors for the glitches on the text.
Tuesday, 13 May 2008
Tu ne kya kar dala re
Tere note hai jaali
Tere vote bhi jaali
Aur tu ne note aur vote
Dono ki chakkar chala li.
Aise hi tum sab ne desh ki le li
Aise hi tum sab ne desh ki le li
Arre mammohan pyarey
Tu ne tax bardhayay
Tu ne sab ki le li
Tu ne chalaye chakkar jaali
Tere note jaali
Tere vote jaali
Aur tu ne yeh do chakkar chalayi
Aise hi desh ki le li
Aise hi desh ki le li
Array mammohan pyarey
Agar teri yaadash nahin khali
Tujhe yaad hoga desh ki mali
Ki tu ne south dilli haari.
Tu aya assam se
Kuch vote kharid kar
Kuch jaali note de kar
Phir tu chardha iss sheher par
Aur is unchai se
Tu ne saari desh ki baaja baja di
Tere vote sab hain jaali
Jaise tere note bhi jaali
Aur in dono ne mil ke
Poori Hindustan ki baja li
Tho manmohan pyarey
Bori-bistar baandh le
Assam wapas ja
Is piti hui sheher chhor de
Azadi ki darwaza khol de
Apna raasta naap, assami.
And so it was that I received the first Frederic Bastiat Award for journalism promoting Liberty from the fair hands of Baroness Margaret Thatcher.
It was the 4th of October, 2002, at the Royal Commonwealth Club in London.
She handed me a crystal candlestick, to commemorate Bastiat’s famous “Candlemaker’s Petition”. Bastiat is one of her favourite economists.
Then, she listened with rapt attention to my brief acceptance speech, seated just a couple of yards from the lectern.
Later, she turned to me and commanded in her characteristic imperious manner:
“You boys should set up a political party and campaign.”
I emphasize the word “campaign” because the manner in which the word was spoken suggested a military campaign – destroy the enemy – as in the case of Monty’s “campaigns” against Rommel in North Africa.
I immediately put her straight on the legal disadvantage we liberals face in socialist India.
I said: “Lady Thatcher, even if we invited you to be the leader of our party, it would be illegal.”
“But that is tyranny,” she cried.
I use the word “cried” because the word “tyranny” was spoken with great emotion – and a great politician’s spoken words will always convey strong emotions. She said “tyranny” with a mix of horror and anger, disgust and loathing – as in speaking of a great evil.
The word still rings in my ears.
I hope it now rings in your ears too.
Our socialist supreme court has still not allowed us to form a political party – and campaign.
As I put it, this is the season of Macbeth’s witch, as “fair is foul and foul is fair” in Indian politics.
Raj Thackeray is legit; we are not.
Read my protest here.
And wake up to reality.
This is tyranny, nothing less.
She cried the word.
Let us cry it too.
Monday, 12 May 2008
New Delhi, May 12, 2008, 0830 hrs
I was horrified to wake up to a front page photo in The Indian Express showing two ‘cadres’ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), one carrying a GUN, and the other a big knife, who were apparently going about ‘intimidating voters’ during the West Bengal panchayat elections.
Please do read the complete report – and reflect on the great ideal of local self-government.
Here, it is coercion, coercion and more coercion – from the ‘cadres’, from the local police and administration, and also from the central government’s CRPF paramilitaries.
Is this ‘democracy’ – which must always rest on local self-government? Like the Swiss landesgemeinde.
Read my “Against Centralized Democracy”.
And also “We Need Mayors Not Panchayats”.
And then reflect on this:
This socialist State has lost all moral authority. Hence all this coercion. It has lost all moral authority precisely because all its political and economic ‘theories’ are wrong. Hence all its practices are wrong – including panchayati raj.
We must never compromise with wrong theories.
And I hope all of you WAKE UP to the horrifying and extremely ugly reality that confronts all us Indians.
Sunday, 11 May 2008
Prince Philip, a ‘conservationist’, has opined that the current rise in food prices worldwide is because of ‘overpopulation’.
Actually, as Peter, Lord Bauer put it: Everyone is born with one mouth – but two hands!
We all produce more than we consume. These are our 'surpluses' which we sell in markets. All of us produce surpluses.
So, as population grows, output grows even faster, bringing down prices and making everything abundant.
Compared to today, there were very few human beings in Biblical times.
But the proportion of a common man’s earnings that went into food purchases was far, far higher than today. A day's earnings bought very little, and most of it went on food.
Now look at your own budget and see how much food constitutes.
This proportion is destined to always fall. Our consumption of non-food will always rise.
Margaret Thatcher once told a group of Commonwealth leaders from the Third World to “read Peter Bauer”.
Perhaps the Baroness will be so kind as to suggest the same to the royal consort, a European prince of high pedigree.
And always remember that inflation is a disease of the money. Government fiat money is the only cause of worldwide inflation. That is why I support Ron Paul, the other Republican candidate in the US presidential elections: He stands for GOLD.
So let us home in on the core FACT: All the babies, all the children - and may there always be many, many more of them - are NOT the problem: their RULERS are the real problem.
And read my tribute to Peter Bauer here. I had the pleasure of personally handing over a copy to Baroness Thatcher, and will recount the story sometime. Stay tuned.
There is an excellent review of Ron Paul’s bestseller The Revolution: A Manifesto available here, which I heartily recommend.
The review ends with these strong words:
"But for some time now, America has been an insane asylum, with the inmates running it. Isn't it about time for the American people to wake up and take the crazies out of office, and move them to a padded cell where they can't hurt themselves or anyone else? Ron Paul's book can go a long way in helping to accomplish all that and more. And that's why the crazies have such great fear of Ron Paul and his revolution."
Read my earlier post on Ron Paul.
New Delhi: 11 May 2008
The previous post established the fact that this is the capital city of a host of government monopolies.
We attained the understanding that the monopolist undersupplies the good he is the master of – as in the case of the booze shops, which are few are far between.
Let us now proceed to a further understanding: of how monopolies depress the vital energy of a market order.
So, if the booze shop monopoly was abolished, thousands of shops would mushroom, employing people, satisfying customers, and also contributing to the earnings of all the stakeholders in the booze companies: workers, managers, shareholders – the lot.
Now, recall Say’s Law of Markets: When X is sold the very act creates the demand for all non-X.
So when the booze gets sold, the demand for all non-booze rises, and I am sure many of those who gain from the unleashing of competition will buy big, gas-guzzling SUVs, opulent mansions, plasma TVs, tandoori chicken: everything else.
Now imagine if all these monopolies were abolished.
Road companies would be bigger than automobiles, railways and airways combined. Their stakeholders would spend on all non-roads.
If DDA was abolished, thousands of real estate entrepreneurs would compete to develop land, build houses, offices, shops and malls. Their stakeholders would spend on all non-realty.
Thus, the conclusion: Monopolies Depress Markets.
Our pseudo-economists are all talking about “9 per cent growth” (scaled down to a very precise 8.5 per cent now) – but in reality all these government monopolies are retarding growth, big time.
If all these monopolies are abolished, if Liberty prevails, I wager my bottom dollar that the economy will grow so fast that no statistician will be able to measure the growth rate.
The growth rate will be a forgotten statistic.
Recall Sir John Cowptherwaite in colonial Hong Kong: He refused to set up a government statistical bureau – and see what happened! They now have a very high per capita ownership of Rolls-Royce cars – according to Rolls-Royce.
Saturday, 10 May 2008
New Delhi, May 10:
Bought some beer last evening from the government monopoly retail shop – the nearest one being a few kilometers from my house.
The government monopoly over the retail trade of alcoholic beverages is over 15 years old. The Congress, of course, started it. But even the BJP continued with it, although they claim to be a ‘party of traders’. This is a very lucrative trade.
So it must be even more ‘lucrative’ for a monopolist – only in this case, the monopolist will reduce supply (the shops are few and far between) and quality and thereby rake in monopoly profits at the consumer’s expense. I had to drive a few kilometers to get my beer. The government monopoly saved on the costs of opening more shops.
Yet, this is surely not what makes this trade ‘lucrative’ to Delhi’s politicians. There must be more to it. And of course there is.
This retail monopoly also gives the Delhi politicians monopsony powers over all who want to sell alcoholic drinks in Delhi – a huge market.
If you don’t keep the monopsonist happy, your products and your brands will not be available in Delhi – and many brands are kept away: like Goan feni or Khoday’s excellent rum, which sells great in the South.
But there are many other government monopolies as well, all operating in the same way: cutting supply; extorting lucrative political returns at public expense.
There is the water monopoly.
There is the roads and metrorail monopoly.
There is a real estate development monopoly – the DDA.
There is the police monopoly – over crime investigation as well as prosecution.
Because of government monopolies all these goods are scarce. The worst is the roads-cum-real estate “double whammy” monopoly, which has intentionally caused urban overcrowding in Delhi by restricting its outwards spread.
Makes you pause to think of all the bright ‘economists’ of Delhi – from Manmohan and Montek to the Delhi School of Economics to all the college professors and all the pink paper editors.
Bunch of duds.
Read my old piece: “We Don’t Need Economists”.
Friday, 9 May 2008
After driving around a few days in Delhi the thought struck: it is not just the BRT, everything about Delhi’s road system is a failure.
For 20 years, flyovers are being built. But they haven’t solved anything.
Take the Outer Ring Road, which passes in front of Professor Dinesh Mohan’s IIT-D. (He designed the BRT.)
There are flyovers now in Nehru Place, Savitri, Chirag Dilli, Panchsheel and IIT Gate. But traffic crawls. There are crossings in between where there are big jams all the time. Note that the flyover at IIT was built 20 years ago. All the citizenry waited patiently in the chaos while these flyovers were being constructed.
If you travel on the Ring Road proper between AIIMS and Azadpur, you will drive over many, many flyovers – but remain with the feeling that this is a Third World Ring Road with severe design flaws.
People say that the Metro will solve everything. But I just travelled on the Mehrauli-Gurgaon road – and the road has been destroyed for the overhead railway project.
I saw the same on Rohtak Road.
So the work on the metro is not exactly unobtrusive and underground. In many sections the metro has taken over the road.
Yet I doubt whether the metro is designed to REPLACE cars and personal transport altogether, even in the long term.
So there is no alternative before the transport planner.
He will perforce have to design roads for motorists.
Cars may be a problem for him, but they are a SOLUTION for us, the citizenry, because without them our condition would be much worse.
The good news is that cars sales have grown at 17 per cent, and the entire automobile sector by about 10 per cent.
I hope the transport planners are reading this.
Delhi needs a seamless, grade-separated Ring Road, a similar airport road, plus many, many expressways in a ‘hub-and-spoke’ arrangement to connect the city to its surrounding towns. – like Rohtak, Meerut, Agra, Panipat and so on.
Then the surrounds will grow and the city will decongest. Cars and buses will move faster.
This will be a long term solution.
Thursday, 8 May 2008
Today May 8 is the birthday of Friedrich August von Hayek (1899-1992). History will probably judge him the greatest philosopher of freedom ever.
To him, socialism meant The Road to Serfdom.
Since we Indians live in a ‘planned economy’, we would all benefit greatly from a study of Hayek’s “The Use of Knowledge in Society”.
Here, he shows how the critical problem facing us is NOT the ‘allocation of resources’ (many resources lie idle anyway) but the utilization of all the little bits of knowledge and information that all of us individually possess.
Only in Liberty can all these ‘fragmented’ bits of knowledge be used.
Central economic planning is bound to fail because knowledge cannot be centralized. Planning suffers from ‘the delusion of knowledge’.
(And the planners want to teach!)
Margaret Thatcher was deeply influenced by Hayek. Here she is referring to him in a House of Commons debate:
“I am a great admirer of Professor Hayek. Some of his books are absolutely supreme—"The Constitution of Liberty" and the three volumes on "Law, Legislation and Liberty"—and would be well read by almost every hon. Member.”
(Read the entire debate here.)
Click here for a good biography.
And a very happy birthday to Shruti – the lucky girl who shares her birthday with such a great man.
Incidentally, May 5 was Karl Marx’s birthday and we didn’t see any of our Marxists celebrating.
Wednesday, 7 May 2008
She listed out several factors, including the newness of universal adult franchise in the UK, but the main problem according to her was:
TOO MUCH GOVERNMENT
What is most noteworthy about this speech is what she has to say about “participation”. We are often assailed by this word in India, with everyone wanting to increase “participation in government”.
Here’s what Margaret Thatcher had to say on the subject:
"But the way to get personal involvement and participation is not for people to take part in more and more government decisions but to make the government reduce the area of decision over which it presides and consequently leave the private citizen to ‘participate’, if that be the fashionable word, by making more of his own decisions. What we need now is a far greater degree of personal responsibility and decision, far more independence from the government, and a comparative reduction in the role of government."
(Italics in the original.)
Read the full speech here.
Tuesday, 6 May 2008
There are underground pipes everywhere, but water is supplied in tankers.
There is now a shortage of water even for the tankers.
This means that the pipes are going waste.
I was drinking some beer inside a Delhi Jal Board pumping station when a great idea struck:
Why not sell off all the DJB pipes to a brewery?
They would use the pipes to full advantage.
Every Delhiwallah would get beer on tap 24x7x365: no shortage.
Then they would think hard as to why there is a chronic shortage of water – and finally emerge with the right answer:
Water is in short supply only because the State owns all the water, all the rivers, all the lakes, all the pipelines.
Like a textbook monopolist, the State is reducing supply, lowering quality, and reaping monopoly profits.
Water must be privatized.
Till then, the Delhi Beer Board will do.
If gold and silver were money, no government could do this:
Read about Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation here.
They have now issued a $250 million note!
Inflation is at 165,000 per cent!
Everyone there is screwed.
Government paper money and Keynesianism should be called INFLATIONISM.
Just that some governments inflate less than others.
But they all inflate anyway.
This inflation should NEVER be called a ‘rise in prices’.
It is always a ‘fall in the value of the paper money’.
Read earlier post: “Paper Money Is Unislamic”.
Monday, 5 May 2008
The latest idea of the “transport planner”, Delhi’s Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) corridor, seems to have been universally hailed as an unmitigated disaster.
Yet, life is cheap in India, and even the death of a young man in a mishap on the corridor seems to have elicited a response from the senior-most official of the Delhi government, the chief secretary, that can only be called “callous”.
It’s like the Michael Jackson song:
All I wanna say is that,
They don’t really care about us.
Why has this project failed?
My firm belief is that it has failed precisely because it was another government project meant to “help the poor” – the poor need buses – and, of course, to win their votes. The ugly "vote motive" there again.
There is another way to look at the mess called New Delhi, which is a “new” city, that struck me while I was in the DDA locality of Vasant Kunj on Saturday night.
All the government-built flats there have “scooter garages”.
Yet, all the streets are overflowing with cars.
If this trend is extrapolated using statistical techniques our planners have all mastered, it should become clear that every Indian will have a car someday soon.
The “Theory of the Vicious Circle of Poverty”, taught to me in Delhi University, is false. As Peter Bauer famously said, "If this theory were true the entire planet would still be in the Old Stone Age."
Therefore, plan for car owners – and prosperity, and the future will take care of itself.
If there is enough road space for cars, buses will travel faster too.
Sunday, 4 May 2008
Do we need free international trade or do we need a minister for foreign trade?
That is the real question.
For as long as we have this minister we will never experience the freeing up of our borders to all that the world has to offer us.
The purpose of life is consumption – and the purpose of foreign trade is importation.
Not exports – which only pay for the imports, which are those things we value more, because we cannot produce them ourselves.
The Honourable East India Company sent out gold in its tall ships to import nutmeg and pepper.
There are lots of fat profits to be made by importing.
This minister is blocking everything.
And he claims he is doing this for the poor! I quote from the news report:
“Nath said India will not compromise on the issue of subsidies in agriculture. He said that at present third world countries from Africa and Asia are facing food crisis because of the subsidies given by US and European Union countries to farmers. He argued that because of the agricultural subsidies, the food prices remained very low. This made agriculture in Africa non-viable, forcing the farmers not to till land. But this left the entire world dependent on developed countries for the food supply. “
Actually, if subsidized food is allowed in duty free, the poor will get cheap food, paid for by US and EU taxpayers.
We can then close all the ration shops down and save the Indian taxpayer from funding the Public Distribution System.
Free trade across all our vast borders is in the interest of all Indians – except those who fund this minister’s politics.
Read my old article advocating unilateral free trade here.
London has a new Mayor – a conservative of Turkish descent, whose children are a quarter Indian!
Seems to be quite a guy. Read more about him here.
Mayors are an ancient institution of civic government in Europe.
The institution of Lord Mayor of the City of London is over 800 years old, older than the Magna Carta.
There is an excellent history of this institution I am happy to recommend.
It will reveal the secret of civic independence – for it is the Mayor who upholds the Civic Sword.
This is how Capitalism happened – with merchants running their own towns.
Thus, panchayati raj is a nonsense village vision.
India is urbanizing aggressively – and every city and town needs a Mayor.
We must abandon the Gandhian vision of ‘self-sufficient village economies’.
Instead, let India be a nation of hundreds and thousands of free trading and self-governing cities and towns – with good Mayors in each.
In other words, all the ‘theories’ upon which our government is based are wrong.
And they want to teach!
Gimme Hope, Joanna!
Saturday, 3 May 2008
Today’s news is that Scarlett’s mother Fiona is back in Goa, with much to complain about the forensic tests conducted on her daughter’s body – they have simply removed entire organs, and are refusing to hand them over.
I must therefore reiterate the point made earlier: that victims of crimes must be free to prosecute their own cases – because all crimes are against individuals, not the State.
There is no need for the State to consider this murder as a crime against itself and monopolize investigation, prosecution and punishment.
In countries where the State performs these tasks even passably well, citizens may not have much to complain about.
But here in India, we do have lots to be aggrieved about.
We don’t need this police.
In Liberty, we will look after ourselves far, far better.
Friday, 2 May 2008
To use the note to transfer it to other people, falls under all the restrictions that we have expressed before, with an added element. You are dealing with the promissory note of a known thief who does not admit his guilt or past obligations."
Inflation seems to top the political barometer today – what with a nation-wide strike coming up on the issue, sponsored by the opposition BJP.
This inflation is blamed on the government – and the government blames in on the international situation: high prices of oil and food.
Yet, as this article shows, the price of oil, if adjusted for inflation and taxes, is much the same as it was 20 years back – in the US.
Thus, inflation is NOT NEW: it has been with us ever since the breakdown of the International Gold Standard.
A correct understanding of the current situation would stress the fact that it is not prices that are rising, but the value of money that is falling – and all this unsound money is government-issued fiat paper money. This “counterfeit money” is the real problem.
If our government believes we are importing inflation, then the root cause must also be pointed out: the US Fed, which exports inflation.
The US runs a huge trade deficit – it sends out paper dollars and buys up whatever it needs from the rest of the world. These dollars inflate other economies, like India.
Thus, the KEY ISSUE facing the world today is how the dollar can be fixed – because the dollar is the world’s dominant currency.
Once this is seen to be the key issue facing the entire planet – that America should export gold instead of paper if she wants to buy anything, which is precisely what The Honourable East India Company did – then the man of the moment is Ron Paul, the other Republican candidate, who is campaigning for sound money, the abolition of the Federal Reserve, and a return to gold.
It is unfortunate that economists from poor countries like India do not see the importance of sound money and the need to support Ron Paul – because inflation hurts the poor hardest.
Poor people earn daily wages, and the value of these wages is eroded on a daily basis. If they save a little, the same happens, and they are never able to accumulate “capital”, which is the life-blood of capitalism. They are condemned to remain capital-less; condemned to eternal poverty.
I am referring to Swaminathan Aiyar’s support for the other Republican candidate, John McCain. He claims “India will benefit” if McCain is elected.
Incidentally, McCain is a major Iraq hawk, and that is bad for America. Ron Paul stands for a non-interventionist foreign policy based on peace and commerce. This is good for America. And also the world.
I therefore reiterate that Ron Paul is the best choice for US president, the man all right thinking people should support.