Ch-07 Extracts: India's Self-Inflicted Poverty

India’s Self-Inflicted Poverty

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Left is NOT right!

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India’s poverty is self-inflicted—not in the sense that India’s poor chose to be poor, but they chose leaders who opted for policies that ensured poverty in perpetuity.

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“Poor countries are poor because those who have power make choices that create poverty.” Such countries develop “extractive” institutions that “keep poor countries poor”.

– Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson,
Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty

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Poverty is the worst form of violence.

– Mahatma Gandhi

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To cure the British disease with socialism was like trying to cure leukaemia with leeches.

– Margaret Thatcher

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A young man who isn't a socialist hasn't got a heart; an old man who is a socialist hasn't got a head.

– David Lloyd George

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Leftism or socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.

– Thomas Sowell

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Raja Vyapari taya Praja Bhikhari.

– Indian proverb

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Sardar Patel never believed socialism was a panacea like Nehru and many other socialists, including Jayaprakash Narayan and Rammanohar  Lohia, believed. Sardar was liberal enough to even offer a deal to the socialists on these lines: ‘Select a province and run it on socialist principles. If they did better than others, he would gladly hand over the country to them.’ The offer was not taken, as JP and Lohia later recalled.

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It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.

– Mark Twain

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He [Nehru] had no idea of economics. He talked of Socialism, but he did not know how to define it. He talked of social justice, but I told him he could have this only when there was an increase in production. He did not grasp that. So you need a leader who understands economic issues and will invigorate your economy.

– Chester Bowles

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Nehru’s inability to rise above his deep-rooted Marxist equation of Western capitalism with imperialism, and his almost paranoid, partly aristocratic, distrust of free enterprise in its most successful form as ‘vulgar’, cost India dearly in retarding its overall development for the remaining years of his rule, as well as for the even longer reign of his more narrowly doctrinaire daughter.

– Stanley Wolpert, Nehru—A Tryst with Destiny

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Mr Jawaharlal Nehru returned from Cambridge with notions of how an all-governing interventionist state can force people into happiness and prosperity through socialism... He sticks to this bias in spite of the demonstration of world experience against it... I hate the present folly and arrogance as much as I hated the foreign arrogance of those [British] days.

– Rajaji in Rajaji: A Life by Rajmohan Gandhi

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In fact, Nehru’s prejudice—which he picked up at Harrow and Cambridge—against capitalism had more to do with his cultivating himself as an upper-class Englishman, who had a bias against trade, than on understanding of economics or economic history; just as his socialism had more to do with upper-class English Fabians, than with any genuine experience of or revolt against poverty. Unfortunately for India, Nehru, as prime minister, institutionalised his personal, upper-class Englishman prejudice, plunging India into fruitless, dead-end socialism, shackling the masses and suppressing initiative and growth. Nehru’s class or caste bias is apparent in his autobiography where he mentions that “right through history the old Indian ideal...looked down upon money and the professional money-making class" and that "today" it is "fighting against a new and all-powerful opposition from the bania [Vaishya] civilization of the capitalist West".

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Nehru and the socialists never understood what it really took to create wealth and banish poverty, and persisted with their sterile, copycat methods. Socialists concerned themselves more with the distribution of wealth, than with its creation. They shunned understanding the complexity of wealth creation. Nations which understood this raced ahead, created wealth and also managed to distribute it, while India failed to create the wealth itself, what to speak of distributing it: India stagnated.

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Socialism and leftism is something which benefits large sections of vested interests, but not the intended beneficiaries. Why do poor, who can ill-afford, prefer private schools to Government schools, private hospitals to Government hospitals? They know that this socialist claptrap is for the babus and politicians to make money, not to help them. Communism and socialism assume the State as a kind, empathetic mai-baap, meant to do good for the people; when the experience and the practical reality is that very often it is the State—through its agency of politicians, babus and police—that is the biggest exploiter and mafia around.

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Just because India, thanks to the lead given by Nehru-Indira, chose the disastrous economic model of socialism, it does not mean we need to persist with those defective and failed ideas of mankind. Sadly, Nehru’s legacy lives on—his socialist way of thought still flourishes—and it remains a challenge to uproot it. Outlook wise and also materially, India is still largely feudal, and  it appears that the feudal ways and the Marxist/socialistic ways gel well, as both are driven by paternalistic mai-baap mentality: Sarkar knows best.

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The socialist monster unleashed by Nehru is worse than Frankenstein’s. Frankenstein’s monster voluntarily decided to disappear after its creator’s death. Not so the socialist monster.

China bid good bye to Marxism in 1979; Berlin wall came down in 1989; USSR fell apart in 1991; host of Eastern-European countries have given up the communist ghost; Cuba is lately struggling to liberalise; poor North Koreans, thanks to continuing communism, remain condemned; yet, in India, the killing fields of socialism are yet to be fully exorcised—socialism is still respectable in India, many advocating it are still considered intellectuals. Nehruvian socialism has yet to be given a burial. Unfortunately, several prominent members of even young political outfits like the Kejrival’s  AAP mouth the same stale jargon that has taken India to dogs.

That  socialism-leftism still remains popular is because it has been very smartly projected as pro-poor, when actually it is the opposite.

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The current crop of mega-corruptions are not on account of liberalisation and economic-reforms, but on account of government’s decision to stop halfway with reforms, massive discretion still exercised by politicians and babus, and lack of empowered, autonomous institutions to prevent, detect, and penalise corruption. What are needed are institutional reforms to eliminate or minimise corruption.

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While I usually came back from meeting Gandhiji elated and inspired but always a bit sceptical, and from talks with Jawaharlal fired with emotional zeal but often confused and unconvinced, meetings with Vallabhbhai were a joy from which I returned with renewed confidence in the future of our country. I have often thought that if fate had decreed that he, instead of Jawaharlal, would be younger of the two, India would have followed a very different path and would be in better economic shape than it is today.

– JRD Tata

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Japan, which had almost the same GDP as India in the early 1950s, grew so fast that by 1980, India’s GDP was a mere 17% of Japan’s. Japan grew at massive 18% annually during the 15-year period starting 1965 and took its GDP from 91 billion dollars to a mammoth 1.1 trillion dollars by 1980. In 1982, India’s per capita income was 39% higher than China’s; but, by 2012, it had become mere 24% of China’s—during the period China’s per capita income grew 30 times, while India’s grew mere 5 times. South Korea’s per capita income is currently 1400% that of India, although at the time of our Independence it was on par! While India is variously terms as a Developing Country or as LDC, Less Developed Country, or as UDC, Under Developed Country, the article finds India uniquely as an RDC—Refusing-to-Develop-Country.

– based on the article “World’s Only RDC”, 
India Today, 12 August 2013

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That Japan achieved what it did, and so also South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore, was because their leaders refused to follow the politically convenient and self-serving populist socialistic path to nowhere. Thanks to the wisdom that dawned upon China, it  junked its socialistic past, tremendously improved its governance, and is now a super power both economically and militarily. That India remains an RDC is thanks solely to our politicians, economists and intellectuals of the socialistic and leftist variety.

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The term "Hindu rate of growth" is highly inappropriate and unfair, besides being derogatory. The low rate of growth was thanks to Nehru-Indira-Rajiv’s policies. If rather than the “Hindu rate of growth” it was called the "Nehruvian rate of growth" or "Nehruvian socialistic rate of growth" or “NIDP [Nehru-Indira-Dynasty policies] rate of growth", one would have no quarrel.

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