A Problem of Plenty?
Poor countries can take advantage of farm subsidies given by rich countries

Elder politicians are the result of paternalistic policies

Link: India Uncut.

I'm actually not sure if age is the problem here. The problem lies in the electorate of our country, which, largely poor and uneducated, continues to make the wrong choices. This will take decades to change.

Why blame the poor and the uneducated for making the wrong choices? Was Jawaharlal Nehru a wrong choice for the Prime Minister? Compared to other countries our poor and educated electorate generally gave us much better representatives than say Zimbabwe's Rober Mugabe! It was the educated elites that screwed us! Indian people elected politicians, such as Nehru, based on their character, integrity and sacrifice that they did during Independence struggle. People like Nehru, Indira Gandhi could have followed capitalism instead of socialism for all they cared! It was the fault of educated elites that they thought they could control, plan and regulate the life of a billion people. When Rajiv Gandhi was elected as the Prime Minister and he followed open market policy, do you think the poor and the uneducated electorate protested against globalization?
I am taking the case of free-market vs socialism simply as an example. Does anybody think that the decision to ban smoking scenes from the movies was based on the demands of the poor and the uneducated? I bet the decision reflects the elitist arrogance that still dominates our politics. In fact, one is more likely to support such stupid policies if one is "educated"! Because educated elites support such paternalistic policies our parliament looks like a assisted living facility. Who do you expect to implement paternalistic policies: a 30 year naive and inexperienced youth or a 75 year old geriatric?

Comments

Vivek Ghodekar

Brilliant argument. What the so called undeducated lack is "formal" education. But there is more to education than just that. Dhirubhai Ambani did not have an IIM degree. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are college drop outs. In fact that is what the "academic" elites detest about the free markets. In their minds they are the "intellectuals" and should be running things not people like Dhirubhai. However, I fail to see that Mr Rajiv Gandhi had any intention to move towards free markets and capitalism. His idea of "modernization" was through government control. For example, Mr Narayan Murthy has commented that untill the liberalization started in 1991, he had to make 20 trips to New Delhi to buy a $3000 computer.

Gaurang Bookseller

I absolutely agree with you.
There is no doubt with respect to the character and integrity of leaders from the nehruvian era. But it is clear that Nehru's obsession with socialism cost this country and many generations dear. And similarly rajiv's premature exit also cost this country dear.

anon

I'm not sure whether by elites, you mean left centered, jingoistic nationalists or selfish capitalists intent on protecting their turf by manipulating politicians and politics.
You need everyone to have national interest in mind, not just one person and for that collective flow you need education and awareness,which is seriously lacking in majority of the billion plus people.

I rememeber an article by Guha where in he writes on Nehru, for failing to promote primary education. With the motivated freedom fighters, we could have acheived 100% literacy within a short time after independence which could have made a lot of difference now

amit varma

Good post, Ashish. Though I must clarify that when I spoke of the "uneducated" poor, I meant it in a broader sense, not in a sense of university degrees. And the elites have their way only because the masses let them. That will surely change with more widespread prosperity and education (not the "school-college" sort). But it will take rather a long time.

gaurav

Right on the mark.
It may sound blasphemous but I think it is naive to believe that politics is driven by the education of masses.
Politics is driven by the awareness of the masses, which is not directly proportional to the number of degrees a person holds.

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