Monday, February 27, 2006

Independence within a system

This story in timesonline UK, has a provocative heading that says, The President is a dolt – so how can America be such a success story? (The article is dated and this post has been in draft for a while)

...But now comes the paradox. While America has been run by one of the most doltishly ineffectual governments in history, it has forged ever further ahead of Europe in terms of wealth, science, technology, artistic creativity and cultural dominance...

In the piece, the author, argues on why the American system today is independent of whoever rules it (in a sense).

...Why does America’s prosperity and self-confidence seem to bear so little relationship to the competence of its government? The obvious answer is that America, founded on a libertarian theory of minimal government, has always had low expectations of politicians...

...The American approach has a powerful advantage rooted in human nature: private sector activity is powered by economic incentives, while the State must operate by rules and sanctions. Since incentives, as Adam Smith observed, are much more likely to stimulate creativity and effort than sanctions, private enterprise tends to achieve ambitious objectives, while government often fails...

Read the full piece for some good observations.

Coming to India, this is something we have seen.On the one hand there is a Golden Quadrilateral project, which is a good project with achievable targets and yet has fallen short of some really simple expectations. Indeed it is neither golden neither a quadrilateral today. The current coverage by the Indian express on the slow progress on India's Golden Quadrilateral shows that in India, development works are held hostage by politicians. On the contrary, powered by private entrepreneurs (companies), we have the golden web of telecommunications across the country. Very soon, the web will also expand in its myriad ways, while we continue to gasp for roads and water and electricity.

In a couple of places in India, notably Bombay (and perhaps Delhi and Chennai), the cities move ahead regardless of who rules them (almost). Politicians have realised that development is the way forward; it also helps that most of Bombay politicians have lived the Bombay life with all its problems.

The tipping point to making progress independent of whoever rules will happen when private interest in the country is more than the government (and outside supporters and inside opposition) interest.

4 comments:

Hiren said...

Political systems have to be made transparent and politicians forced to be accountable by the media. That alone can force them to perform and remove the dolts. What you said about the President is right- he made his obsession(oil) his profession(invading Iraq foolishly) - Make your passion your profession

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