THE 'SAVE KERALA' INITIATIVE

THE 'SAVE KERALA' INITIATIVE

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Kerala This Week, Vol 2, March 2007

Update: 18 March, 2007

After drawing immense flak from readers for concentrating only on the funny and negative side of things in these updates on Kerala, I looked around hard for some of the good and positive things that happened around Kerala the last few days. I tried so hard in fact, Sunday morning during the F1 race, I almost saw a malayali driving a Renault. Kovalain! How did our own Gopalan aka Kovalain get there! Amazing. Later I looked closer and found that it was Kovalainen from Finland! Sigh..

Jokes apart, like I said, it was kind of a quiet week in Kerala. But I guess more companies like Muthoot Group and JB Group entering the "race" (which began a few years ago) for the Smart City Project is something to cheer about. Hopefully soon we will have a result!

Kerala continued to shine on the health front. Health minister Sreemathi Teacher announced plans to set up state-of-the-art trauma care centers at all the 5 government medical colleges, and also launched a telehealth project connecting the health network. The minister also announced some funds for primary health centers. Much needed!

And last but not the least, I dont think there were any hartals or bandhs in Kerala in the last few days! Yayy!!



17 March, 2007

Ever since the current government came to power, there has been a heated debate on the qualifications needed for one to rule the state, a supposedly "fully" literate state (The debate on Kerala's total literacy began much earlier, and still goes on.). The first month of this government was very quiet and newspapers started reporting that the various ministry officials were getting frustrated trying to teach the ministers what their respective portfolios were all about.

Nonetheless, there was a lot of hope in the eyes of the people of Kerala - farmers who thought they will not have to commit suicide any more, expats who dreamt of coming back to Kerala for a decent job, women who thought they will have safer streets, children who prayed for better quality education, laborers who ran pillar-to-post for better employment.. The list is endless. But then, so is hope. And all of them continue to dream and hope for a better Kerala.

Recently I chanced upon a the Government of Kerala's official website for the Chief Minister, which had profiles of all our honorable ministers. While majority of our ministers were not even graduates, I was really happy to know a lot of them "completed" degrees and one of them even a PhD! I also saw heated exchanges on some blogs about whether education was needed at all for being a minister, and found a lot of educated (people who completed and passed exams to receive degrees) youth supporting the theory that education was NOT necessary for ruling a state. Personally I differ, and I feel the ministers, or for that matter, all children and individuals, definitely need to be educated!

Anyway, from the above website I also noted a few interesting facts on what it takes to become a minister. Although you dont need to be educated, you still needed to do a lot of hard work. I found that most of the accomplishments listed under each minister's profile centered on imprisonment, surviving police brutality, and organising agitations and succesful uprisings. And almost all of the ministers were either ex-trade union leaders or party youth outfit leaders. All this sounded boring when compared two unique listings:

One minister was bold enough to say "playing cards" was his hobby. Playing cards is considered a big sin in Kerala. He is apparently writing an autobiography with details on his experiences as a minister titled "While I was playing cards".

But even better was another minister's, special skill - Magic. Recently in a very daring attempt, he tried to fool the opposition using his magical abilities. This came as a response to a leader from the Congress, an ex-student leader himself who successfully completed college to become a minister, who claimed that the sex-education program for adolescents was too graphical and not fit for "our culture". The minister responded that “there was no temple without the sculptures depicting scenes from Kamasutra”. This seeming revelation strangely made the Opposition walk out.

Another day, the finance minister said he planned on about 29 crores of additional expenditure from the already bankrupt Kerala Government kitty, taking the budget deficit to Rs.551 crores. The Opposition walked out that day too.

When asked about the recent Nandigram protests and police firing at farmers in West Bengal, our chief, who himself led protests in the name of farmers a few decades ago, and who himself ignores the plight of farmers as CM currently, and the party sec, dismissed the incidents as "media hype". On another occasion, there was this controversy regarding CM saying that the media in Kerala is on the payrolls of the CIA. Whether he said it or not became a bigger controversy than the statement itself.

Most of you would have heard about the omnipresence of the Malayali and the story of his "thattukada" (small shop) in moon, and how he greeted the Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins. Almost 39 years later, the first malayali tourist will be heading space-wards paying $200,000 and is currently making the news.

Altogether a "dry" week one would say.. But not in Kerala.

The newly formed All Kerala Drinkers' Welfare Association, registered over 6000 members in under 2 weeks! The association plans to "protect" the interests of the states "alcohol lovers", who apparently consume over 8.3 liters per capita. Among the 15-point demands raised by these gentlemen, exercising their democratic rights ofcourse:

1. Assurance that one can drink in peace
2. A place to drink (since "we cant take bottles home and drink" & "we have to hide and drink")
3. Allow distribution of alcohol via ration shops

Myyy Dogggg!

47 comments:

quills said...

Hahahaha. :)) Not dry at all..the post I mean.

Anoop said...

Hey I am sure +ve things also happened in keral.. plz give space here for such things too...

MC said...

@ quills - quiet week though, by kerala standards

@ anoop - i know anoop..even i feel at times i am too pessimistic and focussing on the negatives..but hardly anything good happened in the last few days. except now i read about the tele-health project linking all medical colleges in the state. anyway this series kind of focuses on the funny and crazy things in kerala :)

Jiby said...

n.k.premachandran is the only minister in this cabinet i absolutely respect...he turned the tables on tamil nadu at the mullaperiyar conference at delhi and even put up feasible alternatives with a well-researched defense of kerala's position for the first time. during his stint in the parliament he was the lone MP besides PC Thomas who spoke on kerala's issues in the house and i got to add...with good english diction! sadly he will never become a chief minister coz he belongs to an eerkili party.

santhosh kulangara who is going to space is the producer of Sanchaaram...a most wonderfully insightful travel programmer on Asianet...men like him who cross the narrow terrain of our state(in all respects!) need to be praised.

dear MC, like anoop said, please do include the little good coming out of kerala, in your future volumes...i am depressed by the majority of the sh*t thrown about.

PCM said...

@MC
For the kind of activities that take place in the Assembly (and for that matter, the Parliament), what is the need for so much of education? The Ministers, most of them, read out what their Secretaries have given them in writing and the opposition walks out. All that the Ministers need to know is to put letters together in the form of words while reading; the opposition doesn’t need even that.
I have no doubt that Mr. A K Balan is a prodigy. As the electricity minister, he electrified the otherwise sleepy assembly with his stunning statement. That put everyone on the alert and the opp. gratefully accepted another opportunity to walk out. But the gist of AKB’s message is still missing – do people go to temples to see the depiction of Kamasutra or to worship gods? Or, are these naked statues worshipped by people like AKB? Again, which of the Hindu Gods are supposed to move about without clothes? Just like another esteemed minister said, the priests do not cover their nakedness well. I feel, if you go to a temple to see God, you will see him. If you seek the balls of the priest, you will have enough chance to see that.
@ anoop
Yes. There are many good things taking place in Kerala - Promises of umpteen commissions to look into so many atrocities and welfare of the people. The ministers spell out hundred of new steps to reform the well being of Keralites. I am taking stock of the offers made. By the time the reports of the commissions come out and gather dust, the next election will be due.

silverine said...

First thing first, I dont think there is any blog in blogosphere that is so sincerely concerned about a State like this blog. There are umpteen blogs singing praises of Kerala so why the petition to do the same here? Is it to get relief from the realities so honestly portrayed here or to turn the heat down? I think this blog is making too many people squirm in their comfort zones and if so then it is headed in the right direction. I would say MC, that you keep up the tempo. People who want to hear nice things about Kerala can see the advertisements by Stark or approach the State PR!

MC said...

@ jiby - yeah i remember nk managing to react in english once on national tv. i thanked all stars for the tv channels catching him, and not achu.

kudos to santosh.

@ PCM - pathetic..we should ensure minimum qualification for all ministerial posts as well as for contesting elections. that will be a single step to enhance the quality of our governance! i wonder what people think when they say that these rulers do not need education! crazy! and these are the same people who support politics in campus.

@ silverine - thanks so much. appreciate the comment and support.

Emmy said...

I stumbled onto your blog today - love it!!!

Jubin George said...

Hilarious! Most of the comments, that is. Especially silverline's. Reminded me of Dostoyevsky's short story, The Most Unfortunate Incident. (It describes the incident, where one of the nobles makes a brilliant fool of himself at a peasant wedding, when his heart was over-brimming with sincere socialist compassion.)

It's not just a sincere utopian concern that one would need to realise change. But deeper and closer to life insights. Something that the views expressed in this place seem to be lacking. Half-blind negations and carefree dreaming can help nothing.

MC said...

@ emmy - thank you! welcome here!

@ jubin george - the posts here have got you into thinking-mode. thats a great success as far as I a concerned.

we are always open to your ideas and actions that can help Kerala. however, your comments, so far at least, were directed more at diluting the efforts of this blog, than anything constructive.

silverine's comment shows her support to this blog and its intentions. and i dont see half her boldness or sense in the rest of the malayali youth.

Jubin George said...

@mc
Guess, I should thank you for putting me in the thinking-mode. Almost wish I were as influential as you in that same trick, and put you in the thinking-mode too.

I was not doubting on the boldness or sense (they are an odd pair) of any of the people commenting here. As I said before, the comments come without a clear understanding.

Let me assume that the people here respect and believe in democracy. We all know, and crib about, the lack of choices in the election process. I'm just curious to know how many of us have used the constitutional right of protest voting. If somebody tells me he/she at least knows what is a protest voting, that would be a very pleasant surprise to me. That's about the understanding the responsibility part.

We all know that it was the Imperial British who built our basic infrastructure - cities, ports, roads, rail, dams, industries, power generation, schools, colleges, judicial and adminstrative systems, defense structure, and what not. How many of us know before the British raj India held about 23% (twenty three) of the world income, almost equal to that of the whole Europe? And how many of us know it was a brilliant 3.8% when they left the country? Didn't they 'develop' our nation? And now that we are 'fast developing', we may not take 200 years to repeat the same development. That's about knowing development and progress always not necessarily be synonymous.

Now about how and how much even Indian industries can bring wealth to the state. How many of us here know our three-tier tax system, and the state's share in it? And what's the criteria for central grants to the states? The 12th Financial Commission has asked the government to raise the share by about a percentage. It was also recommended to write off state debts within 5 years, and a 1.5% cut on the consolidated debts till 2004. Provided, the states have maintained the fiscal parameters as mandated by the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act. How many of us here know, Kerala is one of only 5 states that are eligible as of now? Does it say anything about the state's economic health? And the wealthiest states of Gujarat and Maharastra are not in that 5? That's about the understanding about the economic development we all are 'boldly and sensibly' hoping for.

There's a survey running on your main page. 67% left kerala for better employment opportunities. 60% of them now wants to come back. Does that mean Kerala has become better after they left? It would be too euphoric to think that after reading the posts here they suddenly foresee the change. I don't dare to deny the possibility either.

Now, you have accused me of diluting your efforts without giving constructive suggestions. I was only telling you about responsible blogging, as you had expected some of your readers to do. Don't forget that my resistence to your views are of the mildest, and almost harmless, if you are really looking forward to reach the goal you are dreaming about. I whole-heartedly support your initiative, if it's a vision of distributed progress and not just a blind hope in accumulated development. If it's not making Kerala another Bangalore as you told me earlier. And I sincerely don't believe, 'being constructive' need to mean agreeing with your views without being in the thinking-mode. You can, of course, say that I'm not bold and sensible. :)

Jiby said...

jubin, great! u want the centre to write off state loans...u want centre to raise grants to the state...where did all this new money come from...think!

state enterprise...1947-1991...ended with india on the red...pledged gold...

1991-2007 - india finally begins to achieve a semblance of economic stimulation...urban india transforms so fast, millions of jobs created, do u hear the oft-repeated story of graduates appearing for hundreds and hundreds of job interviews.

you seem cynical that the rapid development has outstripped progress in india...it is natural in a country where the economy is growing...do you want to put a break on this phenomenon...and plz tell me how this will help in any way...the govt has started schemes for rural employment and they are pumping in money, higher tax collection, more forex reserves are all setting a base for more spending in the social dev sector!

neways really childish of you to equate british colonialism to india's recent progress made after liberalizing the economy...i dont know about you but a lot of young people admit their jobs are a fruit of the 1991 reforms.

talking about kerala...like a good commie(yeah i understand, u guys like to be called leftists now) you turn to a statistic blindly to make your point...it said 60% want to come back to kerala...now let us see how many of these will actually come back which would have been a better statistic you could have used!!!

distributed progress...could u please explain how you propose to achieve that...dude there will always be people who ride a glitzy car or ride a bus, in your soviet russia i am sure there are many who ate only caviar as there are people who lived just on bread. it is one of the ironies of life that a farmer's produce earns less than an engineer's or other professions...no socialist experiment in history, and yeah we have seen quite a few around, has been able to change that...and yet you talk of distributed progress!

another thing...it is about common blogger courtesy...maybe you havent been around long enough to know...but bloggers dont mock outright another blogger's comment and intelligence...there are nicer ways to write whats in your mind...and most funnily u pompously need to quote Dostoyevsky to support you.

silverine said...

Jiby: Saw your comment a lil later, and so my comment was not for you :)

MC: Thank you :)

Jubin George said...

@jiby
“u want the centre to write off state loans..”
“...u want centre to raise grants to the state...”
“…do u hear the oft-repeated story of graduates appearing for hundreds and hundreds of job interviews.”
“you seem cynical that the rapid development has outstripped progress in India…”
“…do you want to put a break on this phenomenon..”
“...i dont know about you but a lot of young people admit their jobs are a fruit of the 1991 reforms…”
“…like a good commie(yeah i understand, u guys like to be called leftists now)…”
“…and yeah we have seen quite a few around, has been able to change that...”
“…dude there will always be people who ride a glitzy car or ride a bus, in your soviet Russia…” [Where’s the dude who was offended when I used the phrase ‘your western hospitals’, in a response to a UK based doc?]
“…and most funnily u pompously need to quote Dostoyevsky to support you…”
“…maybe you havent been around long enough to know...but bloggers dont mock outright another blogger's comment and intelligence...”

:)
I think, all you want to tell me is that I’m nothing but an uneducated commie rat. And I assume it’s your extensive blogging experience that made you to elaborate so much. Fine. You have done with that. Now, will you please answer to the few, simple, objective type questions I asked? Or would it be too communistic of me to assume that you don’t know head or tail of what you are talking about? Or shall i say Luke 23:34? :))

(Apparently, the only ‘communist’ writer they had in Russia was Gorky. Dostoyevsky was an anti-revolutionary, and a firm supporter of the imperialist Russia, especially after Alexander II’s reforms. And all his books, written after his exile in Siberia, warn about the troubles in adopting the ‘foreign ideas’. Marx and Engels were his contemporaries, and Germans. Turgenov was settled in Germany, and had declared that he's no more a Russian. Tolstoy had the similar distaste for the French. And more importantly, what Dostoyevsky, and other writers I mentioned here, wrote was literature, unlike Archer or Forsyth. And the short story, The Most Unfortunate Incident, is a hilarious comedy, in stark contrast to his well-known tragic novels. This piece of information is not for you, jiby, but for others here who understand good writing and haven’t read Dostoyevsky yet, fearing he’s a commie writer)

MC said...

@ jubin - i also did get into thinking-mode based on your comments. so the feelings are mutual.

protest voting: thats whats been happening in kerala for a while now. all the so called literates are "protesting" by not voting, and in turn the larger population who are blind followers of politically vested interests are able to define the results. so i would say in kerala its more of irresponsibility than any responsibility. let every person vote as far as possible, and then we will know the real results.

and who talked about imperial british? and your data is incorrect. its not before the british raj the income from india was so high. anyway its irrelevant to our discussion here. but i agree, a lot of our infrastructure was built by them. that occured due to history, and not because you or i wanted it that way.

states economic health: Kerala's per capita debt was estimated to be Rs 14,425.40 as on March 31, 2006, according to state Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac. The total debt of the state stood at Rs 45929.04 crore, he said in a written reply in the state assembly today.

and we are poorly industrialized, our PSUs are mostly shut down or loss making (responsible trade unionism?), our youth are leaving the state in hordes..

what are we pretending not to see or hear? and if so, for how long?

60% may come back if things get better..40% already have given hope. thats the truth.

you are welcome to be constructive, whether it means agreeing or disagreeing. that was never an issue. infact it was you who thought this was a wasteful exercise. now i am glad you are changing your mind. either way this blog will continue.

@ jiby -
state enterprise...1947-1991...ended with india on the red...pledged gold...

1991-2007 - india finally begins to achieve a semblance of economic stimulation...urban india transforms so fast, millions of jobs created, do u hear the oft-repeated story of graduates appearing for hundreds and hundreds of job interviews

the govt has started schemes for rural employment and they are pumping in money, higher tax collection, more forex reserves are all setting a base for more spending in the social dev sector!


that gave me the goose-bumps.. these are the facts that we need to believe in and i am sure collectively we can transform india with our passion and earnest desire to change.

its not about one of us or a group of us doing something big and sudden. but its about all of us doing our small bit.

@ silverine - :)

abhishek said...

@MC

Thanks for the update on Kerala. Have always appreciated your ability to read between the lines. As usual, events are more disheartening than positive. Let's hope the balance changes permanently one day.

@Jubin

"You won't be able to enjoy the 'great' pleasures of a cosmopolitan city there either. And of course you are not alone. About 1% of this country's population is with you."

I disagree. The point is not what proportion of the people is engaged in what I would call the "pursuit of happiness". The point is that Kerala allows only a coterie of vested interests to pursue what its goals. All because a few think they know what is best for everyone.

Jubin, perhaps, we should look at one critical assumption I make when judging what is right from wrong.

In a sane individual's pursuit of happiness, no one but that individual has the right and responsibility of making his/her choices.

If we can't agree on this one point, I'm afraid the whole debate falls apart because we are no longer talking about a supposedly egalitarian society created by men and women, who are apparently, of equal capacity for thought and understanding.

But if we can agree on this point, I'm confident that one can see the root causes of a number of social and economic problems afflicting Kerala.

As for the debate on unemployment in MC's previous post, I base my claim of a "near 20% unemployment" rate on data collected from the NSS organisation you quoted itself. As referenced in the 2006 Kerala Economic Review, the daily status unemployment rate was approximately 21% according to the 1999-2000 survey. Agreed, the data is a little dated but such are the limits of relying on infrequent surveys. The daily status unemployment rate (which is based on the unit of person-days) is ideally suited for measuring the output of Keralite workers, including the self employed and those engaged in agriculture, who work in the "unorganized" sector and whose employment spells are highly variable and unpredictable.

I will take some time here to address some of the other points you raised as well.

" Google is not doing any favour to you and me by allowing us to have a blogspot."

By no means did I claim that. However, by pursuing its self interest, Google has provided you and me with a forum to communicate, that might otherwise not have occurred. So what if that benefit does accrue from its corporate goal of earning a profit? I can not help quoting Adam Smith:

"He intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was not part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it."

In other words, self-interest and self-preservation can be overwhelmingly in the interest of society at large. Mind you, this is not a hard and fast rule. But it is easy to see why it works in most cases. Your mental, social and physical health is in my interest. I have nothing to gain from your unemployment. And vice versa.

"And a few of 5 billion people having them need not be seen as progress. If you are the one among those few, call it development. If you must."

So, what you are saying is if the educated and skilled begin earning, you cannot call it development. Why is that? Are they not humans as well? Or must they be relegated to the shadows of educated unemployment, forever prey to the vagaries of politics like their unskilled brethren?

"A region’s economic policies, should primarily consider the existing socio-economic scenarios."

An innocuous statement at first glance, but yields a world of misguided romance and vested interests under scrutiny. Politicians, as I have argued previously, derive their strength primarily from the poor, disorganized and rural banks and therefore, it remains in their interest to perpetuate the very downtrodden sections of society. Have you ever considered the possibility that Kerala's poor are poor because they do not have alternate means of employment, let alone any form of organized employment? I don't think you have seriously contemplated a different kind of Kerala, one where every laborer is not just literate, but educated and skilled so that the majority work in the service and manufacturing industries which generates more secure and renumerative jobs. No, you long for the days when every other Malayalee was a hard-working, muscular fisherman singing his soul out against the crackling Arabian sea. There is nothing wrong with that image, but it's a superficial one because it masks the desires of millions of people for a different life. Who are you to dictate their terms to them? I do not know if a person is better off with "more cars and mobile handsets". I am not God. If I smell a "stench…from a row of shacks" outside my office, I will empathize with the poor, but I will also grant them the possibility of self-enlightenment. That is, the workers who presumably live in these urban "slums" (which is I think, what you were describing) and have migrated from the rural side have made a personal choice and statement on their quality of life. Why do you presume to talk on their behalf? They have already voted with their feet.

And as for your 'new' definition of GDP, please lay that out in clearer terms. Nothing can be more bewildering for the introduction of new ideas than omitting key assumptions and glossing over the flow of reasoning. Of course, that is based on the premise that the new idea is valid ;)

"I whole-heartedly support your initiative, if it's a vision of distributed progress and not just a blind hope in accumulated development. If it's not making Kerala another Bangalore as you told me earlier."

I don't think Kerala needs to model itself entirely on Bangalore to achieve a better way of life for everyone. Kerala's cities and and other regional engines of growth will develop in their own fashion. Even Bangalore is creaking under the weight of its outdated infrastructure. But, there are lessons to learnt from Bangalore's experiment with entrepreneurship for Kerala. And if one of those lessons learnt is the necessity of economic freedom, then Kerala is all the better for it.

Jubin George said...

@mc
“protest voting: thats whats been happening in kerala for a while now.”
That’s not what protest voting is. Please refer The Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961. Section 49-O.

“…and who talked about imperial british? and your data is incorrect. its not before the british raj the income from india was so high. anyway its irrelevant to our discussion here…”

Data source: Global Economy: A Millennial Perspective, by Angus Maddison. You can find his credentials yourself. The only relevance is the relevance of learning history, and learning from it. By all definitions, what they did was development, and had created millions of jobs. And the parallels are so evident. But then, one can overlook only the obvious. As I have said before, if one can’t learn from mistakes, one can’t learn from anything.

“…states economic health: Kerala's per capita debt was estimated to be Rs 14,425.40 as on March 31, 2006…”

It’s the figure for the consolidated amount, and not annual. And the amount is not as huge as you are scared of, or as scary as you make it sound. USA’s debt amounts to 8,506.9 billion USD, and is growing at 1.5-2% for the last 50 years. Not to draw any parallels, but only to tell you that you should take little more care in understanding figures, and has no direct link to the state’s economic health as you are trying to, because the liability is more ethical than real. That’s why I quoted the 12th Finance Commission report.

@abhishek:
Great to see your comment. For the first time, it seems like somebody here trying to listen to what I say, and responding to that :)

And you have responded to my comment in the last post and the one here together. I remember you were the person who asked me to get the ‘facts’ right, and I guess, now you are assured that I have the facts. And this time it’s more metaphysics than economics. Even better, for a rhetoric, at least.

“…In a sane individual's pursuit of happiness, no one but that individual has the right and responsibility of making his/her choices…”

I completely agree to the idea – The virtue of selfishness. The person who introduced the idea also believed that “Capitalism is an unknown ideal”. Though, the only ideal the above said idea can support is anarchism. Very personally, that’s something I have my trust in too.

“…The point is not what proportion of the people is engaged in what I would call the "pursuit of happiness". The point is that Kerala allows only a coterie of vested interests to pursue what its goals. All because a few think they know what is best for everyone…”

How does it make a difference who that few are? By your objectivist ideal, you too will agree to me. If you are pursuing your individual goals for a better job, or better car, or better life, or better whatever, it’s absolutely your personal issue, and I have nothing against or in favour of it. But when you are talking about a social change, only for that very personal purpose, not just me, but everyone has the right to oppose it for each one’s own personal reasons. That’s the responsibility I’m talking about, and you seem to be ignoring. If the blog were titled ‘The Save Myself Initiative’, I wouldn’t have even bothered to read it, forget writing post-length comments. When you are initiating a social change, you are responsible for the change that’ll make lives different for each and everyone. Both the ones who are benefited, and the ones who don’t. And the reason, I’m talking against is, you openly deny to see the whole picture and interested only to zoom in to Special Exploitation Zones.

“…However, by pursuing its self interest, Google has provided you and me with a forum to communicate, that might otherwise not have occurred…”

I was only telling you about the possibility of, ‘by pursuing its self interest, Google can take away, or even harm, that might otherwise not have occurred’. It might sound cynical, I know, and you can laugh at me. But the point is, there’s nothing much to feel elated about the fact as it is now. And if you were the one who actually respects ‘the virtue of selfishness, why was that you had to ask ‘comrades’ to boycott Google? It weren’t harming you or blocking your pursuit to happiness, I assume. And I have no strong disagreements with Adam Smith, either. But I always had wondered how the land generates rent, and capital raises interest without cheating someone in the game.

“…So, what you are saying is if the educated and skilled begin earning, you cannot call it development. Why is that?…”

That’s because, it’s not the case of a few get a job that they deserve, and the rest doesn’t. It’s the case of only a few get the job, and the rest paying the price. And I don’t agree on that price.

“…An innocuous statement at first glance, but yields a world of misguided romance and vested interests under scrutiny…”

I’m afraid, romance is in your understanding of what I said. I repeat, a region’s economic policies, should primarily consider the existing socio-economic scenarios. I gave you the unemployment figures only to illustrate that a good portion of them is ‘happily’ unemployed. I don’t know what you know about the state, and its people. In most parts of Kerala, people prefer not to slog for a corporate. Romanticm, is in thinking that if you put a fisherman in an assembly line, he would be more happy. You are no one to say that, according to the ‘virtue of selfishness’ theory you believe in, or by pure common sense. And I never did ask you or anybody to be saint and serve the poor. I was only telling you, if that labourers- the urban slum dwellers - who came to the cities leaving their lands by ‘their choice’, and in pursuit of happiness, would have been better off, if were united. Instead, they are enjoying the fruits of ‘their choice’, and right to be silent. (Calling it ‘their choice’ is a little too cruel a remark. Will give an unnecessary personal advice; please don’t take anything for granted. It’s not a sin to be not being born to poor parents, but then most people I know didn’t do that ‘by choice’)

“…And as for your 'new' definition of GDP, please lay that out in clearer terms…”

It’s basic Adam Smith, and primary school mathematics. Company A invests Rs. 100, and generates Rs. 150, with a profit of Rs. 30. If A is local, the addition to GDP is Rs. 50, and if it’s foreign it’s –30, because it has taken back 130. (I’m ignoring the stock splits, and dividends only to make the idea clear. Counting that will reduce, still it will be a negative figure). Same with exports. When calculating GDP, it’s counted as +50, not –30. It’s bit difficult to see, because it has ‘given’ 120 to a few people well visible (read new infrastructure and new jobs), and took back 150 from a widespread, and thus invisible, crowd. All are happy about it, not knowing the consolidated damage. And that’s the development you get to see. (And it’s the parallel I see with the damage colonial rule caused) You can forget GDP, it’s getting out of the scene. Now, economists are only interested in PPP. And India Poised, is 4th in the world rank. Statisticians are mean, most of the time.

“But, there are lessons to learnt from Bangalore's experiment with entrepreneurship for Kerala.”

I can’t agree more. But one has to learn :)

MC said...

@ jubin - protest voting is what i said too. i dont know have the conduct of election rules with me though. but i have seen an email being circulated about how to protest vote, but the effect is the same, however you do it. you think pinarayis followers or for that matter ommen chandy's followers will do protest voting? you and i might, thats all.

you have brought up seemingly great thoughts. and said SEZs or Bangalore is not the way. so what is the way ahead? what is the way forward? how do you think kerala is going to develop? or you think its already developed the way it should be?

you want the housewives to remain housewives, and milkman to remain a milkman, "happily" as you say? have you spoken to the milkman or housewife and asked him if he or she is happy? they are not. only their local MLA is happy.

you have also compared the present growth in india to the British era?
and warned against the "western" and "foreign" pattern of growth. what we are suggesting is only to take the good from everything. we need not ape anyone, or be xenophobic.

lastly, i am curious now. you have alleged last time that i am sitting in the comforts of bangalore and talking about kerala. thats not true. but on the other hand, your profile says you are in bangalore. so i guess, there is no reason to be totally against bangalore after all.

clash said...

ihThe "selfish kerala" initiative.

Some pulled there trousers up to save kerala, munching some muffins and sipping some cold cappuccino!! Slumber and direct, what the hell these minnows they have only time for hartal, why are they shouting against the colas - aint they buying the pulp from us (This is a counter argument that came up here, when there was a post against cola protests in kerala)

Why are we not having land grabbing for the private companies to set up sprawling complexes and displace some farmers? Oh... Who bothers about them? But those words about them (farmers) are indispensable because - they seems to be having some problem or just a feeling - this blog will loose the credibility if I don’t speaking about the ailing farmers. So – I will spare some words for them in almost all the posts!

This belongs to the same middle class mediocrity – which often spews venom without understanding “what” is that what they are speaking about

MC said...

@ clash - very interesting..when you have the time, you should read what you have written yourself.

abhishek said...

@clash

"munching some muffins and sipping some cold cappuccino"
"middle class mediocrity"


Such labels detract from the quality of your arguments. Clash, you bring up some fair points about land-grabbing. Why do you needlessly damage your own cause then by painting this arbitrary, deceitful and condescending picture of your opponents? Are you really concerned about the argument then? Are you not more concerned with how we lead our lives? There is a line between a civil debate and pure mud-slinging. And you are more occupied with the latter. Or else you would be focused on the truth in our arguments or the lack thereof as you perceive it, rather than non-existential lifestyle choices we've apparently made as concocted in the dark recesses of your mind.

By the way, Indian farmers account for 4.5% of worldwide coffee production and are among the top five producers of wheat, which you conveniently neglect to mention while talking about muffins and cappucinos...by your account, I support our farmers every morning. Thanks for the compliment, bhai.

abhishek said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
abhishek said...

@jubin

You have brought up numerous points. Let me address the ones for which I don't have to delve into my economics background first.

"Though, the only ideal the above said idea can support is anarchism."

Anarchism is not an ideal. It's a state of activity. And in this case, chaotic, senseless, disorganized activity. I can't fathom how you went from a statement that expresses the spirit of basic human rights and laws across the world to anarchy, but will leave it you to explain the logic or lack thereof. If you really want to see anarchy, you just have to step out into the streets during one of the SFI and DYFI clashes.

"But when you are talking about a social change, only for that very personal purpose, not just me, but everyone has the right to oppose it for each one’s own personal reasons...When you are initiating a social change, you are responsible for the change that’ll make lives different for each and everyone."

Fair enough, you are concerned about the call to social change in this blog. But, why don't you address your question to the numerous calls to hartals (which are virtually the same as bandhs...let's make that clear) almost every other day in Kerala? How is that such calls made under the explicit threat of violent retribution for disobedience do not deserve your attention? Or are your interests so conveniently aligned to the interests behind those who make the call that you are willing to overlook the flagrant breach of an individual's right to movement?

What we are fighting for here is that basic right to freedom. If so and so party has a point of contention with the U.S. over Saddam's execution, then why restrict others from carrying on about their livelihoods? Why destroy buses, attack men and women on their way to work and prevent children from attending schools?

I have never heard of any leftist or left-leaning thinker ever oppose a hartal or bandh. And in the same breath, they will fervently (insincerely, if you ask me) argue for the upliftment of the downtrodden. It is the poor who are most vulnerable to the constant lack of commercial activity during bandhs and hartals. Farmers have to see their food items perish. Fishermen have to see their fish waste itself on the docks. The list goes on.

"by pursuing its self interest, Google can take away, or even harm, that might otherwise not have occurred"

Come on, Jubin. You can do better than that. I have seen better arguments against Google. The answer is we set up shop at other blog websites.

That's the power of the free market and competition. If there is an economically sustainable way to provide people with free tools to communicate and someone has thought of it, then a free market will empower that someone to provide those services to whoever desires it and has access to the free market.

Moreover, unless you regard blogging on Blogspot as a right and necessity, how does Google withdrawing that service harm you? You are conveniently ignoring the value you have derived till date from blogging on Blogspot, by postulating that it may disappear tomorrow. Guess what? The world may end tomorrow anyways. But, I can't stop living on account of that. Now you say, Google can harm you. Granted, no one appreciates the "Big brother" threat posed by Google. But, their free library initiative is hampered by lack of universal support. And their maps database has exposed what everyone has been thinking all along - that India's military institutions have always been under surveillance from foreign satellites. Anyways, I digress. The story on Google is still being written and it is too early for either of us to comment on how it will end and argue for or against the market on the basis of Google's other data collecting initiatives. That's why I restricted my argument to Blogspot.

"And if you were the one who actually respects ‘the virtue of selfishness, why was that you had to ask ‘comrades’ to boycott Google"

Ahh, you misunderstand me. My call to 'comrades' to boycott Google as not such that I wanted to ignore them or deprive them of its benefits.

But, I cannot understand how they can suppress entrepreneurship in Kerala while on the other hand, enjoy the fruits and labor of entrepreneurs worldwide. So, if the leftists are truly opposed to this so-called "burgeoise", why don't they back their words by retreating to their corner of the world far away from the benefits of technology and capitalism and not hinder the rest of us who are trying to secure our lives the way we live.

"It’s the case of only a few get the job, and the rest paying the price."

Perhaps, if you can outline the so-called costs that other people are paying so that a few "get the job", you could help your argument. I believe that it's rarely been a question of the rest paying the "price" but more often, it's the case that "only a few (the skilled) get the job, and the rest " are jealous. You are also neglecting the multiplier effect, what many people somewhat condescendingly term the "trickle-down" effect of wealth creation. But I will get to that once you lay out the "price".

I'm going to divide my comments now since this one is getting pretty lengthy. In my next comment, I'm going to address this remark:

"But I always had wondered how the land generates rent, and capital raises interest without cheating someone in the game."

And also in the process address your definition of GDP.

Jubin George said...

@mc
“i dont know have the conduct of election rules with me though. but i have seen an email being circulated about how to protest vote, but the effect is the same, however you do it.”

What you now admit is the main reason for my sceptical views, and I have raised the same point before too. Your information seem to be based more on forwarded e-mails, the Tabloid of India, Malayala Manorama, etc., (Now, please don’t jump in and say, I’m asking you to read Desabhimani) than any authentic sources, or real life knowledge. Give me three days newspapers, and name the region it belongs to, and me too can sit here writing everything is falling apart in that region. My point is, it’s easy to say something is right or wrong, seeing it from the surface – for the simple reason, right and wrong are in abundance everywhere. It’s where one’s insight on the subject matters. And that’s the only reason, I was reiterating the importance of understanding the demography of Kerala, every now and then. And as for polling rates, Kerala always had above national average, and the least was around 65% in my knowledge. Even 65% with a good percentage of NRKs, is a good figure, by any standards. I can hear the argument of ‘not having right choices’. One has the moral right to give that argument, only if he/she is a candidate challenging the mandate of the people, or at least have practised the power of protest voting.

“…have you spoken to the milkman or housewife and asked him if he or she is happy? they are not. only their local MLA is happy…”
“…but on the other hand, your profile says you are in bangalore. so i guess, there is no reason to be totally against bangalore after all…”
You have raised a very valid question, and it can substantiate what I have just said. No, I’m not going to give a short life history of mine, or my credentials, for the simple reason that’s quite unnecessary. Instead, I would like to ask back a clarification. Who’s your milkman? The one delivers milk to your doorstep? No, I haven’t talk to any of them. I never had milk delivered at my doorstep, and I never wake up that early, even to catch him when he comes to deliver to my neighbour. But if it’s the milkman you are talking about is the gender equivalent of a milkmaid, then I can make a point. (I’m not very sure, milkman can be counted as milkmaid’s gender equivalent. I did all my school education in a Malayalam medium, and I know you scorn people, who don’t know enough English). If milkman is a name also applies to a person who rears cattle, and milks the cows, there was no choice for me, but to talk to the milkman and milkmaid (not that I ever really wanted to, I admit). I’m born and brought up in a family, which always had 3-5 cows. And it was my parents, not any servants, (and we kids too) who looked after these cows, and the goats, and the pigs, and the poultry. And every other person in the neighbourhood was a milkman or milkmaid too, in that sense. And housewives! They are all happily married. And for a good time, it was a matter of a family’s pride, that girls in the family shouldn’t work – they did only when the family was that poor. The attitude has of course changed, but not very radically in the suburban Kerala unless the job is with a bank, or school or college in the neighbourhood. This applies only to the educated and ‘skilled’ middle class housewives. (There is no rural Kerala; Kerala is one big metro. You can’t name ten panjayats that don’t have cable TV or Dish antenna. I have travelled to every single district in Kerala, TN, Karnataka, and AP, and I know what I’m talking about)

As for the reason I’m staying in Bangalore, that’s because of the climate, you know. But if staying in Bangalore, will make me an admirer of Bangalore by default, I shall also be forced to think that every single person staying in Kerala is happy with the situation there. (Just an argument for argument’s sake, because you threw such a silly personal question at me) It was only you, who were going ga ga over the job opportunities, facilities, and ‘refinement’ of people in Bangalore. And, my dear friend, you haven’t seen any refinement, you have only felt the passiveness of strangers. I have taken along a female friend of mine to a local bar in the crowded evening hours in Kerala for a drink. (Full credits to her, for the ‘adventure’; I’m no protective, macho, Alfa male) We sure got every single person’s stare, and comment; but I was not killed, or my friend didn’t get gang raped. And I know for sure, if I take my grandmother, in her chattayum mundum, to one of the pubs in Bangalore, I’ll be experiencing only the same reaction from the so-called refined people. And the job opportunities. I personally know, not less than 50 kids, MBAs – thus well educated, and skilled, by default – who are working as sales/marketing executives for banks, their DSAs, Pharma companies, and such. And I’m pretty sure, there are a thousand or more kids like them. There may not be enough number of such jobs for them in Kerala. But there’s also a fact that none of them want to do the same job in Kerala. Not because of the pay, but the pride. Back at home, the designation is still Rep. And every such kid comes from a family, that has more than enough to live. It’s the same middleclass mentality that’s the boon and bane of Kerala.

Contd…

Jubin George said...

Contd…

“…so what is the way ahead? what is the way forward? how do you think kerala is going to develop? or you think its already developed the way it should be?…”

Now, one should understand the way that Kerala progressed so far – socially, and economically. (Last time when I said this point, you said woman are getting harassed, abused, and raped, and it’s all goondaism in Kerala) The secret, secret just because it seems to be invisible for everyone, is the very common sense of spending what one can earn. Or self-sustainability. The population, in majority, are middle class – with a lower and upper classifications. Almost an ideal situation of socio-economic parity. The mean annual consumption of Keralites is nearly half as the per capita income. And that’s how Kerala survived, and is surviving. Being seventh in SDP, the State is miles ahead of every other state in human development. (Source: NSS)

How much ever you want to deny it, this socio-economic situation is indebted to missionaries- in education and healthcare, commie rats and trade union ‘goondaism’– land reforms, and ensuring fair wages, and social reforms of Sri Narayana Guru, and Chattambi Swamikal. And Kerala communism has of course a great role in materialising these reforms. Same with women’s lib, art and literature in the State. And this is one great difference between Kerala Communism, and WB Communism – it was not driven by the romanticism of a bunch of intellectuals as in WB; but with a mass social participation. Probably, the only intellectual Kerala Communists had was EMS. More than that, every other political party of that time worked along Nehruvian Socialism.

Now, I never have said here that there’s no space for Kerala to progress. I never have said here that I support the actions or decisions of any of the political leaders – left or right. I only have disagreed with the proposition of ‘development’ on the lines of liberalisation policies. Ironically, the very leaders, in whom you find pleasure in booing, are trying their best to implement what you are suggesting (That’s what’s happening in Bengal for the last 15 years). And I consider the strong leftist resistance in Kerala, and feeble one at the Centre – purely by habit and without any clear awareness or vision – a blessing in disguise.

Liberalisation has immense flaws in a country like India, which has been drained out for 200 years, which has such an extensive socio-cultural complexities. I heard many of the people here commenting on the right of the deserved to get the job. In an open market, that same right of the deserved lies with far advanced western countries. The rich kids who get all the facilities that the poor can’t afford, and thus becoming deserving should be seen only as a microcosm of the economic world. One will have to be consoled in the near future, if India crumbled under this, with the understanding that we didn’t deserve to survive, and there’s no point being jealous about it. If naxalism is now growing rampant in 17 states, please don’t see it as a mere law and order problem – you would be mistaking the effect for the cause. Politically, this is the Himalayan Blunder, leftist parties of this country has committed, because it’s the very same people who would have stood behind them making them a true national third front. By the laws of this land, the constitution of the Democratic, Socialist, Sovereign Republic of India, allows the elected Government to liquidate any asset that comes under its jurisdiction, if needed. Your money is still safe, even after we have an above 50% poor to vote, only because our politicians are rich, and by default pro-rich.

And, it’s here; Kerala has an advantage – with its successful way of sustenance. Its tiny cities are already overpopulated, and have no space for the level of influx Bangalore or any other Metro has faced. It’s not any industries we need. Of course, we have to rejuvenate the existing PSUs, and the new PPP formula can be worked out better. It’s agricultural sector that needs the support more than new enterprises. It is beyond my understanding why subsidies to agriculture can cause inflation, and the same to the new industries can’t. And only Government can do anything about it, not any free economy or multi-national corporate. And the essential attitude change to put the pride back into farmers. Another attitude change that’s required is among the women there. I won’t buy the argument that they are oppressed. The oppression there is an accepted one, or even demanded one, by the conservative attitude of women, more than men. And silly it might seem, but if you see a confident young woman who would stand up for herself, she would, most probably, someone with an inclination to the left in her thoughts. It’s not the party’s success, but only a cultural by-product. Now, I’m not asking every woman to be a commie. Trade Unionism, and Hartals are not to be banned – it has its advantages too. And they would work better, with responsible governance. But that won’t materialise by making half-funny jokes against the government, and customary backslapping. If you agree with any of these, I’m ‘right’ by your side, for that cause. Or, I would better be left alone.


@abhishek:
I will reply to you later, with the same excuse of yours. (Or you went to refer Adam Smith, and GDP? Just kidding). And I guess, I should thank you. It was because you redirected the arguments to a civilised debate; I dared to write such a detailed reply to mc, which otherwise would have stopped in a few counter arguments.

Tinkerbells said...

Factual correction...there was a hartal on March 16th..all shop shutters were down atleast in the capital city...a week without any form of hratal/bandh is still a dream !!!
@jubin: I don't know how you reached the conclusion that women who stand up for themselves are inclined to the left and that it is a cultural by-product of that inclination. Personally, I have interacted closely with SFI during college days and they never encouraged me as a woman to stand up for myself unless I supported their views...infact they had organised a boycott of exams citin lack of water in the MH and even tore up our answer sheets...An isolated incident you may say, but couldn't resist penning it down when you said that the left encourages women to stand up for themselves !!!

Anonymous said...

@jubin - Superfluous. I’m not talking about economics. But your account on `Bar’ experience in Kerala along with a gf. Man how can u generalize this? U weren’t killed and she wasn’t raped. U were expecting this to happen (or not) so that u can prove a point. I live in Hyd and an avid pub hopper. I stand up for myself but that does not give you any right to comment on my ideological lineages. Do u think women’s freedom lies in sharing space with man in a local bar or a pub? That’s crazy. I just wanna walk on a road in that big `Kerala metro’ after 9 pm without escorted by a man. Can you ensure me safety? Do u believe women can stand in a bus stop (I’m not even talking about bus stand, which are notorious) without being harassed? That’s the problem with Kerala.

Even I’m not a great admirer of the B’lore or Hyd style of development. Then again, it gives me freedom to walk on the road or travel in a bus in the night or wait for an auto after 10 pm (my job demands that). None of the auto drivers made any comment nor did any of the other travelers (forget abt harassment). U had to accompany ur gf to a bar in Kerala but I can go to a bar in Hyd or Blore alone. Btw ur granny will never face any kind of embarrassing situations, I can assure u that. People may look at her (not stare) that’s coz u think she has to wear a chatta n mundu and she can’t wear any other dress (I must confess that which is not a common outfit in this part of the world). Nobody will make any dirty comments and if u believe that the old lady can carry off a sari, nobody will even bother to look.

Now about the democratic ideological status of Kerala women (it starts from colleges u see) – when I was studying (doing pre-degree n degree), I thought there was a system called voting in colleges so that u can choose ur leader. Also there was multi-party system. That was a superficial feeling and the comrades on the TVM campus made me realize that. They said the democracy prevailing on the campus is entirely different from the autocratic, bourgeois, oppressive atmosphere in a Christian missionary run private college. That also means u can’t contest neither u vote because u don’t believe in democracy. Unless u believe in `their democracy’ and sacrifice ur physical health (or ur head), u can’t take a plunge into the `big responsible’ world of student politics. Unfortunately, we (some selfish, ignorant, bourgeois) believed in selfishness and not sacrifices and abstained ourselves from indulging in any kind of `democratic activities’ on the campus. So we didn’t know who was the chairman and who was the vice-chairman unless and until we came to know that a girl got a seat in WH coz she has become vice-chairman. God! another manifestation of women empowerment. No merit no reservation, u get a seat (which is scarce due to high demand and short supply but of course no hike in prices. Thanks to socialist set up) coz u have been unanimously elected (read no opponents and no voting coz its a single party system) by the entire campus.

The incident I narrated could be an isolated event, which happens every year in TVM at the university campus. U also don’t make any generalized statement about women and their status in Kerala, which is far worse than that of a village in AP. I have the experience. I had been to a village near Guntur. Got down at the railway station at about 8.30 pm. I didnt know the language but didn’t find it difficult to get an auto. Nobody even looked at me and I noticed a bunch of girls wearing skirt and `half-sari’ riding cycles (not in groups I must add). The villagers may not be knowing about the democratic rights so the government can acquire land for SEZ without facing any resistance. But u can’t harass a woman. If u ask me that’s the only development I want there in Kerla because land is scarce and govt can’t do anything abt it.

And none of ur `welfare or socialist economics’ can solve this problem.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are based on mere hearsay and experience and I dont have any statistics to prove it. I dont even know anything about `Economics.'

Jubin George said...

@tinkerbells
I didn't say ONLY women with a leftist leanings. And I just can't help but wonder are exams more important than water? (Please don't think that i'm justifying the SFI activists in your college, just a rhetoric.)

@anonymouse
Dear, how did you conclude that I was making a generalisation!!! I was only giving an example, on the 'refinement' of people that can come with education or employment. You so brilliantly told me 'chattayum mundum' is not so common in Bangalore, and it's only innocent curiosity. For your information, girls are not that common as you think in drinking dens, or on the roads at late nights in Kerala either. I can give you a hundred or more experiences like you 'once' had in Guntur. Go to villages in Kerala too once in a while, and you will find enough number of safe women. And the only conclusion you reached after reading my comment was that I, and all the socialists in the world support eve-teasing! Thank you ma'am.

Jubin George said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MC said...

@ jubin - this last comment of yours to me has been one of the best examples of how a person can be blinded by ideologies. and i have to say some of your statements are ridiculous.

first of all, my just because i said i have seen an email protest voting doesnt mean all my sense and understanding comes from emails and tabloids. i live most of my days in a year in kerala (unlike you) and i write what i do with a lot of "real life knowledge". so kindly stop assuming things for me. and you have not still told me what protest voting is as per your knowledge. either way, fact remains it doesnt do any good when you have a big politically frenzied population in kerala.

i know who my milkman is, who delivers paper to us, and a lot of other people :) and again are you saying just because you were born to a family that had cows, everyone else who blogs is privileged and you are the only victim? thats rubbish. i also come from a family that did farming for living. people struggled in our house too. but yet we worked hard and got ourselves somewhere.

EVERY milkman or farmer who has worked hard and struggled has done so only to send their children to better schools and professional colleges, and NOT TO go back into milking cows or farming. and you and i are the best examples. so lets not waste time talking insane things.

And housewives! They are all happily married. And for a good time, it was a matter of a family’s pride, that girls in the family shouldn’t work – they did only when the family was that poor.

ridiculous..this kind of idiotic false sense of pride is what has made the lives of MOST women in kerala miserable, and made them ready victims at their abusive husbands and relatives. they are not happy, they DO NOT have a CHOICE.

As for the reason I’m staying in Bangalore, that’s because of the climate, you know

thats ridiculous plus hilarious also! there are places in kerala that have good climate..or did you mean the SOCIAL CLIMATE or the POLITICAL CLIMATE or the ECONOMIC CLIMATE?


but I was not killed, or my friend didn’t get gang raped.

if thats your measure of social refinement then i have nothing to say! and i see the excellent reply to you from anonymous..ask any girl in kerala, you will get pretty much the same reply.

But there’s also a fact that none of them want to do the same job in Kerala. Not because of the pay, but the pride. Back at home, the designation is still Rep.

ridiculous again! but its true also! its sad the people of Kerala hold on to such trashy pride and ruin their own lives. this is what we should change. not feel proud about.

and where exactly did the space for agriculture come from in overpopulated metro kerala which does not have space for industries?
today i met a senior person from the labour office in kerala. he said as of today, the number of well-educated (masters degree)youth who are without a full time job in Trivandrum alone was 1 lakh 14 thousand plus!

If you agree with any of these, I’m ‘right’ by your side, for that cause. Or, I would better be left alone.

i'd happily disagree to what i think is wrong.

Jubin George said...

@mc
Anything more will be only more ridiculous.

Just one correction: I didnt' say that I 'suffered' for being born in a good family.

Anonymous said...

sure is a good update on kerala but dont u all its getting too boring!!!.... start a good topic plz!!!... every week or so u r having almost the same topic!!....

somthing like why north malabar consider themseves superior to south keralites.....or why the prsent keralites r so obsessed with fair complexion....something general.....something interesting!!!.....;-)

abhishek said...

It’s basic Adam Smith, and primary school mathematics. Company A invests Rs. 100, and generates Rs. 150, with a profit of Rs. 30. If A is local, the addition to GDP is Rs. 50, and if it’s foreign it’s –30, because it has taken back 130. (I’m ignoring the stock splits, and dividends only to make the idea clear. Counting that will reduce, still it will be a negative figure). Same with exports. When calculating GDP, it’s counted as +50, not –30."

GDP = consumption + investment + government spending + (export – imports)

What you are really talking about is GNP. GDP is a measure of the value of all the goods and services produced within a country's borders. But, you are interested in who gets the income and GNP, the value of all the goods and services produced by a country's factors of production (land, labor, etc), is better suited to that end. So let's take the definition of GNP, which is very similar to GNP, except it has one additional term:

GNP = consumption + investment + government spending + (export – imports) + (spending on foreign-owned domestic assets - spending on domestic-owned foreign assets)

Let's take each component of this definition.

Consumption is pretty straightforward - it is the value people pay to consume all the goods and services produced in an economy. Investment is the value of the spending on producing those goods and services by businesses (in that respect it is private, i.e. not spending by the government). Government spending, alternatively called public spending, is the spending by the government.

Now let's assume Company A is a foreign owned company, but produces all of its goods/services locally (which is what I assume you were describing). This is where you will realize the significance of using GNP as opposed to GDP. In the first transaction, Company A spends Rs. 100 to pay local factors of production. Now, GNP increases by Rs. 100, on account of the way we've defined investment. In the second transaction, Customer B purchases Rs. 150 worth of goods from Company A produced using the investment capital of Rs. 100. The owners of Company A pocket a net income of Rs. 50 (since they paid local factors of production Rs. 100 what earlier). So GNP decreases by Rs. 150. The net effect on GNP is -Rs. 50.

So, Jubin, what you are really debating is why are we looking at GDP versus GNP when talking about India. One could ask that question of any country. By all accounts, Kerala's state GNP is much larger than its state GDP in that case, as only a portion of foreign Keralite workers' incomes are remitted home. There are multiple issues with using GNP, not least of which is the fact that ownership is a very layered issue nowadays. You have domestic companies listed on foreign stock exchanges, migrant workers who remit money from abroad, etc. Whom does the money ultimately flow to? It's hard to tell increasingly in a world that is being tied together by stronger trade ties and more relaxed foreign investment rules. Is that a bad thing?

By ignoring the flip side of the investment example you laid out, we can only reach one conclusion for India's GNP: it is decreasing. However, if you include Indian migrant workers' remittances from abroad, acquisitions by Indian companies and other sources of income from abroad, India's GNP growth is on pace with its GDP growth. So while you may compare India to a blisfully ignorant garage owner, I would compare the world to a garage, where people park cars in each other's spots, permission permitting of course.

abhishek said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
abhishek said...

@Jubin
As you may have noticed, I have huge reservations against calling communism an economic system. The whole debate between capitalism and communism is based on the incorrect premise that capitalism and communism are alternatives. Capitalism is a system that enables the marshalling of resources, human and financial. Communism on the other hand is, as I have called it earlier, a creation myth of classes of people. It describes a stagnant state of social affairs where landowners and factory owners exploit labourers. It has nothing to offer once that state of affairs changes, i.e. when labourers cease being just owners of human capital but also become owners of financial capital.

The real economic choices that Kerala faces concern the nature of ownership: state versus private. In that regards, communism is a veil that state ownership drapes for political convenience. And here as well, a little common sense offers significant insight. First let's note the following premise:

Owners of resources have a financial incentive to develop those resources as long they can accrue net income from developing those resources.

It's a simple claim with countless vindications across the world. Well, much of Kerala's history post-Independence has been based on the following premise:

The government must take care to protect the poor by owning their resources.

Why is that? Because according to communists, humans play mutually exclusive roles, i.e. they are either owners of capital or owners of human labour, but not both. And consequently, society is a hierarchical power struggle between these two so-called "classes". This worldview leaves little space for the possibilities of humans playing overlapping roles.

In reality, humans play multiple roles so long as they have access to financial and labor markets. Take for example, my aunt who's a school teacher but also invests in a mutual fund that in part depends on the Indian stock market performance. She is not only a laborer in the sense that she is putting her human capital to work, but she is also an owner in the sense that she is putting her financial capital to work. If you want people to uplift themselves, the best thing you can do is provide them with access to the free market - note, the key word is free. Because a free market is one that's populated by multiple private players and not government enforced monopolies such as trade unions or PSUs.

"It’s bit difficult to see, because it has ‘given’ 120 to a few people well visible (read new infrastructure and new jobs), and took back 150 from a widespread, and thus invisible, crowd."

There is a major fallacy in your view that $120 are going to "many" and $150 are going to a "few". First, this is just one transaction in an economy. In reality, in any economy of significant size, there are numerous transactions which on a piecemeal basis, could be seen as the marshalling of resources to a few, but in totality is the marshalling of resources for many. Let's add Companies B and C to your example, and suppose they only hire people who happen to be Company A's only customers. Can we conclude from this that income is flowing from Companies B and C's employees to Company A's employees and owners? No, because the three sets of employees and owners purchase goods and services from each other. Individually, they would resemble the deceitfully simple funneling image you have painted, but together, they resemble almost any multiple-firm, multiple-customer economy, even India's, that trades with each other and takes advantage of comparative strengths and weaknesses. So what if the income flows outward? It is as if we were both neighbors and I made you richer. It is more likely that not that you will consume more of my goods/services with your extra income.

If wealth is being created for all levels of society (i.e. income is growing for everyone), why does it matter that the "rich" get richer quicker than the "poor" get richer? If anything, social tensions arising from this can be traced to one thing: jealousy. It reminds me about the old crab joke. Of all the crab crates in a container, every crab except the Keralite ones was crawling out. In the Keralite crate, as soon as the crabs at the tops tried crawling out, the ones at the bottom pulled them back in.

There are only two solutions for this problem:

1. Increase the opportunities for economic mobility - i.e. create quality education and health institutions that also cater to the poor.

2. Discourage the ego.

The latter is incredibly difficult. But, the first is not only easier, it is immensely achievable. Alas! Our "sakhagal" are more interested in carving out slices from the existing pie rather than growing the pie. At this point, you may ask me why I'm singling out the left on this issue, because every party is guilty of virtually ignoring the bigger picture. But the leftists are not just apathetic, but willfully contemptuous of an alternate model for human society. No matter how well-intentioned you are, if you back the wrong ideology, you are better off backing no ideology.

abhishek said...

Also want to add economic freedom to solution no. 1 above.

Jubin George said...

@abhishek
It's not me, but you, who have mistaken GDP for GNP. Just like you have said, GDP is calculated within the borders, but it is calculated without considering 'who' owns the factors of production; and that's where the subtraction of foriegn invests is ignored. In GNP too, in a mixed economy system, the actual depreciation is not counted, that's 'the reason' for GNP to be considered as outdated when the Global markets opened up. It's more for the benefit of the producers, than for the consumers, just like GNI, NNP, NNI, etc. became irrelevent over the time. Now, GDP too is on its way out, and it's PPP and it's even called as the more realistic per capita GDP - and the figures are more friendly to the producer's concern. Or in more beatiful words, one world one economy. Is it so in reality?

I agree to your statement that capitalism is economical, and communism is political ideologies. (Incidently, anarchy is the state, and anarchism is the idea) But, the political importance is communism supports socialism, instead of capitalism. You very cleverly said, the Government is not supposed to take care of the poor. By the same logic, you will also dare to say that parents should not look after or provide food or education or healthcare to their children - that is about going back to the primitive hunter-gatherer society(which apparantly is called primitive communism where no one owns anything), not development or progress.

You also called for 'destruction of ego' as a solution. It's not, and it contradicts, 'the virtue of selfishness' theory you call as 'the basic' of all theories. I had agreed, and still agree, that a true egalitarian society is unrealistic - but harmony is possible. And only with a harmonious development, progress of a society, any society - not just short-term prosperity of a few individuals - can be realised.

You talk in length on 'economic freedom'. Freedom is not licence, freedom is directly preportional to responsibility. Who fills in for this responsibility vaccum created by the free economy? Are the enterprises self-responsible? Read the terms and conditions of 'service' of Google, or blogspot, or any other. And you will understand what the company commits to you, and how much 'freedom' you have in terms of choice. It's either take it, or leave it. I can only ask for some self-respect.

It was funny seeing you, and many others, were using the word 'bourgeois'. I was not using that b-word, very consciously. Because, I'm talking to those individuals who sell their 'services', and who in the capitalist mode of prodution, do not own the means of production. There aren't many (or any) among you who can be called as bourgeoisie - who owns means of production. A selfless-proletariat would be more apt.

(Sorry abhishek, I could have given you a detailed reply, like you did, and I used to. But I'm just afraid that it would be only called ridiculous)

abhishek said...

"You very cleverly said, the Government is not supposed to take care of the poor"

No. You did not read the entire sentence then. My contention is that the government believes it must do this by owning everyone's resources.

"Freedom is not licence, freedom is directly preportional to responsibility. Who fills in for this responsibility vaccum created by the free economy?"

Are loss-making state-owned PSUs being responsible then?

In the free market, responsibility arises from educated consumers who value ethical goods/services. The left assumes that people are much dumber than they really are and must be "guided" to the right outcome.

"Because, I'm talking to those individuals who sell their 'services', and who in the capitalist mode of prodution, do not own the means of production."

This is what I meant by the fact that your ideology prevents you from considering the possibility that we too can own the means of production. A vast number of resident Keralites are farmers and till their own land which makes them self-employed i.e. they own their own means of production. So what if they use their own labor. They own the seeds, machines and land. They essentially run their own enterprise. Why aren't the infertile land owners allowed to sell their land for industrial development? And why are the fertile land owners starved of capital to develop their land?

If you assume that individuals are by and large responsible, we wouldn't need this overbearing ma-baap government. We need incentives for people to perform better, or else the vast majority will stagnate in government service.

Jubin George said...

@abhishek
"...A vast number of resident Keralites are farmers and till their own land which makes them self-employed i.e. they own their own means of production. So what if they use their own labor. They own the seeds, machines and land. They essentially run their own enterprise. Why aren't the infertile land owners allowed to sell their land for industrial development? And why are the fertile land owners starved of capital to develop their land?..."

Now you have nailed it. You say a 'vast' number of 'resident' keralites... This is what I'm telling you from the beginning. And the land owners you are talking about are not ranch owners - the majority of them have less than 5 acres of land. And the solution for a farmer with 'infertile' land is not selling it off for an industry. And if you know the fertile lands, you also know it's not 'machinery' or 'capital' they need - but only good irrigation, affordable fertilisers, and assured prices. And only the lack of the latter factors is what turn them to 'infertile' lands.

I rememember, a few months back in the same blog there was a high school essay on the paradoxes in Kerala. And the author had wondered why 'resident' malayalees seem to be okay with Kerala, when NRKs can't stand it. There was also a question, how can the people have a decent living, when the state treasury almost always seems broke. Abhishek, your observation has answers to both. And that's the very reason I advocate a development plan that suits the demography, and you called it dubious romanticism.

abhishek said...

@Jubin

It's pleasantly coincidental how the direction of our debate has taken us to the issue of farmers. I'm writing a post on the state of Kerala farmers which I hope to publish soon and hope that you will contribute your thoughts as well. Right now, I think we've exhausted almost every other point and might be better off discussing things very specifically. Will address your above remarks in my post as well.

abhishek said...

@Jubin

Also when I say capital, I mean financial capital a.k.a. the most malleable of the five factors of production - land, equipment and management. Financial capital can also be seen as the currency with which goods and services are used as intermediate goods to produce other goods and services. I don't include machinery in capital; just clarifying my terminology.

Jubin George said...

@abhishek
I suggest you to do some basic research on 20s-30s events in the United states, especially in Oklahoma and surrounding states, and California. The situations were not identical, but you can see parallels. Hope, you wouldn't tell me, "see, how prosperous are the same places now!" :) Because, what I want you not to ignore is the price paid.

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manuscrypts said...

imagine state-of-the-art when the state under consideration is kerala :D...

surendran said...

this govt. have started evacuating
the biggies from MUNNAR and other
places where peopele had occupied
the Govt. land.

We should support this govt. for these kind of initiatives.

it may be by cheif minister or others.

Don't call our state Dog own Country pls........

instead you people put some efforts to make our state (mallu)
the no. one in India or wolrd.

you can ......


but all our energy (muulu's) is wasted by opposing others and opposing what ever against some ones wish.

go ahead and support them (who ever they are doing it for you.............................

bhattathiri said...

Smart city may create water shortage. In the coming century, new challenges are emerging. We are confronted with both old and new threats to international scarcity of many commodities especially good air and water causing security of population; resulting widespread poverty. It has to be recognized by world leaders as the most daunting of all the problems facing the world in the new century; and fundamental values of freedom, equality, solidarity, tolerance, respect for nature and shared responsibility now form common values through which achievements in all the further categories can be realized. In each of these key areas environment and resources play a central role. Threats to common security now include so-called 'soft threats': environmental degradation, resource depletion, contagious diseases and corruption, to name just a few. It is now recognized that environmental degradation and both scarcity and abundance of natural resources are potential sources of conflict – and cooperation – and need to be more systematically addressed in this context. Access to fresh water and sanitation services are a precondition to achieving the other internationally accepted goals in the Millennium Declaration.

littleheartz said...

hello, here one of my frnd was talking abt protect poor...

Who are those poors?

What actually is protection?

here the poors are reffered as the people who are labours who earn very less income...rite

these people may have joined atleast one of the small political groups. if they don have a work to do then the ll join either a gunda group or they ll print a receipt book in name of some new bullshit...n will start earning.

protection here means wat?.. if they were caught by the police accidiently, there is a leader in each political arean in each particular group withe name commette member or former ____ or somem other

is that wat u meant...


dey ll call local mla...he jus wanna make one single call to release the bldy beggars

have you thought abt there daily income?

if you calculate it monthly...it may be higher than your monthly salary
...

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