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Question about Indian gov't structure

The good feature of the US gov't is not its democracy. Rather, it's how it pits rational actors against each other, so they work hard not to let each other gain power. It also slows the wheels of gov't down, so incompetence and mistakes get a longer time to be scrutinized and backed out of.

So when I hear that India's the world's largest democracy, I wonder if it has this feature. Does anyone recommend good reading on India?

I know this isn't Joel on Geopolitics, so I understand if it's deleted. I'm just starting to look closer at India, because I want to know what the threats are. (For example, is a stronger India better because it raises their software wages? Etc.)

Tayssir John Gabbour
Monday, May 17, 2004

The threat is that a country more populous than the U.S. and the E.U. combined statistically has more geniuses than the U.S. and E.U. combined, if only they could get their act together and feed and educate their people. Which they haven't been able to do, for the past 5,000 years.

So nothing to worry about, for now...

John Q. Public
Monday, May 17, 2004

"India has many more geniuses than the US and Europe combined."

Actually, they both have about the same number of geniuses since the average IQ in India is one standard deviation below that of the US and India has almost four times the population of the US.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Careful, the big threats may be poor countries, since they're desperate enough to do the $100 rentacoder contracts. Devaluing all programmers. A wealthy India may be in my best interest. I probably want Indian consumers and companies employing Indian programmers, not American consumers/companies.

(The biggest threat (I currently think) is large software companies, who try hard to commoditize programmers. Programming languages were invented to decrease dependence on a few highly-skilled mathematicians.)

Tayssir John Gabbour
Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Indian democracy is not as robust as in America, but it's there nevertheless. India's democracy is still crony ridden and corrupt.

The population of India that's in competition against America is only 100 million, not 1 billion. 500 million can't read and the rest are struggling farmers in a still developing nation.

That said, India under the newly elected Congress will be better for all Indians and better for the west, because it will clamp down on labour abuses by dodgy outsourcers and call centres. The BJP was starting to get way out of control, creating the type of place that Enron and Arthur Andersen would have loved.

What the world wants is more Sathyaishs and so on, ready to apply Western standards to their work and employment situation.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Tayssir John Gabbour,

To understand the nature of the indian government and beuraucracy you should examine how it developed over time.

This is covered a little (a 30 page chapter I think) in the book "The Commanding Heights".  This book is a look at the economies of many different countries developed after the second world war.

Great read.  The Indian chapter is especially interesting...
Ghandi's economic philosophy was "a spinning wheel in every hut".  Meaning distribute power and production. 

Unfortunately the other leaders who favoured more central control and regulation of production won out. 

Many of the structures they put in place have been stripped away in the last 30 years, hence the indian boom.


Tuesday, May 18, 2004

I agree with blank  -- a swing back to labor rights is just the thing right now for a robust and strong india in the long term. The economy has been way imbalanced and everyone knows it. A labor friendly government for a few years is the best thing that could happen.

Dennis Atkins
Tuesday, May 18, 2004

A friend who moved back to india was unhappy
about the corruption. He was pulled over for
speeding and was hit up for a bribe instead
of a ticket. That happens all the time in every
part of life. That's not a good way to live.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

> That's not a good way to live

Depends how fast you drive.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

'The good feature of the US gov't is not its democracy. Rather, it's how it pits rational actors against each other, so they work hard not to let each other gain power."

That's true, but it's not a good thing. What it means is that you have two groups who will lie to the population, tell the population what they want to hear, even if it has tremendous long term damaging effects, so that the group can stay in power.

An American politician has no qualms whatsoever about promising you the sky even if it means the next generation is horribly screwed. That's not their problem, you see. Their problem is to get elected and if that means screwing over the future of their very own country, they are more than happy to do it if it means they get a few shiny trinkets in their pockets.

This behavior knows no politically boundaries and actually no national boundaries. It's the evil side of human nature and can be seen in any democratic country that gives the unwashed, uneducated masses the right to vote.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

..and if you don't give those unwashed masses the right to vote, they will revolt.

So, you're basically at the mercy of greedy, ethically challenged politicians and the millions of people who are stupid enough to believe their lies.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Dear Tayssir,
                    Forget about the threat. The one thing the US isn't outsourcing are threats to its own citizens, and everybody else for that matter.

                    I would suggest you spend some time reading the Indain newspapers. Go to Yahoo India, and try the sources there. Also go to the BBC and do a search for articles by John Tully, who was the BBC correspondent there until about ten years ago. And try some novels - the quality of Indian writers in English is very high.

                    I've got all my books on Indain politics and sociology in Sri Lanka. I'm going there in three to four weeks so PM me then, and I'll take a look around the Colombo bookshops.

Stephen Jones
Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Cool, thanks I will. It's hard enough to find a good book on US politics.

Tayssir John Gabbour
Tuesday, May 18, 2004

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