Tacitus said this about the ancient superpower Roman Empire. This quote doesn’t straight fit into the context of this post, but the core principal idea fits.
Indians as a people always support government expansion of power in favor of “stopping criminals”. The obsession goes so deep that the end result is much like what Tacitus talks about but in a slightly different manner.
The monstrous Indian government often goes on a rampage with these almighty powers it should’ve never had in the first place and ends up with a similar result like the Romans — they make a desert and call it crime free.
That doesn’t have same punch to it like what Tacitus says, keep reading though and we’ll get there.
I don’t really recommend bringing up politics, economics, religion or even movies for that matter in the office.
Anything can rub anyone the wrong way. Having said that, given that I am so obsessed with all of these issues, when others are spouting their Kerala communist nonsense, my Thomas Jefferson alter ego with his OCD just gets to me and my mouth opens and something pro-liberty comes out.
In a conversation about American tech “giants” (why does everyone like to call them that now?), yes the usual Googles and Facebooks, I dropped in some of my freedom nukes like the one below. I read this on Atanu Dey’s blog first, but the idea comes from the big shot quint editor, Rajeev Bahl.
I am no economist, but from the little I understand in very layman terms he says, the Indian government blocks Indian firms from doing a lot of things like issuing special types of shares and so on, which the Americans and Chinese governments allow. This allows the tech firms there to raise massive capital on foreign soil and plus retain the ownership and control of their companies. Here’s the quote from quint:
Simply put, America and China enable their iconic founders to raise astronomical amounts of capital – cleverly, and ironically, Chinese companies scoop up landfills of dollars on American stock exchanges to build Chinese assets – even as they are assured of retaining control via specially designed financial instruments, structures, incentives, and rights.
But Indian Entrepreneurs Are Trussed Up…
As opposed to such aggressive institutional backing, Indian entrepreneurs are trussed up in archaic laws. Not allowed to issue differential voting shares. Not allowed to issue non-voting stock. Severely constrained in issuing and pricing cross-border quasi-equity/debt structures, perpetual bonds, warrants, convertibles, puts, calls, tracking stocks or options. Cannot list on overseas exchanges unless the entity is listed in India (there has, lately, been a marginal, grudging relaxation of this).
The detailed understanding of what this policy proposes is secondary to me, my focus from the philosophical and cultural standpoint is what sort of conversations come up in society when the idea of increasing freedom is put out there.
The Jefferson in me wanting to make a stand for my freedomist credentials threw this point out to the Kerala commie who I have the great displeasure to work with and *BOOOM* came the reply;
No he wasn’t shouting at me, maybe just internally. At this stage, his expression and eyes told me he wanted me to agree with him immediately and waste no time. After all, that would be supporting criminals like the guys who committed the Satyam Scam.
And by now, my inner Jefferson probably let go since he got his initial release, and I took over agreeing with my commie manager. Which he immediately claimed a victory..”now you got the answer, no, now you got the answer why eendhia can’t allow such freedom for the people, because eendhia ees deeferant, peoples are will do missuse no if you try coping the america, and all..”
In grammatically correct English, his summation of his own countrymen is that, they have fucked up ethics and their moral system is no more developed than that of the bottom feeding scum.
Go ahead, Alexis de Tocqueville, enjoy a huge sip from the tall glass of “I told you so“. Much deserved.
I think it’s all very clear by this stage, but then it would not be much of a blog if I just left most things at “well, it’s all very clear here, on to the next post“, so let’s dig in a bit YOU and I dear reader.
My commie friend here, did not think it worth spending more than 5 secs to come up with the conclusion as to why the Indian government must block freedoms of Indian entrepreneurs — because ONE twisted guy fucked us up.
The concept of other innocent and brilliant businessman are fucked because of such a stand is so lost to him that it’s not even in his field of conceptualization. He does not even see it. The blindness here is as deep as when a religious dude declares proudly “God saved him” after a plane crash which has everyone but one guy dead. How lost on him is the question — “why did God let the plane crash in the first place?!”
It is this deep commitment to the idea that a single rich criminal minded fucker exploiting some law must be stopped, at the expense of thousand other guys who would have used the same system to create massive wealth for themselves and others, is what creates the proverbial desert to stop crime.
Yeah I know demons had nothing to do with it, but well, anything which destroys freedom fits the demon description in my book, so I guess it fits.
Once again, it was almost funny to watch the commie dude I mentioned above and millions of other Indians perform mental gymnastics to explain away why wiping out cash in a predominantly cash economy was a great economic and social reform while trying to hide their obvious sadistic pleasure in their (misleading) belief that “the corrupt and selfish rich were being hurt more than us“.
Once again a deep economic analysis is not as important as the cultural one, but since so many people actually do believe that liquid cash is a problem, let me try something.
Money — cash, card, digital, bitcoins, in all of its forms is just a tool for exchange, just due to the fact that bartering worked for a while in the human story when exchanging a KG of rice for a KG of wheat, however exchanging business consulting for a KG of apples or programming for a flight ticket, or priesthood for a night with a lovely whore would be impossible.
The idea that using more or less cash in a country has anything to do with problems like economic growth, corruption, poverty, job creation is plain ridiculous.
Just the simple fact that all the alternatives to liquid cash are such a recent invention(20-30 yrs) proves this point. If cash was a hindrance to a country’s development then we simply would not have a superpower USA, or the developed west — Canada, Europe, Australia(not west I KNOW!).
Benjamin Franklin or Thomas Jefferson were not fucking swiping their VISA cards and e-wallets for their expensive whisky as they sat down discussing the US constitution in 1788. And that was the case till world war 2 and then some years. No one ever came up with the notion of replacing cash with digital payments, because it did not fucking exist. And yet the US and many others reached tremendous levels of material and philosophical wealth with superpower status just fine with their simple cash based economies.
What exactly did matter is a careful design of the government machinery and public institutions which safeguard individual rights like free speech, private property and separation of religion from the government. But hey getting on TV and banning currency with the implicit message that “it’s hurting the criminal rich and the rich in general” is a lot more easy to do, easy to sell as a BIG BANG REFORM and makes one look a lot more cooler than telling everyone to go read John Locke.
And he got away with it, because Indians would rather nuke the place to clear a few cockroaches instead of just letting the cockroaches be and focusing on how to enable the unicorns succeed. Get a load of this guy.
Of course some people were caught with some cash stuffed into walls, beds, underground bunkers or wherever, but if you think it was worth what the economy went through, the cruelty of waiting in a line for cash to buy groceries then you are still operating with my commie dude’s mindset.
At some point, the idea that even if such a move did bring some benefits to the overall economy, justifies putting the citizens through agony has to be challenged. Because at the core of it is the killer morality of sacrificing for the greater good mixed with giving away a little freedom to stop criminals, which must be weeded out from all human societies.
Let’s all now raise a toast of “I told you so” to Ben.
This is already long now.
In Part2 we shall go through some other such examples, figure out after all how many criminals do we even have in human societies and learn about a society where the thriving of the innocent citizens takes precedence over petty crime fighting.