India's Poverty: Possible Solutions Part II

Last updated on Jan 16, 2007

Posted on Jan 16, 2007

Indian society is developing at a fast pace.. but the poverty is not coming down much.  The people and activists are becoming impatient and want faster action from the Government.  I had suggested in my last post on Poverty Solution for India that we need to concentrate on the “Structure” rather than the “Substance” of our prospective action.

First of all – I dont believe in 5 year plans.  I am at my very heart a capitalist.  I believe that it is foolish to try and “distribute” resources around in an equitable manner.  It is like starting a stock market without a stock exchange.  YOU tell people how much they should invest and how much profit one should get!  That to me is nonsensical!

When our politicians cannot even solve a SIMPLE Linear Programming Two Variable Optimization equation – it is rather incredulous for us to believe that ANYONE on this earth even with the greatest supercomputer in the world could solve the problem of equitable distribution.

So, lets accept THAT basic verity!

Lets move on.

I believe that instead of playing Gods.. we should play Architects.

We as Architects should create proper systems or structures in place and in time the things should fall in place.

In 1700, India probably had the world’s highest GDP.  US was way below.

Today the situation is the opposite.

In 300 years we see an UNapproachable gap as of now.  In 1700, US citizens probably must have had a similar experience!

What I am trying to say is that the change will take time – it is NOT going to be an overnight one.

The worry that I have is – that in the impatience to see a quicker result may harm the VERY structure that could promise that longer term change!

Yes, we need to look after the poor and the needy.  But MORE important than “looking after” them.. we need to provide them with the wherewithal to make themselves count!  So that when a poor person works hard.. he/she gets a shot at becoming rich!  So that Dhirubhai’s example is not just a fluke but a daily occurrence.

After sifting through the history of various societies you will notice a strange similarity amongst the MOST prosperous ones – ALL were meritocratic and open societies!  Whether it was Greek, Roman, Indian or American societies AT THEIR peak!

So it does provide a lesson to all of us.. doesnt it?

In the run to get it right in the short term, by using socialistic measures, we may well be messing up ANY long term means to lift the lot of the poor in India in our naivette!

But then there is hardly any basic difference between the NGO Activist and the Wall Street Investment Banker.. both play an effervescent game of INSTANT gratification.. the only difference is one wears the pin-stripes.. and other the pins (of medals)on his/her chest!

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