Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Complex economy and million mutinies

On the complexity of society and social sciences – here’s my latest column in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. by Don Boudreaux. Reality is like that. It's complex. The economy is especially so. [...]
The zillions of decisions made daily by the billions of people in today's global economy simply cannot be predicted -- and the detailed consequences of these decisions cannot be predicted -- with the kind of precision that we take for granted in many of the natural sciences. So any economist worth his or her salary will qualify any prediction of the future -- and qualify any explanation of the past -- with the recognition that other predictions and explanations also have potential merit.
Economists cannot avoid the large amounts of uncertainty and imprecision that make economics unsatisfying to people, such as Truman, who demand simple and unambiguous answers. But because there's a large demand -- especially among politicians -- for simple and unambiguous answers, there's no shortage of people willing to supply such answers. Read more: Not so simple - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 

Harold Macmillan, British Prime Minister, was asked what he feared most during his time in office. “Events, dear boy, Events,” was his answer. David Cameron, his ninth successor as PM, would agree. What has now hit Britain, a “firestorm” as he called it, did not even begin with Murdoch.

Deirdre McCloskey’s new book, Bourgeois Dignity: Why economics can’t explain the modern world, reveals that the West rose after 1800 not only because of economic factors but also because the discourse about markets, enterprise, and innovation changed. People became enthusiastic and encouraging of entrepreneurs. The development of the West is explained not as much by colonialism and imperialism; not by Marx’s theory of classes; not by Max Weber and his Protestant ethic; not even by Douglass North and the central role of institutions. It has much more to do with how people’s perceptions and expectations changed.
Robert Lucas, the Nobel Prize winner, says that ‘for income growth to occur in a society, a large fraction of people must experience changes in the possible lives they imagine for themselves and their children…economic development requires a million mutinies’. There are still vast areas of horrible poverty and deprivation in India but there is also a critical mass of people who can see that their lot is palpably better than their parents; their future is open, not pre-determined, and can be changed by their own actions. They feel that dignity is being bestowed on their middle class dreams as their children are getting MBAs and aspire to become CEOs. Ordinary conversations over chai and chaat are about markets and innovation. Even leftist theorists at JNU and in the Congress Party have been forced to rethink their old prejudices. What has changed is ‘habits of the mind’ as India has become a ‘business respecting civilization’ in Schumpeter’s words.]

History is a mixture of perception and propaganda that confuses some of the fundamental elements of humanity.
As a pack animal, the human needs to associate with the pack. That may be the family group, the extended family, the religious faction, the political faction, the nation or the supra-nation. From that group, other groups are viewed, the perception of those other groups will not recognize all of the elements of those groups and it is almost guaranteed that the self-perception of any group will be different from the perception of that group by other groups.
Within a commercial organization, those negative instincts develop a new divided structure of sales, administration, production, research, etc. as workers in each discipline group together. People associate by their dress and behaviour in new packs. A corporation will prosper by encouraging all employees to consider the corporation as the framework of the pack, but this is still a competitive pack that sees other corporations as the enemy.
Against this natural pack instinct, humans have an ability to imagine and to develop an awareness that transcends brutal animal instincts. Individuals reaching a higher understanding can stand for their beliefs and bring about positive change but always risk the collection of similar understandings into a new religion that can be subverted by those who always seek to control others and to decide what is true and acceptable on behalf of millions of followers.
Any individual, within a group, will hold unique perceptions of all around and that perception will be contained by the society of the group. From time to time, the negative perceptions of the individual will break free from the constraints of society as it has just done so tragically in Norway. From time to time the positive perceptions of an individual will break free from the constraints of society and bring positive changes to that society and perhaps to a much wider group.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Change that is positive, rapid, and infectious

So you will have the same set of people exhibiting one standard of civic behaviour in the streets of Kolkata, and quite the opposite in the Kolkata metro stations. You will find recruits from the same educational institutions happening to join two different organisations, but just five years later their ethical conduct will be as similar as chalk and cheese. Who would assert, for example, that at the level of the individual, the Scandinavian people display a different sense of right and wrong from Indians? Yet, only a die-hard will dispute that Scandinavian society is immeasurably more just than Indian society. These pointers lead to two general conclusions:
a) unit behaviour is not an algebraic sum of the quality of individuals who constitute the unit, and
b) individuals within a unit respond as they perceive the unit. If they perceive the unit to be fair, they will be fair. If they perceive the unit to be unfair, they will be unfair.
In this insight lies embedded our opportunity. Once the tipping point is crossed, small inputs at the level of a unit fetch disproportionate change. Change that is positive, rapid and infectious. The writer, former MD of Idea Cellular, is adviser to corporates and not-for-profit organisations

NGO offers forest trip to volunteers, Zahra Gabuji, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, July 20, 2011
The speaker at the workshop, Aviram Rozin, co-founder of Sadhana Forest, built on the outskirts of Auroville, spoke about his experience of turning 70 acres of severely eroded land into a tropical dry evergreen forest. 
"I always wanted to practise sustainable living. But in an urban jungle like Mumbai, I didn't know how," said Ajrawal. "This project will give me a chance to experience a different aspect of life."
Rozin began his non-profit eco venture seven years ago. "Sadhana Forest is a volunteer- based community where people work together and practise simple and ecological living. They can share ideas, plan events, interact with people from neighbouring villages and plant trees," said Rozin. "We want to encourage an eco-friendly lifestyle." The talk included a discussion on how more people need to be part of the ecological movement. 

One theory is that government exists to correct externalities and provide public goods. The other is that government uses the language of helping people to justify giving stuff to the politically powerful out of the pockets of the rest of us.

It might be appropriate to close this investigation with precisely such an example, drawn from the writings of Sri Aurobindo. “But I do not insist on everybody passing through my experience or following the Truth that is its consequence. ...”

Influential editors are now commonly lobbying pliant politicians

The Bharatiya Janata Party increasingly resembles a franchisee operation like Nirula’s or McDonald’s. Its flag flies high in a number of States, but each of its regional satraps—be it Narendra Damodardas Modi in Gujarat, Shivraj Chauhan in Madhya Pradesh or Raman Singh in Chhattisgarh—scripts his own story.

‘India, not a rising power or an emerging power’ by churumuri - Ramachandra Guha in a piece titled “India is too corrupt to become a superpower”, in the Financial Times, London:
“Yet the truth is that India is in no position to become a superpower. It is not a rising power, nor even an emerging power. It is merely a fascinating, complex, and perhaps unique experiment in nationhood and democracy, whose leaders need still to attend to the fault lines within, rather than presume to take on the world without.”

Analysis: How to wipe out Islamic terror - Analysis - DNA Subramanian Swamy | Saturday, July 16, 2011
If half the Hindus voted together, rising above caste and language, a genuine Hindu party would have a two-thirds majority in Parliament and the assemblies. …
Any policy to combat terrorism must begin with requiring each and every Hindu becoming a virat Hindu. For this, one must have a Hindu mindset that recognises that there is vyaktigat charitra (personal character) and rashtriya charitra (national character). For example, Manmohan Singh has high personal character, but by being a rubber stamp of a semi-literate Sonia Gandhi and waffling on all national issues, he has proved that he has no rashtriya charitra.

Party politics is the most meritocratic profession of all in democracies. The partyless wonders Shekhar Gupta indian express: Saturday, May 02, 2009

Because the individuals entering into an assemblage are autonomous, assemblages constantly face the risk of falling apart or dissipating into thin air like so much mist. Anyone who’s formed groups and organizations is aware of just how precarious and fleeting these assemblages can be; or how much work these assemblages require to be maintained. Object-Oriented Philosophy: What is it Good For? from Larval Subjects

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Dr. Subramanian Swamy & Rajiv Malhotra

Comment posted by: Sandeep Re: 'Holy Spirit' is not the same as 'Shakti' or 'Kundalini' by Rajiv Malhotra
While Sri Aurobindo synthesizes and harmonizes differences by pointing out latent truths present in all traditions, Rajiv Malhotra seems inclined to foment divisions and instigate acrimony by micro-analyzing all the distortions which have occurred in the Christian tradition.  In that sense, he is no different from his Christian adversaries who employ the same angle of attack when it comes to Hinduism.   They are all stuck at the same level of consciousness.  They complement each other! :-)
I found this passage by Sri Aurobindo on the Holy Spirit/Ghost. […] (Sri Aurobindo. Letters on Yoga, SABCL Vol 23, chapter on The Object of Integral Yoga, pp 510-512) 

Subramanian Swamy courts trouble over hate article Hindustan Times -  New Delhi, July 18, 2011
Janata Party president Dr Subramanian Swamy has courted trouble over his "irresponsible, inflammatory and most condemnable" article that seeks to "whip up passions and destroy the country's social fabric". "At a time when communities need to bond together to fight terrorism, Dr Swamy is engaged in the reprehensible task of dividing the country. He should be immediately arrested under Section 153 A of the Indian Penal Code," said Dr Abraham Mathai, vice chairman of the Minorities Commission of Maharashtra.
Two days after Dr Swamy's article appeared in the DNA newspaper, 24-year-old law student Shehzad Poonawala sought to lodge an FIR in New Delhi on July 18  for his "hate-filled article that seeks to spread the ideology of lies, hatred and divisiveness". […]
Writing in the aftermath of the serial bomb blasts in Mumbai, Dr Swamy spewed venom against the "Islamists", speculating that the Taliban takeover of Pakistan would become complete by 2012.
"Terrorist organisations would then focus on the unfinished chapter of Islamic conquests of India," Swamy wrote.
Calling for a "collective mindset of Hindus against the Islamic terrorists", the former Union minister propagated the theory of denying the right to vote to all Indians who (while being Muslims) do not acknowledge with pride that their ancestors were Hindus.

Till the time there is hate, till the time we tolerate hate-mongers, till the time we don´t reject politics of intolerance, we cannot possibly dream of peace. Politics of hate can only breed further hate; only someone insane would believe that a deepening cycle of hate will lead to peace, harmony or prosperity and strengthen the foundations of a robust democracy or a harmonious society. Let us not perpetrate hate. Let us condemn all the hate-mongers, of any community or creed. Let us demand that all the guilty in each of the attacks be brought to justice.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Colossal and stupid wastage of wealth

From bijan ghosh to "Tusar N. Mohapatra" date 9 July 2011 15:19 subject request - please make a BLOG of this write up

Bring Back Life to Dead Assets

Sri Padmanbhaswami Temple of Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala is a sixteenth Century temple, established and maintained by erstwhile royal family of Travancore, (by a private trust at present) has six underground chambers (viz. A, B, C,D, E & F). Chamber E & F are opened daily; Chamber C & D are opened twice in a year; Chamber A & B were not opened for merely 150 years.
On a PIL by one T.P. Sunderarajan (ex-IPS) – a seven-member committee was appointed on March 2011 by Supreme Court, entrusted with the task to make an inventory of the treasures which started taking inventory since 27.06.11. After opening five chambers – it found assets worth about Rs. 1,00,000/- crores, out of which about Rs. 50,000 crores was found from Chamber ‘A’ alone. Chamber ‘ B’ is yet to be opened – which alone may deliver much more assets than what are found by now (04.07.2011).
Raja Marthanda Verma challenged in Supreme Court the Order of Kerala High Court, which upheld State’s decision of taking over management of Temple, stated Supreme Court that Temple was a public property and no member of royal family claims any ownership or right over huge property.
The source of wealth was the erstwhile rural of Travancore Princely State, reportedly transferred the wealth to the Chambers of temple to protect them from Britishers. The myth and cobra motif on main door – strongly dictating “not-to-open the door” – understandably are all for security of wealth in some strange or peculiar manner, but for no other reasons. Such method was resorted to by many others – and was a common practice of those days for protection of such assets. It is commonly believed that only to escape invaders, even many rich-family-wealth were dumped also in pond / well /deep-soil – which took place throughout the country – so that some day it may come into the use for the son of the soil – to whom it ultimately belong.

BASIC QUESTIONS : Now the basic question is
(1) whether nation should bring those dead assets back to life or in other words, to put life to those dead assets (i.e. by putting them in circulation /utilization)?
(2) And whether such assets, which are not in circulation for last 100 years, should be called dead assets?
1. Assets which are not in use for more than 100 years, should and can obviously be defined as “dead assets”. In fact those which are not in circulation for more than 20 years, should be considered as dead assets.
2. If the dead assets are allowed to remain dead – i.e. not-to-put those into circulation – then this would be a colossal and stupid wastage of wealth and negation to resources vis-à-vis against the dictum of the nature.
3. The best utilization of this wealth, undisputedly which is a public wealth, would be to liquidate the same at the best available price, strictly in foreign market, preferably in Europe and USA, to earn exclusively foreign exchange, and to utilize the same for repayment of foreign debts. If dead assets are paid against foreign debts - there would a national utilization and the whole population would be equally benefited.
Vivekananda proclaimed that who serves the humanity, serves the god. The wealth kept in god’s custody is not meant for the deity but for the living god i.e. the human population of the country. Let us be blessed.