Vision

In an email exchange (which has already produced two posts), a friend asked “What are the alternatives you suggest to taxing/ law and order maintainance / public healthcare/ public education etc?”  This is what I wrote as a response:

Education and healthcare are certainly not areas where the government needs to enter. Consider the private tuitions / coaching class business in India for example. They exist for all levels of education and almost everybody attends them. They are also quite profitable. And this is inspite of the fact that parents are forced to pay for both official schools and coaching classes.

I do not have any significant personal experience of the health care industry, so I will merely link to the website of Americans for Free Choice in Medicine

Law and order (Police, courts, army) is a government responsibility and the question of how it is to be funded is certainly a pertinent one. A fee for the protection of business contracts could be one way. Banks requiring tax payments from borrowers (as a proof of responsibility) could be another. Voluntary taxation does seem an unworkable idea today, but men do give to charities and spend time and effort on activism. If the government is restricted to the maintenance of law and order, the revenue requirement will be way smaller (of the order of a few percent) than the level of taxation today (more than 40% for corporates and top earners in most of the world). Since men will be freed from a big tax burden (much of which is wasted by the government today), they will have more to give voluntarily. Anyhow, if the kind of reforms I desire are ever to be realized, abolishing taxation will be one of the last things to happen. A society that genuinely respects self-interest (instead of denigrating it through mis-concepts like greed) and allows economic as well as political freedom will be very different from the society today. What seems (and is) unworkable today need not be unworkable in such a society.

What I am writing about is a vision, not just political but also moral. Taking just a part of that vision and considering it in today’s context will not work. This does not mean that we can dispense with the vision however. No one can live a directed, purposeful life without a vision. The same holds for a country. Atleast the older generations (in India) had a vision (socialism), misguided though it might have been. Today’s generation has no vision at all. Look at some of the recent campaigns for example. Against reservation, against corruption etc. Read this article in today’s Bombay Times as another example. All empty words, no content. What do these people want? They all say they will vote. For whom? “Somebody who sticks to his or her word”, “A young, educated and responsible leader who loves the country whole heartedly. Somebody who puts the country first while discharging his duties.”, “A person we can depend on and trust. A leader who will not just concentrate on one aspect of development, but look around and bring about a positive change in all areas.”, “A young, healthy leader to lead India.”, “A leader who has the vision of a great and young India.”, “A leader who can look after all classes and give young India a path to follow.” These are people who know that the ideas that have always been preached to them have failed miserably. And as a consequence they have rejected ideas as such. They think they are smart, pragmatic and energetic. But what are they directing their energies toward? They don’t think it is necessary to know that, as long as they are pragmatic. But they are only deceiving themselves. Without a vision, they won’t be able to change anything.

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6 Responses

  1. Hi KM,
    How are u doing? All fine here. I disagree with some of the things you have mentioned in this post.

    “Education and healthcare are certainly not areas where the government needs to enter. ”
    Consider India, which is a developing nation with majority of its population still below the poverty line. If we aspire for a developed India, every Indian must be educated . It is only by (good quality and free) Government schools one can achieve complete literacy, as the poor cant afford education. I feel that government must actively be a part and ensure that quality education is available for free of cost (till 10th standard).

  2. “And as a consequence they have rejected ideas as such. They think they are smart, pragmatic and energetic. But what are they directing their energies toward? They don’t think it is necessary to know that, as long as they are pragmatic. But they are only deceiving themselves. Without a vision, they won’t be able to change anything.”

    (Smart, pragmatic and energetic)? There is an oxymoron. A vision without reason and logic is an unobtainable goal. I will go one step further and say pragmatism is a cancer inflicting the world. I hope the youth of which you speak, will tire of the negative causality associated with pragmatic thinking. I picture them struggling, leading a life of contradiction. If they are indeed smart they will figure it out and abandon pragmatism to fulfill their potential.

  3. Dear school mate,
    Why don’t you reveal your identity?
    Anyhow, I have written a response here and will write more posts over time that touch upon or are relevant to your arguement.

  4. raveler,
    Oxymoron it is, but that is what I see everywhere around me.
    The pragmatism is an inevitable result of the collapse of India’s socialist politics. The collapse came about not because of any real change in fundamental ideas but merely because the socialists and the corrupt politicians who seized the opportunities ran out of other people’s money (literally). The pragmatism will necessarily reach a dead-end. The question is “How soon and what will take its place?”

  5. “pragmatism is an inevitable result of the collapse of India’s socialist politics. ”

    Here in the U.S. pragmatism is the cause, not the result of our declining society. Pragmatism is the dogma that corrodes our constitutional republic, robbing us of liberty. Here too, our government is running out of victims to pay for its egregious behavior and frivolous spending. This pragmatic administration attacks capitalism with impunity, using it as a scapegoat for their failed collectivist policies. They are unwilling to recognize the virtues of capitalism; they are destined to destroy that which has made us so prosperous and has advanced our civilization so far. I believe our demise will come at the hands of our Federal Reserve, for they are already monetizing our national debt and this will most likely lead to death by inflation. After that, fascism or communism may ensue; however, we as a people have tasted freedom and many of us would rather die to defend our liberty, than live as indentured slaves in our own country.

    I find India to be a fascinating place; her people show so much potential and intellectual prowess, I’m surprised India’s standard of living isn’t racing forward, her people embracing capitalism and fostering an economic renaissance. I can only assume that cultural discrepancies and mysticism has shackled the minds of the masses inhibiting them from pursuing a more prominent role in championing freedom.

  6. raveler,
    While I have never been to the U.S. and have no first hand experience of its culture, my evaluation (based on blogs and articles) of the situation is more optimistic than yours. “…many of us would rather die to defend our liberty, than live as indentured slaves in our own country” I doubt it would come to that.
    Mysticism is indeed prevalent in India (and I am not speaking of rural areas of which I know little). One would be surprised looking at the lifestyles of many prominent people to discover that behind a Western facade, there is a mystic streak. Several prominent people, successfully running a business turn out to be followers of this or that Baba (sage). Some time back I read the book Maximum City by Suketu Mehta. Towards the end of the book, he describes a rich Jain family engaged in a successful business that renounces the world. I was surprised to see Mehta deeply sympathizing with the renouncers. Exactly how this mysticism affects these people’s actions is something that I would like to understand better.

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