The Smallest Minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities. - Ayn Rand
Having been to India more than a few times, I cab definitively say that what India NEEDS is widespread effective contraception and a LOT of competent wastewater engineering and infrastructure.
You wander the streets of Mumbai,(top 'o the heap, India-speaking), and are flabbergasted that they have nuclear weapons, but can't dope out widespread distribution and operation of the flush toilet.
Did you get the feeling that the lack of competent wastewater engineering and infrastructure was being used in place of effective contraception?
Bilgeman - IMO the problem is in the Rule of Law, and who owns the shanty-towns? Who owns the street-gutters? Who does the work of the Untouchable Caste? The Judiciary is famously corrupt and fat and corrupt Attorneys will ride a case like a horse until its bones show through. When we lived there the contraception was easily available and the motto was, "One-Two-Enough" - but there remains in the society an essential and firmly established element of *Magical % Thinking* and hocus-pocus'ry -- like my friend's Indian wife, an Engineer with scientific training who sends me an ancient early-Internet chain-email she received in order NOT to break the chain - and wishes me luck that the money will soon flood-in.
I've been to India twice this year (once when Hillary came to pitch climate control initiatives, and again when they launched their first submarine capable of firing ICBM's).
It's a country of corrupt bureaucrats where infrastructure work only happens when multinationals step in. It's unsurprising that their poorest provinces are the ones that vote Communist (such as Calcutta); the politicians promise everything and deliver nothing but grinding poverty.
"Did you get the feeling that the lack of competent wastewater engineering and infrastructure was being used in place of effective contraception?"
That had occurred, but it would be too coldly logical and rational a plan than they'd be capable of.
This segues right into the thing they could use a lot LESS of...Government.
As DirtCrashr and RC above relate, the level and intensity of their official bureaucracy is stultifying and quite frankly...insane.
Here was my first experience with what is probably one of their most corrupt organs: Customs.
We arrived off of Jamnagar in their northwest, from ports in the Red Sea,(a joy THAT was, I can tell you!), and Customs came aboard with declarations for us all to fill out.
You fill out EVERYTHING, you omit NOTHING. If you end up with more than what you've declared, they take EVERYTHING.
So, I claimed $300.00 American cash.
We then left Jamnagar and diddy-bopped down the west coast and up the east; to Mumbai, Madras, Paradip, Vizhakaphatnam and then Delhi, making stops at each port.
We Americans tend to go shopping when we're in a strange city. I don't know if you were aware of this little-known fact.
Now at Delhi, Customs hove to back aboard with the Declarations we had filled out weeks ago back in Jamnagar.
"Very well, Mr. Bilge-i-man, you claimed three-hundred American dollars.
Please to show three-hundred American dollars, or the equivalent in rupees...along WITH the receipt from the AUTHORIZED money-changer where you purchased our currency."
Luckily for me, the rest of the boys had put me in the know about Customs' scam, so I had bought everything in India with a credit card,(and gotten the more advantageous LIBOR from dear old Amex, rather than the "bend over and spread 'em" local AUTHORIZED moneychanger's exchange rate), so I showed 'em my three Franklins and they left me alone.
But the upshot to this is that for a bit of chump-change "baksheesh", they make it difficult for a tourist to come spend money in their country.
I reiterate: They make it difficult for a tourist to come spend MONEY in their country.
There's something very deeply and fundamentally WRONG with this.
(And it's not like I'm in the market for a hydroelectric dam or a live Bengal tiger...where would I keep them? In my sea-bag?).
And this kind of short-sided greed coupled with an utter lack of appreciation on how getting one's personal graft was screwing over absolutely EVERYBODY, including the graftee, was endemic.
So, it would not surprise me in the least to learn that the lack of wastewater engineering and decent sanitary facilities in India was due to the proper permits to construct and install them had been languishing in some minor bureaucrats' in-box, and would remain there, if he doesn't get HIS cut of the action, even if millions of his countrymen, (including his family),crap themselves to death from cholera and dysentery.
but can't dope out widespread distribution and operation of the flush toilet.
Funny you should mention that as the last thing I read in the news about India was that indoor plumbing (or a credible promise thereof) is a major prerequisite in bride-shopping there of late. Kind of a reverse dowry.
"As DirtCrashr and RC above relate, the level and intensity of their official bureaucracy is stultifying and quite frankly...insane."
And where did they learn the art of gubmint?
Lessee now ...
Ah, yes. The Colonial Service of which country, in what century?
"And where did they learn the art of gubmint?
Lessee now ...
Ah, yes. The Colonial Service of which country, in what century?"
Quite possible, but it's ALSO possible that it was the Indians that taught the British.
Consider that the Raj ended in 1947, and the acceleration of the descent of the UK from "Big Swingin' Dick" world power to just another Euro-socialist weenie land can pretty much be nailed to the Atlee Government.
It seems that the Limeys made the irredeemable mistake of repatriating and re-employing their Viceregal civil servants back home in Blighty.
Bloody great oversight, that. Now look how that's done for them.
I hadn't thought of that, but perhaps there's been a bit of cross pollination.
Paul Johnson's Modern Times has a fascinating chapter (it's a fascinating book, actually) on modern India. Essentially the British pulled out and handed the country over to a handful of intellectuals who could talk the postwar platitudes of democratic socialism being the future of the world. So 900 million people of all faiths, cultures, and languages, rivalries and hatreds you need a computer to keep track of, all sprawled across 1.25 million square miles of mountains and jungles with no communications to speak of, all that was handed over to a handful of intellectuals and academics.
The miracle is that only 2 million people died in the turmoil that followed.
I can't pass the that test. Can you?
(Then again, Marky-bait is never off topic)
Remember folks, education in America has not declined. By erasing rote memorization from the curriculum we have made kids better "critical thinkers".
"I hadn't thought of that, but perhaps there's been a bit of cross pollination."
I believe there's a slang term for the higher-ranking nabobs in Whitehall:
You tell me.
"You tell me."
If only I could!
There appears to be yet something more to learn, no?
India is going to kick our economic butts if we don't return to our American roots: expand trade, cut taxes and deregulate business. It worked for decades here, it's working for them now.
Let's give that a whirl instead of using the FED and the taxpayers as magic piggy banks to fund socialist Utopian dreams.