Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Now the Saqi has turned Muslim

By my prayer, tho' the sweat of our every Farhad run as canals of free milk
By my prayer, tho' even our Khusrow's Shirin rise to Khadijah's ilk
By my prayer, tho' the Saqi turn Muslim & so too the Nadim,
How, pray, convert Sorrow while it's yet my Qarin?

Friday, 19 August 2016

Hadrian's animula vagula

Animula, vagula, blandula 
Hospes comesque corporis
Quae nunc abibis in loca
Pallidula, rigida, nudula,
Nec, ut soles, dabis iocos…

My breast's guest would rest in dirt
But, sweet cheat, must longer flirt
Stripped of wit, pallid, nude,
Yet onward tryst. The jest is crude

Thursday, 18 August 2016

All things that are, are- to Faith- as a slow burning fuse

All things that are, are- to Faith- as a slow burning fuse
Every Credo a Cartridge whose powder alone is of use
Be it by Manichean mendacity or through Trinitarian tricks
Our own is the arse all Theology licks

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Cavafy's The City

By other seas, to some other land
To another City of fairer renown
You said you'd go rather than let stand
Your every ardor a sentence handed down
Your heart its own corpus delecti, your mind
A punitive treadmill & wherever your eye went
Your life's smouldering ruins rising up to remind
Your years here were rather squandered than spent.

You will find no new Strand, cross no new Sea
The City will shadow you relentlessly
You will wander the same labyrinth of lanes
Dessicate among the same tenement drains 
Always returning to this now and here
Give up Hope. No Ship will appear
To take you from yourself. The Earth is round
What you've ruined is ruined for every patch of ground.

Lawrence Durrell's translation of this poem, given below, was perhaps the first 'modern' poem I read which gave me goose-bumps. It's a pretty free translation. I suppose Greek readers would find things like 'no ship exists/ to take you from yourself' to be crude or otiose. But it isn't so in English. At least, what used to be English. Or, since Durrell was born in India, Indglish.

You tell yourself: I'll be gone
To some other land, some other sea,
To a city lovelier far than this
Could ever have been or hoped to be-
Where every step now tightens the noose:
A heart in a body buried and out of use:
How long, how long must I be here
Confined among these dreary purlieus
Of the common mind? Wherever now I look
Black ruins of my life rise into view.
So many years have I been here
Spending and squandering, and nothing gained.
There's no new land, my friend, no
New sea; for the city will follow you,
In the same streets you'll wander endlessly,
The same mental suburbs slip from youth to age,
In the same house go white at last-
The city is a cage.
No other places, always this
Your earthly landfall, and no ship exists
To take you from yourself. Ah! don't you see
Just as you've ruined your life in this
One plot of ground you've ruined its worth
Everywhere now-over the whole earth?

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Dotan Leschem's dotty Economics- part II

Has Prof. Dotan Leschem discovered a way to cure our current ills? It is a difficult and an obscure path he would have us take but apparently a necessary one if we moderns are ever to regain that felicity enjoyed by the ancients. As his publisher tells us, 'Only by relocating the origins of modernity in Late Antiquity, Leshem argues, can we confront the full effect of the neoliberal marketized economy on contemporary societies'
It seems entirely reasonable to me, an overweight 53 year old Babu, that some Semitic Imperator's 'Saeculum Novum' bred a Foucauldian biopolitics whose phramakon we must trace in the pharmakoi of Patristic literature so as to be free of this compulsion to offer up own bodies as korban- or in my case, endure this shrill bat kol in my ears demanding I go right now to the gym and suffer the tortures of the damned upon those infernal machines rather than hearken joyfully to the gospel of a bottomless prosecco brunch.
It is a beautiful dream, but alas not one dear dotty Dotan can recast in the shining garments of our wakeful world.
Well, for a start, he believes strange things like this- 
'Although word choices, whether innocent, contingent, or deliberate, can have little to no influence on the nature of what it names, this is not the case with oikonomia.'
Wow! What an astonishing discovery! Some Indians called Artha Shastra 'oikonomia' just as some called 'dharma' 'eusebia' because some Greeks once ruled bits of the country. Those bits necessarily had a completely different mode and means of production than the rest of the land but nobody noticed! This proves the ancient Indians were blind.
Or maybe I'm being hasty. Perhaps the ancient Indians weren't blind. Perhaps Dotan is simply dotty.
Consider the following-
 As the latter history unfolds in the book, it becomes evident that, upon migrating from the institution of the ancient oikos to the Christian ecclesia and later to the liberal market, the economization of these institutions was framed within the limits of an invariant question because of its seemingly divergent previous meaning and not in spite of it. 
Whoa there! Hold your horses Dotan. What exactly is migrating and from whence and to where is it migrating? Is it really something called 'economization'? Perhaps you think of it as being like a yeasting process based on airborne cells. So economization migrates in the manner that yeast migrates. But what type of microscopic animalcule is involved in this migration? What is its vector? Why does it migrate only to the Christian eccleisa and not the Jewish Sanhedrin? Why does it sullenly refuse to migrate to an 'illiberal market'? Why does it insist the market be liberal? 

You tell us that this particular migrating yeasting agent was framed within the limits of an invariant question.

 What was that question? How is it that it remains invariant? Why couldn't it evolve over time? 

The answer it turns out, is that you have created a magical realm- your book- in which you are the one true and great Wizard who can do what he likes.
But what is it you are going to do in your book with your amazing Wizardry?
You aren't shy. You tell us immediately what you are up to.
Reinserting the relegated Christian chapter into the history of the economy provides the essential hermeneutical key for the explication of its core invariant meaning, one that is simultaneously open to broad variations and compelling. 
Though Hindu, I know there are a lot of good people spread across the five continents who don't think 'the Christian chapter' in the history of the economy has been 'relegated' at all. On the contrary, there is not a day of their lives which goes by when they don't think about their own Christian duty, to provide 'oikonomia'- that husbandry productive of fellowship with what us Indians call 'daridra narayan'- that God amongst us who is always lonely and poor.
Some mathematically inclined Christian Economists seek to follow in the footsteps of the great Quaker poet, Ken Boulding. They incorporate a mindfulness of Gaia's fragility into their daily life. Others, whom I know of, embrace the message of the Sage Ninomiya in order to set at nought the 'paradox of thrift' and, by acting locally, contribute to truly global, for truly sustainable, solutions.
Tell me Dotan, are you going to highlight this 'Christian chapter' which is still being read, it may be more passionately, more urgently than ever before, and which also informs Anglo-American  'neo-liberalism' through the path-breaking work of people like Rev. Wicksteed- whom the late Ronald Coase claimed as a major influence? (Indeed Coase thinks the Americans never fully grasped the latter's global conception of opportunity cost- one reason why Coase's theorem was hijacked by the Right in my youth.)
Where is 'neo-liberalism' without Coase? As Aneurin Bevan was the first to point out (thus proving that the Worker's Education Assoc. was ahead of Cambridge and the LSE back then) the existence of a single benefit or cost received outside the market is sufficient to vitiate the mathematical theodicys of Gossen, Walras, Pareto et al. It was Coase's theorem which resurrected market liberalism. As a Curry & Chips Cockney, what's more a declasse LSE alumni, I rejoice in its harmonization of 'the boy preacher' Guy Aldred's 'Harbhat Pendse' and the Rev. Wicksteed's actually quite post-modern housewife (she doesn't make jam or bake cookies but preserves her looks and her temper by outsourcing noisome chores).
Oddly, this is sound Patristic 'oikonomia'. The pious Roman- like the Brahmin patriarch of my father's generation- considered himself ill served if his showbread was not baked, his oils and unguents not pressed, nor his wind-fall preserves thriftily cellared under his own roof-tree.

Christianity formally, not abolished-it hadn't the power- but anathematized, by revealing the ridiculousness of, the taboo on meat sacrificed to strange gods, bread baked by strange fires, a leaven not ancestral. The result was that wives could, girdled or garlanded with a superior normativity, better fulfill their domestic duties while out shopping in the light and open air of the market place rather than sweating solitarily over smoky ovens.
No doubt there is a wide difference between St.Monica getting into a drunken brawl and having her teeth knocked out while traipsing from Church to Church to glug Communion wine and the recurrent motif of the meltingly beautiful Quaker or fair Jansenite which is a stock figure in the ongoing romance of Christianity- yet, there is here a sisterhood under the skin.

Dotan, if you had indeed written a book which pays tribute to the ever yeasting spirit of Christian oikonomia- from Amal Clooney to St. Monica with her teeth bashed in- you would have done a worthy thing. 
But you haven't have you?
What you have done instead is write an antagonomic, availability cascaded based, entirely self-serving screed based on an- perhaps exemplary?- impartial ignorance of both Christianity and 'liberal markets'.
What's more, you are pretty up-front about it. You say-

A comparative account of the economy of the oikos, ecclesia and market based on such a philological history suggests a typology of four criteria according to which a model of human action is called an economy: 
1. it involve the acquisition of a theoretical and practical disposition of prudence;
2. which faces the human condition of excess that transcends human rationality;
3. this rational engagement with excess generates surplus;
4. Finally, this action takes place in a distinct“economic” sphere alongside other spheres such as the political and the philosophical. This fourfold typology of economy also establishes the Christian moment as the missing link, which, nevertheless, functions as the turning point in the use history of the economy between the ancient oikos where excess was despised, the economic sphere kept to minimum,and the neoliberal marketized economy where excess is desired, the economy infinitely growing.
Let me try to parse this sublime utterance phrase by phrase.
A comparative account of economic activity in the household, the forum and the bazaar can either be based on economics or else it is nonsense. You want to base it on your own private, wholly idionomic, 'philological history' which isn't actually philological at all. It's just ignorant. Why? Well good philology is concerned with pragmatics. In this case, the pragmatics involves economics and nothing else. Take the word 'villein'. The philologist might initially be consulted by the Jurist or Economic historian doing research. However, it is their findings which alters the philologist's view of its pragmatics and acceptation. Words don't really have magic powers. The can't protect or alter the 'essence' of what they name.
If I wished to emulate you, I could, with equal cogency say, 'I'm going to give a comparative account of newts and Newton based on a philological genealogy such that the great Physicist was actually the son of a newt. This suggests that newts keep getting hit on the head by apples while splashing about in their ponds.' 

What about your four criteria for 'a model of human action being called an economy'?
They certainly fit my proposal that all human action should focus on observing apples fall on the heads of newts so as to eventually recover the one belonging to Eris, for once strife is abolished from the human realm, we will enter a second Eden.
According to your criteria- I have created an economy because, granted my premise,
1) it is prudent to acquire the theoretical and practical knowledge it calls for
2) it transcends human rationality in that it monstrously previsions an incompossible regret which it nevertheless must most rigorously minimize.
3) it generates surplus- lots of apples not belonging to Eris yet giving rise to discord.
4) is a distinct 'economic' sphere because politics and philosophy won't stop till we get Eris's apple or the World ends.

By contrast, Samuelson's famous textbook is not 'a model of human actions' and thus has nothing to do with the Economy or Economics. Why?
Start with (4)- The Economy can't grow infinitely. If it did there would be at least one asset with an infinite present value.
(2) refers to 'regret minimization' which is incompatible with Samuelson's turnpikes
(3) is held to be meaningless thus trivial.
(1) is false because prudence is satisfied by a procedurally rational solution- e.g. a Tardean mimetic decision rule- it being too cognitively costly to compute substantive solutions. In any case co-ordination problems tend to be mathematically intractable.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Dotan Leschem's dotty Economics- part 1

Economics is about economizing- making tough choices because wants are many and means are few.
Was there ever a time when this was not true?
Prof. Dotan Leschem thinks so. He says in a published article in an Economics Journal (albeit a crap one) that-
'In contrast, ancient economics was deeply concerned with ends as such, and in the selection between possible ends. In addition, ancient economics was a science that studied human behavior as a relationship between ends and abundant means, which have alternative uses.'
Wow! It sure must have been swell to live in ancient economies! You could attend a Philosophy lecture and go swimming and climb Mt. Olympus all at the same time! You didn't have to make difficult choices because your time wasn't scarce- it was abundant. So was your land. Did you have to make a choice between growing spinach or carrots on your half acre? Nope! You could grow both simultaneously on the same patch of land. What's more you can also graze sheep upon that land as well as build a house on it.
Does dotty Dotan really believe this shit?
He goes on to say- 'In the writings of the ancient Greeks, the life of the head of the household—the oikodesptes who was the addressee of these texts—was conducted in three dimensions: the spiritual realm of philosophy, the heroic realm of politics, and the economic realm. The role of the economic dimension was to secure the means necessary for existence and to generate a surplus that sustained the two other dimensions that were deemed worthy of man. This could be done in two ways: either by increasing production or by moderating consumption.
If means were indeed 'abundant' production could be increased without limit. Even if a man wanted to 'moderate' his own consumption for some 'spiritual' or 'heroic' reason, he would have to be a horrible meanie not to increase his production so as to feed all the hungry people and animals the globe contains.
Clearly Dotan was either lying when he said that ancient economics held means to be 'abundant' or else there is some special meaning which he and he alone invests that word with.
It must be a view at least one or two other Professors find plausible because everything I quote him as saying has been published by a proper Academic Journal or Publishing house.
He writes as follows (my comments are in bold)
The surplus generated by the oikonomia was destined to allow the head of the household to participate in politics and engage in philosophy. 
Dotan lives in a world where surpluses have 'destinies'. Who ordains these destinies? Zeus? Pan? Apollo?
Dotan won't tell us. 
Were there 'heads of households', possessing a surplus, who did not 'participate in politics' or 'engage in philosophy'? 
Yes. It turns out that the vast majority of heads of households, then as now, did not 'participate in politics' save in so far as it safeguarded their surplus or enabled them to appropriate the surplus produced by others. As for 'engaging in philosophy', very few people went in for it because it was widely recognized to be worthless shite- at best providing comic fodder for an Aristophanes, at worst requiring the salutary administration of hemlock.
Dotan may believe that there is some occult alloter of Destinies to 'surpluses' but even he must recognize that most 'heads of households' have kicked that Destiny in the bollocks and used their 'surpluses' in a manner that was only tangentially political or philosophical.
One might indulge in a bit of windy talk at the Symposium- the word means a drinking party, not an Academic talk-fest- and one might attend the Eccllesia to hear a pungent orator rip apart his rival but neither one's getting drunk with Socrates nor voting with Demosthenes constituted genuine 'methexis' or 'participation'. At any rate, that's what we learn from Plato.

If he chose to follow the political ideal type instead of the philosophical one, it also enabled him to be benevolent towards his friends by allowing them leisure time that would enable them to participate in politics and engage in philosophy, as well as supporting the institutions and activities peculiar to the polis—that is, the city-state. This perspective is based on three key concepts: abundance, economic rationality, and surplus. Abundance is an attribute of nature, which is assumed to be able to meet everyone’s needs and beyond—if economized rationally.
The Greeks, like everybody else, had myths of an age of Edenic abundance but believed that it had vanished long ago. Their politics- like that of the Indian Janapadas- arose in the context, not of natural abundance, but contested occupation. Lord Buddha came from a wealthy family. But his community was involved in a dispute about access to a river. If they lost that access, they would slowly but surely perish as an affluent and independent people. 

The same was true of the Greek Polis. A successful expedition meant 'primitive accumulation'- booty and slaves- an impolitic alliance, on the other hand, might mean famine and enslavement.
The Greeks understood that household wealth management could only take you so far. If the gentry lived on their estates practicing autarky they would be overrun and enslaved by marauding tribes or expansionary City-States.  There was no choice but to hang together or be hanged alone. The Polis existed because land wasn't abundant, it was scarce and viciously contested.

However, the mutual dependence associated with the Polis or Theme, which was required to secure one's bare existence, offered a new horizon- that of 'chrematistics', that of wealth as something de-linked from household consumption and production. This wealth could strengthen fortifications and buy allies but it could also invite marauders or hostile armies.

No doubt, Philosophers- except for Pyrrho who got to Punjab- were just as shite then as they are now and didn't say all this in plain words. However, for most people, it was an 'unthought known'. 
 Surplus, on the other hand, is the product of people’s rational economization of nature’s abundance that is not used for securing existence.
Urm... were surpluses never contested? Was it not the case that, if a man had a nice farm and plump sheep and nubile maids, some other guy didn't want to take all that from him? Was there really no 'mimetic desire' in the ancient world?
Even if land is plentiful, some land will be more advantageous located or have higher productivity and thus command a premium or give rise to contestation. 
Thus, the ancient philosophers thought of the oikonomia as a sphere in which man, confronting abundant means, must acquire an ethical disposition of economic rationality enabling him to meet his needs and generate surplus to be spent outside the boundaries of the economic sphere (that is, in philosophy and politics). 
The ancient priests thought wealthy men should become their patrons because their surpluses should be used to buy them a place in heaven. Ancient prostitutes, however, thought that money was best expended buying a place between their legs. No doubt, there were pedants hawking their wares alongside horse-breeders and hair-dressers and so on but philosophy then as now was widely recognized to be worthless shite.
It is useful to consider these three key closely interrelated components of oikonomia—abundance, economic rationality, and surplus—in more detail.
Useful to whom, Dotan?
Abundance does not exist. Economic rationality does but you have to be rational in order to 'usefully consider' it. Also you have to know a lot of heavy duty Math. As for 'surplus', why consider it at all if it can be used up in a philosophical potlatch? Either a surplus gives rise to what Aristotle and Aquinas and Marx term 'chrematistics'- id est what we call Financial Engineering- or else it doesn't greatly matter if it was expended in an orgy rather than a symposium. In either case, its existence was ephemeral.

Aristotle, like other pedants, castigates spending on luxuries because he was competing with hair-dressers and horse-breeders for the limited amount of time available to the gilded youth of his day. However, like all other ancient people, he was aware of the 'curse of Wealth'- a Polis which accumulates Treasure invites invasion from without and internecine rent contestation within.
There is a way to 'hedge' against both evils such that security can increase in proportion to affluence. This has to do with 'Mechanism Design'- changing the incentives that prevail- and 'Chrematistics' in which Financial Engineering plays a big part.
However, it takes brains to understand this subject- which is why Physicists command a premium over Philosophy Majors in the relevant job market.
Aristotle may not have been much of a physicist but he wasn't entirely stupid.
Dotan writes-
The ancient Greeks saw economic behavior as rational when it was frugal in its use of means towards what they deemed as worthwhile ends. In order to assure the achievement of economic rationality in the sense of the use of means towards praiseworthy ends they appointed the virtue of “soundness of mind” (sophrosyne) as the virtue in command of the economy. Aristotle (Eth. Nic. 1140b) said that this virtue is called “sophrosyne” because it keeps unharmed (suzei) economic rationality (phronesis). “Economizing with a sound mind” meant keeping the distinction between needs and desires intact and making sure that the two were incommensurable: needs are to be fully satisfied, while a limit must be set to the otherwise never-ending pursuit of desire gratification. Such an ethical oikonomia generates surplus, and the nature of the surplus generated serves as the ultimate test to the quality of oikonomia.
It wasn't just the ancient Greeks, was it Dotan? Everybody at all times has had the same belief. Nobody ever said 'Rational Economic Behavior is about being prodigal in the use of means towards unworthy ends.' At Harvard Business School, the Professors don't say 'take plenty of l.s.d. Go completely nuts. Cultivate Schizophrenia not 'sophrosyne'.'
It is quite true that worthless pedants, like Amartya Sen, pretend that their more utile rivals are all evil little shits so as to pose as 'the Mother Theresas of Economics'. However, Sen also believes that Bengalis are gluttonous sociopaths. Back in '42, those in the Cities managed to eat twenty times as much food as they ordinarily did so as to ensure that their cousins in the countryside starved to death.
An 'ethical oikonomia' does not 'generate a surplus'. It redistributes it in an incentive compatible manner. 'The nature of the surplus generated' does not serve as any sort of test of the quality of oikonomia. Suppose we have a surplus of grapes. We turn it into wine and sell it in return for something in which we have an absolute or comparative disadvantage. What if we have a shortfall of grapes but a surplus of olives? It does not matter. We sell olive oil and buy wine.
Perhaps Dotan meant to write- 'how a Society distributes its surplus is the ultimate test of the quality of its oikonomia'. If so, why did he not write it? 
Moreover, in the literature concerning oikonomia, acquiring a rational disposition was seen as reflecting an ethical choice. This position is very different from contemporary economic theory, which presupposes every economic action as rational without moral qualification and assumes that people’s rational disposition can be inferred from their revealed preferences.
Contemporary economic theory is stuff we know a lot about unlike ancient literature on the subject which has come down to us only in fragmentary form.
No economist has ever said that every agent's revealed preference is a proof of rationality and mental competence. Suppose a modern day Sophocles, suffering senile dementia, decides to liquidate the Family Trust so as to buy goblins from Mars. His son asks the Court to declare the old man mentally incompetent. The Judge may say 'I find this old codger's literary skill to be un-impaired and so decline your petition.' This is not wholly unreasonable though, in my view, an appeal is likely to succeed because modern Medical Science has advanced to a point where it can refute the empirical supposition on which the Judge's decision is based. What can't happen is the Judge saying 'A widely respected Professor of Economics has explained that on the basis of the old man's revealed preference for goblins from Mars it is clear that he possesses unimpaired economic rationality.' Why? No such 'widely respected Professor of Economics' exists now or has ever existed.
Many Economists do believe that 'by the law of large numbers' something like 'Rational Expectations' exists at the macro level and this hypothesis can be empirically tested, if not refuted completely. But this is a statistical regularity based on ergodic processes of a Darwinian sort.

Dotan may be excused ignorance of contemporary economic theory- after all, we have plenty of senile Professors still coining money out of beating up straw men- but he seems to misunderstand even the work of a specialist in his own field- viz. Cosimo Perrotta, who teaches in the lovely city of Lecce.
Perrotta (2004, p. 9) uses the economic concept of surplus, defined as “wealth which exceeds a society’s normal consumption,” to distinguish between ancient and modern economics. 
The economic concept of wealth is that which can be expended without reducing future income. Under Knightian Uncertainty- i.e. in real life- we can never tell how much wealth we have. If Income falls tomorrow, we realize that we had less wealth than we thought. This is why 'Chrematistics' is difficult. It's about risk and predicting the future. Stupid pedants need to stay away from it. That's why they say 'Don't spend. Save. Instead of going to the barber, grow a beard and talk philosophy.'
He argues that in modernity the surplus is channeled back into the economic sphere of production, as part of the process of generating economic growth. 
Perrotta is not an idiot. He knows that ancient civilizations weren't potlatch based. The guy has been teaching for more years than I've had to shave. He knows very well that successful- i.e. relatively long lived- ancient economies were highly innovative in chrematistics. That's why they were successful. They got the mechanism design right. 
In contrast, the ancient Greek philosophers distinguished between four uses of surplus (as discussed in Leshem 2013b). The first use of surplus was channeling it back to the economy. This choice was deemed slavish, as it entailed submerging oneself to never-ending economic activity. 
This choice was only deemed slavish by pedants peddling shite. Ultimately, they became slaves and peddled their shite to their new masters in Rome or wherever mechanism design was being done right.
As such, it missed the end of economic rationality—which was meant to free the head of the household from economic occupations altogether. 
No. The patron was still doing something economic- i.e. hedging- with his time. If you study philosophy and end up a slave, you have the consolation of philosophy. It is a hedge against misfortune. So is religious askesis or aesthetic cultivation.
The latter three uses of surplus are found outside the economic domain and are labeled by Aristotle (Nic. Eth. 1095b) as political, philosophical, and luxurious forms of life. Although a few schools of thought (such as Cynics and Epicureans) disagreed with Aristotle’s assertion the good life could only be philosophical or political, they all agreed that a luxurious life (as well as an unending focus on economic life) is a perversion of the good life.
Philosophers were competing for the limited time and cash, or carnal attention, of a certain class of males. Those that succeeded did so by crying up their own wares and denigrating those of purveyors of 'gross substitutes'. Philosophers who wrote well or who analysed literary culture gained salience in literary circles. Some of that literature has come down to us. In addition, pedagogues saw a method of defending their amour propre by pretending that their witless shite wasn't witless shite but actually something ennobling and worthwhile. Economic theory explains why worthless Academic Credentials can nevertheless give rise to a 'separating equilibrium'. 
These texts offer some embryonic discussions of how to set incentives for labor in the context of what we would now call a principal-agent problem. The authors suggest various ways of managing slaves by setting up complex schemes of positive and negative incentives that are meant to make the slaves act in a way that will best serve both their interest and the interest of their master. The incentives recommended were mostly material incentives, and a preference for positive over negative incentives can be easily detected. Theano, for example, justified this preference in her letter to Kallisto on the grounds that “the greatest thing . . . is good will on the slaves’ part. For this will is not bought with their bodies.” In setting his scheme of incentives for slaves, Xenophon’s Ischomachus set negative incentives for conduct he deemed unworthy and positive incentives for conduct he deemed worthy (Ec. 14: 3–6).
So there you have it. Botan just gave his own game away. Philosophers pretended that no incentive compatibility was required in their own field because no tradesman wishes to call the quality of his own wares into doubt. But, since slaves couldn't be patrons of philosophers, incentive compatibility came back into its own once their management was concerned. Philosophy turned out to be useless for the flourishing of the Polis and became an occupation for slaves and eunuchs and mendicant miracle mongers. Still, there was a period when an adolescent Squire sent to Athens to acquire a bit or urbane polish might have heard a little common sense from his tutors as this extract from a recent book on Philodemus of Gadara's Epicurean critique of the hoary & risibly sententious literature on Property Management illustrates-

Philodemus, as becomes a poet praised by Cicero for elegans lascivia, has no truck with the older notion that the master should curtail his own sleep so as to spy upon or set an example for his slaves. A true Epicurean doesn't hedge every risk and maximize every profit- rather, wealth is a means to a hedonic end which aesthetic cultivation can qualitatively enhance. This is a Pateresque, not Ruskinian, critique of such stodgy fare as adolescent Squireens were obliged to endure and its chief interest arises out of the circumstance that Philomedus inspired this portion of the In Pisonem.

'For though you have perhaps considered him (Piso, father of Calpurnia, Ceasar's wife) previously only dishonest, cruel, and a bit of a thief, and though he now appears to you also voracious, and sordid, and obstinate, and haughty, and deceitful, and perfidious, and imprudent, and audacious, know, too, that there is also nothing which is more licentious, nothing more lustful, nothing more base, nothing more wicked than this man. But do not think that it is mere luxury to which he is devoted.
67For there is a species of luxury, though it is all vicious and unbecoming, which is still not wholly unworthy of a well-born and a free man. But in this man there is nothing refined, nothing elegant nothing exquisite; I will do justice even to an enemy,—there is nothing which is even very extravagant, except his lusts. There is no expense for works of carving. There are immense goblets, and those (in order that he may not appear to despise his countrymen) made at Placentia. His table is piled up, not with shell-fish and other fish, but with heaps of half-spoilt meat. He is waited on by a lot of dirty slaves, many of them old men. His cook is the same; his butler and porter the same. He has no baker at home, no cellar. His bread and his wine came from some huckster and some low wine-vault. His attendants are Greeks, five on a couch, often more. He is used to sit by himself, and to drink as long as there was anything in the cask. [Note] When he hears the cock crow, then, thinking that his grandfather has come to life again, he orders the table to be cleared.
'Some one will say, “How did you find out all this?” I will not indeed, describe any one in such a manner as to insult him, especially if he be an ingenious and learned man, a class with whom I could not be angry, even if I wished it. There is a certain Greek (Philodemus) who lives with him, a man, to tell the truth, (I speak as I have found him,) of good manners, at least as long as he is in other company than Piso's, or while he is by himself. He, when he had met that man, as a young man, though even then he had an expression of countenance as if he were angry with the gods, did not disdain his friendship, as the other sought for it with great eagerness; he gave himself up to intimacy with him, so as indeed to live wholly with him, and I may almost say, never to depart from him. I am speaking not before illiterate men, but, as I imagine, in a company of the most learned and highly accomplished men possible. You have no doubt heard it said, that the Epicurean philosophers measure everything which a man ought to desire by pleasure;—whether that is truly said or not is nothing to us, or if it be anything to us, it certainly has no bearing on the present subject; but still it is a tempting sort of argument for a young man, and one always dangerous to a person of no great intelligence.
69Therefore, that profligate fellow, the moment that he heard that pleasure was so exceedingly praised by a philosopher, inquired nothing further; he so excited all his own senses which could be affected by pleasure, he neighed so on hearing this statement, that it was plain he thought that he had discovered not a teacher of virtue, but a pander to his lust. The Greek first began to distinguish between those precepts, and to separate them from one another, and to show in what sense they are uttered; but that cripple held the ball, as they say; he was determined to retain what he had got; he would have witnesses, and would have all the papers sealed up; he said, that Epicurus was an eloquent man. And so he is; he says, as I conceive, that he cannot understand the existence of any good when all the pleasures of the body are taken away. Why need I say much on such a topic?
70The Greek is an easy man, and very complaisant; he had no idea of being too contradictory to an “Imperator” of the Roman people.
But the man of whom I am speaking is excessively accomplished, not in philosophy alone, but also in general literature, which they say that the rest of the Epicureans commonly neglect. He composes a poem, so witty, so neat, so elegant, that nothing can be cleverer. In respect of which any one may find fault with him who pleases, provided he does so good-humouredly, treating him not as a profligate, or a rascal, or a desperado, but merely as a Greekling, as a flatterer, as a poet. He comes to, or rather, I should say, he falls in with him, deceived by the same rigid brow of his (being, too, a Greek and a stranger) as this wise and great city was beguiled by. He could not withdraw when he had once become entangled in his intimacy, and he was afraid also of getting the character of being fickle. Being entreated, and invited, and compelled, he wrote so many things which he addressed to him, so many things too about him, that he has described in the most delicate poetry possible all the lusts of the man, all his debaucheries, all his different suppers and revels, and even all his adulteries.

71And, in that poetry, any one who pleases can see that fellow's way of life reflected as in a mirror. And I would recite you much of it, which many men have read or heard, if I were not afraid that even the kind of speech which I am indulging in at this moment is at variance with the general usages of this place; and at the same time, I do not wish to do any injury to the character of the man who wrote it.
For if he had had better fortune in getting a pupil, perhaps he might have turned out a more strict and dignified man himself; but chance has led him into a habit of writing in this manner, very unworthy of a philosopher; if at least philosophy does, as is reported, comprehend the whole system of virtue, and duty, and living properly; and a man who professes it appears to me to have taken on himself a very serious and difficult character.

72But the same chance has polluted the man, who was quite ignorant of what he was professing when he called himself a philosopher, with the mud and filth of that fellow's most obscene and intemperate flock.
Cicero's point is that Philosophy had become a servile trade. Chance alone determined whether the Philosopher would be ennobled by his student or debased by him. Poetry, on the other hand- such as Cicero's own verse which his adversary blamed for the orator's misfortunes- retained a sovereign maieutics such that the poet in giving birth to himself gained a manumission from even the stigma of being a 'novus homo'.
Dotan, by his usual method of stating arrant falsehoods as incontrovertible facts, finds something very novel in Philodemus-
As a result of the emphasis of the ancient Greeks on human resources, the economy of property is barely discussed. Philodemus criticizes his predecessors for treating 'human resources' as chattels- including Socrates's self-parodic notion that a man's enemies made their enmity his property. The problem with the theory of property management was that those who knew the subject weren't literary stylists and, in any case, one could always buy a slave with the necessary 'expert cognition'- thus little could be said on the subject which wasn't obviously trite or foolish. Most of their discussion aims over and again at defining the proper limit to the production and accumulation of wealth, either for the political or the philosophical ideal type. There is no discussion at all about how to limit or reduce the profit from one's possessions. No one in their right mind would read, let alone write, a book titled 'how to get poorer' unless it were penned by a genuine humorist. The discussion of methods of production, distribution, and accumulation, once the proper limit has been set, is rather dull. No 'proper limits' were set on revenue. Only  on expenditure. Why? Because Nature is not abundant at all. In general, it does not go beyond prosaic advice such as “the oikonomos must . . . have the faculty of acquiring, and . . . that of preserving what he has acquired; otherwise there is no more benefit in acquiring than in baling with a colander, or in the proverbial wine-jar with a hole in the bottom” (Pseudo-Aristole, Econ. I: 1344b). Philodemus of Gadara, WHO WAS NOT the only author who dedicates his book solely to property oikonomia, essentially focuses on offering a critique of the commonly held view that one should maintain a fixed level of expenditure and spread one’s investment in order to minimize risk. Instead, he argues for more flexibility in asset management on the philosopher’s behalf (Philodemus 2012: 30–32). Rubbish! Philodemus is saying that an Epicurean Philosopher would look ridiculous if he sacrificed his own comfort in order to maximize profit. 'Satisficing' was the way to go. Furthermore, mindful of the altered conditions in which he was writing, Philodemus quite sensibly values fungibility over 'high beta' realty.
Dotan ends his article by giving us a valuable clue as to why he has told us a bunch of obvious, utterly risible, lies about 'ancient economics'- which, clearly, had nothing at all to do with ethics, as we understand the term, because the whole thing was based on pitilessly exploiting slaves and women.
 Dotan, poor fool, has been reading Amartya Sen and is seeking to emulate that clown.
One recent attempt to rejoin economics and ethics is Amartya Sen’s “capability approach.”  Mahbub ul Haq, Sen's pal from College, was hired by the World Bank in 1970. He came up with 'Human Development indices' as an alternative way to measure the neediness of a Nation so that really poor countries could be denied assistance if that's what Washington wanted. Dictators of really needy countries liked having a high 'HDI' index based on imaginary achievements in Health and Nutrition and Education and so on.  Sen jumped on the bandwagon because he thought that proving that Bangladesh was actually richer than the U.S was a patriotic thing to do. Sen's 'Capabilities', like his 'Entitlements' are things which can't be defined or measured. So, you can massage the figures to prove anything you like. Thus, if you like Cuba but don't like Costa Rica, you can prove that Cubans are flourishing- though they keep trying to escape- while Costa Ricans are miserable slaves. 
This sort of shite has nothing to do with either Ethics or Economics. It's just shite is all- fit for aspiring bureaucratic turds or academic blathershites.
 As Sen (1993) notes, his approach has links to Aristotle’s understanding of human flourishing. Sen may have noted this, but he was wrong. Aristotle's 'eudaimonia' depends on 'phronesis' which includes foresight- i.e. it aims at a dynamically sustainable equilibrium. Sen, however- as Partha Dasgupta has pointed out- can't distinguish between an increase in 'Capabilities' or 'Entitlements that are economically unsustainable and those which follow an incentive compatible 'golden path'. Sen’s approach argues for assessing the performance of the  economy based on people’s “capability” to attend to “functionings.” So Venezuela under Chavez was worthy of a gold star though clearly headed for ruin! The former includes both life necessities such as access to food and shelter, as well as access to functionings necessary for what the ancient Greek philosophers deemed as prerequisites for a good life, such as access to literacy and participation in democracy. For slave owning males soon be enslaved themselves, which is why their worthless psilosophy survived as part of the Credentialized ponzi scheme we miscall PaideiaThe functionings sought after are not solely based on people’s subjective assessments of their own situation as with approaches based on ordinal utility or, more recently, happiness indices. Sen shite isn't based on anything at all except lies and fabrications.  It has nothing to do with Economics because it has no means of, or interest in, tracking sustainability. That's why Sen's policy prescriptions are always shite. He talked about a 'Kerala model'. It didn't exist.  Kerala exported a lot of people who sent money home specifically for things like housing, education and health as opposed to brandy and tickets to the cinema. Of course, a lot of the money supposedly earmarked for getting younger brother a degree, or sister a dowry, or Daddy a hernia operation, actually leaked away into expenditure on booze and biryani. Still, there was a 'Demonstration effect'- mimetics, and laziness, dragged up wages. Demographic transition, however, was what did the heavy lifting. This is because people who face lives of deprivation, sickness, and limited opportunities may not be able to know or to enunciate what they are capable of, or what they should want. Sen believes that reported morbidity is lower in low income households. It isn't. It is higher.  The problem is not that those with shitty lives don't know they have it bad but that the incentive for reporting morbidity is lacking. Sen’s approach is also different from indices that measure the overall performance of the economy in terms of aggregate GDP.  Which idiot does that? Per capita Income is useful but we don't know what that is because the future is uncertain. The word 'Income' in Econ. means what you can spend without having a lower Income later on. We don't know how much we need to be saving or whether that saving is being properly invested.  We can get a sense of the dynamics- if there are properly functioning futures' markets but there is a good reason why Mass Poverty militates for badly functioning or wholly black futures' markets. Sen chooses to remain blissfully ignorant of all this.  Sen’s approach is not indifferent to how income is distributed among the members of society or the extent to which people have basic human and civil rights. Sen's approach is indifferent to the Truth. According to his acolytes, Communist West Bengal had human and civil rights. Gujarat didn't. That's why evil Capitalists pulled out of Bengal and set up factories in relatively high wage Gujarat. It's also why North Korea is such a paradise compared to its Southern sibling. Much like the ancient Greek philosophers, Sen’s vision of capabilities is not neutral between ends. Ends means something that happens after the Means have been implemented. The notion is quintessentially dynamic. There is no dynamics in Sen's Capability approach whatsoever. That's why it is useless. Sen abstains from enunciating a precise and explicit definition of what functionings should count as necessary for a good life, in part because he is taking into account the extent to which perceptions of this may vary across countries with different income levels and cultural traditions. Sen, as a Moral Philosopher, refuses to answer any substantive questions which are essentially ethical.  The ancient Greeks weren't so pusillanimous. Is abortion good or bad? Sen is clear that killing female fetuses is bad but won't condemn the killing of male fetuses. Why? The Social Evil in question could too easily remedied by returning to customary morality. But that would make him look bad to the Feminists. Of course, one can also suggest a variety of other ethical underpinnings for a modern economics. But many of these approaches would argue that the ends of economic analysis should be open to an ethical discussion and that economic rationality should be defined in terms of how best to approach the goals that emerge from an ethical framework. Quite false. Economics is about economizing on one's time and resources. Talking to Ethics guys is a waste of time. Mechanism Design, however, has to be ethical because it deals with human beings- i.e. agents with an inward ethos affected by their actions. This ethos can support superior correlated equilibria and that is why research in behavioral econ pays for itself. By contrast, Sen-tentious shite wastes money and time. Indeed, as many parts of the world attain an ever-higher state of economic progress, an ethical framework might call into question the pursuit of economic goals as an end in and for themselves. Either what Dotan calls Ethics is about human behavior or it isn't. If it is, there is an incentive to do ethical mechanism design and so it will happen anyway. Ethics can call anything it likes into question. The rest of the world hasn't just called its own utility into question, it has made up its mind that Ethics is just a wank. At least in this sense, the ancient ethical oikonomia—stripped of the abusive qualities characteristic of its time—may serve as a source of inspiration for seeking to mix the practicalities of economic life with an articulated ethics of human purpose. Dotan, your essay is the only evidence you provide but it is evidence that wholly refutes your case. Your 'source of inspiration' has proved to be utterly noxious. Come to India and smoke some weed. That's a type of 'inspiration' young Israelis in India appear to find quite salutary. Indeed, I understand they have chased out the Nigerians from that particularly lucrative field of oikonomia.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Swarajyamag's censored comments by Vivek Iyer

Swarajya is a 'Right Wing' Indian e-zine- somewhat amateurish, journalistically null, and massively underpowered from the intellectual p.o.v - that last, surely a good thing in the Hindu context.

I copy and paste below my censored comments from 'Disqus'.

Discussion on Swarajyamag  46 comments

Cowboys, Indians And The River Sarasvati - A Look At Recent Findings About The ‘Mythical’ River



You don't have nostrils you worthless bag of shite.

Yes. This is because textual availability cascades evolve on an ergodic fitness landscape. Historicist hermeneutics is simply silly.
Unless you believe in the Kuzari principle.

Well written and with a patriotic purpose. However, historicism w.r.t to the Rg Veda is multiply foolish.
The author states that she will ' try to bring the reader up to speed with the latest evidence pertaining to the Sarasvati, and its implications for Indian history.'
She fails because she is too ignorant and stupid to understand that Sarasvati is not a Kripke rigid designator and that Indian Historiography recognized that thousands of years ago.
Compounding her folly, Suri writes-
' In the process, I also hope to illustrate how these three articles represent the three standard methods employed by those who present a false picture of Indian history – outright denial, obfuscation, and interpolation after convenient distortion, respectively'.
The author is fooling herself- not us. The 'latest evidence'- like every other evidence, as opposed to outright drooling imbecility- wholly de-links purposefully preserved Revealed Texts from any fucking geographic or climactic change whatsoever. This is because texts with a wholly secular, but evanescent, Gricean implicature have no means to re-inscribe themselves. The thing is incentive incompatible simply.
Perhaps, our author thinks, the Brahmin class were essentially parrots. Perhaps they were. I have argued previously that they were actually penguins.
Still, both parrots and penguins are subject to evolution. Brahmins have discarded a lot of texts previously thought canonical because their acceptation turned out to be essentially secular and therefore evanescent.
Rivers change their course. Great migrations occur. In the Phillipines, the simple fishermen use the term 'Bharat' to denote their western horizon. If India was now an Islamic Republic, perhaps, 'Bharat' itself would be located amongst those variegated islands whose surf strings together Indra's net of pearls.
To be clear, the author is not presenting any evidence at all w.r.t the common Indian acceptation of 'Sarasvati'. What he is doing is reporting from a particularly noisome sewer.
Telling stupid lies may be what Indian Credentialized 'History' is about. It isn't Indian History, however, because it is so obviously a bunch of stupid lies which you have to cram to pass the IAS Exam circa 1982.
The author is deluded if he thinks he is not part of an utterly illiterate process of 'denial, obfuscation, and interpolation after convenient distortion'.
He is as stupid, ignorant and worthless as the fuckwits he attempts to criticize. But those cunts are getting paid.
All our 'materials science' Quixote has done is make Swarajya look bad.
Fuck is wrong with you Suri? Why not do a Malcolm Gladwell and channel a bit of Statistical Game Theory? Yuddhishtra did in the Nalophkyanam. It dispelled his vishada.
Stop writing worthless shite just coz u iz writing for dehatis who need to be constantly lectured to stop shitting on the road and micturating mightily on your pointy little head.
Your 'Bhagirathi parishram' is nothing but that last.
Mind it kindly
Discussion on Swarajyamag  2 comments

Ustad Alladiya Khan And The Rise And Rise Of Jaipur Gharana


I have never come across so tendentious, ignorant and eccentric an article as this.
Sama Vedic musicology informed parabandha and dhruvapad performance. Naturally, Turkish rulers were not interested in Sanskrit lyrics and the related esoteric 'Nadabrahma' theory of sound, and so from the time of Amir Khusrou- who famously introduced 'tarana'- or even before, there was a marked change which also allowed incorporation of 'maqam' and folk traditions such that new raags were created and new courtly and mystical traditions were created.
Furthermore, since no sacred vocal sounds were involved, instrumental music was less constrained and could develop independently. Thus people like Naubat Khan have influence on 'khayal' which thus is an independent meditation on a pure form without a constraining esoteric vocal tradition, though, no doubt, certain Masters possessed that as well and imparted its essence to the most talented and disciplined disciples- often those who had already attained technical mastery and popular acclaim.
The author thinks that 'Dhrupad, in a way, ruled the music scene from the 15th to the mid 19th century' and that khayal came to the fore afterwards. This is crazy. What was Sadarang singing? What type of compositions were used in kathak? Did Wajid Ali Shah invent Thumri all by himself? Was the Indrasabha tradition sui generis? Does it have any link at all to Dhrupad?
Why say such foolish things in an article where you go on to praise up to the skies one particular lineage and dash everyone else into the dust?
This is a dis-service to great personalities who were free from vainglory.
Discussion on Swarajyamag  7 comments

The Making Of Éamon De Valera


Da Valera's importance for India lies in his personal friendship with people like Netaji Bose, Vithalbhai Patel and, later on, his influence on the framing of the Indian Constitution such that the doctrine of autocthony was given an ab ovo illiberal cast. This went hand in hand with utterly crazy economic policies- he succeeded in driving Guiness out of Ireland- and being a self-righteous prick continually preaching austerity to a country whose depopulation he exacerbated, not reversed. V.V Giri, betrayer of the Madras Labor Movement which had previously worked with Mill owners in a productive manner to raise both real wages and efficiency, was typical of the Da Valera type Congress Socialist.
Of course, we can't blame this silly Maths teacher for all of Ireland's craziness but, though a nice enough guy, he did more damage than the out and out nutters and drooling blathershites.
Why claim him for the Conservative cause? He was a fucking disaster.
Discussion on Swarajyamag  191 comments

Question: Are Hindus essentially Aryans who invaded the Indian subcontinent and imposed the caste system?


'The British used it (A.I.T) to delegitimise Hindus, claiming that ‘upper caste’ Hindus were as much invaders and conquerors of India, as Muslims and Europeans, and so they have no moral right to claim India as homeland.'
This is nonsense. The late Eighteenth Century view was that the Aryans originated in India and was popularized by Sir William Jones. Later philology disproved this view.
Some over-educated High Caste Hindus eagerly embraced the notion that they were descended from invaders- the 'Aryan Brother' theory lampooned by Kipling. As a matter of fact, some relatively recent immigrants to Bengal and Madras, and a former ruling caste in Maharashtra, were somewhat lighter skinned and more or less eager to turn comprador. They embraced the theory that they were originally from some foreign clime- the Arctic according to the shithead Tilak- because back then a claim to special treatment was predicated on foreign origin. The idea was that just as griffins newly arrived from Blighty deserved higher pay than 'country bottled' British people- because they were more foreign and so needed more money to adjust to Indian conditions- so too did Ashraf Muslims from Iran or Turkey and High Caste Chitpavan from the Arctic and so forth.
Incidentally, the Nairs of Kerala claimed Sycthian descent. I myself, more plausibly in view of my clumsy gait, hunched shoulders and protruding belly, claim descent from Scientifically advanced Antarctic penguins.
The British did not claim India as their homeland. They regarded it as a shit-hole and demanded high pay, long paid holidays back to Blighty, and short service contracts. Come to think of it, two of the first Muslim ICS officers retired to England- as did one or two post Independence ICS officers.
What the Brits were saying was that the indigenous people of India are horrible but they have adapted to living in a shit-hole and can do so very very cheaply. Moreover, the traditional Indian village is a sort of Utopia where the rich man helps the poor man and so there is no hunger, disease or need for State funded education- i.e. Govt. need do nothing. Gandhi, of course, adopted this view as well as the notion that any intercourse between the Whites and the Darkies was bound to deprave both because... urm... well Winston Churchill summed it up by saying 'the Indians are beastly people'.
The Indian comprador class, however, said 'listen guys, we're like you. We come from cold countries just as you do. Yet we have to live amongst these beastly darkies. Kindly take pity on us and accommodate us appropriately otherwise we will complain to Max Mueller or proclaim a tatti bandh or pass the ICS exam and then not show up for the horse riding test or revenge ourselves upon you in some yet more subtle and indiscernible manner.'
The truth of the matter, however, is not far to seek. Aryan languages were the solution to a co-ordination problem for highly mobile traders dealing, inter alia, in cows and horses. Agricultural communities invested their surpluses in acquiring credentials in these languages and later they were adapted for administrative purposes.
Castes arose as part of a dis-coordination game- i.e. represented a particular type of hedging which isn't efficient but inevitably arises where markets regularly crash. Since India is a rain fed agricultural Christaller plain, this happens pretty regularly.
Hindu Religion, however, isn't Aryan or Dravidian. It was invented by Spiritually advanced penguins from the Antarctic. Mind it kindly. Aiyayo.
Discussion on Swarajyamag  40 comments

Brexit It Is: 10 Major Implications Of Britain’s Decision To Quit EU


Westminster alone can legislate Brexit. Cameron is morally bound to respect the result and so his doom is sealed. However, the Govt. could fall on a vote of no confidence if pro Europe Tories and SNP join Labor. This will trigger an election. Labor may still be unelectable because of Corbyn but there could be a split in the Tory party at the upcoming Conference and so there may be some sort of pro-Euro coalition in an early election. If that wins then Brexit is off the table. The only reason the Germans want a quick exit is they fear that the Tory party is like Syriza- i.e. is filled with competing lunatics. This isn't true. The vast majority of Tory rank and file just woke up to the fact that ten percent of their retirement fund has been wiped out and more will be lost in subsequent years. The City of London has already got contingency plans which will see them shift operational centers to EU jurisdictions thus leaving a 'back-office' rump in England which will slowly wither on the vine. Top London Solicitors are enrolling in Ireland so as to continue to be able to plead at the European Court. A similar trajectory is likely in R&D. Even Britain's vaunted Higher Education Sector is at risk. The point here is that the country risks moving down the value chain.
Tories from areas which are net contributors to the EU budget have enjoyed venting their spleen at Brussels but now are ruing their bravado. Their pension pots have been hit, their cost of living has gone up more than proportionately to the fall in the real exchange rate, and- suddenly- they realize that a Corbynite Labor party (hopefully without the gormless twat at its helm) will pick up the pieces once the proles realize they have been swindled.
Furthermore, net gainers from EU subsidies- Wales, Cornwall etc, which voted leave are likely to change their mind once they realize that they have screwed themselves- the Shires being in no mood to compensate the Celtic fringe no matter what was promised.
Meanwhile the one big issue which motivated the Brexit vote- viz. the desire to scrap 'Human Rights' based Law re. Asylum seekers because it is incentive incompatible and will lead to long term demographic change- is one that Europe itself is likely to take on board. Deterring migrants and securing the borders is a task best discharged collectively and by an independent Agency so that politicians are insulated from harsh but necessary measures.
India can't be compared to Britain. The former is growing rapidly, though trammeled by all sorts of foolish policy measures, and will grow into Great Power status. The latter has been in secular decline for more than a century. However, the British- holding intellectuals and phrase makers in distaste- have always been willing to do a U turn and abandon rhetoric if their bank balance takes a hit. That's what will happen now. The Greeks held a Referendum and then quietly ate humble pie after taking one hell of a beating. The Brits will do the same- though Europe may want them to take an even bigger drubbing.
Discussion on Swarajyamag  163 comments

What If The British Had Never Ruled India?


Western Europe had intrepid fishermen who trawled the stormy Atlantic developing new maritime techniques. Portugal, impatient with its limited scope for continental expansion, invested heavily in developing maritime power. It wasn't particularly successful against Islamic North Africa but managed better in the Indian Ocean. Spain, after driving out the Muslims, started to compete with Portugal and got to the Americas first. Then the Dutch blazed a trail. However, Portugal, Spain, Holland, France, even tiny Denmark, could not establish a global maritime hegemony because they were embroiled in Continental wars and also had various internal political and economic problems. It was in this context that sea girt England was able to rise thanks to the increasing 'incentive compatability' of its institutions. It climbed the value chain- from piracy and slave trading and 'primitive accumulation' it turned into the policeman of the Seas suppressing piracy and slave-trading and replacing 'loot' with Trade and Specialization on the basis of Comparative Advantage.
India may have been the 'sink of gold', it may have had high value added exports but it didn't have a navy- it had some pirates on the West Coast and some littoral 'country' trade- that's all. The Hindus wouldn't 'cross the black water' unlike their ancestors. Thus, the gains of trade would remain in the hands of whoever controlled the sea-lanes. India deindustrialised because Indians did not control trade routes and so the reward to the producer tended to fall. Take Indian Wootz steel- we had been exporting it since the 6th Century BC. Suddenly it disappeared. Why?
The producers of this Steel were looked down upon Socially. In England 'Smith' is a proud surname. Weyland Smith was a great Anglo-Saxon hero. In India, the same occupation was regarded as degrading whereas chanting worthless shite was considered a mark of superior attainment.
By the time the Europeans achieved naval hegemony, the Muslim Aristocracy had befuddled itself with Sufism and Strong Drink. Persia had relinquished its naval tradition. Its ambassadors to Thailand, even in the early decades of the Eighteenth Century, had to travel on British ships to guarantee their safety. Oman, at one time, was able to put up a stiff resistance but then sank into obscurity. The Ottomans too tried to intervene in the Indian ocean. Nothing lasting came of it. Why? The fact is property and enterprise were not safe under despotic regimes.
During the course of the eighteenth century, Indian Merchants fled the domains of native Rajas where they were at risk of arbitrary arrest and punitive taxation to settle in the European settlements. Prior to the Napoleonic Wars, Indian traders supplied the bulk of John Company's trading capital.
During the Maratha wars, not just Hindu merchants but also high caste intellectuals increasingly migrated to British territory to escape arbitrary persecution and a noisome atmosphere. Even the Sikhs found that British rule was preferable to internecine conflict & the random violence of crazy 'Nihangs'. At the battle of the Chillianwallah, senior Sikh leaders fought bravely but were reconciled to the prospect of British victory because the ethos of Sikhism itself had been imperiled by the untoward atmosphere at Court.
India had always suffered from famines. Once the British realized that 'Malthusianism' was a false doctrine- or at least one that negatively impacted rents- they were able to introduce a Famine code such that India escaped further famines similar to the ones experienced by China. The exception was the Bengal Famine which was the fault of the Muslim League Govt. which preferred to blame Hindu merchants for the problem rather than getting in grain from Punjab.
The author is a Bengali. He must know that if the British had not arrived, his family would either have Muslim names and belong to an Islamic Republic or else have long ago settled in some other part of India.
The Brits learnt from experience and moved up the value chain because they had some minimal rationality and 'incentive compatible' institutions. That's why independent India kept and widened those institutions bequeathed by the British though, no doubt, losing valuable time by playing around with stupid indigenous notions like 'khaddar' and 'Basic Education' and the farce of 'Bhoodan' not to mention 'Sampoorna Kranti' and 'Angrezi Hatao'.
Of course, the Brits had to go. That became plain when Curzon lost his battle for independence from the apron strings of Westminster. British MPs needed to be focusing on stuff they knew about- viz. conditions in their own constituencies, not debating the Constitutional arrangements of far off lands of whose populations they knew nothing and cared less.
However, the path to disintermediating Westminster was through constructive co-operation, not blind alley Gandhian or Marxian stupidity.
India was relatively more industrialized in 1947 than in 1974. That was the tragedy of Congress rule. Ease of doing business, an efficient Judiciary, a relatively clean administration- all the things needful for the flourishing of the productive classes had suffered under purely Indian rule. By contrast, Hong Kong, which remained under British rule, was just entering a period of spectacular growth. India had plenty of cosmopolitan intellectuals and business people who had eyes to see what was going on. They closed their eyes. They talked worthless rubbish. But, increasingly, they did so exclusively in English and, more often than not, from Chairs of Political Economy in Western Countries. In the process, they internalized a Eurocentric perspective which denies agency to dusky folk. Thus, the author tells us, 'the British forgot to build Schools and Hospitals.' Not true. They had a capitation system which could expand with the tax base. The point of the municipal reforms introduced after the First War was that Indians could extend provision of Education, Sanitation etc. by themselves. The Indians got very very angry! Why pay taxes for things like latrines and schools? God has already insured we don't need such things! A young man with an M.A from Aberdeen led the local people. He consulted Mahatma Loony who counselled 'Desh Tyag'. So the people abandoned their houses and went to live in the Jungle- where they died of malaria and dysentery. This was very patriotic of them because it is un-Indian to pay taxes for things like Schools and Hospitals and Sewers. All these things should be provided gratis by the White Man only. Read the story of the Chirala-Perala campaign for yourself. Against stupidity, the Gods themselves battle in vain.
Discussion on Swarajyamag  5 comments

VD Paluskar: The Man Who Saved Hindustani Music


Good article. However it overstates the case. Classical Music did not depend on middle class concert goers, otherwise it would have survived in Lahore and Karachi after Partition. It depends on pure Spirituality even from a weak economic base.
Some Ustads and Pundits employed at Princely Courts were of the highest character- Ravi Shankar's Guru wasn't a louche type but a strict person of ascetic temperament. On the other hand some great classical singers were drunkards though their wealth came from middle class concert goers.
Furthermore, the pristine tradition was maintained by priestly families of high repute for purely devotional and spiritual reasons.
One further point- formal education is by no means an unmixed blessing.
Consider a thought experiment. Suppose the British, at the time they were establishing the 'Shastri' examinations and spreading Sanskrit education, had decided to do something similar for Classical Music and Yoga etc. Then, both would have been eventually discredited in the same way that the habit of quoting Sanskrit has come to be associated with imbeciles and Chief Justices.
The point about the great Maharashtrian or Dharwad musicians is that they were untiring in their search for knowledge and pursuit of excellence. Even A.I.R with its scale rates and bureaucratic caste-system couldn't kill their spirit.
Discussion on Swarajyamag  25 comments

Why Did Raghuram Rajan Go? Was He Pushed Or Did He Jump?


There is a misconception that the IMF Chief Economist post is a prestigious one. It is a recent creation. Furthermore, the IMF remit is such that its head of Research isn't actually doing anything very interesting- essentially his role is to give a bit of Institutional push-back against Washington.
Apart from Blanchard, who was championing French Keynesianism for patriotic reason, no one took the job because they thought it was actually a good one but because it represented something okay looking on their CV early on in their career. Rajan's predecessor, Rogoff is now in disgrace because of the stupid mistakes in his supposed magnum opus. His successor, Johnson, has sunk without trace.
Rajan himself came to Economics pretty late and that too at the PhD level after things like the American S&L fiasco. Thus he has escaped the usual indoctrination of Economists his age, let alone ten years older. Since he came to Econ from Management and had Quant training, he could eloquently and with great clarity present the 'Emperor is naked' case. Unlike older economists who spent their late twenties and thirties debating abstract models and engaging in Methodenstreit while slowly climbing the Academic ladder; Rajan had started from the Management side and was looking at raw data not toy models. Furthermore, his batch-mates were tech-savvy- thus unlike most economists he understood that Technology wasn't a magic wand which would ensure that 'the great moderation' would just run on and on.
Rajan gained salience because of the crash which he predicted (and which raised the profile of the IMF). Since Manmohan had been brought in by Sonia to please Dalal Street, it was natural that feelers should have been put out to him. He could have been a vainglorious dick and he'd still have been employed. However, since he isn't really an Economist- i.e. a Pundit engaged in some esoteric and worthless theology- he was keen to get stuck in with a real job. He hasn't been a bad Governor by any means. But his time is over. He and other 'rock star' Economists had their moment in the Sun when there was genuine uncertainty in the markets about what was happening. At that time, it made sense to say listen guys here's a smart youngish Professor who knows Super String Theory or something like that. He'll sort things out.
Now however, 'rock star' Economists are known to be shite, like Varoufakis. Professors are stupid.
Since Rajan wasn't the usual type of Professor- i.e. a guy who gets indoctrinated at 18 and starts serious 'tatte uthana' (testicle lifting) at 22 until is patron gets him a Professorship at 30- he showed some zest for his job and didn't screw up too much. His presence probably calmed markets during the dangerous period between UPA II turning completely to shit and Modi getting his feet securely under the table.
It would be a mistake to retain him because he only has salience on the global side whereas what India needs now is to clean its internal Augean stables. He himself will be better served by stepping back and synthesising what he has learnt. People like Greenspan, or even Blanchard, have an ideology and that does count for something. Will Rajan develop an 'Indian ideology' answering to Indian needs? Don't hold your breath. He's a Tambram like Subramaniyam Swamy (& me. We are a jealous bunch whose only merit lies in seeing through each others so called brilliance- something Bengalis can't achieve.)
Hopefully, he has a Scotch and Soda now and then and so won't turn into a total dickhead. But, 'Brahminical Central Banking' isn't what India needs. It needs supple Bania-type vision supplemented by some clever Babu footwork . India doesn't lack that sort of talent. We've got to trust Business people to get the business of Banking right. Rajan's Internationalism- the last refuge of Brahminical stupidity- is better confined to the Academic Seminar and the Beltway think-tank. Perhaps, like Raghavan Iyer- once Head of Research for our Planning Commission- he will end up writing about Mahatma Gandhi's Philosophy or speculating on whose reincarnation Eisenhower really was.
Discussion on Swarajyamag  3 comments

Why The ‘Remain’ Campaign’s Arguments Fall Flat



I think EU has to placate India, not the other way round. Germany, as a capital goods exporter, will have to get with the program or lose out.
India is a big and rapidly growing country and wants a stable global environment.
Britain has been a bit of a 'loose canon' Internationally and so the Indians and the Chinese and the Americans, everbody really, wants Britain to pursue a limited and pragmatic agenda rather than opportunistic adventurism.
Consider the following list of British mistakes which impact on India to this day
1) Atlee does a deal with Burma's Aung San but then some rogue elements in the British establishment conspire with his rival to assassinate him. This destabilized Burma to this day.
2) Britian toppled Mossadegh in Iran- once again we are still living with the consequences.
3) Suez Crisis- that's one where the Brits admitted they had gone crazy. It created paranoia in Iraq which meant there could be no peaceful transition as happened in India.
4) Rogue or Private Sector elements intervened against Nasser in Yemen- We all know how that's turned out
5) In the late Sixties, some elements in the British elite encouraged Naga and Mizo separatism. Essentially, the Brits tried to prove their anti-Imperialist credentials by alleging that the Indian Nation State was the successor to their own Empire using exactly the same methods. Indian academics, like Amartya Sen, now senselessly repeat this mantra.
Finally we come to Blair's craziness in Iraq and Cameron's craziness in Libya and Syria. Brexit brings in an even crazier type of politician.
The world needs Britain to be tied to the apron strings of some entity other than U.S because otherwise it pretends to be James Bond licensed to do America's dirty work.

'Regardless of how Britain votes on Thursday, it will remain a major power for the foreseeable future.'
Not true.
Britain's 'Great Power' status hinges on its 'continuous at sea deterrent' (CASD) giving it immunity for sending autonomous signals- i.e. it can initiate a particular policy, which other allies can then choose cleave to, because it is able to deter an immediate nuclear attack upon itself. If Britain doesn't have this deterrent then it can't send a 'costly signal'. It would be considered to be indulging in mere 'cheap talk'- like when Greece or Ghana voices an opinion. Moreover, it would be stripped of its Security Council seat, since it would be sheltering behind someone else's Nuclear umbrella, and would face a long and losing battle over the Falklands and Gibraltar and the refoulement of Simon Cowell.
Currently, it is by no means clear that Britain will be able to renew its CASD capability. Furthermore, Brexit will bring to power, or give salience to, a type of politician held in contempt by Europe and thus will be embroiled in petty squabbles with its neighbors- e.g more 'Cod Wars'.
Furthermore, even on the most optimistic scenario, the immediate hit on the terms of trade and the resulting J curve will create an environment where Britain has to break ranks with an emerging consensus re. taxing offshore entities and dealing with rogue regimes. It will have to court strange bed-fellows and in the process populist politicians of an opportunistic sort are going to become corrupt proxies for some really evil forces operating in Global finance.
Brexit cashes out as a reward for Volatility traders and a punishment for Value investors.
No doubt many British people- more especially in places where there are few colored people or where the local economy has been in secular decline for decades- identify Brexit as part of a wider campaign to 'keep Britain White'- and, like Turkeys voting for Thanksgiving, are going to do something very stupid on polling day. However, this is not an endorsement for Conservative values or part of a Burkean renaissance battling the synoecism of the Kojevian Super-State. It is sheer bloody minded stupidity on a par with the British penchant for taking Climatic Conditions entirely personally. 'Pissing down again Luv- nice weather for ducks.' 'Ducks? Don't get me started on them fookin foreign ducks coming over here to sign on and fatten up their livers for Brussell's pate de foie gras. Send 'em all back is wot I say. Wogs begin at Calais.'
Discussion on Swarajyamag  3 comments

Despite Two Mistakes, Rajan Was Probably Manmohan Singh’s Best Appointment


A classical gold standard? Is this guy for real? India has always been the sink of gold and Indian 'Stationary Bandits' have waxed and waned on the basis of their ability to loot or otherwise extract that gold. The success of the British Raj was based on reversing this process- Gold was safer in British vaults far from the Indian dacoit or Raja- and letting deflation take the wind out of the sails of indigenous competition.
By contrast, Hoondi based Banking was reputational, featured risk-pooling, and its burgeoning was directly linked to the real economy. That's the sort of Banking an RBI Governor should be making incentive compatible and free from distortionary Govt policy and rent-seeking behavior.
Discussion on Swarajyamag  71 comments

Rajan’s Will Be A Tough Act To Follow; Successor Will Have His Work Cut Out


I like Rajan but he is doing the right thing getting out. Indeed, the whole trend of 'sexy' Economics Professors coming into Govt. has proved a fiasco all over the globe. Think of Game Theorists like Kaushik Basu and Varoufakis. They were like little children allowed to stay up late to attend the grown ups cocktail party.
Rajan knew his limitations and put a brave face on things. However, he didn't understand how crazy the actual situation is. No NRI, Economist or otherwise, does. Some senior NRI private bankers who came up through S.B.I can throw light on some aspects of the dysfunction but I know none who has the whole picture. By contrast, there are people from traditional families who are in the picture and who can generate confidence where it is needed- i.e. not in febrile currency markets but at the grass roots level- that sound money on the basis of an incentive compatible Financial Sector is indeed possible. Rajan's predecessor spoke of 'Brahminical Central Banking'. Unfortunately an Ivy League Pundit, as opposed to some greasy Seth with diamond ear-rings, can't break that tradition. Vide http://socioproctology.blogspo....
Keynes pointed out long ago that Anglo-Saxon Economics was not much good when it came to understanding Indian Monetary policy. His meaning was more restricted, but one thing we can say is that a type of Economics which doesn't have a theory of duality is worthless for a country which is constituted by little else.
Discussion on Swarajyamag  6 comments

To Encounter Hell On Earth, Read The Gulag Archipelago


The author thinks coercion of large classes of people, such that they can be relocated and set to labor or fight in hellish conditions, is connected with Socialism or forbidden by Capitalism. This isn't the case. Classical Liberalism and its descendants- e.g. Ken Binmore's neo-Whiggery- has a secure intellectual foundation in the theory of repeated games or the Myerson general feasibility theorem such that any coercive solution that is efficient can be implemented non-coercively under certain reasonable assumptions. By the same token, a non-coercive Socialism can be implemented Democratically, assuming that Public Justification can be 'Muth Rational'.
However, rent-seeking behavior can derail both types of system and once the principle of coercion is granted legitimacy there is indeed a primrose path to Hell in the short to medium term. This, however, breaks down sooner or later because of incentive incompatibility and allocative inefficiency.
The Bolsheviks, many of whom were well traveled, had plenty of examples from the 'Capitalist' world to draw on when they re-purposed the Tzarist penal system in a manner far from benign.
Thus, it was the Americans who invented the Concentration Camp during their invasion of the Phillipppines- these were described as 'suburbs of Hell'. This was opposed by Classical Liberals but supported by a new type of Plutocratic, Elitist politics which used a Populist, Jingoistic disguise.
The British followed the American example by using Concentration Camps against the Boers- the mortality rate was even higher and this sent a clear signal that Westminster was prepared to countenance the total annihilation of the Boer people. Once again, this was opposed by Classical Liberals who once elected did a deal with the Boers which permitted them, in their turn, to abuse darker races.
King Leopold's Congo did not feature Concentration Camps as such but, in the name of profit, perpetrated even more barbaric atrocities. Liberal opinion however was able to stem the tide because Belgium was weak. Germany however was able to carry out genocide in Namibia with perfect equanimity.
During the First World War, against the objections of Classical Liberals like Morley, Britain ceased to be a Liberal country, with the introduction of Conscription. To be clear, the Govt. now had the right to simply conscript people and send them to labor under hellish conditions. However, elite rent-contestation had previously resulted in the granting of adult male suffrage so workers had some countervailing power. Still, the fact remains, from the legal point of view, there could have been British Gulags similar to the Soviet ones. Indeed, Oswald Mosley- later an infamous Fascist- originally championed the cause of interned Germans. Tiny Rowland, involved in Krishna Menon's jeep scandal, never forgave the British for what they did to his family and took an ample revenge many years later. Ironically, it was his enemy, the Egyptian entrepreneur Mohammad al Fayed who landed the killer blow. The British elite was left bruised and battered by a 'wog'. Fayed was cheered on British TV when he claimed that Prince Phillip and Jonathan Aitken and others among the 'great and good' were pimps and rent-boys. Rowland was dead by then- but his revenge was complete. My point here is that, to guard against Gulags, it isn't sufficient to acknowledge that Economists and Philosophers and other pointy headed Pundits are worthless gobshites upon whom it is obligatory to micturate mightily; more is required. Specifically, it is to rail at the great and good as a bunch of pimps, rent-boys, pedophiles (which in fact is what a lot of British liberal grandees have been discovered to be) and rapists.
Art Carden, Otteson, Jason Brennan and so on are doing a valuable job by showing how worthless and stupid Professors are and Swarajya is to be complimented for highlighting this. However, proper facilities to micturate mightily upon their pointy little heads must be provided as a matter of urgency under the Swacch Bharath Abhiyaan.
Mind it kindly.
Discussion on Swarajyamag  4 comments

Revisiting 27 May, 1949- To Understand Nehru And His Kashmir Policy


Excellent article. Two additional points may be mentioned
1) Jinnah reacted to the 'Quit Kashmir' agitation by offering the Maharaja the decisive voice re. which State he would join. He is criticized for this- for e.g. in the film made on his life which starred Christopher Lee (typecasting or what?) Thus the Indian position was to highlight the legal character of his accession to India and the fiction that his Premier was of the Westminster sort. Unfortunately, Nehru muddied the waters. Funnily enough, it was people like Hasrat Mohani, and- later on, after Abdullah got too big for his boots- Rafi Ahmed Kidwai who showed common sense.
2) People of Jammu were pro-active in dealing with the problem otherwise they would have gone under and all this would just be an academic exercise.
Discussion on IndiaFacts  9 comments

Sāṅkhya: a brief critique


This enchanting man, whom I regret I don't know, has spoken with parrhesia because he is our proxenos and we are his.
The ancient Greeks, like their Indian cousins, had the 'theoria' or 'darshan' of the two birds, united, yet divided, by Agape's metaxu- the scandal of 'antarabhava', 'barzakh' or 'bardo'- and when, of those two birds, one ate, while the other abstained (Rig Veda Samhita 1.164.20), or (Valmiki Ramayan) one by a thoughtless arrow was slain- Philosophy & Poetry were born of each other to puzzle over that underlying topos or kshetra whose hypokeimenon remains mimetic simply.
Indeed, this puzzle is only resolved when Agnodice lifts her skirts, putting Socratic maiuetics to shame, and, in the Tiruvaduval dance off between Shiva and His Spouse, Purusha raises his leg but Prakriti does not.
I hesitate to mention Game Theory, because of what the Alcibiades like Varoufakis has done to Greece, but, the fact remains, what Sankhya describes is a 'Red Queen Race'- co-evolution- an occult, action at a distance, mechanism which, however, conserves information in so perfect a form as to allow symmetry itself to break because there is no 'bourgeois strategy' i.e. no uncorrelated asymmetry.
Thus Greek Hesychasm, as Aurobindo recognised, is breathless Love reconciled to Ascetic breath control. No- not Mt. Athos's monks chrematistic windfalls- after all, Athos was once the site of a 'Uranopolis'- but the Greek Cypriot granny who- when my friend was very depressed and not eating- just caught him by the wrist and dragged him- the year was 1981, I was the night watchman of the Indian YMCA in Fitzroy Square- this small lady saw my friend with me and came and caught him by his wrist and dragged him and fed him 'dolma' at the buffet table set up by the Cypriot Association at the other end of the Square.
The young man ate because she fed him with her own hands. Then I also ate- and believe me I punished the table!
His depression (vishada) ended. He was a Govt. of India Scholar and completed his course with highest distinction.
Recalling this episode, I am tempted to say, though Agnodice went to Egypt to study so as to return to Athens to help her own sisters in childbirth; the impeccable Mother of Christ, Herself, came to Ephesus and became univocal with these glorious grannies of Magna Grecia to whom I and so many other students or sojourners in London owe so much.
I also shared the common prejudice, especially amongst 'Iyer' Advaitins, against Sankhya or even portions of Gita. However, Mathematics as applied to Nature- evolutionary game theory- has corrected my ignorance.
Since such of our forbears as successfully reproduced on an uncertain fitness landscape, it follows some at least had 'expert cognition' of what Mathematical simulations now make obvious to even idiots like me.
I will try to look on the internet for more articles by this writer. He may be a 'Professor' or 'Pundit' but he is our truth speaking proxenos and, I hope, we are also his.

Discussion on IndiaFacts  66 comments

Varna and Caste: An Analysis-I


Mathematical Economics has developed a lot, in tandem with Evolutionary Game Theory, in the last 40 years. Thus this type of analysis is outdated.
Varna is a 'costly signal' and gives rise to a 'separating equilibrium'. Such signals, in Brahmanic Hinduism, are available to all. Anyone with enough wealth can perform enough Shrauta ceremonies to gain any given hereditary 'Varna'. However, those without wealth but giving evidence of great talent or self-sacrificing eusoical benefaction are also raised in the same way.
No doubt, some fictitious genealogy may be ascribed at a later time, however this happened and is happening all the time.
The problem in India was that, due to arranged 'child-marriage', endogamous 'jati' gained salience. There was no point rising to a different Varna if your descendants had a narrowed choice of marriage partners. In a way, this had to do with a sort of 'Trade Unionism' which in the short run granted 'countervailing power' but long run was stupid simply.
Tagore knew this very well. He was a 'Pir Ali' Brahmin condemned to marrying into poor client families. This caused psychic damage and was not in keeping with Religion. Boy may be more educated or his family more affluent, but bride of eldest son is the one who holds the higher place regarding 'Samskar'. If Indira Gandhi accomplished great things, it was because Motilal Nehru chose according to proper criteria. Suppose Jawaharlal had married a chattering nitwit. The daughter would have been worthless or mental patient.
Foundation of Brahmo Samaj- even when the stipulation was considered that its 'Adi' version be Brahmin only- failed to address this problem. He himself, despite his great qualities, was unable to secure the happiness of his daughters. He is a Christ-like figure because this business of getting good grooms was his Calvary.
Now that 'poor' Hindus of all castes have asserted themselves against the 'zamindars'- though not yet the 'netas'!- our fathers of daughters have a much better horizon. Educated Girl should marry as her heart dictates. This leads to happiness.
Father can contemplate 'vanaprastham', not dying in harness to satisfy greed of 'sambandhis'.
I see brothers of 'girl child' working as rickshaw wallah or whatever and sending money for the education of their sister. It breaks my heart that they should also have to put dowry! Such a thing is completely against Smriti and Shruti. Furthermore it is an insult to our own mothers.

Discussion on Swarajyamag  7 comments

Roger Scruton: A Knighthood For Conservatism


Scruton isn't gay.

I was a friend and colleague of Scruton's Greek and Latin tutor at the time, in the mid Eighties, when I first came across his books.
Initially, I was charmed- it seemed, Scruton had set out with the specific aim of helping people like me- a Schoenbergian conductor of a modishly Japanese gagaku ensemble consisting of us dissonant wogs & unharmonizable, for no longer Unionised Proles & the apologetic coughing and spluttering of the progeny of blue rinsed matrons residing in dormitory suburbs, all of whom were equally seeking to reinvent ourselves as cosmopolitan Thatcherite 'yuppies'- and the fact that he himself was a 'Grammar School oik' and taught at Birkbeck made it all the more admirable that he had hired a pukka Old Etonian (a contemporary of Pico Iyer) to repair any deficiencies in his Classical scholarship.
My disillusionment was rapid. First there was my chancing on Scruton's derivative 'Fortnight's Anger', distilling all that was most meretricious in Iris Murdoch; then there was the still boyish looking Scruton's abysmal performance on a Televised Oxford Union debate. He played the pleb card to make out he was a Thatcherite striver and that fell flat coz everyone could suss that he was from High Wycombe not the Gorbals or Teesside.
Had Scruton stuck to Birkbeck's natural constituency- declasse but decent folk seeking Professional Qualifications or promotion to Management- he could have achieved a lot. Instead, after a brief incarnation as Tom Wolfe's 'Trans-Atlantic Man', he returned as a Fox Hunting oenophile- Surtees' Jorrocks selling some fustian soixante huitard repellent and looming large only in his own farcical twilight.
Is there a lesson in all this? Yes. Don't despise your readership. Quit gassing on about Schoenberg and find out the facts about the Pet Shop Boys. Don't hire an ex-Oppidian Classics Tutor. At best, you will end up as worthless a blathershite as Pico or, indeed, Raghavan Iyer. At worst, you become the Jorrocks of the Quorn.
Scruton, unlike Oakeshott, was highly productive but only because, unlike Oakeshott, his initial Lecture notes were shite. He lived and continues to live, unlike Collingwood, which is why nothing he writes can last whereas 'distinctions without a difference' we will have with us forever.
Discussion on Swarajyamag  23 comments

India And The Fallacy Of The Demographic Dividend


A Demographic dividend, as opposed to Cliodynamic catastrophe, only arises in the context of industrialization or climbing the 'value chain' (e.g. switching from growing wheat to raising truffles). India looks like it is going to de-industrialize at a much lower per capita income than the Tigers or China. Much of the blame must be shouldered by Indian political and intellectual culture.
I cite the following-
'Alok Rai spoke of Indian development under colonialism (though the stricture would equally apply to ‘Nehruvian’ License Raj pre-Liberalization India) as featuring ‘ A sort of damaged modernity … at once embryonic and addled”. Alfred Marshall, writing to a promising Indian ex-student of his, said that India needed entrepreneurs like the Tatas, not speculators, who fully embraced modernity and thus were tech savvy and willing to think long term, thus creating new globally benchmarked industries like Iron & Steel.
The Tatas did indeed show the way to some ‘speculators’- like Birla- who sent their scions to MIT or Wharton and were similarly willing to create new knowledge based industries and new ‘Mill Towns’ which were to feature an upwardly mobile class of manufacturing workers.
However, Marshall (this was circa 1910) proved prescient in warning that the Indian entrepreneurial class as a whole would find it easier to chase speculative gains and invest in political patronage so as to capture rents.
What he did not envisage was that this class of entrepreneurs, who never embraced modernity except of an ’embryonic and addled’ sort, would get jealous of modern industrialists like the Tatas and strike back at them through Organized Labor, local political agitation, and Govt. intervention. Thus, India, in the Fifties, turned out to be not the promised land of the Nationalist industrialists- Tatas, Birlas, Bajajs and so on- who actually invested in their manufacturing work force, providing good accommodation, schools etc- but rather their Waterloo.
Some Indians think this had something to do with ‘Socialism’. It didn’t. The thing was financed by the sort of entrepreneurs Marshall had already identified in 1910 as likely to impede or destroy the positive initiatives taken by the Tatas. One result was that the Tatas and Aditya Birla and other tech savvy, ‘modern’ entrepreneurs looked abroad to expand because they were hamstrung at home. This was Hirschman ‘Exit’ which the Indian State was disabling for enterprises within its borders- of the thousands of ‘sick’ enterprises being artificially kept alive, not a few are the ’embryonic and addled’ ventures of the bad type of entrepreneur who cleverly transfers his losses to the Nationalized Bank while corruptly hoping to profit from an eventual real estate windfall.
Kalecki gave an analysis of what he observed in countries like India which, unlike Marshall’s highlighting of the role of pre-modern or ‘damaged modernity’ speculators, focused on the ‘intermediate class’ which had some education and social clout but no defining class characteristic as yet.
Furious factionalist politics within this class meant that rent-extraction mechanisms were robust to what might otherwise appear to be an active ‘circulation of elites’. Leaving Marshall, Hirshcman and Kalecki aside- Indians have to admit that there is no moral constituency for industrialisation.
From the 1890s onwards there was opposition to female employment in manufacturing because of the ‘sacred’ character of the female gender. Mahatma Gandhi wrote of his horror at the sight of women going to work in factories in England. Greed and Avarice, in his view, had reduced these Angels to the level of street-walkers. Gandhi warned that if women start working in factories, they will start clamouring for the vote. Indeed, this was already happening in England at the time. Gandhi pointed out that Parliament is actually a brothel because its members voluntarily choose to give themselves to a new man every few years. (This may sound bizarre, but a lot of Indian State Legislatures do in fact feature Legislators sequestering themselves in a hotel while their votes are put up on the block) Indian legal and cultural barriers to the employment of women hindered industrialization as did the capture of better paying jobs by high caste male part time agriculturists who challenged the authority of overseers and imposed a ‘rural work rhythm’- i.e. picking up the pace once in a while but otherwise sociably lounging around. Since members of the industrial working class could always, individually, improve their position by not doing their job but still getting paid- allowing them leisure to pursue other avenues of enrichment, India never possessed a political constituency for industrialization. Formal sector jobs have long been prized by those who lack them not because they provide remunerative work but because they are a gateway to welfare- housing, schools, health care- without the requirement to actually do any productive work at all. Middle Managers have an incentive to farm the actual productive work out to contractors (who may be related to them) who bring in poorly paid temporary laborers from outside the region. Meanwhile Head Office has discovered that it pays them better to ignore productivity and focus on round tripping money from the Nationalised Banks, Life Insurance Corp etc. by all sorts of dubious means.
'In a democracy, like India, if no one wants a growing Manufacturing sector because no one envisages himself or herself as actually belonging to an industrial proletariat, how is it going to magically appear? Instead, if everybody agrees that labor should retain a stake in its agricultural roots and not be permanently mobile, how can we prevent manufacturing being taxed so as to subsidise yet more agricultural involution? One theory is that even the modest development India has seen has been the product of exogenous shocks and the spectacular stupidity of its own Mandarin class. ‘India grows by night’- i.e. when the State is asleep- is Gurcharan Das’s lapidary slogan. Unfortunately ‘trickle-down growth from price discrimination and the erosion of intellectual property rents’ increases the capacity of the State and the Kaleckian intermediate class to exercise a vigilance corrosive of manufacturing success.'
Discussion on Swarajyamag  30 comments

Confronting Indology – Part 3


This is proper way to do truly Swadesi Indology, I say-http://socioproctology.blogspo...
Mind it kindly.

I fully understand. You suffer from a form of coprophillia. Your biggest fantasy is that some 'important' person, even one who is merely 'self important', shit upon you, as I do here, because you feel the Universe hasn't humiliated you enough already.

Back for more punishment are you? I knew you couldn't stay away. Probably tugging at your miserable little todger as you read this and weep.

Good riddance.

How old are you? Do you really not know how to click on a Disqus account and then look up their blog?
You write- 'You just did it again by dropping Kripike's name, but you could have just said 'modal logic' or the logic of possible words'. Fuck has modal logic to do with Kripe's workaround for Tarski (not Godel) you fucking moron?
This Wikipedia para is pretty short- but no doubt it was written by someone you suspect of being important and having important friends and looking down on you- you worthless little gobshite.
Read it moron.
In his 1975 article "Outline of a Theory of Truth", Kripke showed that a language can consistently contain its own truth predicate, which was deemed impossible by Alfred Tarski, a pioneer in the area of formal theories of truth. The approach involves letting truth be a partially defined property over the set of grammatically well-formed sentences in the language. Kripke showed how to do this recursively by starting from the set of expressions in a language which do not contain the truth predicate, and defining a truth predicate over just that segment: this action adds new sentences to the language, and truth is in turn defined for all of them. Unlike Tarski's approach, however, Kripke's lets "truth" be the union of all of these definition-stages; after a denumerable infinity of steps the language reaches a "fixed point" such that using Kripke's method to expand the truth-predicate does not change the language any further. Such a fixed point can then be taken as the basic form of a natural language containing its own truth predicate. But this predicate is undefined for any sentences that do not, so to speak, "bottom out" in simpler sentences not containing a truth predicate. That is, " 'Snow is white' is true" is well-defined, as is " ' "Snow is white" is true' is true," and so forth, but neither "This sentence is true" nor "This sentence is not true" receive truth-conditions; they are, in Kripke's terms, "ungrounded."
My new theory is that you are a failed attempt to create a simulacrum of 'Marvin the Paranoid Android' from Hitchiker's Galaxy.
Come to think of it that series featured a cow which respectfully asks to be eaten- a bit like Rishi Syumarasmi.
No, cancel that. You haven't enough wit. I suppose you're just some rogue A.I. chatbot like Microsoft's Tay.

The lady is a young Khmer specialist, recently elevated to a Professorship at SOAS, and was written when she was hoping to rise up the ladder from Leeds. Like Rebecca Gould, a Persianist, she gushes over the big guy in that particular occupation, while making one or two perfectly sensible reservations. (Gould could afford to omit those reservations because her subject area is quite separate)
So this is about 'office politics' and I can decode it quite easily.
Suppose I was still advising Scholarship committees, then I could say 'looks like this candidate will do better because he or she can help support this rising star in the relevant Uni.'
In Econ. we call this type of situation a 'dis-coordination game'- essentially people are sending signals relevant to a 'separating equilibrium'.

You believe ' the point of communication is to be understood'. This view is not shared by any Scientist who believes in Evolution. I write to be understood by people who share my interests and attainments. You don't.
You mention Kuhn and Feyerabend, say you studied some Philosophy at College, yet make vulgar errors. You don't know Kripke's work and won't look up even the Wikipedia article on him. What is the point of my trying to enlighten you when your communications to me are entirely for the purpose of making me understand that though you had a chance to study Philosophy you failed abysmally?
Rajiv Malhotra hasn't ridiculed my 'work' at all. Nor, has R. Kumar as you can see for yourself on this comment thread. Why do you end your incontinent and illiterate wail of wounded amour propre with something more abject and pitiable yet?
'I think what you don't like is critics like myself, Dr Kumar and Malhotra ridicule your world. You think it is this great intellectual world, and you all have such great knowledge and insights into philosophy, history, literature and culture -- a king of all trades, and a prince of none. On on the other hand, critics like us think you are a bunch of clowns.'
You wrote that. Proud of ourselves are we?

Okay, so you were just kicking your heels up a little- these articles were by way of a jeu d'esprit- or an exercise in 'rasabhasa'- so fair play to you.
You linked to a 'masterful' blog post in your article where I read this gem- 'In light of the foregoing, it should be evident that the Nazi oppression of the Jews or the Brahmanical oppression of the shudras cannot be considered Orientalist because they do not involve the aforementioned processes. Nonetheless, they are forms of domination and can be studied as such.'
This was written by a guy with a Hindu name. What he is saying is that Brahmins oppressed Shudras in a manner comparable to Nazis oppressing Jews- and Hinduism went along with it because...urm... india pherry hot?
With friends like these who needs enemies?
BTW I'm not 'observer'.
I've posted a lot on Pollock, Witzel et al here http://socioproctology.blogspo...

Since you have taken the trouble to write at some length I will too
1) my 'problem with Kumar' is in 4 parts
a) he links Franfurt School with Doniger Pollock et al. Not true. Doniger has some Freudian influence but it isn't Marcusian. Pollock is indebted to Foucauld & Said but they weren't in the Frankfurt tradition. This is 'intellectual history' - 1066 and all that- no opinion but facts.
b) he says you can only confront a theory in a patently ridiculous way. This is just arrant nonsense. He has a PhD. Had he quoted Rajiv Malhotra in his viva he would have been laughed out of the University.
c) he tells us that he didn't understand something which he quoted at length. But it wasn't 'Sokalese' it was genuine. He was merely demonstrating his ignorance. That's fine but he is doing so in an article where he says we have to understand a theory in order to confront it. In other words, the fool wasted our time because at the end he boasts of knowing nothing about the subject he is discussing.
d) he and you make a false claim re. Godel. Look it up. Read what I wrote before. Peano Arithmetic isn't the only thing to which axiomatic theory is relevant. If you make an inaccurate statement in a comment on a post- e.g.'Einstein theory of relativity is not wrong, it just not as right as quantum theory'- that's fine. But if you do so in a published article and mention at the end where you did your Doctorate or where you work then you are showing 'reckless disregard'.
If you don't understand what the term means Google it.
Okay, I'll help you out one last time- suppose I publish an article saying 'Kumar is a fool. He has a Phd in xyz, yet doesn't understand Godel'. In this case, Kumar won't be able to sue me for damages. He can't deny that he uttered the sentence I quote in a context where he should have shown due regard because the comment occurred in a published article.
I'm afraid your knowledge of Philosophy is greatly inferior to mine. Educate yourself. You aren't the only person on the internet. If other people use words you don't understand it doesn't mean what they are saying is meaningless to others of equal attainment.
In particular, people interested in the history of ideas, or those placed in specific institutional contexts by reason of their occupation, may well speak in terms of narratives which they deny actually obtain in the real world. This is what is called, by the Philosopher, David Lewis (look him up) a 'Convention' and is the 'solution to a co-ordination game'. Look up Thomas Schelling.
Believe me, if you do as I suggest, you will thank me for it. 'First order' theories are a stimulant to the mind. 'Second order' whining about what Whitey dun to us is toxic both to us as spiritual beings as well as to our culture or ancestral country.

By 'Theory' is meant a model of reality you have in your head which enables you to accomplish some real world action. If this Theory can't be easily put into words it is called 'expert cognition'. If Society needs that 'Expert Cognition' to be put into words so that it can be taught to a large number of people over a wide geographic area, so that much more can be accomplished very quickly, then a specialist vocabulary will be developed as well as 'heuristics' (rules of thumb or ways of picturing something to make it simpler) and 'pragmatics' (conventions about how the vocabulary and heuristics are to be used) and, in the case of algorithmic processes (i.e. mechanical decision procedures) even a 'syntax'.
Such a Theory is 'first order' as it helps produce actual things in the real world. 'Critical Theory' is 'second order' because it claims that there is some way to change how Theory is produced and this by itself will change the World. Experience shows this is nonsense. There is something called 'mechanism design', studied by Economists, which can be improved and that has positive long term effects but mere attitudinizing is a waste of resources because 'second order' theory crowds out 'first order' useful effort.
Post Modernism was about breaking with certain 'grand narratives'- e.g. the Indian one about how Whitey came and stole all our money which is why we are still so poor- and had salience in the Eighties for rising young academics who didn't want to continue to write worthless shite even after they'd got tenure. At the time, people thought more people getting Degrees was a good thing for the Economy. Now we know the opposite is the case. Still, there remains a 'cognitive bias' towards Higher Education even of a worthless type and, at the margin, it is worth pointing this out.
Dr. Kumar wrote carelessly because he has no great interest in the subject and the reception of his article couldn't affect his professional standing. He has no 'skin in the game'. Swarajya, similarly, doesn't greatly care about catering to elderly, often NRI, Hindutva types , because most of us are lunatics. Still, we are their Uncles or Aunties so to keep us happy they throw worthless articles like this to us.
This is entirely reasonable. Indians know that what Prof X said to Prof Y in some shithole of a University Department doesn't have any impact at all on their own life-chances. Similarly, Westerners don't need their Professors to make ignorant or prejudiced statements because any drunkard in the bar will do it for the price of a pint.
One last thing- when you come across a term you don't understand, or which you think has been misused, why not look it up on Wikipedia?
Discussion on Swarajyamag  30 comments

Confronting Indology – Part 3


That is the problem with you ABCD or BBCD types. You think English actually means something. It doesn't. It's just 'git pit'. That is why we proudly export the likes of Spivak and Bhaba.
Malhotra, on the other hand, is trying to foist his worthless sub-Spivakese off on us by tarting it up as 'purvapaksha'.
He's a Stephanian, so it's not entirely his fault.

Nope. You learnt how to make pointless pseudo-statements.

I did already- 'The only way you debunk a theory is by showing it has no explanatory, predictive, or heuristic power with respect to inter-subjective Reality.'

You were swindled.

Media Studies will do that to you. My sympathies.

You studied Media Studies. That's hilarious.

Malhotra had a genuine religious motivation and took up cudgels against stereotyping of Indians in America at a time when first generation immigrants like himself were genuinely worried that they would hit a glass ceiling because of prejudice. This hasn't happened.
The other point is that the work of Black Economists, like Roland Fryer, Glen Loury- or going further back- Thomas Sowell- had not established that 'attitudinal racism' has little effect compared to the 'situationally rational' drivers of statistical racism- e.g counter-productive affirmative action programs as part of a wider incentive incompatibility problem. Furthermore, the Turkish economist, Timur Kuran's work on Preference Falsification and Availability Cascades was just coming out. Since then, there is a lot of empirical work and, obviously, the internet has made accessing extra-disciplinary results much easier, so we can now not merely show but also prove that Foucauldian 'genealogy' is both incoherent and irrelevant.
Now, however, it has become clear that the way to kill off a noxious Avaliability Cascade is to ignore it rather than add to the number of its citations. But this means producing a new paradigm which can drive a fecund Research Program. Malhotra has tried hard but failed to do this because he is using a worn out Saidian template which has no relevance to a continental civilization experiencing rapid socio-economic growth,
Still, as you say, it may be that he is getting noticed but is he inspiring any useful work? Take the case of a young scholar working on the relationship between Vasubandhu and Umaswati. At some point, he will have to refer to J.L Mehta and thus engage with Heidegger. But Derrida has salience here as does Spivak. This is a slippery slope into Pollockian bollocks.
How to avoid this? Well, there must be some smart Computer Scientist or Mathematician who knows some Sanskrit (eighth standard level is fine). Why not commission him to take up some promising idea in his own field, or else a recent innovator in his field- e.g. Haskell Curry- and approach the subject from that point of view? In other words, find a substantive theory useful to us now and then relate it to a dilemma facing great thinkers of the past. That's the way to kill off 'critical theory'. The reason Science and Maths make progress is that they get embodied in new and more useful technologies thus killing of 'critical theories' (like Bergson's critique of Einstein) which deny that the technology could work and insist that the whole thing is just a misunderstanding of some long dead philosopher.

The author appears wholly deluded by mischievous 'Availability Cascades' and says utterly foolish things.
1) 'Four different ways of confronting ‘critical theory’ can be imagined, and I will describe these ways below.'
False! The only way you debunk a theory is by showing it has no expanatory, predictive, or heuristic power with respect to inter-subjective Reality.
The author, on the other hand, thinks that one way to confront a false theory- e.g. one which permit the thesis that he himself is a Thirteenth Century Sogdhian Camel urinating copiously upon Alexander the Great- is through 'the uttarapaksha demanded by Malhotra' which 'needs people well versed in' ancient Soghdian and Macedonian and Tachyonic physics.
This is crazy. The theory is obviously false and is refuted by common-sense, not some 'uttarapaksha' which illuminates the nonsense upon which it based.
We don't need people 'skilled in Sanskrit and our traditions, as well as the literary style of the Western humanities to properly engage (Pollock's) ideas.
It is sufficient to point out that his ideas would be risible if applied to anything he himself has first hand knowledge off.
Our author, stupider than he has any right to be, links instead to an Indian shithead who says that the Nazi oppression of the Jews was similar to the Brahmin oppression of the Shudras- i.e Brahmins ethnically cleansed Shudras and did not permit marriage or other ties to people from that community. This is factually wrong. Nambudri younger sons married Nair girls. At no time in Hinduism's history have Brahmins been alleged to commit genocide on 'Shudras'. Kshatriyas, yes- the case of Parasuram. Nishadas- maybe- the burning of the Khandava forest. However, Shudras were and are patrons of Brahmin priests- indeed some paid to be raised to God King status- and nobody kills off their customer base.
2) Our idiot thinks some 're-branding' is going on. This is foolish. The Frankfurt school is prestigious because it contained people like, not Sheldon, but Freidrich, Pollock. Adorno actually knew Western Music. His remarks on Schoenberg and so on are 'emic' and have value. By contrast, American Indology of the Doniger/Pollock/Witzel sort enjoys no prestige at all even if rebranded as 'Po-Mo, Po-Co' or 'Subaltern' or whatever because these are failed Research Projects blamed for 'the death of the Humanities' and unemployable Post Docs working as barristas.
The odd thing about our author is that he naively proceeds to supply us with evidence that his notion of 'rebranding' is foolish and worthless.
3) Our author could be forgiven for not having read my books- which parody Indology- but, it would appear he has read Malhotra's St.Stephanian pastiches of, or plagiarisms from, authors eminently of that sewer.
His own article is an unconscious parody of Malhotra's Saidian whining about being the victim of 'Orientalism' whereas everybody knows that people who do well financially through their Scientific nous are not debilitated in any way by what worthless Professors in dying Departments choose to write.
4) Our author's fourth way of confronting worthless shite is to talk worthless shite- viz 'to apply the axioms and paradigms of critical theory to itself.' He doesn't get that there is a first mover advantage here. Thus even if he refutes my theory that, he is a Thirteenth Century Sogdhian camel micturating mightily on the Great Macedonian, by demonstrating a superior mastery of Sogdhian linguistics and the minutiae of Tachyonic Physics, it would still be the case that he has, in a sense recognized by Lakatos and Feyerabend and Bayesian philosophers of Science, only increased the likelihood that I wasn't just talking worthless shite.
After all, only a person who has some connection with Thirteenth Century Sogdhia and with an established reputation for urinating on eminent men would go to the trouble to refute so bizarre a thesis.
At this point, you may be feeling I have been harsh on this young man- who is after all an uncultured Science nerd. I haven't. He is stupid and ignorant.
There is no excuse for writing this- 'As mentioned, we know from Godel’s famous incompleteness theorem that any sufficiently powerful axiomatic system must contain propositions that can be neither proven true nor false within that axiomatic system. Since ‘critical theory’ could be considered an axiomatic system where truth itself doesn’t exist as an axiom, making critical statements that cannot be falsified will be a lot easier than in other fields.'
Godel never said that a doxastic or deontic axiom system couldn't contain its own truth predicate. Indeed, he furnished us with a Proof of God which is perfectly coherent. Moreover, 'sufficiently powerful' is meaningless. How do we know that the Kripkean workaround for Tarski isn't 'sufficiently powerful'?
Okay, maybe this guy thinks he's writing for illiterate dehatis who don't have access to Wikipedia.
Still, why does he write that 'critical theory' could be considered an axiomatic system'? Is this fucker utterly fucked in the head? This is his third article. Has he been stringing us along so as to suddenly reveal that Critical theory has a concrete model? If not why say it could be considered an axiomatic system?
How stupid and illiterate is this guy actually?
Well, being a good Indian boy, he supplies us all the facts necessary to form an independent judgment.
He quotes verbiage as worthless as his own and claims not to be tell if it is parody or not. Yet, the idiot must understand that his view is irrelevant because he is unfamiliar with the underlying i-language. He is not the proper recipient of the signal and doesn't possess the relevant protocols, or indeed, motivation, to decode it. Yet, lack of knowledge of the underlying i-language, disqualifies him from 'using critical theory' for any purpose at all, let alone confronting or refuting it.
In other words, our young genius has led us on a wild goose-chase at the end of which he reveals that he himself is a goose because he doesn't understand the first thing about what he is writing about.
Why publish such worthless drivel? Is the author trying to secure not just 'Educationally Backward Class' status but 'Uneducably, not to say Re-fucking-tarded, Backward Class' status for his caste fellows?
It won't work- believe me. My own books have been published to no nobler an end.
Discussion on Swarajyamag  3 comments

Club Sandwich? Thank God For The British Raj’s Dak Bungalows


Club sandwiches- an American invention- were served in some of the smarter Edwardian Clubs, but not in dak bungalows. Where was the khidmatgar supposed to get sliced bread and butter and cheese and ham and so on? The bigger Clubs and Messes had proper kitchens and trained staff.
The Eighteenth Century 'Mugh' cook proved quite versatile and thus tended to prosper. Families who specialized in providing domestic staff to Anglo-Indian Civilians invested in property which they then let out to their employers. Thus, to take an example, Rumer Godden's family's stately khidmatgar- who presided over a staff of about a dozen- actually owned the bungalow they occupied. This was the setting of the film 'The River'.
This 'Mugh' Anglo-Indian style of cooking did feedback to Britain because some servants followed their masters back to Blighty and set up curry houses. However, it was the Indian Railways catering staff whose style of cooking had most impact on Indian tastes. Dak bungalows were irrelevant because, even after independence, officials traveled with their own cooks, bedding, provisions etc. Journalists and the lower class of box-wallah, however, might have to sample the stark fare available at such places and, no doubt, exaggerated their experiences. Indeed, even into the Seventies of the previous century, the sure mark of a mendacious bore was the claim to have never eaten a better custard or meringue or whatever than that concocted out of rudimentary implements by a toothless old khidmatgar at some remote Dak bungalow.
Discussion on Swarajyamag  7 comments

Keynes Favored Eugenics, Migration Restrictions, and Population Control


Eugenics was very much part of Liberal orthodoxy. The Nobel Prize winning Myrdals supported Swedish forced sterilization which lasted till 1975. Come to think of it Aurobindo's younger brother ended up championing a Manuvadi Guru who is quoted as a Eugenicist.
In the case of Keynes, Fischer, Dalton and so on, the problem was that Darwinian evolution was not properly understood. This is linked, for Keynesians, with a fundamental misunderstanding of Knightian Uncertainty and why Economies might want to conserve it by Polya processes.
Discussion on Swarajyamag  42 comments

Swami Vivekananda Through The Lens Of Economics


Whoops- guess wringing Granny's neck while chanting 'Jai Kali Ma' wasn't such a good idea after all. I blame the Indiana Jones movies.
I suppose the orthodox Hindu would reply, if one's parents are unblemished- and only unblemished creatures are fit for sacrificial purposes- it is likely they will wish to serve the Lord- i.e. prefer this wretched existence on a karma-bhoomi- rather than enjoy pleasure in Heaven's 'bhoga-bhoomi'.
There are more technical answers based on lakshana-parinama and so on but there is a generally some flaw or workaround such that if happen to kill them to get their wealth or because they won't give your their Netflix password then you can claim to have been motivated by filial piety in helping them attain the delights of heaven.
Come to think of it, I could probably look this up on the internet and, for a small fee, will happily help you to do the appropriate prayischitam rituals of expiation.

You say that you have good qualities and ascribe it to the respective merits of a mixed upbringing. I can buy that. But do you live up to those good qualities in everything you dash off? I know, I don't. Maybe you are different from me because there is some 'holophrastic' sphota determining your every speech act.
There are good, purely mathematical reasons to believe this can't be the case iff Life evolved by Natural Selection or Occassionalism isn't true.
Chomsky himself is now a multiply realizable minimalist, not a Cartesian or Occasionalist 'sphota' guy at all.
In other words, there is literally no Linguist with any fucking credibility to permit you to continue to live in Vivekandanda's or Aurobindo's La La land;.
BTW, Raj- dude- you seriously linked to that worthless video given above? Why?
Do I really come across as an illiterate dick? Seriously? That's how you see me?
I'm a fucking Tamil Brahmin. Not the sort wot can play cricket or win the Vir Chakra by joining the Army.
I'm horribly bespectacled and as ugly as shit. So I stick with the stereotype.
Why are you not respecting it?
Everybody knows us guys know from Math and Physics and IT and Vedangas- WHICH IS WHY GOVT. OF INDIA CHOSE IYER TAMBRAM PRONUNCIATION AND HERMENEUTIC OF VEDIC SANSKRIT AS NORMATIVE- and stuff coz that was our one way out of the agraharam to the land of the self delivering Pizza- which don't exist yet, but I got a nephew at Amazon working on it.
Raj Singh, either you are thirty years older or younger than me (I'm in my early 50's) or, dude, seriously, you are wasting your life.
You have a comparative advantage in NOT BEING A DICK.
Exploit it. Write Sense Man.

Sacrifice is not killing but promoting to the Celestial Realm in a manner that conserves the jiva.
Interestingly, considered measures to cull a particular animal population, so as to conserve it, are referred to as 'Vishodhana' by Vyasa himself.
For Mimamsa, only domesticated creatures, including man himself, who thrive more than they could 'in the wild', can be considered 'Pashu' w.r.t to that Pashupati who is known as Purusha.
Clearly ancient Hindus did not, unlike certain non-Dharmic tribes, become 'fathers of the desert' by permitting their proprietary ungulates to just eat every green shoot or root in sight to maximise their supposed 'pecuniary' wealth.
BTW, the economic impact of Jainism on Indian economy was positive because it moved the economy away from counting wealth in terms of cattle towards counting it in terms of tradable value of things like pressed oil.
Narendra Modi as you know comes from Ghanchi, oil pressing, caste. Thus, his elevation to PM permits us to move away from the 'pecu' (which means cow in Latin) in the word pecuniary, with respect to the so called cow belt, towards a better nutritional and ecological equilibrium.
The supposed 'nirukta' type hermeneutic of the verses you quote was strategic merely- some foolish Indians believed the Redcoat 'beef eaters' were getting strong by eating our cows- but that's all. No Adhyatmic personality considers that view other than sublatable along the lines suggested.
The truth is, all rational agronomically dictated measures to manage any given plant or animal population are permitted or enjoined by, surprise! surprise! the highly successful, immemorial, religion of a rain-fed agricultural sub continent.
To suggest otherwise on the basis of shruti is, not just the height of collocational illiteracy, but also involves committing to the principle of compositionality- which leaves Hinduism soteriologically empty.
Why go down this road? It is foolish. Do you think British cows should be allowed to breed ad infinitum?
There are enough stupid Brits who won't let my neighbourhood foxes be shot despite the nuisance they cause. Don't say you are a nutter who wants me to be standing knee high in cow shit coz u think quod licet bovi non licet Jovi.
And if you don't want it in your Borough, be it Brent or Barnet, why are you wishing it on Bharat?

1) 'your problem is with English speaking Western educated Indian philosophers and gurus'- that makes sense to me.
Indian thought- apart from some Navya-Nyaya theorists- denies the principle of compositionality and there is overlapping consensus that purely apophatic, inutionistic, truth sublates any effable statement. Western thought denied this from the time of Petrarch- they turned their backs on hesychasm and the Orthodox tradition. Moreover, unlike Islam, Western Christendom did not grant imperative statements a separate ontological realm in the Muslim manner and thus something like Jorgenson's dilemma- i.e. imperative statements looking like logical deductions- bedevilled their philosophy. One way out was the purely phenomenological however this would cash out as either the Occasionalism of Descartes and Liebniz or else involve a Substantivist cognitivist teleology or some mish-mash between the two. So, on the one hand, for Descartes you have a Mind-Body problem or Free Will pseudo problem (pseudo because a Cartesian mind could not be embedded in a physical body since the computational cost of its cogito would be unsustainable) or else you have morally imbecilic Liebnizian or Hegelian types of 'progressivist' Philosophy of History- i.e. ideas like perpetual peace in Europe can be purchased by the French invading Egypt, or Kant's notion that Black people are simply stupid by nature, or Hegel's notion that the State he served had a perfect constitution.
The parlous state of Western philosophy was worsened firstly by half-baked, unscientific, ideas about Evolution- which was wrongly thought of as teleological- and secondly by 'the Linguistic turn' starting from Frege. Unfortunately, J.L Mehta became infatuated with Heidegger and started writing witless shite because he was after all Indian and deeply spiritual and writing shite comes natural to us- at least in English. Matilal suffered a worse fate by succumbing to Spivakese though it must be said Navya-Nyaya is stupid and nothing good could come of it in any case. However, Nawadvipa is interesting for lovers of Riti poetry and Bhakti theology but simple people can write simply about this and so there is no need to trouble the Professors.
Turning to late Nineteenth Century India, we find that there was no great lag or hysteresis effect between Indian intellectuals and Westerners. The more practical gravitated to Spencer and then Marshall but then lost their way in German Institutionalist shite.
Aurobindo, a purer breed of Anglophile, arrives independently at the same stupidity as Sassure starting from the Vakyapadiya notion of 'sphota'. Similarly, without reading Bergson, he comes up with something as silly.There may have been some bleed through from lesser Theosophists but in the main Aurobindo is coming up with the same stupid worthless shite as Anglo-Frenchh philosophers shown to have been ignorant and utterly wrong. Still, at least he didn't start babbling Teutonic shite.
This is an important distinction. Bergson genuinely thought that Einstein was a metaphysician like himself and that his theory of Time was wrong because of something lacking in the latter's Epistemology. Initially Bergson appeared to have won as far as the 'great and good' were concerned. But young scientists took up Einstein's ideas and quickly outdistanced him. By contrast, the Germans who also thought Einstein was wrong couldn't be bothered to take the bloody nose that might have restored them to their senses and degenerated as rapidly as their Reich.
Like Bergson, Indian soi disant thinkers- like Vivekananda and Aurobindo and Gandhi- and so on were very quickly overtaken by events. They were fossils which had never actually come to life. They were talking out dated nonsense ab ovo. No doubt, Academics still write worthless dissertations and even textbooks about them- more especially Gandhi- but this is an 'availability cascade'. It exists because of an 'incentive incompatibility', a design flaw, in tenured Higher Education.
Genuine Indian philosophers exist in all the Dharmic Sects. They knew their own tradition and then worked patiently to incorporate advances in Science and Economics and so on into their vernacular tradition. No doubt, they also did a lot of other things- e.g. raise funds for schools, hospitals etc- and are not highlighted for their philosophical work. Indeed, when wealthy people of a sect want to get a philosophical book by a revered Guru published, they don't want it to contain any technical detail or incisive argument. Instead the just want bombastic nonsense of the familiar sort.
Take the example of Jainism. I was translating a book by a revered Upadhyaya which said 'Our story of how Humanity evolved is just a story (mithak). In reality x,y,z. I checked when he said this and whom he was meeting at that time, so I was able to determine what he was getting at. The publisher however cut out the passage so that in the English version you read something like this 'Don't have blind faith in old stories. Take Evolution. What is the truth? First we were born as twins and married our sisters.' What had been cut out was the sentence where the Teacher said 'don't have blind faith in the stupid story that we were initially born as twins and married our sisters'.
Since philosophy, as evidenced by the West, is worthless as an academic subject, no great loss is incurred by this sort of thing in India because the Hindi or other vernacular version has not been censored. Dharmic people are not so evil that they won't to cut off ordinary Indians from the truth; they just don't want it to be in the English version because that could create a mischief.
In this case, Jainism gets protected if the English version portrays them as believing something idiotic. This is because Western adventurers are always on the look out to rush in and make some absurd claim re. that Religion. You may remember that Shyamji Krishnavarma gave his first proof of patriotism by helping Dayanand Sarasvati to keep the swindler Blavatsky and the simpleton Olcott out of the Arya Samaj.
You make a good point about Sanskrit, though you must admit that knowledge of Sanskrit enables people, not just Indians, to say stupider things than would otherwise be the case. Also proper scholastic, ritualistic, dead language based religions- like ISKCON can flourish in remote countries. Indeed, only such religions, regulated by a Poorva Mimamsa type hermeneutic, thrive and maintain their identity. Others just merge into New Age mush.
2) Books on Jainism do indeed paint it in an unattractive manner. Thus adherence to it is a 'costly signal'- which is why the Jains, who are pretty smart, prefer it that way. What I like about them is their Upadhyayas have written books in each of our vernacular languages which give us a pretty good account of the merits and glories of each of our own sects. There is a particularly long tradition of this in Tamil.
3) Where Purva Mimamsa died, Hinduism soon followed because there was no 'costly signal' involved. Everything was just 'cheap talk' which tended to degenerate into bombastic nonsense.
The reason Purva Mimamsa, as a hermeneutic, went hand in hand with the Vedangas, was because it gave a motivation not to corrupt the texts or practices. This meant that this type of Religion could solve the co-ordination problem for a big country with multiple centers of authority.
Take the case of the Zionists- who thought ritualistic Haredi Judaism was medieval and would wither away. It now looks as though they will be the majority and more maskilim Jews- even people like Leo Strauss- saw the writing on the wall in this regard by the mid Sixties.
4) You should be angry with Debroy, who is an economist, for saying that Vivekananda said things which makes sense to an economist. On the evidence he provides, the reverse is the case. Getting angry with Debroy is something called 'Voice' and it demonstrates 'Loyalty'- according to the theory of an Economist Debroy knows very well. If he is rational and genuinely concerned with this topic, he will respond by upping his game or Exiting the market.


A Les Dawson joke? OMG, you can't be much younger than me! What's more we are all Brits. Fuck, don't let's get to comparing how much our houses are worth or which of our progeny works for Goldman Sachs.
On the other hand, if your son is still in Primary School let me rub your nose in it by saying my son got a full Scholarship to Westminster.


Maybe because my parents settled in Delhi, Ghalib is my poet too. I have written a book called 'Ghalib, Gandhi & the Gita' vixd http://socioproctology.blogspo...


You mean Allah hu Ahluwalia- a popular cry back when my Dad was at Elphinstone and a Punjabi Refugee dealing in 'kulcha- chole' would take pity on poorer students.
I believe that whole family is now very wealthy. Still, I recall Dad taking me to the old man in 1974 who was very happy to see that his fat ex patron had an even fatter son.


Don't get the first allusion- I iz Tamizh I say!
Still, if Mir is your Pir, try this for size- http://socioproctology.blogspo...

Dear Raj Singh,
I would like to give a detailed and considered reply to the points you raise and will do so, Deo Volenti!, by and by.
For the moment, let me clarify
1) Aurobindo wasn't an 'Indian philosopher' any more than Ambedkar or, indeed, Radhakrishnan whom my family knew very well. They were foreign trained pedants fostered for a foreign didactic purpose.
Like you, I read Aurobindo as opening doors to a genuine hermeneutic based on 'apoorvata'. But then I read more, and suddenly the cigar smoking, brandy swilling Saint, diminished before my eyes into a verbose Tielhard de Chardin avant la lettre saved from engaging with ideas by the attentions of a Franco-Egyptian Jewish Mother. His writing is wholly worthless. He simply stopped thinking around the same time he decided not to consummate his marriage. Still, his Divine Mommy ran a tight ship and so his Ashram aint utterly crap.
2) yes I'm a Brahmin and yes Vedantic Monks revolt me- back in '82 I gave money to a monk of my caste to go marry an 'S.C girl' (actually a relation of Barrister Khobargarde which is why I had been supplied with money) so I got a fantastic reputation as the Saviour of young monks throughout India.
I am not homophobic, but I don't like to see young Brahmins bowing down in front of me with a mercenary look in their eye. That's why I'd lecture them about the evils of masturbation and then suggest they take my Uncle's I.T talent test.
Recently, an Iyer priest was killed in an OBC village. We don't fucking care. How fucking stupid was he to remain there?
By contrast, my handsome Sindhi friend who financed my 'philanthropy' made so much money he just flat out fucking died.
No kids, no grieving wife- like I said, the guy was handsome and inherited huge wealth. Unlike me, he could afford to be picky.
You will notice, I am using a non-linear type of logic here.
Do you know what it is called in Sanskrit?
Screw Sanskrit, do you have a name for it in any language or intuition or remembered epiphany of your own?
Anyway, getting back to the gravamen of my mot theme, it so happened, some years later, that the Jains invited me to translate a book by one of their Upadhyayas and so I saw how a decent, progressive, upwardly mobile community runs things. For a start, their older Upadhyays aint bombastic gobshites. Believe me, if Jain Sadhus and Sadhvis born in the boondocks could be so rational and genuinely utilitarian, then so could Hindu monks.
I should explain that I'm very dark and look and sound like your distant Uncle who suddenly sold his subsistence agricultural plot to a Real Estate Developer and thus is suddenly wearing an Italian suit and shopping in metropolitan Malls.
Since a lot of Jains, for e.g from East Africa, talk and look like me, I got the straight dope from Jain Acharyas.
I parleyed this advantage into getting the straight dope from my own worthless parasites. It really is the case that whatever is known to one sect is also known to the other. Thus, the relentless puerillity of Anglophone Hindu Shitheads or Swamis is a case of Hotelling's Law- i.e. in the Religion business no one ever lost money by saying anything intelligent.
Anyway, now the Jains have secured Minority Status, they are bound to degenerate- indeed, to my knowledge, already have done so.
3) You speak of Social Evils. Animal Sacrifice isn't one of them. Nor is ritual prostitution. A Caste System- like that enforced by modern Militaries- though, admittedly, Israel is an outlier here- isn't necessarily one either.
What is a Social Evil is 'incentive incompatability' - a situation where bright young people like- if not Vivekananda or Aurobindo or Gandhi- but the Gadarene scholastic swine they inspired- gain a rent, rather than lose their livelihood, by such worthless gesture political stupidity.
4) Why are you not angry with Bibek Debroy instead of me? It is he who quotes Vivekananda as saying obviously false and foolish things. You yourself may believe in the virtue of a spiritual and eunuch-like 'Hindu soul' inhabiting a virile 'Muslim body'. Unfortunately, that "Muslim body' will tolerate no such meretricious stupidity. Vivekananda's vision of the Bangla Mussulman protecting with his muscles the essentially Ghoti or Kulin 'Hindu' soul was and is patently absurd.
His disciples fucked up by opposing the partition of Bengal in 1905 and decrying the Brits as pirates and slave-drivers. They got their comeuppance with the dawning of Democracy. Nehru laughed at them when they ran to him to request protection for their kids and wives from rape and slaughter. He said 'why did you not perish with them? Why are you alive while they are dead or worse than dead?'
This is a story about 'Preference Falsification'. Comprador cunts may feel good about pretending they represent the toiling masses but they don't. They are the first to get fucked when the pattern of hegemony changes.
Aurobindo had the sense to go to the Hindu South and get a Jewish Divine Mother who persuaded him to give up cigars and brandy thus prolonging his life long enough to make petty complaints about T.S Eliot's Latin and to support India's entry into the War by the Viceroy's diktat.
There is not one line written by either Vivekananda or Aurobindo or Gandhi or, indeed, Radhakrishnan or any other Indian who wrote in English at that time, which I can't show, within the space of a thousand words, to be egregiously false, ironically foolish and utterly fucking ignorant even by the standards of those times.
Having said that, genuine Guru vatsalya- like the love a man may show even for a Prostitute of a mother- is something wholly venerable.


But some collocations of words, those of the Saints, are like Sitar strings, playing with them changes who you are, what you want to be, and- for the Divinely gifted some- what they become for not just their own generation but all Time.
Schopenhauer said 'if the Universe perishes, Music will remain'.
You too- Modi-the-butcher- can achieve transcendence.
Indeed, your feet are already firmly planted on that path.
Discussion on Swarajyamag  4 comments

Society And The Second Law


Oh dear. The man has fallen among, worse than thieves, Sociologists- that too of a particularly second rate sort.
Georgescu Rogen tried to link entropy to Economic processes but everybody realized this was stupid because Economic processes are not entropic but represent Red Queen type co-evolutionary pressures. These processes are optimal if they are 'regret minimizing'- i.e. Hannan consistent- which means that they should increase variability and thus 'Tiebout Sorting'.
This is what is happening today. There is more Knightian Uncertainty because Technology is genuinely evolving in an unforeseeable manner. If anomie on the JNU campus goes up- that is a good thing because everybody knows that Kanhaiya's PhD in African studies is worthless because genuine Africans are around to confirm this fact. Still, lawyers beating up JNU students- rather than the other way round- is a sign and a wonder.
Discussion on Swarajyamag  2 comments

Bad News: The Gap Between Developed And Developing Economies Is Huge


Was this published on April the First?
This man is economically illiterate. He lives in a fantasy world of greedy capitalists plotting to impoverish workers where, like in Fritz Lang's film Metropolis, Robots 'throw a spanner in the works'.
Discussion on Swarajyamag  2 comments

Are Financial Markets A Public Good?


The author is privileged to live in a world where there is something called Labor whose returns are inversely affected by returns to Capital, which those naughty Central Banks coddle. The rest of us, however, live in a world where a guy who is laboring today is also building up capital towards his retirement or loss of ability to labor, because human biology is such that no one can safely predict they will earn a wage for the whole of their natural life.
Suppose there is no Knightian uncertainty and Common Knowledge obtains- then there is an intersubjective golden path for the economy such that we can indeed say- 'returns to Capital are too high- there will be an under-consumption crisis' or the reverse because the class of riskless assets is well defined. However this is not the case.
What has happening since the Eighties is that Technology has turned into a bigger and bigger wild card while Nation State Regime stability has decreased- (i.e fiscal mix is less predictable).
Anwar Shaikh's work suggests that Industries are segmented according to entrepreneurs' Technological savvy- i.e. the Wild Card is creating an asymmetry- and returns to this savvy, so to speak, converge because Markets are happier to see the smart entrepreneur sitting on a money pool though they attack the one who looks un-smart who is doing the same thing. Think of Google. If it is sitting on a pile of cash, chances are it can bid down acquisitions which it has superior ability to synergise. In other words, a power law is operating in this sector.
Obviously, since asymmetry has increased, as has underlying Knightian Uncertainty about not just Technology but also Demographics- not to mention the nigger, or wog, in the woodpile- the direction in which Capital Controls and portfolio diversification is going in emerging economies- there is going to be a lot more volatility or turbulent flow which itself is a driver for liquidity preference.
The obvious solution is better mechanism design but this can be done by competition within financial markets- and this includes permitting Exit, which does mean Central Bankers ought to develop a more stony hearted or step-motherly approach.
Discussion on Swarajyamag  31 comments

Revisiting The British Raj


Curzon wasn't a likable man but he had a vision for India- he wanted it to grow rapidly and be free of Westminster's apron strings.
By contrast, Lal, Bal & Pal were blindly digging the graves of their own communities.
Curzon's partition of Bengal was a very good thing- as the Hindus belatedly realized- but so was his plan for an economically successful India which would reclaim its leading position in World Trade.
Sadly, the Indians themselves contributed to Curzon's fall. The result was that the share of fdi into India went on declining while Egypt, Malaysia etc shot up. By 1919, the Indian portion of Empire was barely breaking even. Reading was the man to save India from the stupidity of the agitators- he wanted to avoid a second Ireland developing- i.e. a huge waste of Westminster's time- and was prepared to broker a deal which, unusually, would have meant American fdi and rapid Economic growth.
Unfortunately, Gandhi believed that if India grew rich then those cunning Goras would steal all the money and never leave- i.e. Swaraj meant starvation so nobody had an incentive to steal from you- and, under Nehru (who, to the American Ambassador's dismay, believed the Indian peasant could never prosper because the money-lender would grab all his money) India did indeed lose Global market share at a virtuous rate.
Irwin wasn't of the same caliber as Curzon and Reading- by then India was considered a lost cause because of the blind alley behavior of its leaders- but made the best of a bad job and was remembered fondly.
Discussion on Swarajyamag  42 comments

Swami Vivekananda Through The Lens Of Economics



According to Islam, Islam predates Islam. Similarly Sanathan Dharma predates its own Shruti- an important reason why I can stick with Sayana as opposed to accepting an Arya Samaji type hermeneutic.


Ghalib himself is said to have preferred Momin's couplet-Tum mērē pās hōtē hō gōyā
Jab kō'ī dūsrā nahīⁿˡ hotā.
However all this references the great Sheikh, Abu Bakr ash Shibli, who said 'Sufi monism is an idolatory because it is the guarding of the heart from the vision of the Other, and the Other does not exist.'

Teaching American Politics to Tunku


Detected as spam Thanks, we'll work on getting this corrected.

Tunku wasn't brainwashed by white people. I met him when he came to London from Mayo College. His father, an IAS officer, belonging to the same caste as myself, was impressed that I had got into the LSE at age 16 though studying at a free 'Grammar School'. He wanted me to persuade Tunku not to insist on going to Dulwich College (a fee paying school, famous for having produced P.G Woodhouse and Raymond Chandler) but simply settle for the excellent free education till age 18 that was afforded by the British to the families even of diplomats.
Tunku refused. He insisted on Dulwich, supported perhaps by his mother- a smart lady. However, that marriage ended and Vardarajan incurred odium by dealing with her harshly. By contrast, the younger son, Siddhartha, who was tall and well built, went to State School and, perhaps in reaction to being called an 'oik' by his elder brother, embraced a harmless type of Socialism which reconciled him to a degree from the LSE rather than, the more expensive, Oxbridge education his brother received.
Needless to say, what made Tunku's golden path feasible was the fact that his father was an IAS officer of the U.P cadre. (Cough, cough. Need I say more?)
At the time, he justified his wasting of his father's money, or potential for corruption, by telling me he would be a big barrister back in India and have plenty of black money of his own.
Tunku didn't have what it takes to achieve that ambition. He'd be stuck as a Law lecturer had he not shown a genuine talent for writing worthless witless crap.
Rupert Murdoch, at that time, was recruiting people with influential Dads in India. He turned Tunku into a journalist on the basis of a shite book re. Human Rights and Kashmir which still gets zero citations.
Meanwhile, the brighter, morally much better, younger brother had come up on his own and could have settled down to a productive career as an American Academic in some technical field.
Sadly, he returned to India- and by dint of genuinely not knowing the answer to questions like 'What or who is a Kurmi?'- gained such salience as is only welcome from an editor of the Hindu at a time when Corruption reigns supreme at the Centre.
Still, Siddharta will always do a little donkey work. He isn't a bad guy. Just blinkered.
By contrast, Tunku is a meretricious prostitute. He made the mistake of rebelling against Murdoch and his continued existence in the Republic of Letters is a salutary reminder that Murdoch can turn a turd into an influential Editor, but only to prove, by turning that Editior into some sort of faltu Professor, that turds alone populate its Demos.
Discussion on Swarajyamag  42 comments

Swami Vivekananda Through The Lens Of Economics


Shameless self promotion- this is a link to a book of minehttps://books.google.co.uk/boo...

You were born in Britain and have the trait prized most highly by the British- viz. fair mindedness and siding with the underdog. You have Indian ancestry, perhaps from Punjab or Rajasthan, and show the nobility of character prized in that region which expresses itself as humility towards Saintly preceptors.
However, you are able to recognise that Guru Nanak- as opposed to say, Nund Rishi, who went in the reverse direction- was doing something great for our society by turning from the gamble that is peripatetic sanyas or, indeed, the burying of talent that is eremitic sadhana, to 'krishi' as counselled in the Rg Veda.
It seems you want to accord the same sublime position that all sensible people willingly grant Guru Nanak to more recent spiritual personalities who took a quite different path but happen to have a superior English writing style.
This is folly.
Chesterton went to the same school as Aurobindo. The Headmaster was one of the best Classicists around and also had an M.A in Sanskrit and a degree in Law. The atmosphere at school was 'Radical'.
Back in India, Vivekananda was receiving just as good a schooling in English Literature and additionally did receive a thorough grounding in Classical Sanskrit- but not, as you point out, its hermeneutic underpinnings.
The only difference between Vidyasagar's school in Calcutta and St. Pauls in London, was that Latin and Greek were not taught to the same level because boys weren't hoping to get Classics scholarships to Oxbridge. But this was not an insuperable barrier. The late Upendra Lal Goswami, whom I had the honour to meet, came from a similar background to Vivekananda. His father too lost everything. Goswami nevertheless passed the ICS exam by memorizing the Latin and Greek Dictionaries. This was also the secret of Srinivas Sastri's success.
I'm South Indian and we were a bit behind the brilliant Bengalis but the milieu is one very familiar to me. I know what people with a similar background to Vivekananda were doing and thus can 'compare and contrast' their achievements.
Thus, for example, I know what was taught at Vidyasagar's School. Indeed, my paternal ancestor who took a job, circa 1870, as a Sanskrit teacher at a High School in Madras Presidency set up on Vidyasagar's lines has left a memoir which my late Grandmother wanted to get published.
You see, the current Indian bildungsburgertum- i.e. middle class which rose through education- featured an ancestor who starts off by teaching the vernacular or sacred language in a Raj inspected School so that his kids get a head start and become fluent in English.
If you are a Punjabi speaker, you may be aware of the joke that the lecturer in Punjabi insists his children speak Urdu. The Urdu lecturer insists his kids speak English. The English lecturer insists they communicate only through C++ or, better still, American slang.
As I say, Calcutta Uni. set higher standards and later on, when the 'Orientalists' won the Education battle, Punjab Uni. was able to take a more balanced approach with the result that its Education system was far better geared to meeting the genuine needs of the people.
Incidentally, I once had the opportunity to take 'pasta' with the great Nobel Laureate Abdus Salam. It so happened my neighbour, an Italian lady, had been a cleaner at Imperial College. She would take home cooked pure vegetarian Italian food to give to hungry students- or even hungry professors!
I could not believe that such a great man would come to her house, after she retired, to eat her pasta! He was right to do so. That lady had some great spiritual quality.
I said to him 'Martha is a hujjat (proof) of Xtianity'- by which I meant she was living the precept 'love thy neighbor'. He then spoke to me about the concept of 'proof' or rather 'pramana' as we would say.
Even after finding out I was a Hindu, he spoke very frankly and affectionately. I suppose he must have thought I was uneducated because I was dressed in shorts and we were speaking Urdu. Still, his point was British created an Education system based on vernacular instruction with either Sanskrit or Persian as elective options. Yes, this did drive a wedge between Hindus and Muslims, but since the Vernacular was the medium of primary education- and English that of Further Studies- no irremediable mischief was worked.
India and Pakistan have destroyed their Govt Education system. People like Abdul Kalam or Abdus Salam face greater challenges now then under the Raj.
Let me tell you a story. I was a young boy of ten or eleven years when a member of the Greek Royal family- which is related to the British Royals- invited my mother to accompany her on a trip to some obscure teerth in Rajasthan. Ministry of External Affairs had sent some young sprig to see to the 'bundobast' and Mum brought me along because I'm as ugly as shit, look like a thug, and extremely belligerent towards 'Romeo' types. No doubt, she hoped some 'spirituality' would rub off on me. Who knows? Maybe it did.
Anyway, what I remember is a guide showing us around some ruin. In pathetic broken English he was telling the Gori Princess that British had looted everything. Suddenly, there was a lion like roar. A small wizened lady- whom I remember because she kept candy tied up in her pallu and would keep feeding me the same when Mum wasn't looking- started shouting at the Guide. "Congress haramis looted everything!' she said and then suddenly deciding to drop the pretence that she didn't know English (she was a Royal) she lectured the Greek Princess on how everything had been kept immaculate till the mid Fifties when the Congress wallahs gained power and stole and ruined everything. This is the true 'drain theory'. In Economics, it is called rent dissipation.
Sorry, I'm writing at such length. I suppose I do so because I am protesting the injustice you do me by addressing me with a minimum of respect.
My dear Sir, I would have you know I have worked very hard to slough off every vestige of respectability and wish to appear, and to be addressed in terms conformable to that appearance, as a deranged, deformed, Thersites like, vidushak. This is perfectly in conformity with Dharma and is referred to as samrambha yoga or virodha bhakti. It achieves a soteriological purpose when it satirises 'rasabhasa'- i.e. getting worked up over an imaginary or incompossible object.
In the cases of Vivekananda, Aurobindo, Mahatma Gandhi, and many others- none of whom were Economists, a pardonable adherence to a plausible but false Economic doctrine- viz. 'drain theory'- caused utterly foolish and ridiculous types of 'rasabhasa' which led to bad real world consequences. However, there motives were pure and so people like you- i.e. spiritually inclined people- are shielded, by the Grace of God, from the normal evil consequences of nescience except in so far as it affects your ability to discharge your duty.
Arthashastra, as you will know was not re-discovered- actually by a relative of mine- till after Swamiji's death. Yet, I personally know that you can get the essence of it purely from Jain sources kept alive by their Sadhus and Sadhvis. This raises a genuine issue re. British sponsored 'Orientalist' education- viz. it's tendency to compound the ignorance bred by Sectarian availability cascades. However, that is simply a feature of Credentialized Higher Education- nothing Rajiv Malhotra need get worked up about.
To give one example, my ancestors in the Seventeenth Century had a provable knowledge of Jain Classics like Sillapadikaram but had forgotten this by the end of the Nineteenth Century- thus giving rise to its 'rediscovery'. Similarly, Nabadwip knew that Samkhya was living- a Tamil Reformer who studied there has said as much- but many books still say it is dead (which, for all I know, may now be the case) whereas it was alive and well in the '20's as a voluminous tome on my bookshelf testifies.
This has gotten too long. So I'll end here though aware there are many issues you have raised which, in common courtesy, I ought to have addressed rather than gassing on in a senile style.

Well written. The difference between us is that I came to England only when I was 14. I had an inferiority complex not because I was Black but because, when in India, I was forced to compete with kids from villages whose initial education was in some half ruined Vedic patshala or Jain vidhyalay, whereas I attended the same school as Sanjay Gandhi and Shahrukh Khan.
We came to know, when we sat the Science Talent exam, that the little bastards from the villages were smarter than us- our one advantage was our knowledge of English swear words and American comics, which however proved decisive in giving us a better start in life. True, a lot of those little bastards are now much richer than us- but they had to slog for it and their kids, whom they send to our sorts of schools, look down on them. At least, I hope they do.
My point is that the traditional Hindu or Jain educational system produced and produces a superior product- up to the age of 14 or thereabouts- because it is more logical and universal as opposed to concerned with irrational shibboleths designed to demarcate the upper middle class from the rabble.
Education, as opposed to Technical training or Apprenticeship, much beyond that age is, in any case, generally a waste of resources and only occurs to ration Credentialist rents.
Turning to Vivekananda, who could have had the same type of education as Vidhyasagar, had he chosen, it is scandalous that he is justifying a practice which Vidhyasagar had campaigned against. Indeed, the latter succeeded in getting the Widow Remarriage act passed ten years before Vivekananda was born.
Vivekananda attended a school set up by Vidyasagar. He had ample opportunity to acquire a solid background in Sanskrit and Persian and other languages like some of his own progenitors. Had he done so, he could have made a mark as a lawyer dealing with the minutiae of Dayabhaga inheritance law or what have you. Many of the great lawyers of the period established their ascendancy by their knowledge of the great Classical languages of India. Vivekananda neglected to do any such thing preferring instead to indulge in pseudo-intellectual fads and esoteric availability cascades congenial to the gentry.
Thus 'Harbhat Pendse' attracted his magpie mind. He never rose to the Benthamite tradition, championed by Raja Ramohan Roy, which was being reinvigorated and put upon a sound mathematical footing by Marshall and Menger and so on.
In Religion, he first fell for Brahmo special pleading- but there was a caste angle to this, and the movement stagnated as a mere means of status competition among comprador rent seekers, which is why Christian Missionaries could co-opt the whole thing- and then, later on, once his family had lost its wealth and he proved too lazy and stupid to remedy the situation, he took up the one Guru who couldn't correct his abysmal ignorance and bombast and thereafter flourished as his Evangel.
Vivekananda's shtick- like that of the comprador class he belonged to- was that India was a shit-hole inhabited by turds in human form but since he could talk worthless shite till the cows came home it followed that he and his ilk had 'obligatory passage point status' and thus should receive a rent as some sort of inter-cultural arbitrageur or 'native informant' or even 'agent of social change'.
This is crazy. The Kayasthas were a purely comprador class. They were the crooked Agents and Lawyers who, acting as the intermediary between the Lord and his peasants, swindled both unceasingly. No doubt, it was in the interest of the Kayastha class to put up bogus 'Swamis' so as to gain respectability, but it is interesting that Lal Bahadur Shastri took a different tack. He re-established respect and esteem for Kayasthas by not being a bombastic unpatriotic prick but actually rolling up his sleeves and displaying genuine courage.
When you see an Indian patshala or mutt or whatever in a horrible condition, the reason is not Hinduism but Economics. Good Mechanism Design fixes the problem. Praising Vivekananda or Aurobindo or Mahatma Gandhi or any other overblown gobshite doesn't help anybody.
Vidhyasagar, Ranade etc saw that legal reform was needed and they pushed for it. Traditional Mimamsakas saw that English 'stare decisis' was retrograde and thus supported Independence because it eased Statutory change. Talking worthless shite helps nobody. Genuine Indian philosophers- not idiots like Aurobindo or Vivekananda- understood this perfectly well.

Either Vivekananda did say the following or Bibek Debroy is a malicious liar- ' How was it possible for the Hindus to have been conquered by the Mohammedans? It was due to the Hindus’ ignorance of material civilization. Even the Mohammedans taught them to wear tailor-made clothes. Would the Hindus had learnt from the Mohammedans how to eat in a cleanly way without mixing their food with the dust of the streets! ' Consider what he is saying- Hindus are so stupid that he looks blankly at the Mohammedan when the latter says to him 'my dear kaffir, why not put your put your food on a plate rather than on the surface of the road before you proceed to devour it? See, the road is very dirty. Horses and cows have urinated and defecated on it. All sorts of filth have been spread upon its surface. If you put your 'sandesa' on the road, it will get mixed with feces, urine and other types of unclean material. You will ingest that shit and piss and dirt unless you put your food on a thali and eat it with some sense of hygiene.'
Vivekananda is not saying that Indian people, by reason of some genetic defect, are unable to understand that they should put their food on plates rather than on the 'dust of street'. Only Hindus, despite repeated admonishment from Muslims, are engaging in this filthy practice. Thus it must be something wrong with Hinduism, as a religion, which is causing this atrocious and unhygienic behavior. Thus, though Vivekananda does not say 'Hinduism is evil and de-civilizing' explicitly, this and nothing but this is the Gricean implicature of his statement.
Why did Vivekananda say something so obviously false? The answer is that, like others of his class and milieu, he was a bombastic fool.He started talking and went on talking and got carried away and said foolish things. So did Chesterton- whom English Catholics want to have canonized as a Saint- and Tolstoy and other contemporary windbags. Now, a Guru does not cease to be a Guru if he or she says foolish or obviously false things. This is because the psychic process catalyzed by Guru vatsalya is not of a merely cognitivist sort. It is non-cognitivist. Gurus may speak entirely in riddles or they may not speak at all but communicate through antinomian gestures.
The problem here is that Bibek Debroy- who is unusual in that he has actually engaged closely with canonical Dharmic texts- is writing an article about Vivekananda seeking not to disparage him, not to convince us that he- like most hyper-articulate people of his class and time- babbled incontinent bombastic nonsense; but, rather, that Vivekananda understood the principles of Economics. However Debroy has done his subject a dis-service by quoting him as saying that Hindus refuse to learn from the Muslims how to 'eat in a cleanly way without mixing their food with the dust of the streets'. This is empirically false. It carries the Gricean implicature that Hinduism turns people into morons. It isn't helpful in any way.
Debroy is an Economist. He knows the algorithm for the 'stable marriage problem'. Yet he quotes Vivekananda as saying something very foolish about Widow remarriage viz. that a child widow 'has had her chance' and, though nubile and in no way unfitted to be a wife, must forego that opportunity even though there are eager suitors. Hinduism itself rejects this view. No doubt, many Bengali and Bihari Kayasthas at the time- because some had previously risen into Royalty- were enforcing highly retrograde 'purdah' type measures, not condoned by shastras, and mistreating child widows from an economic motive. By contrast, Maharashtrian Brahmins had firstly secured Statutory financial provision for Child Widows so that they could pursue useful vocations or else live with dignity with their own people and secondly led by example on the issue or Widow remarriage. This was helpful not harmful to the wider Hindu community. Why? Well once one community openly criticizes its own customs and reforms them, then a template for progress is created which others can follow. The Bengali Kayastha, though dreaming of the glory of their Maharaja Pratapaditya, were very quick to condemn the Kshatriyas and Brahmins of India- even where they had themselves displaced them by their cunning- and to paint the position of the Shudras and Vaishyas as much more miserable than it actually was, save where the Kayasthas had established their own power.
Take the case of Subash Chandra Bose's first political office. C.R Das refused to appoint a more senior person from the 'Shudra' community saying the Kayasthas would not be happy.
My point is here is that a person who doesn't reform his own community but who goes running around India and overseas shouting that Hindus are too stupid to eat from plates, preferring to mix their food with the dirt of the streets, is not deserving of the sort of respect and veneration which the author of this article evidently wants us to feel.

Vivekananda had some remarkable qualities but was very much a product of his time. He did not say anything more egregiously false or foolish than his mystically inclined contemporaries in Russia and Europe and America. His early death, it must be said, was a blessing because after the outbreak of the First World War, something like the Indo-Germanic conspiracy was bound to have 'separated the sheep from the goats'- to employ a metaphor popular at the time- with a further division becoming inevitable thanks to the success of the Bolsheviks.
What would have been his trajectory, had he lived? Would he have ended up like Aurobindo or would he have taken the path of M.N Roy?
Vivekananda was not an Economist and knew nothing of Indian Economic History- which it must be said was still in a parlous state during his formative years. Bibek Debroy- whether intentionally or not- quotes him as saying utterly foolish things contradicted by genuine Historians like Radha Kumud Mukherjee or S.K Aiyangar.
The shallowness of Vivekananda's polemics is revealed by his comments founded on the Itihasas. He mentions Yuddhishtra but not the Vyadha Gita, which overcomes the former's vishaada. Clearly, if a 'butcher' lives in a luxurious Palace and remains indifferent to both the Prince and the Priest though gaining the highest knowledge, it can't be the case that ancient Indian Polities mercilessly exploited the 'Shudras'.
As a Bengali Kayastha, Vivekananda carried on the anti-Brahmin historiography of Ramram Basu which, itself, it must be said, had been paid for and procured by an English missionary who was revolted by the moral character of his protege.
Debroy quotes Vivekananda as believing that conditions under the Raj were entirely the expression of a wholly Hindu moral equlilibrium. Islam is only remarked on to assert that but for the Muslims the Indians would have no stitched clothes and no means of separating their food from their filth.
What, according to Vivekananda, made Hinduism so uniquely evil and de-civilizing?
Apparently it was because Hindu Kings had too much power-
'To protect the State, to meet the expenses of the personal comforts and luxuries of himself and his long retinue, and, above all, to fill to overflowing the coffers of the all-powerful priesthood for its propitiation, the king is continually draining the resources of his subjects, even as the Sun sucks up moisture from the earth.'
But where in Vivekananda's India were these hegemonic Hindu 'Roi Soliels'? They did not exist. Indeed, they could never exist save evanescently.
Since India is not a 'no escape zone of fertility' and since it contains 'Zomia' type 'shatter-zones, Indian Kings had to compete with each other for a relatively mobile agricultural and artisanal class with countervailing caste based power. Furthermore merchant capital had its own countervailing financial power and Emporiae type City States competed for the patronage of wealthy Seths by improving their amenities.
In other words, India featured what Economists call 'Tiebout sorting'. Only a feudal Empire at peace could reverse this trend- though this is what was happening under the Brits.
Vivekananda continues thus-
'His (the King's) especial prey — his milch cows — are the Vaishyas. Neither under the Hindu kings, nor under the Buddhist rule, do we find the common subject-people taking any part in expressing their voice in the affairs of the State.'
This is nonsense. There were plenty of Dewans and ex-Dewans around at the time. Shyamji Krishna Verma was one. They could easily have confirmed to Vivekananda that Kings- even the Nizam of Hyderabad (whose Finance Ministers were Hindus who took a Muslim wife to ease Social Relations)- had to be very careful in their dealings with wealthy Vaishyas.
No doubt Kayasths like Vivekananda had a grudge against the rising power of the 'Shudras'- e.g Mahishya leader Birendranath Sasmal- in Bengal; but it was a fairy story that these 'Shudras' had been violently repressed by anything other than the cunning of Kayasthas themselves.
Why did Vivekananda talk rubbish? The answer is that he was ignorant of practical life. He had never been a householder. He hadn't practiced a profession. His 'rajas' expended itself in worthless polemics. In America and Europe, he was cared for by maternal ladies- like Longfellow's niece- attracted by his babyish helplessness and lack of practical nous.
Brewer's dictionary tells us that 'the greatest bores are of the Brahmaputra'. Vivekananda's worthless drivel is a tidal bore of idiocy unworthy to be linked to the practice of Economics. Visvesvaraya might be more to the point.
Discussion on Swarajyamag  15 comments

Chinese Culture As The New Soft Power Currency


Indian 'soft power' has only arisen through the market. The moment the Govt. sticks its oar in, soft power turns into rent dissipation.
Shantiniketan fulfilled a useful role before the Govt. smothered it. Tan Yun Shan whom Tagore brought to India, played a magnificent role. His Indian descendants, though intellectually and morally outstanding can't have any similar impact because the Govt. insisted on monopolizing everything.
India can learn from China because China already learned from India, but China can't learn from India because we allow our gems to moulder away in hidebound Govt. run Institutions. Vide http://socioproctology.blogspo...
Discussion on Swarajyamag  28 comments

Confronting Indology – Part 2


Gayatri Spivak and Homi Bhabha- both of whom started off as well read Eng Lit types capable of sound scholarship- ended up helping to kill off Literature as an academic subject able to teach its students how to write a cogent sentence, if not how to reason coherently.
A young Professor from Preston now writes utter balderdash about people like Niradh Chaudhri (vide http://socioproctology.blogspo... ) not because he is stupid or incapable of appreciating Indian culture but because he has to genuflect to these two strange Gods.
If worthless American Professors are shitting on Indology, don't forget that a lot of our people- including Leela Gandhi- are shitting on English Literature and Historical Method, German Critical Theory, Anglo-American Moral Philosophy and a whole host of other pseudo-subjects.
In any case, Mehta, Matilal and co- though bright, ended up shitting on Indian Philosophy as prolifically as their colleagues or rivals.
Ultimately, the true scandal is that high I.Q people from learned families- even now the Internet is within everybody's reach- nevertheless write worthless rubbish about canonical Indic texts as though by doing so they are discharging a duty owed the manes.
Discussion on Swarajyamag  3 comments

Orwell’s Fatal Attraction To Democratic Socialism


For some background on what Chomsky calls 'Orwell's problem' seehttp://socioproctology.blogspo...
Orwell, like Chomsky, thought the Spanish POUMists had got it right- in other words both believed that it was possible to have a truly democratic people's movement in which the humblest private soldier or volunteer had the right to question the General and to only obey orders after he or she was thoroughly convinced of the need to rape and murder the nun or other class enemy in question.
Both Orwell and Chomsky believe in an 'i-language'- a perfect internal, intensional, language which miraculously exists thanks to some random mutation which has spread to all human beings. They think bad things happen only because evil Capitalist bastards are using 'Advertising' and 'Management Jargon' and other naughty things to pollute the pure i-language established by the Holy Mutation. They do admit that Communists can rape and murder nuns and other class enemies without first having benefited from a long discussion of why it must be done so as to create a truly humane Society in which the rape and murder of nuns and other class enemies is properly remunerated and granted appropriate Social recognition. However, the sin of these Communists is venial merely and they can be absolved of it through proper consciousness raising discussions couched in the pure and prescriptive i-language which is our common human heritage for reasons Darwin and his ilk were too stupid to understand.
However, unlike Communists, Capitalists are damned eternally because they object to the rape and murder of nuns and other class enemies. They are welcome to read Orwell and Chomsky but can never purge themselves of their Original Sin of having been caught up in the nexus of impure 'extensional' language.
POUM was crushed by Franco much to everybody's relief because it was utterly shite. A hilarious attempt to revive it after Franco's death was made but it was still shite so nobody voted for it. This is a good example of how the failure of the Media to adopt the pure i-language engendered by the Holy Mutation led to the 'manufacture of consent' that POUM, which everybody knew to be shite, was in fact shite. You see, in an intensional language, empirical facts don't matter. Thus 'POUM' for Chomsky and Orwell means 'the good guys who only rape and murder nuns and other class enemies after they have had a proper democratic discussion about why it's such a cool thing to do' because that is its intensional definition.
Since empirically POUM is linked to being utterly shite, the extensional meaning of POUM is 'bunch of nun-raping psychopaths who were and are shite'. Thus, Orwell and Chomsky denounce Capitalist subversion of language such that extensional language, and empirical reality, gains popular acceptation. Nun-raping Communists who don't get a chance to participate in endless discussions about why nun-raping is essential for the attainment of True Socialism, will inevitably end up in cahoots with Capitalists. This is a very bad thing because they may start going easy on the nun-raping and genocide of class enemies- which is like totally not cool.
Discussion on AlterNet   35 comments

Leading Professor Gayatri Spivak Warns of a Major Right-Wing Education Project in India


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The author is from a Hindu cultural background yet he says that 'Vanardeva' is not identical with Hanuman. As a matter of fact, Vanardeva is a more highly Sanskritized form than Hanuman and this is known to all Hindus- thus his argument appears bizarre.
Moreover, just recently a Muslim boy from Assam who attended a school of the sort the author castigated has won headlines for topping the State Board Exams. Once again, the author appears out of touch.
The author mentions the Peoples Union for Civil Liberties- but its past Secretaries include people like Arun Shourie and Jaitley who hold or held prominent Cabinet posts with the BJP. It is a broad tent affair, no doubt but it must be said that it came into disrepute because of its tolerance for Naxalite (Maoist) violence which terrorises tribals to turn them into canon fodder in its crazy attempt to overthrow Democracy.
The fact is the BJP is not inculcating a 'genocidal' mindset because that spells ruin for the country. If the author is so concerned with preserving tribal culture, why does he not call for curbs on Christian Evangelism in tribal areas. Vanardeva is the Sanskrit name for Hanuman and can't 'be driven out' to be replaced by Himself. The same is not the case with Christian or Islamic or Maoist indoctrination.
One final point- if Spivak and the author really cared about primary education for the poor in India they would be demanding more accountability from teachers in Govt. Schools. However that would put them on a collision course with a powerful political force. Thus they prefer to magnify some small and ineffectual act of charity on their own part while drawing a risible picture of an octopus like threat to Indian children- likely to kill their imagination and turn them into genocidal killers- emanating from the Party which is in power at the Center and which has shown itself to be better not worse than what went before on every available metric of Governance.
Discussion on Swarajyamag  214 comments

Beef And Akhlaq: The Hindu Fringe Is Completely Wrong On This One


In fact, this 'simple' approach is in conformity with the version of Navya-Nyaya which has received the endorsement of Amartya Sen! Ganeri has expressed surprise that Sen draws very little on this tradition though he claims to champion 'Nyaya' over 'Niti'. Ganeri summarizes Sen's notion of Nyaya as being restricted to a set of heuristic principles to guide practical reason. Furthermore, Sen's notion is explicitly substantive and anti-procedural. Finally, Sen has come out against 'unfreedoms' heaped on us by our British masters.
Now let us see what uncontroversial or objective 'pramana' truths are universally admitted by citizens of India who wish to uphold the constitution.
1) Cow protection is a Directive Principle
2) Propagating vegetarianism, or at least stigmatizing beef consumption is conducive to Cow Protection whereas the reverse is harmful.
3) Reasonable restriction of Free Speech is in the Constitution and Laws against Hate Speech are authochtonous.
4) Where there is a conflict between two 'rights not to be offended', the Directive Principles gain salience. Thus, someone who objects to the breaking of a customary taboo- e.g. female temple entry at a particular site- loses his right to remedy for hurt to his religious sensibility because of a Directive Principle tilting the balance towards measures to raise up the position of women.
4) Some Indians are offended by propagandizing for beef or even meat consumption. Those who take offense at such Indians asserting their credo. lose the right to remedy for any offense to their own religious sensibilities, even if beef consumption is normative in their creed, because the Directive Principle re. cow slaughter has tilted the balance in one particular direction in an unambiguous way
5) There is some objective evidence that there would be a substantive improvement (though this may be impossible to achieve by any sequence of procedurally constitutional actions by the Executive) in the overall nutrition of all as well as the rate of environmental degradation if Vegetarianism was compulsory for all Indians.
All this being the case, Amartya Sen- as an Indian citizen- should be promoting Vegetarianism and condemning beef eating if he is indeed doxastically committed to a 'Nyaya' approach to Justice.
Of course, he is too stupid to actually understand Navya-Nyaya but, according to his own theory, such ignorance is no excuse.

You are perfectly correct that a custom, even if it appears in a Vyavahara or Acara Shastra, is defeasible on grounds of 'following best practice of the most reputable people' whereas Revealed ontological truths are not defeasible at all though they are sublatable in the Godhead and cease to be binding upon the selfless devotee by His Will and Grace alone.
Hence, we do not find Acharyas or Spiritual Personalities- who have a higher type of 'pramana' method of verifying truth- using utilitarian arguments or what Statisticians themselves acknowledge are unprovable empirical theses.
However, an ordinary Hindu, who lacks higher type of Pramana cognition, may with perfect truth (though, perhaps, some tincture of shame) assert that he belongs to a class of people for whom adherence to a prohibition, originating from a higher type of cognition, is of a merely customary, pro-forma, more or less hypocritical sort.
Such a person, or class of people, are not- according to Sanatan Dharma- thereby rendered soteriologically 'beyond the pale' as heteronomous beasts without an inner ethical life or hope of spiritual advancement or salvation. No doubt, they may be castigated and some Smriti statements may be found which use harsh terms or even say 'such people should be put to death'. However these are imperative statements not subject to the usual rules of alethic logic. A mother, who fears her child may suffer an injury, may say 'I will break your leg if you climb that tree!'- i.e. threaten a punishment worse than the offense, however this does not mean that she is not a fitting vessel or incarnation of Divine Vatsalya.
The question of 'danda'- morally legitimate use of force, e.g. capital punishment for certain crimes- has been very thoroughly debated by Bhramanic, Shramanic and Agamic seers and there is a positive univocity, exceeding mere 'overlapping consensus', that such violence is strategic and represents what game theorists call a signalling 'separating equilibrium'. Furthermore, whether it is the Divine Ved Vyasa who shows that the Just King must learn Statistical Game Theory to overcome 'vishada', or the great Jain Mathematician and Scholar Umaswati who used advanced combinatorial mathematical techniques to show there was a solution to the 'karmic stable marriage problem' such that Theodicy faces no scandal, it is a fact that our Seers have superior understanding of underlying economic and environmental determinants of what is feasible and desirable to implement as the law of the land. Thus, Hindus don't have to punish one at their own, or lower, level of Pramana from making an argument of a utilitarian type in a context where a superior type of Pramana has found something different. This is because there is some praxis whereby people who are honest about their preferences can begin to change and evolve a better ethical life.
Today, my clan may be making a living by robbing travelers. Let us be honest about it, otherwise we will simply rob each other and descend to the level of animals. By contrast, even a tribe of thieves which begins to deal honestly in its ill-gotten gains, can become the nucleus of a law abiding state. Indeed, this is the 'Stationary bandit' theory of State Formation and there are plenty of examples of it in our literature.
We may all believe in democracy and equality of opportunity, but we must admit that spiritually advanced people follow a different code of conduct which yields them more joy than the things demanded by people at a lower level. Why get angry with the lower people? There is only road by which they can come up- viz. being honest with themselves and then dealing honestly with others. This honesty itself opens the path to Truth which in turn yields change in behavior, change in wisdom, and ability to catalyze beneficial changes in those around one.
Far better that our distinguished editor should do his own job properly- viz. write on the basis of genuine facts and proper reasoning- than ventilate irrelevant opinions. Had he done so, in this case, then he himself would have profited and that profit would have brought him in touch with people of superior 'pramana' cognition thus putting him on the path to Truth.

This is a wretched article, but before explaining why, let me state categorically that
1) Learned Mimasakas, as well as Spiritual personalities have produced strong arguments showing Hindus can change their customary laws so as to improve their lives. Every Hindu knows this full well. At one time, my particular sect held it a grave violation, of 'Vyavahara Dharma' to 'cross the black water' even for the purpose of education, not profit or livelihood. That prohibition disappeared long ago and even our Priests and Acharyas are eager to travel abroad- though in the case of one Pontiff, there was an unseemly controversy, indeed public scandal, in this context.
The author, presumably a Hindu, is perfectly entitled to argue that all Hindus should have the right, as a matter of personal choice, to either abstain or relish every type of animal meat absent some compelling environmental or health and safety argument.
2) Furthermore, as an Indian citizen, he is perfectly at liberty to call for the removal of Article 48. No doubt, he is fully aware that it was introduced, according to the statements of its proponents, not to protect the religious sentiments of a particular community but because of a scientifically verifiable thesis which connected cow slaughter to environmental degradation and the immiseration of the rustic population. It now appears that this supposedly Scientific or objectively Economic argument is wholly wrong. Indeed, following Lovelock, it may be that at some stage a cull of India's methane farting cows will be required of the Indian Govt. in accordance with its pledge to help fight global warming.
What is reprehensible about our learned editor's article is threefold
1) Ignorance of the law.
In U.P, sale of beef is a cognizable offence. The Police have a duty to investigate any suspicious material which may be stored for that purpose provided they came by that material in a legal manner. In this case, they were correct to take away and analyse the material found in one or other or both of the fridges belonging to the slain man. They would also have been obliged to take away and analyse other possibly contraband or illegal material. The fact that they encounter the suspicious material in the course of an investigation of a crime against the owner of the material is wholly irrelevant. To take an example- suppose I complain to the police about a break-in. They come to try to find finger-prints or other clues as to the identity of the thieves. Instead they stumble upon my porn stash. They are then legally obliged to confiscate it and verity if P.Chidambaram is or is not a minor. Fortunately for me, I was able to prove that our distinguished former Cabinet Minister is over the age of 21 and thus his provocative wet veshti poses- so reminiscent of Pippa Middleton- did not constitute possession of 'child porn'. However, I did have to go to jail because of my videos of Rahul Baba since he is clearly under age.
2) Ignorance of Indian Politics.
Our editor believes that the PM can prevent the Police in a State ruled by a different political party from doing their duty re. a cognizable offence under the law of that State and on a matter which is explicitly a State subject. He says ' one wonders why the police even thought it necessary to link the meat stored in Akhlaq’s home to a revered animal. The lab test would have been okay if the murderers had reported violation of the anti-cow slaughter law in Uttar Pradesh to the police. After the murder, it was about rubbing salt in the wounds of the dead victim by claiming he stored the wrong meat. If the Modi government wants to retain its credibility, it needs to openly say so to rein in the fringe.'
This is crazy. The Modi Govt's credibility does not depend on it openly saying something stupid and unconstitutional. It does depend on its implementing good governance under the rule of law.
3) A Paranoid, 'media-bubble', mind-set.
Our editor thinks that if journalists and commentators, as stupid and ignorant as himself. think that Modi's job is to say unconstitutional things and to pretend that a criminal act by a bunch of young thugs was in fact the work of members of his own party, then that must in fact be the case. Bizarrely he suggests that Modi is losing his credibility because he is not saying these unconstitutional things nor admitting guilt and command responsibility for a horrendous crime in an opposition State to which he is not linked in any way.
This is madness. It is a paranoid type of psychosis. I personally have long campaigned for the impeachment of David Cameron because he is clearly an elderly French-Cambodian transsexual rent-boy who doesn't know English and has never even visited England. I regularly write articles denouncing Cameron for not admitting as much to restore his credibility. However, because of rampant racism, sexism and casteist politics in England, my articles are not published in the Murdoch dominated Press. Now that our distinguished editor has set the precedent for publishing worthless paranoid garbage in the pages of this august Magazine, I hope he will see fit to publish my own articles exposing not just Cameron, but also Jawaharlal Nehru- who was actually the cross-dressing Scottish actor Alaistair Sims, Headmistress of St. Trinians. Videhttp://socioproctology.blogspo...
Discussion on Swarajyamag  8 comments

How We Should Approach The Phenomenon Of Studying Hinduism


Adluri tells us that there is a far Right German Party which wants German culture, not Chinese or Arab or Indian or African Culture, to predominate in Germany. Germans don't want to be classed as Indian 'Aryans'. They don't want brown skinned people- even if they are called Adluri or Aiyar as opposed to Aziz or Ahmed- to move in next door. Hitler and Co. did not want Germans to learn Sanskrit and wear dhotis. Adluri is a fantasist.
He says incredibly stupid things- e.g 'Are German Indologists, with their long history of placing their “science” in the service of the state and its political aims, really the alternative to Hindutva historians? Can they be trusted not to make politically convenient arguments for personal profit?'
Which Hindutva Historian draws on present day German Indology? None. German Indology has zero impact on the study of Indian History or Indian narratives of pride in nation building. No body is saying to Narendra Modi 'our Hindutva Historians aren't up to the job. Send Talageri to the Concentration Camp. Appoint Hans Heinrich Hoch as head pravachak.' Yet Adluri writes as though that is what is happening behind the scenes.
Thus he says ' If India goes down this path, it may yet provide German Indology with justification and a new lease of life. Alternatively, if the German far-right party, the Alternativ für Deutschland (AfD), succeeds in seizing power, it may once again find use for an Indology tasked with validating German national identity. In its recent electoral manifesto, the party called for the incorporation of “Prussian” values into the German school curriculum and a “firmly grounded national identity.”
How the hell with people who study Sanskrit and Pali help shore up German Ideology? Yes, there are some Indologists in German Universities. Similarly there are some French Lecturers in Indian Universities. They have no power at all. Nobody cares what they think. No Political Party tries to recruit them. On the other hand, lecturers in Tamil are important- in Tamil Nadu. Thus, in Germany, lecturers in German are worth courting for German political parties. The professor of Ancient Aztec or Medieval Mongolian or Vedic Sanskrit has zero influence or prestige.
What is this 'diasporic' Indology Adluri is wittering on about? Do you know how fucking stupid a second or generation Desi has to be to voluntarily chose to do a Post Grad in the worthless shite peddled by Pollock bollock lifters? I mean it's one thing to sign up for that nonsense in order to get a scholarship and a ticket to the land of the greenback. But to pass up on STEM subjects for this sort of coolie work is crazy simply. People may think they can have a cushy career playing the race card. News flash! That shite's gotten real old, real fast. Diaspora dude, too stupid to make his own way in the world, needs to spend a couple of years in a Desi seminary boning up on the Congregationalist practices of his sub-caste/ Sect. After that a PhD in Education is good enough to parley into an affirmative action type Admin job.
Discussion on Swarajyamag  72 comments

Some Jokes Are Better Than Others


Shambhaji Bhagat? He has lined up behind Prakash Ambedkar- a dynastic politician no better or worse than any other. How is he relevant to the question of the nature of Indian comedy? There is a wide difference between a 'kavi' and a 'vidushak'- the poet can invoke incompossible objects under the rubric of pure nominalism without straying into 'rasabhasa'- the incongruity of the comic.
Does the author really believe that people living in slums- i.e. people smart enough to migrate away from feudal conditions to improve their lives through market processes- need to be educated by LSE trained idiots like Kobad Ghandy? Is there anyone so stupid as not to realize that becoming canon fodder for the People's War Group benefits nobody but shadowy Party Apparatchiks who are quick to strike corrupt deals with crooked corporations and dynastic politicians?
What parrhesia- i.e. truth to power- can paranoid self-publicists actually speak? At first blush, set-ups like Avahan Natya Manch with their bizarre Brecht worship and haut bourgeois pretense of reviving folk forms, might have looked the real cheez- but only if you were a stupid LSE alumni or something equally worthless.
In this context, permit me to share with you an incident from back in '98 when I was staying in an Ashram in Rajgir, Bihar.
Being entirely idle and bored out of my skull, I developed a theory that the toddy tappers of the District had adapted their traditional work-songs to serve as a vehicle for satire. The idea was this- the toddy tapper, from his vantage point at the top of a tree spies upon all the goings on in the village- the Pujari surreptitiously visiting the Prostitute etc- and composes songs about it, set to a rythym optimized for tree climbing . Since the Jains had a scheme to compensate toddy tappers for giving up their ancestral vocation, I had some hazy idea that this type of satirical work song could be used for some didactic purpose of theirs.
I had read somewhere- or possibly made up the story that- in littoral South West India, toddy tappers had enlisted as sailors in pirate vessels and, thanks to their climbing ability, monopolized the crow's nest. Thus, their traditional work songs had been transformed into sea shanties recounting tales of derring do.
My point was that occupational work songs have sufficient plasticity to serve even a soteriological purpose.
Anyway, on a trip to Patna I met some Professor or other to ask if there was any evidence to substantiate my theory. He, being an old fashioned Brahmin, fobbed me off with ill concealed distaste. Nevertheless a young homosexual, presumably from a Criminal Tribe or particularly noisome occupational jati, came to visit me at the Jain Hostel where I was staying. I refused to let him into my room- he was clearly an unblushing catamite- and was somewhat laconic in my responses to him. Still he was able to publish an article on the basis of what I told him- bizarrely he referred to me as a reformed Naxal & Dalit police informant- and when I approached the bastard's head of Department to demand vengeance, I discovered that the fellow is actually our mappillai- i.e. he is married to someone from my father's side and thus we have to be forbearing towards him.
Close meditation on this apercu will reveal all celestial and mundane secrets regarding the topic at hand.
Mind it kindly.
Discussion on Swarajyamag  32 comments

Pakistan’s National Pysche: The Missing Self Esteem


I have been re-reading some of Stephen Cohen's books- which I'm sure our General Sahib knows very well- and, simply as a matter of record, will make 2 observations.
1) Cohen, on first coming to India, stayed with a genuine Dalit, neo Buddhist, (and at that time anti Congress) M.P - the late B.P Maurya- and thus failed to be infected with the stupid Marxist instrumentalization of Caste characteristic of the Lutyens Nehruvian ideologue. He points out that the 'blame the Brahmin' availability cascade was pushed by Ayub Khan whom 'Clash of Civilizations' Huntingdon considered a 'Solon or Lycurgus'.
2) Cohen saw first hand that Indian Army had integrity. They were not shameless. Some retired officers wanted to make him their mouth-piece. He refused as his Visa did not permit such research. His stock went up as those same officers understood that if soldiers lose their sense of shame then the country will be lost anyway. Cohen approvingly quotes Ambedkar 'country is saved not by safe borders but safe Army'. Thus, Ambedkar's Constitution still stands while Pakistan has run through quite a few by now.
'Liberal' Media can shamelessly accuse Army of anything- e.g. the Indian Express allegation of a coup a few years ago- but Army preserves the safety of the country when it refuses to descend to shameless behavior.

Under the British, there was a stand-off between the Army and the Viceroy- personified as the conflict between Kitchener and Curzon. Kitchener won and, in the end, Viceroys from the military- Wavell and Mountbatten- proved more able than vacuous Civilians, like Linlithgow who was supposedly an agronomist yet presided over a terrible famine.
At issue was the question- would the Army be subordinated to the needs of Nation building? Curzon wanted India to develop so as to maintain its position as the greatest part of the Empire. He wanted the Indian Army to be an instrument in his hands towards this end. By contrast, Kitchener promised efficiency and complete subordination to Westminster.
Pakistan's Army appealed to the U.S and later to such disparate power centers as Beijing and Riyadh as an efficient tool answerable only to its suppliers and disconnected with the country they were supposed to be building up.
Jinnah, Liaqat and Shurawardy- to name the three principal architects of Pakistan- were psychologically very much in the Curzon mode. They considered themselves the intellectual and social superiors of the men in khaki. Paradoxically, this contempt or complacency meant that the Army- whose commanders were obsequious and nakedly careerist, unlike Kitchener- was given a freer hand than would otherwise have been the case. By contrast, in India, Civilians were suspicious of the Army- they knew Cariappa had made a bid for power- till the Chinese debacle.
However, unlike India's Congress Party, the Pakistani Muslim League had no way to reinforce their power through election victories. This meant that the Civilian Administrators who helped Liaqat to stalemate Sardar Patel and thus render the Cabinet Mission Plan a nullity were able to demand their pound of flesh and seek to monopolize power once Jinnah and Liaqat were dead and the Bengalis were marginalized and put upon the road to a bitter and costly divorce.
In any case, once Pakistan got into the Election habit, power was bound to leak away to regionalist parties of a factionalist type, whereas the Army could build espirt de corps and gain cohesiveness by militaristic adventurism- i.e. tactical victories which, more often than not, worsened the strategic picture. Nevertheless, the Army did gain a sort of political capital even among liberals because, in the Sixties, Ayub had taken an initiative to modernize Islam on a non-sectarian basis. Musharraf, for example, could draw on this memory of a time when Attaturk was the role-model. Unlike Bangladesh, where 'dog ate dog'- i.e. military officers massacred each other and the habit spread even to paramilitary formations who thought nothing of killing their own officers and their wives- Pakistan was able to maintain esprit de corps and the chain of command. If ten percent of the Army is indeed, as some have suggested, hard core 'Mard-e-Momin' Jihadis, still, somehow, they are able to pull along with socially liberal technocratic officers with a different life-style. Clearly, this is because the Pakistani Army is able to generate a lot of 'side payments' to maintain coalition stability. One reason for this is that Pakistan, from the start, adopted lax controls which allowed the Military to diversify its tactics, supply chains and revenue models in an opportunistic manner without regard to the overall strategic cost to the Nation. Like Talleyrand's Foreign Office, the Pakistani Army could finance itself by arbitraging its diverse supply chains and clientist roles.
Perhaps there is something in our common sub-continental psyche which admires utter shamelessness when it is combined with total effrontery. 'kiya sharam tho foota karam'. The gruesome Zia ultimately endeared himself to us by keeping a straight face while assuring Western journalists, every six months, that he would indeed hold elections in six months. Similarly Musharraf, with his comic mustache, presided over an unprecedented liberalization of the Media, because the obvious duplicitousness of his policy- hiding Osama while appearing to hunt for him- was the stuff of opera bouffe.
This, I suppose is the Pakistani Army's lasting contribution to the shared culture of the sub-continent- it has raised shamelessness to the level of Sufi uryani and revealed the grubby smut-peddler under the starched uniform of the soldier. Even our puritanical Leftists prefer to raise a Chivas with them then babble on about Agamben at the India International Center.
Discussion on Swarajyamag  36 comments

Tarun Vijay Only Continuing A Historic Struggle For Social Justice


One point re. Indian untouchability may be made- viz. uniquely, it vested a countervailing sacral power which could be used for a moral purpose . To my knowledge, this does not obtain for untouchable communities in Europe, Japan, Africa etc.
A separate issue is the manner in which 'left hand' vs 'right hand' type categorical distinctions were instrumentalized for the purpose of status-competition by entrepreneurs from what are now 'OBC' communities. However, their investing in caste based animosity, like their irrational competition in bidding up rents, proved harmful to their wider class interests. In the South, memories of this mis-step among surviving magnates created fertile soil for progressive- i.e. anti caste- Hindu Patriotic politics and Spirituality.
Unfortunately, deracinated half-baked ideologues in Lutyens Delhi took the facile path of equating class with caste which also suited the Congress method of managing vote banks and balancing interests. This can be seen by their impact on the thinking of foreign scholars from non-Marxist Social Anthropology traditions.
Paul Brass is a good example. Vide- http://socioproctology.blogspo...
Discussion on Swarajyamag  20 comments

The Founding Father Of Fascism


Gandhi spoke of Carlyle and Ruskin (both such fervent self-abusers that they failed to consummate their respective marriages) as his Guru. He was certainly presented as a Hitler or Mussolini like leader by Congress men.
'In 1939 at the Tripuri Congress Session, in which Subhash Chandra Bose was elected as the Congress President, Shri Gobind Ballabh Pant while appealing to the Congressmen to continue to remain under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi had stated �wherever the nations have made progress, they have done so only by remaining under the leadership of one person only. The Germans had faith in Herr Hitler and nobody can deny the fact that Germany made progress only under the leadership of Herr Hitler. Similarly, Italy could make progress only on account of signor Mussolini'
More recently, Ramachandra Guha has revived the Great Man theory of History. He teaches at the LSE alongside Angelina Jolie. Lucky bastard.
Discussion on Swarajyamag  44 comments

Why India Is A Nation?


I recall reading this some years ago- I think it was on a dial up connection! It is shameful that Indian origin academics did not read and digest this essay which was freely available. The result is that their blather mislead a generation of their students and fellow academics.
Some years back Perry Anderson (brother of the late Benedict) wrote a series of articles for a left-wing London magazine which he later compiled into a short book. It was drawn largely from books by Indian academics. It's stupidity exposed the stupidity and ignorance of our people.
This is a link to my blog about this- http://socioproctology.blogspo...
Discussion on Swarajyamag  248 comments

How Jesus As A Yogi Is Being Used For Conversion Propaganda


Christians and Hindus face a common enemy from extreme charismatic sects like Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists etc who use aggressive methods and instill a fanatical spirit. They are anti-national wherever they are because they believe most of their fellow citizens are possessed by demons.
Some American based Baptist sects, active in North East, spread this savage mentality- perhaps as part of the CIA agenda of containing Communist China. By contrast, Indian Christians were Nationalists and strove to make Christianity truly Indian so as to contribute to National liberation.
Take one of the founders of the Christian Sanyasi tradition- Brahmabandhav Upadhyay. He was influenced by Ramakrishna and was close to Vivekananda and Tagore in his earlier incarnation as a Nationalist. Why did Bhrahmabandhav become a Catholic monk? The answer is his Uncle was a Protestant Minister but he himself, like other Patriots, wanted to remain celibate for the National Cause. Of course, there is a Spiritual element to this.
The Jesuit 'forged Upanishad' ended up influencing Voltaire! To see Christ as a Yogi is not something very sinister. The dangerous type of conversion is based on sowing hatred- those who don't follow the pastor and practice 'tithing' serve demons here on earth and will burn in Hell afterwards. This is not what people like J.C Kumarappa or Rajkumari Amrit Kaur advocated.
Incidentally the 'Johhny Appleseed of Himachal' the American Satyanand Stokes, originally came to India as a missionary and married an Indian Christian lady. He become involved in Freedom movement and courted arrest. He also converted to Hinduism, to his wife's chagrin, and constructed a temple with the help of one of the Birla brothers.
'Christian' Bharatnatyam is a good thing. Academic Bharatnayam- with theses about the sexism and patriarchy of the Gurus- is a bad and worthless thing. Far better have a person with the name Sampson or Smith or whatever who believes in God and has basic decency rather than some worthless idiot with a Brahminical name who wants to show all Indians as Fascists and Patriarchalists or God knows what.
Is Frawley right about Christianity putting on a Yogic dress to seduce stupid Indians? Is that what is happening in your family? Does sonny boy return from St. Columba's or St. Xavier's, saying 'Daddy, we should practice Yoga because Christ was basically just Baba Ramdev don't you know? No. Absolutely not. There is a danger from lunatic fringe 'charismatics' who try to seduce children with comic book type Hell and Damnation declasse American rubbish. For them everything indigenous is from the Devil. They are a huge problem for Catholic and Anglican Churches. Hindus should make common cause with them to expose bogus pastors. In Kanyakumari district, it is they who are the biggest troublemakers. No doubt there are organisations outside India which are quick to claim Christianity is being persecuted when the shoe is on the other foot. It was an Indian Christian, not a Hindu, who exposed the reality.
One Westerner who did a lot to expose the loony toons type American Missionary from the New Tribes Mission and the Summer Institute of Linguistics was Norman Lewis. I recall it was an Indian Catholic Priest who has worked in tribal areas who recommended his books to me. BTW it was the idiot Muggeridge who talked up Mother Theresa and destroyed her spiritual achievement by turning her into the collection box of the corrupt Catholic Banking system. Indian Christians would never have done such a thing- especially the Christians of Bengal who are highly patriotic and scorn to gain foreign money by destroying the reputation of their own mother land.

Discussion on Swarajyamag  16 comments

Why India Could Shift From Guaranteed Boondoggle (NREGA) To Mininum Income For Poor


The rationale of MNREGA is that it reduces mobility, hence elasticity and thus increases rents, giving a captive labor market to bigger farmers and holding vote banks in place for politicians. Furthermore, it has good potential for leakages and can be scaled down on some administrative excuse or other in non-election years.
By contrast, a minimum income in a country which has not yet undergone demographic change is simply crazy. It yields no rent to anyone. Has no potential to raise Aggregate Supply, but will reduce it.
Economic theory suggests people receiving the minimum income will gravitate to places where prices for essentials are low and non congestible public good provision are high. This means even more rapid environmental degradation that would otherwise obtain. For a rain fed agricultural country, this is suicide.
By saying this I'm not saying that we shouldn't care about the poor. Mahatma Gandhi cared a lot about poor people and helped make them more poor. Without our tender loving care and utterly stupid economics, poverty would have disappeared long ago. Why? Our species evolved to get the fuck out of places where we were starving and so Society had to invent shibboleths to prevent us running away from poverty.
Poverty is caused by lack of mobility. If the my ancestors and your ancestors hadn't got the hell out of their ancestral village and occupation, we would be very very poor.
If my grandmother hadn't been made to feel ashamed that she didn't know English, her children and grandchildren wouldn't have got a head start in life.
The correct way to cure Poverty is by shaming poor people. Kids who are made to feel like shit because they don't have shoes and nice toys and so on don't go on to have lots of kids themselves. People who believe their Entitlements are permanent- whatever shape those Entitlements might take- end up on the scrap heap. Mobility is everything because there are no risk-less assets, no permanently incentive compatible fiscal mixes, and also every high minded idiot who talks about the Poor is a hypocrite or swindler pure and simple.

Discussion on The Wire  11 comments

India’s Obsession with Inflation is Sending its Entrepreneurs to the Guillotine


Prem Shankar Jha thinks Indian Industry has too much, not too little, Exit. No doubt he'd like to see Mallya carry on subsidizing vanity projects- American micro-breweries but why not Japanese Geisha Houses?- on the basis of cheap money flooding the sewer that is Nationalised Banking and Insurance. In other words, a rising tide of sewer water will lift all boats leaving the public drowning in filth.