Sunday 30 October 2022

What the bird-seller hides

 As Blood to forever live, thy Sieve, the Flood broods in the Dark
While, entered two by two, Love's mutinies are its Ark
Dove of a Kingship's conclave too fractious to fly
 You Caladrius! That you won't meet my eye!

Peace hath a Prince! tho' all Power can but palter
 Thought fouls its nest 'neath Death Thy altar.

In what the canny bird-seller carefully hides
Winged hope, yet, worshipfully abides.


Thy Word casts Jaundice to the canary, Melancholia to the crow
My Invisibility to Her, to which bird will it go? 

Saturday 29 October 2022

Pankaj Mishra jelly of Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak becoming Prime Minister is the direct product of Mrs. Thatcher's policies and her determination to offer New Commonwealth immigrants an equal chance to rise through thrift, enterprise and family and religious values. 

Pankaj Mishra, a more recent immigrant, believes otherwise. He writes in the Guardian

The world has watched in appalled fascination as the UK’s ruling party scrapes the bottom of its human resources barrel: it found there its first Black chancellor of the exchequer and then, to clear up his mess, its first Hindu prime minister.

Racist much, Pankaj? Dr. Kwarteng was regarded as brilliant. His pal, Truss, was not. That's why she defered to him on Economic policy. Sunak, who has a first class C.V, was considered superior to Boris last year. Then his wife's wealth and his Green Card made things difficult for him. Otherwise he was considered the best person for the job though it was Sajid Javid, whom Rishi replaced, who would have been my pick.  

Yet exultant noises from India

from Hindus delighted that a devout Hindu has become the youngest British PM since 1812. 

as well as Britain

nobody here is exultant. Truss and Kwarteng truly screwed the pooch. Misery-guts, Hunt, will remain at Number 11.  

would make us believe that some historic milestone has been reached.

Sunak is the Hindu equivalent of a straight arrow Evangelical who doesn't drink, smoke or fornicate. 

Hindu supremacists have pounced on the possibility that Rishi Sunak, a self-proclaimed devout Hindu, is a desi bro, even an undercover agent of the “Global Indian Takeover” – the title of a once regular feature in the Times of India.

It so happens that  Indian origin CEOs of MNCs have become increasingly common. This has nothing to do with 'Hindu supremacy'. It is simply a function of India being Anglophone and its having invested in IITs and IIMs before its private sector was allowed to grow. 

Evidently, he observes upper-caste taboos against beef and alcohol and always keeps his statuette of Ganesha, the guarantor of worldly success, close to him.

Is exactly what an orthodox Brahmin would say- if he'd been born in 1900.  

“Indian son rises over the empire” was one typical headline in India this week.

It was from the Left-leaning NDTV. The point about Rishi is that Italy has a son who could have become PM of India at the age of 34. But Rahul is useless. Rishi is 10 years younger than him and has only been in politics for about 8 years. 

Never mind that Sunak’s carefully trimmed career pathways to plutocratic chic make him resemble a human pinstripe rather more than the devout Hindu in loincloth – Mahatma Gandhi – who helped the sun set on the British empire.

Fuck is that supposed to mean? Gandhi gave up his Western suits so as to pose as a leader of Indian peasants. Sadly, he wasn't able to prevent Atlee from doing a runner. Sunak, like millions of Britons, has worn a pinstripe suit all his working life. Only a cretin like Pankaj finds this worthy of note. What's next? Will he remark the irony that Sunak speaks English instead of Punjabi? 

Sunak’s deeper pieties are revealed by his professional choices: credential-stockpiling and network-formation at Winchester, Oxford (PPE) and Stanford (MBA), stints at Goldman Sachs, and then bank-raiding and tax-dodging hedge fund firms, directorship of his billionaire father-in-law’s investment company, a US green card and eager membership of a traditionally nasty political party.

The Tory party is the traditional party of Governance in the UK. Britain has a big financial sector. Winchester was founded in 1382. Lincoln College was founded in 1427. Sunak's 'deeper pieties' are thoroughly British which is understandable because Sunak is British. 

 When it comes to 'marrying up',  it is worth recalling that Pankaj Mishra's father-in-law is Ferdinand Mount, an old Etonian, Baronet who worked for Mrs. Thatcher. Sunak's father-in-law is a self-made Indian entrepreneur. Sunak was born in Britain. Pankaj's deeper pieties have brought him here as an immigrant. 

His hasty promotion to 10 Downing Street now emboldens insolent racists to present themselves as the purveyor of racial diversity, and to scoff at Labour’s nearly immaculate frontbench whiteness.

Pankaj is an insolent racist. He is scoffing at a Hindu PM whose deeper pieties caused him to marry an Indian Hindu lady rather than the daughter of an English baronet.  

Such opportunistic political correctness is validated by a Labour leadership that is quick to reprimand those who discount Sunak as a “win for Asian representation”.

Because cunts who say 'Kwarteng aint Black' or 'Rishi aint Hindu' make Labor look stoooopid. The Left should stick to saying 'Zelensky is Hitler coz he's Jewish'.  

Hollow notions of social diversity and racial justice are further affirmed by

cunts like Pankaj 

members of a non-white intelligentsia, who have been trained by the ideology of meritocracy to see success and power, no matter how dubiously achieved or brief, as the measure of all things.

Mishra's measure of all things is his rectum. As an adolescent he would cram a multitude of Soviet publications up there so as to gain class consciousness.  Sadly, this hasn't got him as far as Rishi. But then Rishi has a high IQ.

A columnist in the Financial Times this week wrote: “As a British Asian of the same generation, intense feelings overwhelm me when I see Rishi Sunak cross the door into 10 Downing Street.” The same writer had, while celebrating Liz Truss’s “diverse” cabinet, reverently recited the first names of recent British chancellors – “Kwasi, Nadhim, Rishi, Sajid” – and then added: “This is to say nothing of Kemi and Ranil, of Alok and Suella.”

Thatcher and Whitelaw took the trouble to reach out to British Asians. Meanwhile Leftists nutters tried to tell us that Mrs. T would forcibly repatriate our parents and expropriate their little corner shops or curry restaurants. I used to enjoy telling such people that dialectical materialism required me to bite their faces off. Cannibalism is the only way to deal with class enemies- i.e. White peeps. They couldn't be sure I wasn't making up this doctrine which I attributed to Samora Machel who was supposed to be a very advanced type of Revolutionary back then.  

And, presumably, Priti, another Tory daughter of immigrants who seemed as keen as Suella to fulfil the dreams of Enoch Powell.

Whose dream was to reconquer India and become its Viceroy. R.A Butler humored the lunatic. 

As it happens, the first Hindu prime minister is destroying, more rapidly and comprehensively than Boris Johnson’s and Liz Truss’s diverse cabinets, the pitiful visions of diversity relaunched by his coronation.

Because Hindus are very evil. They should bite the faces of White peeps so as to advance Dialectical Materialism. 

Sunak’s immediate resurrection of the disgraced Braverman tells us that we should quickly abandon wishful thinking in order to be truly ready for Rishi.

Pankaj should certainly abandon wishful thinking if not wistful wanking. 

True readiness for such overpromoted Tory desis will consist in recognising that collaboration with white ruling classes or political passivity rather than struggles for social justice largely defines the history of the Indian diaspora, especially of its highly educated and upper-caste members.

Why are they not biting the faces off White peeps? Don't they know that dialectical materialism requires nothing less?  

The over-zealous persecutors of refugees and the “tofu wokerati” today resemble, disturbingly, the Indian immigrants in A Bend in the River, VS Naipaul’s novel about decolonsing east Africa, who regard their Black and brown compatriots as the losers of history and escape to London to join its white winners.

Pankaj got to London quickly enough. But he isn't a winner. Rishi is.  

As one character sums up his bleak hyper-individualistic ethic: “The world is a rich place. It all depends on what you choose in it … I know exactly who I am and where I stand in the world. But now I want to win and win and win.”

Publishing lefty shite aint winning it is whining.  

Winning was always easier for a people who spoke English relatively well and avoided political conflict while pursuing their obsessions with educational achievement and social mobility.

Pankaj thought there was a short-cut which consisted of being more Left-wing than Thou. He ended up a dingier, declasse, Tariq Ali.  

While the Chinese diaspora, the world’s largest, remains less visible, many Indians in the west have steadily improved their prospects, becoming, as the 1980s arrived, poster people for the neoliberal ideology of meritocracy – the “model minority”.

There was a time when the Left believed in merit. Then it decided 'to the victim goes the spoils' and started clutching its pearls in shrill alarm anytime a working class lad did well.  

Even as Sunak’s Punjabi middle-class parents sent him to Winchester,

Pankaj's parents sent him to Allahabad and JNU. He did quite well for himself thanks to a globalized market for pseudo leftie shite.  

such far-right political office-bearers of Punjabi origin as Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal

what about Ro Khanna? He started off as an Obama appointee. 

started to sing in the US from Ronald Reagan’s songsheet about hard work and dreams.

As opposed to taking drugs and getting AIDS. 

In particular, twice-migrants, such as Patel’s and Sunak’s families, have been much better placed than any diasporic community

America is mainly 'diasporic'. Trump is of German heritage. Biden is of Irish heritage.  

to benefit from three decades of neoliberal globalisation under American and British auspices.

But the US began under British auspices. But, soon enough, India too came under British auspices, which is why Pankaj writes in English, not Hindi. 

These proto-globalisers were helped at the same time by fresh personal and professional networks with a “New India” that swiftly discarded its pretensions to Gandhian values

just as Gandhi had swiftly discarded his pretensions to Arya Samaji values 

while rushing to embrace power and wealth.

Gandhi started off wanting both. He gave up wealth because begging enabled him to gain more power.  

Sunak, now married to a Indian citizen richer than King Charles

unlike Pankaj, now married to a British citizen who is a book editor- which probably comes in useful in his trade.  

shares his glossy biography with many men (and some women) of Indian ancestry who today own the world’s biggest industries and run major banks, hedge funds and Silicon Valley companies.

While Mishra's brand is small potatoes. Still, it is the best he can do.  

Many of these still strangely unexamined winners of globalisation have assumed power-broking positions in several countries. Take, for instance, the Gupta brothers, who

were small businessmen in India who emigrated to South Africa in 1993 

managed to get South Africa’s ruling party on their payroll and nearly ruined the country’s economy.

Because they were corrupt cronies of the extremely corrupt Zuma. 

Sunak, whose in-laws’ company Infosys

was already in the top twenty on NASDAQ in 1999 

has made more than $120m in public sector deals in Britain

a drop in the bucket. Its market capitalization is 100 billion. 

since he entered government, belongs to this serenely diverse global plutocracy rather than any community demanding reparative justice for damages sustained in the white man’s world.

Pankaj emigrated to 'white man's world' to demand reparative justice from wifeji.  

What’s truly unprecedented about the new occupant of 10 Downing Street – who held on to his green card while living next door with his then-non-dom wife to Boris Johnson, and who owns a penthouse in Santa Monica, and may soon jet off to sunny California – is not his showy Hinduism or brown skin, but his multiple identities as a ferociously networked transnational that allow him to operate simultaneously in several countries..

Pankaj operates in several countries. Lots of people do. BoJo held an American passport till recently. He only gave it up because he objected to paying Federal Income tax. 

That this “citizen of everywhere”, a devout Hindu in a tie and cashmere hoodie, should now be chosen to mollify financial markets and caress the Brexit fantasy of absolute sovereignty says a great deal about the ideological dementia of the Tory party.

Says a guy demented enough- or mercenary enough- to cling to some deeply boring Seventies style Socialist ideology.  

The turd-polishing abilities of centrist-Dad liberalism, too, are in plainer sight as the logrollers of the BBC, Times and Financial Times work hard to present merciless enforcers of austerity as “grown-up moderates”.

Why bother? Let Rishi & Co fix things after which the Tories can throw them out just before the next election. The truth is, it doesn't matter who you get in to fix the plumbing provided they don't stay to dinner and then fuck your wife who divorces you so her new lover can move in. I'm not saying that's what happened to me. Anyway, it's the sort of thing which could happen to anyone. 

But we should be in no doubt about what an immoral and inept political class wants us to celebrate: “Asian representation” leading a cruel Tory programme of mass impoverishment.

Whereas proper Asian representation should feature cannibalism and Pankaj himself biting off the face of his father in law.  

Thursday 27 October 2022

Siddharth Varadarajan vs Billi the Cat

The Wire reports- 
New Delhi: The head of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s IT cell, Amit Malviya, said on Thursday that he would be filing civil and criminal cases against The Wire for allegedly “forging” documents to “tarnish [his] reputation.”

If an employee of the Wire forged documents to tarnish the reputation of a named person, then the Wire itself is guilty.  Moreover, in their response to the complaint, if the Wire admits this happened then it should apologize and try to settle out of court because the thing is no longer an allegation. It is a fact admitted by the guilty party. 

On October 10, The Wire had published the first of four articles (all now retracted) claiming that Meta, the parent company of Instagram, had granted Malviya the ability to take down posts he objected to by not subjecting complaints he filed to review by the company.

This was a prima facie absurd claim. Why would an international company give such power to someone in a distant land? Is the Wire aware of any person to whom Meta has given this power? Surely, if such a thing had happened, the American or European press would be all over the story? Why did the Wire, which has a vendetta against Amit Malviya, print such an absurd story and then back it up with fabrications written in Indian English yet supposedly sent by an American executive? Either the Wire ordered the forgery or it, very conveniently, employed a lunatic who would fabricate anything they needed to lend plausibility to a wholly ridiculous claim.  

The story was based on a purported Instagram incident report that Meta says “appears to have been fabricated”.

Because it was fabricated.  Moreover, the appearance alone was enough to show this must be the case. Suppose I believe Rishi Sunak is actually my long lost pet cat Billi. MI5 kidnapped Billi and have installed him in Number 10 Downing Street. The Police aren't taking my complaint seriously. I speak of my woes to a 'tech expert' who sits at his laptop for 5 minutes and then gives me a copy of an email sent by 'Billi the Cat who is pretending to be Rishi Sunak' which alerts the CIA to put me on a watchlist because I might give away the secret that Rishi is actually a cat. It turns out, Biden is going to use Billi to go sit on Putin's lap and urinate on him. Chairman Xi will think Putin has pissed himself. He will angrily order Putin to give up Ukraine.

Would I be justified in relying upon this 'tech expert' who so kindly confirmed my worst fears? If I were a lunatic- sure. But not if I were the editor of a magazine. No reasonable person would rely on fabrications provided by a lunatic which confirm a bizarre and outlandish theory. 

In its apology to readers on Wednesday night, The Wire acknowledged “that the internal editorial processes which preceded publication of its Meta stories did not meet the standards that we set for ourselves and our readers expect from us” but also noted that a member of its Meta investigation team had deceived the publication with inauthentic material.

So a member of the Wire's own staff, or a person they relied on for an 'in-house' service, deceitfully presented false material. The Wire isn't saying this deceiver fabricated it himself. But it is enough for there to be deceit on the part of an employee or a provider of an 'in-house' service, for both a criminal and civil suit to succeed against them. Why not come clean and apologize? If readers are owed an apology, surely the victim is owed one too? 

Malviya on October 27 released a statement o Twitter saying he will sue The Wire for allegedly “forging documents” for a story to “malign and tarnish my reputation”.

The Wire admits it has 'inauthentic' material. Such material must have been forged. It is not admitting that the person who deceived it, also did the forging. But that is irrelevant. It is unreasonable to entertain a prima facie absurd allegation and accept corroborative evidence which conveniently surfaces. The question is whether the forgery was suborned or otherwise expected of the employee or 'team-member'. The editor has to take responsibility for the wrong doing. It is not the case that material was received from a third party. It was received from a 'team-member'. Section 501 of the IPC applies.  

Asked for its reaction to Malviya’s tweet, The Wire issued a short statement, the text of which is appended below.

Statement by The Wire
October 27, 2022

“Journalists rely on sources for stories and do their best to verify material they receive.

The editor was involved in this. It was not reasonable to suppose that only one person in the world, that too a person you have a vendetta against, is provably invested with a power, that too by an international company, of a wholly unique and sinister kind.  The aim was to malign a stated individual for a partisan political purpose. Were forgeries suborned or otherwise elicited in a negligent manner from a 'team member'? Even if this were not the case, the Wire is pointing a finger at a team-member of its own. Thus, the editor has to take responsibility for the whole thing. The simplest solution is to apologize and clear the air. 

Technological evidence is more complicated and the usual due diligence may not always reveal the fraud perpetrated upon a publication.

No. Technological evidence is easier to fake. Anybody can print up something on the computer which looks like an email from 'Billi the cat currently pretending to be Rishi Sunak'. 

The fundamental problem here, as with Tek Fog, is that no reasonable person, let alone the editor of a magazine, would believe that, very conveniently, evidence exists that your enemies are receiving secret help from a global organization for some sinister reason. This is paranoia. It is not journalism.  

This is what happened to us.

What happened to Siddhartha Varadarajan was that he stopped wanting to do journalism. He lost interest in uncovering facts. He was fired from the Hindu because of his bigotry. He got money from various sources to pose as a champion of free speech in his own little outfit. But stupid lies, even if supplied for free, are counter-productive. We think the BJP must be clean and competent because the only thing that the Wire can accuse it of is having been given super-powers by Meta or some other such International Corporation. 

“In the life of any publication, an occasion may come when it is misinformed.

But the life of the Wire has consisted in nothing but bias and misinformation. It may be that there have been good articles uncovering corruption or malfeasance. But those are the cases on which the Wire does not double down because it simply doesn't have the bandwidth. Yet, it chose to double down on this issue and now its credibility is shot.

More importantly, Indians have turned against it. We don't care how much or how absurdly you slag off other Indians- everyone is at it. But, the Wire made us look like fools to the Americans. That's bad for us. Indians are supposed to be good at tech. We export IT services. Vardarajan, an American citizen, has let us down very badly.  

The moral test is whether the publication persists or speaks the truth.

The Wire lies. It is not interested in the truth. If it were, it would have a market. It would not need hand-outs.  

We chose the latter when we realised we had been given fraudulent information.

A member of the Wire's team had, by its own admission, a deceptive intent. Moreover, the content of the article was clearly defamatory. This means the Wire put out fraudulent information. The editor may say that he is not a reasonable person. He is too stupid to understand that what he had was an absurd allegation backed by forged evidence of very very poor quality. But who will believe him? If he was stupid, it was because it paid him to be stupid.  

“Whether the person who brought all the material to The Wire deceived us at anyone’ else’s behest or acted on his own is a matter that will be subjected to judicial process in due course.

But that person, by the Wire's own admission, was a 'team-member'. There have been previous press reports dating back to 2019 suggesting that the likely culprit was already wackadoodle.  Perhaps, that's why he was useful to Varadarajan. 

The malintent to discredit The Wire is obvious.

What is obvious is that the Wire has a shitty editor and a paranoid staff.  

“Other than this, we have nothing to say.”

So no apology then. Nothing is Varadarajan's fault. Billi the Cat, disguised as Rishi Sunak, is using Mind-Rays to control the Internet. High level CIA whistle-blowers have secretly given me a copy of an Email from President Biden to Prime Minister Modi where he explains the whole dastardly plan to entrap Varadarajan. Sadly, Billi the Cat pissed on it, mistaking it for Putin's lap. This shows how Hindutva is totally corrupting our society and turning pussy cats into pissy cats. Mind it kindly. Aiyayyo.  

Ashutosh's Mein Kejriwal

Ashutosh- a Hindi journalist who thinks Modi is Hitler and 'Hindutva' means ethnic cleansing of minorities of all descriptions- has now realized that Kejriwal is just as bad as Modi. It turns out that sly bastard, whom Ashutosh had met and trusted, was actually a Hindu! The man can recite Hanuman Chalisa! This shows he is very evil and will turn into Hitler just as Modi turned into Hitler. Trillions of Muslims have been killed by Modi Sarkar. Kejriwal will not fail to kill gazillions of Muslims because he is now taking name of Lord Ganesh! This is terrible sin against Holy Ambedkarji's Constitution. Even Viceroy Dyer was not taking name of Lord Ganesh when mercilessly slaughtering quadrillions of Muslims! All is fault of diabolical neo-liberalism which is very wicked and totally lacking in niceness. 

Ashutosh writes: This is not the Arvind Kejriwal I knew

When I first met him, Mein Kejriwal was an elderly Muslim lady wearing burqa and piteously protesting against CAA in Shaheen Bagh. I now realize that cunning fellow was not doing namaz and keeping roza properly. Evidence is clear. The fellow is now mentioning Hindu deities! Would a decent Muslim woman do any such thing? No! Of course not! It is well known that Hindus are very evil and will kill minorities if they become CM or PM. Yet, now Kejriwal has come out as Hindu, this is bound to happen.  

By taking the Lakshmi-Ganesh route to power, Arvind Kejriwal has betrayed the promise and hope the AAP once held out

It was supposed to be an anti-corruption party. Then demonetization happened and people decided that corruption wasn't so bad. Complain about things loudly enough and your life can become much shittier than you thought possible.  

Kejriwal has a fatal flaw. He wants to win at any cost.

He should want to be a big fat loser like Ashutosh. Why is he trying to win elections? Why not write a shitty book interested?  

I felt very proud when I joined the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in January 2014.

Why? Kejriwal had already broken with Anna Hazare and allied with Congress to grab the CM seat.  It was obvious that the man was an opportunist. 

Today, I feel relieved that I am no longer with them.

Ashutosh didn't get the Rajya Sabha ticket he was after. It went to not one but two moneyed Guptas. Ashutosh, also a Gupta, says AAP was trying to make him use his caste surname so as to get votes. The truth is even more horrible than he has suggested. One day as Ashutosh was just quietly walking down the road wearing burqa and chanting nice Revolutionary Islamic verses, some AAP hoodlums turned up and demanded that he stand for election as a Hindu man! In all his years of journalism and activism no one had ever assumed Ashutosh was a man- let alone a Hindu man. Yet, because of Kejriwal's intrigue and opportunism, suddenly Indian politics has become gendered and communal. Did anybody ever ask Pundit Nehru his caste or gender? No! Voters assumed Nehru was a sweet Chinese girl just as Lord Mountbatten was an elderly Zulu lady.  

The AAP then was seen

by sweet Chinese lasses- like Assurredlytosh

as a revolutionary force that claimed to be in politics not to play politics but to change politics.

 Very true. Politics would be changed so that Ashutosh could become a sweet Chinese girl living happily in Canada with her pet Panda bear. 

Today, it is difficult to believe that it is the same party. The AAP has changed beyond recognition. The party proudly said it did not choose candidates on the basis of caste, religion, region, gender or language in the 2013 Delhi assembly elections.

It chose sweet Chinese girls or their pet Panda bears.  

Integrity, honesty and good character were the only qualities for the selection of the candidates, the party had said. Before giving tickets, a thorough background check of the prospective candidate was done and a minor blemish was enough to disqualify a person.

In 2015, one third of AAP legislators had criminal cases against them. That's why AAP won.  

It was a breath of fresh air in Indian politics, which had been a hotbed of corrupt practices. The AAP fielded individuals like Rajmohan Gandhi, Anand Kumar and Medha Patekar as candidates in the 2014 general election.

They all broke with Kejriwal soon enough unless they had already been forgotten and so nobody would have noticed.  

It did not talk about religion or gods and goddesses to garner votes.

It talked bollocks to garner votes.  

The AAP carefully chalked out a programme of welfare measures for the downtrodden and marginalised — education, health, free electricity and supply of clean water at a subsidised rate were central to that model of governance.

Kejriwal showed he was a smart businessman. The electricity subsidy has become optional but he has secured voter goodwill.  

But today, Arvind Kejriwal does not lose an opportunity to woo Hindu voters by appealing to their religious sensibilities.

How very wicked of him! Surely, as a god fearing Chinese Muslim girl, he should be appealing to Hindu voters' atheistic sentiments?  

The latest demand by Kejriwal that the Modi government should put the images of Laxmi and Ganesh on the rupee notes if it wants the Indian economy to get better, is a perversion in its pursuit to win an election.

It is a masterstroke. Kejriwal is reminding us that he is a Bania- he understands business. It is plausible that the 'animal spirits' of the pious Bania class increases as the count notes with Hindu images. That's good for the economy.  

This perversion showed its glimpses during the 2015 assembly elections in Delhi when Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav had raised the issue of certain candidates whose past was not as clean as expected being fielded by the party. Both of them were expelled from the party soon after the AAP won a historic mandate.

But Yadav and Bhushan are now known to be useless windbags. Kejriwal is a winner, not a whiner.  

The slide that started then had alarmed many senior AAP leaders but they kept quiet. The loss in the Punjab assembly elections in 2017, followed by the rout in the MCD elections, were the final tipping point. Since then, the AAP has not looked back. The AAP has given tickets to wealthy individuals with shady pasts who had no connection with the party and has been accused of selling tickets for the Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha and assembly elections in different states. The party has never given a satisfactory explanation to why it deviated from its chosen path.

To win. D'uh! Does this Indian journalist really not understand how Indian politics works?  

Once Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister and Hindutva became the dominant formula to win elections, AAP was in a fix and wondering if it wanted to tread the same path. Kejriwal has a fatal flaw. He wants to win at any cost.

Which is why he wins. That's all that matters. Elections are a competitive sport. There are no prizes for coming last.  

After the bad loss in Punjab in 2017, where he took his victory for granted, he did not want to take any chances in the 2020 Delhi assembly election. So, he sold himself to Hindutva.

Previously, he was a nice Chinese Muslim girl who was living happily with her pet Panda in Canada. Lust for electoral victory caused him to sell himself to Hindutva which changed his gender and his religion and made him take up residence in India.  

To ensure his victory, he not only hired the services of Prashant Kishor

which is what smart politicians in India tend to do 

but also recited Hanuman Chalisa.

Instead of Mao's little Red Book! Would Nehru have committed such an atrocity?  

He called himself a “Hanuman bhakt” and invited a TV crew when he visited the Hanuman temple in Connaught Place.

A man with a name like Arvind Kejriwal must be a sweet Chinese Muslim girl. It is beyond all reason that he should be 'Hanuman bhakt'. Also there is no Hanuman temple in Connaught Ontario. Kejriwal lives in Canada, not Delhi.  

He and the AAP did not utter a word on the issue of CAA and the Shaheen Bagh movement.

Because Kejriwal isn't against non-Muslim refugees from Islamic terror getting citizenship.  

When riots took place in North East Delhi, he did not visit the area,

because he doesn't like Muslims who kill Hindus 

nor did his government honestly carry out the rehabilitation programme for the riot victims as he did not want to be accused of indulging in “Muslim appeasement”.

It is more likely that he just didn't like Muslims who killed Hindus. Many Hindus do have that reprehensible prejudice for some unknown reason.  

The AAP’s stupendous victory in Delhi in 2020 was the last nail in the coffin of the “original” AAP, the revolutionary party.

Congress and the Left was wiped out. The BJP wasn't wiped out completely. It needed to up its game. Kejriwal aint stupid.  

After winning Punjab, Gujarat is Kejriwal’s next target, which is the original laboratory of Hindutva.

It turns out Muslims killing Hindus is not popular with Hindus. They get behind the Hindu who punishes the aggressors.  

It started well in this endeavour in the local bodies’ elections, especially in Surat and Gandhinagar. With very smart manipulation of the media space and through a visible campaign, the AAP emerged as the third force in Gujarat. Kejriwal started visiting the state every week. A buzz was created on the ground and it was debated loudly if the AAP could replace the Congress as the main opposition to the BJP. But two incidents rattled his confidence. First, the AAP state convener, Gopal Italia, spoke ill about Modi and asked women not to go to temples as that could be unsafe.

That's an old video. Still, Kejriwal had better get rid of him. Anyway, the fellow is bound to lose in the election.

Second, video clips of AAP minister Rajendra Pal Gautam saying at a Buddhist ceremony that he won’t worship Hindu gods. To minimise the damage, Kejriwal

got the fellow to resign and then 

took the Laxmi-Ganesh route. In one of his rallies, he was seen chanting Jai Shri Ram — a war cry of the BJP and Sangh Parivar invented during the Ram Mandir movement. He also said he was born on Janmashtami (the day of Lord Krishna’s birth) to annihilate the sons of Kansa.

Which cancels Italia's blooper about Lord Krishna being a demon. Gujarati voters are smart. They get that Italia is a hot head whom Kejriwal will get rid off. The big question is whether they will be enticed by Kejriwal's 'freebies'.  

I am not sure if his exhortation to Hindu deities will fetch votes.

I think the fact that Arvind is a smart, ambitious, bania who understand money is what will fetch votes.  

But this certainly proves that he is not the same Arvind Kejriwal I knew, who used to talk about cleaning Indian politics of all its ills.

This suggests Ashutosh is a shit judge of character as well as a shit politician. Had he stuck with Kejriwal he'd have got something rather than nothing.  

His conversion to Hindutva can be seen by a few as trying to snatch from Modi the winning formula. But what needs thought is why a “party of hope” could not resist being appropriated by politics and why it has taken the dangerous route of mixing religion with politics.

It is a safe route. The Mahatma took it. Kejriwal's innovation is his 'common man' persona as an urban petty clerk or kirana shopkeeper.  

Winning and losing elections is a part of the democratic process but the demise of the hope the AAP represented is tragic.

To Ashutosh. He is crying too much. Wifey is saying 'kyoun ji? Itne kyoun ro rahe ho?' and he is replying 'Arvind used to be nice Chinese Muslim girl living in Canada. Now he has become a Hindu! All hope is dead. Viceroyji should take action!'  

Kejriwal and his party might do well in the elections, but the injury they are inflicting on the body-politic and constitutional democracy will leave a permanent scar.

because 'body-politic' can't tolerate Hindus being Hindus. Constitutional democracy will have very big appendix scar unless Kejriwal turns into nice Chinese girl and goes to live in Canada with her Panda bear.

Siddharth Varadarajan's latest scoop

 Siddhartha Varadarajan having withdrawn bizarre allegations against Meta, is intent on winning back his reputation as a serious journalist with an article on Kejriwal's clever demand for Lakshmi and Ganesha to be represented on Indian currency notes.

In the race to the bottom that now seems to define

the Wire's journalism? That's not exactly news. 

Indian politics, a new depth has been plumbed by the Aam Aadmi Party’s Arvind Kejriwal with his utterly cynical and bizarre assertion that the Indian economy can be made to prosper if the photos of Laxmi and Ganesh are added to currency notes.

This is smart. Kejriwal is reminding voters in Gujarat that he, not Modi, is a genuine Bania who understands money and can bring prosperity.  He mentions the other great Bania- Mahatma Gandhi- and says he should be depicted on the back side of the note. There is an element of satire here but also a reminder that Kejriwal started off as an anti-corruption campaigner. Demonetization broke the back of that particular bandwagon but Kejriwal is nimble enough to jump on  to any other 'rath' if that's what voters want. 

Since this irrational claim, presented in the form of a proposal, is calculated to annoy and embarrass the Bharatiya Janata Party which believes it alone has the right to flaunt ‘Hindu’ credentials’, BJP spokespersons have responded by telling people that Kejriwal is actually ‘anti-Hindu’.

Which gives him extra publicity. Win win. 

The evidence cited to back up this accusation does not speak well of the BJP. They say he sought to curb air pollution during Diwali by banning the use of firecrackers. Or that one of his ministers repeated the vows Dr Ambedkar took when he converted to Buddhism – the same Ambedkar that Narendra Modi claims to be a disciple of.

Kejriwal sacked the Minister who was vowing not to worship Ganesh and Hanuman- which was silly because they are Buddhist deities, worshipped in China and Japan, just as much as they are Hindu or Jain. Bringing up the currency note issue shows Kejriwal can think on his feet. 

The BJP has also accused AAP of being a “poor carbon copy of the original”, an accusation that does the original no credit.

Because the ruling party of a big country aint anything to be proud off. You should aim to having zero seats in Parliament.  

Meanwhile, India’s Hindus, most of whom have seen their personal economic fortunes plummet despite the multitude of gods and goddesses adorning their walls, should be forgiven for wondering who on earth they should trust the keys of the country with.

The Wire has secret emails sent by India's Hindus to their gods and goddesses which prove Sid's claim to the hilt. Meanwhile Modi still faces no challenger in 2024.  

The last time India witnessed a crazy proposal about money was in 2016, when Modi decided withdrawing 80% of the currency notes in circulation (that too without having new notes available as replenishment) would spur the Indian economy by ending black money and curbing corruption. Like Kejriwal, he too was hoping the blind faith of people would help him hoodwink them.

The BJP won big as a result. It appears that anything Sid thinks is stupid is actually clever while stuff that Sid swears is true and properly documented has been fabricated by a lunatic.

Just as Kejriwal’s followers insist in seeing virtue in his mad idea,

it's a smart move. I don't say it will sway voters but it shows Kejriwal is in it to win it.  

Modi’s bhakts desperately clutched at the fiction of the new Rs 2000 notes carrying embedded microchips which could communicate with satellites and reveal to the authorities any unauthorised horde that is not in a bank – even if buried 200 feet underground.

No doubt these rumors were fabricated by Wire staff.  

The end result was that the economy’s growth prospects got buried, while corruption never ended.

The economy grew. What was killed off was Anna Hazare type craziness. 

In introductory macroeconomics, we are taught that money is

Credit. Commodity money, on the other hand may be 

a store of value, a medium of transaction and a unit of account

but its intrinsic value may exceed its face value in which case it won't be used as a medium of exchange. 

Kejriwal has added a fourth function which central banks around the world may want to study: it can be a medium of benediction too, provided the Hindu goddess of wealth and Hinduism’s divine remover of obstacles are duly portrayed.

In which case there is lower velocity of circulation and hence higher seigniorage. That's good for the Government.  

Of course, monetary economists are bound to ask whether the quantum of benediction will be a function of the total money supply

only the proportion of the monetary stock which is replaced matters iff velocity of circulation changes. This is unlikely.  

(presumably the more photos of Lakshmi and Ganesh in circulation, the greater the blessings which will be showered),

Presumably, Sid received invisible emails from Meta confirming this view. 


in which case the Friedman-Schwarz Quantity Theory of Money, MV = PY,

PT. Y is substituted for convenience. But Friedman was wrong about super-neutrality with respect to velocity. So transactions aren't really independent. 

can be replaced with MV = ॐPY, where ॐ is the ‘blessings multiplier’ that boosts nominal GDP beyond what the money supply and velocity of circulation predict.

Expectations can boost T. Blessings could have that effect. One could bring in 'nudge' theory here.  

It would also be interesting to see how the Kejriwal Theory of Money will handle business cycles, where the economy goes into recession.

Have a short sharp shakeout- call it Shiva's tandava. Recessions are good if you get rid of shitty management and improve factor mobility.  Get all the 'divaliyas' (bankruptcies) over quickly so Divali represents the turning of a new leaf. 

Would the blessings multiplier be boosted above its normal value by divine intervention so that the Reserve Bank of India and the Department of Expenditure can sit back as Lakshmi and Ganesha work their magic and the economy revives?

Maybe. We don't know what would happen if a genuine Bania- not a Gandhian nutjob- ran the country.  

Kejriwal cites the presence of Ganesha on the (now withdrawn) 20,000 Indonesian rupiah note to argue that if a country where Hindus are barely 2% of the population can seek the elephant god’s blessings, why can’t India.

The last time I heard an Indian politician praise Indonesia’s money was when a BJP leader I know cited Ganesha and Garuda (the name of the country’s national airline) to me, to argue that Indonesia’s Muslims may have converted to Islam but they have ‘not forgotten their Hindu culture’ – unlike India’s Muslims, he added quickly.

What was cool about Indonesia was Hindus and Muslims working together to kill Communists.  Apparently the Indonesians put in the Ganesha symbol at the time of the 1997 devaluation crisis. It seemed to work. 

Perhaps Kejriwal met the same leader or has friends in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (because the Indonesia obsession is a shakha staple) but had he looked into the actual effect of Ganesha’s blessings on the Indonesian economy, he may be disappointed. The fact is that there has been no Ganesha on any Indonesian currency note since 2008 and yet the Indonesians are twice as rich as the people of India.

Because they took the time and trouble to kill Commies in a methodical manner. Also IMF tough love worked a treat in 1998. The country got rid of Suharto, much to Stiglitz's discomfiture.  

Perhaps Ganesha’s blessings operate in the monetary sphere long after he’s gone. Or perhaps they do not operate at all.

Or perhaps Sid has been reading invisible emails from senior officials at Meta or Secret Capitalist HQ or Fascism Central.  

The BJP says Kejriwal’s proposal is a ploy to fool Hindus before the upcoming municipal elections in Delhi.

It would be better for the City to have the same party in power in both the Legislature and the Municipality. Delhi voters are smart- at least if they are poor.  

They may be right. He is be a “poor carbon copy”

So poor, he won Delhi and then Punjab. The guy is just 54 years old.  

but at least the BJP is tacitly admitting that the original Hindutva party uses Hinduism as a ploy at election time.

Whereas the Wire has been insisting Hinduism is actually Nazism and the BJP plans to set up Death Camps all over the place. 

And does a much better job at it.

Not really. Gehlot and KCR have shown that other parties can appeal directly to crucial 'high caste' vote banks and foster pride in regional variants of Hinduism. Hindutva's appeal fades when battles over reservations gain salience. More importantly, by 2026, when the 87th amendment runs out, there could be seat redistribution from the South to the North. That will concentrate minds. Still, Modi is safe enough for the moment. By 2029, Kejriwal will be ready to make his move. Meanwhile, the Wire might keep getting subsidized so as to come up with yet more scoops based on phantom emails from Nazi Central Office. 

Sen on Culture & Development

Some 20 years ago, Amartya Sen addressed the question 'How does Culture matter?' in the context of Development Econ. The answer was already know to be- 'it doesn't at all.' Any culture can be supported by any type of economic regime or level of National Income. This is because any guy who says 'This can't be done. It is against our Culture/Religion/Ideology/Morality/Psychology' etc. can be made to change his mind if beaten or bribed sufficiently. 

  Connections It is particularly important to identify the different ways in which culture can matter to development.

Why? No country which actually developed ever bothered to do so. Some third rate pedants may have gassed on about how the superiority/inferiority of our culture makes it inevitable that we will prevail/fail. But they cancelled each other out as noise. 

The following categories would seem to have some immediacy as well as far reaching relevance. (1) Culture as a constitutive part of development: 

But Culture is equally a constitutive part of no fucking development occurring and everybody just quietly dying of starvation or getting eaten by tigers. 

We can begin with the basic question: what is development for?

Why not begin with the more basic question: what are questions for? The answer is, questions are asked so as to elicit useful information- unless they are being asked by a stupid pedant in which case questions are asked just to waste everybody's time.

 The furtherance of well-being and freedoms that we seek in development cannot but include the enrichment of human lives through literature, music, fine arts, and other forms of cultural expression and practice, which we have reason to value. 

The opposite is the case. Development means less leisure and thus lower per capita provision of positional leisure goods unless there is an export market for it 

Julius Caesar said of Cassius, "He hears no music: seldom he smiles," this was not meant to be high praise for Cassius’s quality of life.

It had nothing to do with the dude's 'quality of life'. Caesar is saying 'that guy is a murderous bastard'. 

 To have a high GNP per head but little music, arts, literature, etc., would not amount to a major developmental success.

Yes it would. Most music, art, literature etc is horrible. If a country works hard and becomes wealthy its people can play the best music in the world on their state of the art hi fi.

 In one form or another, culture engulfs our lives, our desires, our frustrations, our ambitions, and the freedoms that we seek.

Only in the sense that culture eludes us even when our engagement with it is most intense.

 The freedom and opportunity for cultural activities are among the basic freedoms the enhancement of which can be seen to be constitutive of development.

Quite false. There is no connection between the two whatsoever. Much cultural activity is a Giffen good- i.e. has negative income elasticity of demand. If we become poorer we'd go into more public art galleries or free madrigal concerts in Churches or Scientific lectures at the Pedagogic Institute so as to get out of the cold. When we get richer we pay for the best American blockbuster or Russian soprano on BluRay. In other words we substitute a smaller amount of higher Income elasticity leisure products for a larger amount of low quality 'cultural' shite. 

 Economically remunerative cultural activities and objects: Various activities that are economically remunerative may be directly or indirectly dependent on cultural facilities and more generally on the cultural environment.

But even more remunerative activities are directly dependent on bulldozing any fucking 'cultural facility' which nobody would pay a penny to keep going. As for the 'cultural environment' which produced Homer or Rap Music- we want to get the fuck away from it because life there is nasty, brutal, and short. 

The linkage of tourism with cultural sites (including historical ones) is obvious enough.

Las Vegas is very cultural. So are brothels. 

 The presence or absence of crime 

is important

or welcoming traditions 

which are a fucking nuisance. The thing screams 'tourist trap'. 

may also be critical to tourism and in general to domestic as well as cross-boundary interactions. Music, dancing and other cultural activities may also have a large commercial - often global - market.

Only if they are best in class. India kept trying to push Kathakali. The truth is even Keralites hate the thing. Naughty kids were sent to watch that shite. Good kids were rewarded with Disney movies. 

(3) Cultural factors influence economic behaviour

only if they are economically reinforced

Even though some economists have been tempted by the idea that all human beings behave in much the same way (for example, relentlessly maximize their self-interest defined in a thoroughly insulated way), there is plenty of evidence to indicate that this is not in general so.

But everybody 'minimizes regret' according to their own 'Gentzen calculus' founded in the 'uncorrelated asymmetries' which define their 'oikeiosis'. But this does not matter at all because people quickly adjust their economic behavior to the prevailing mechanism. Since economic development is about economic behavior, culture is irrelevant. Tadean mimetics- imitating the more successful- is what obtains.

 Cultural influences can make a major difference

if they are economically reinforced

 to work ethics, responsible conduct, spirited motivation, dynamic management, entrepreneurial initiatives, willingness to take risks, and a variety of other aspects of human behaviour which can be critical to economic success.

or the reverse if the work done is stupid work or responsible conduct consists in doing stupid shite or dynamic management bankrupts the enterprise etc, etc. 

 Also, successful operation of an exchange economy depends on mutual trust and implicit norms.

Nonsense! Only the mechanism matters. That's why I buy stuff from blokes in China or wherever on Ebay. They have a good conflict resolution method. That's all that matters. 

 When these behavioural modes are plentifully there, it is easy to overlook their role. But when they have to be cultivated, that lacuna can be a major barrier to economic success. 

This is simply a human capital deficit. Culture is irrelevant. The Brits ran a huge Empire by getting every type of wog or nigger to turn up for work on time and not steal everything in sight by using purely economic sanctions. This did not mean the good people of Calcutta had the same culture as the good people of Hong Kong or Lagos or Cyprus or Palestine. 

There are plenty of example of the problems faced in precapitalist economies because of the underdevelopment of basic virtues of commerce and business. 

But the Brits and Dutch and so forth had no difficulty overcoming these problems. 

 The culture of behaviour relates to many other features of economic success. It relates, for example, to the prevalence or absence of economic corruption and its linkages with organized crime. In Italian discussions on this subject, in which I was privileged to take part through advising the Anti-Mafia Commission of the Italian parliament, the role and reach of implicit values was much discussed.

Amartya Sen stars in Godfather IV! Cool! Still, you have to hand it to the Italians. When they don't want to take needful action they are smart enough to consult a Bengali mathematical economist. Those dudes can be trusted to waste everybody's time till the cows come home. 

(4) Culture and political participation: Participation in civil interactions and political activities is influenced by cultural conditions. 

India has lots of different cultures. This does not affect political participation at all. Back in the Fifties, some foreign scholars were puzzled by this. Then they got dysentery and returned home. 

The tradition of public discussion and participatory interactions can be very critical to the process of  politics, and can be important for the establishment, preservation and practice of democracy.

There is no evidence for this whatsoever. Sen is from East Bengal which hasn't always been a democracy (indeed Biden didn't invite Sheikh Hasina to his summit) but it isn't that culturally different from West Bengal which, however, has more gangsterism than Gujarat. 

 The culture of participation can be a critical civic virtue, 

except in Bengal where it is a critical civic vice

as was extensively discussed by Condorcet, 

whose head was chopped off because of a culture of excessive political participation. 

Political participation is critically important for development, 

provided there is a One Party State which shoots dissidents and massacres minorities- sure. 

both through its effects on the assessment of ways and means, and even through its role in the formation and consolidation of values in terms of which development has to be assessed.

'Assessment' does not matter. People want to have sex. They don't want to receive failing grade from their partner. I'm not saying that's what happens to me. I'm thinking of this other bloke I know. I can't tell you his name because we were in the SAS together. 

 Social solidarity and association: Aside from economic interactions and political participation, even the operation of social solidarity and mutual support can be strongly influenced by culture. 

But that supposed influence can go either way. Furthermore, it is never the case that a change in culture- e.g. everybody deciding to dance the hokey kokey- leads to a change in economic interaction, political participation, the operation of social solidarity, everybody offering everybody else gratuitous rape counselling while braiding their hair, or environmental sustainability within a context of social inclusivity and increased provision of sodomy for senior citizens. 

The success of social living is greatly dependent on what people may spontaneously do for each other.

I once found myself in a small elevator with Amartya Sen at the London School of Economics. I spontaneously farted as I exited the lift. This represented a great success for social living. At least it would have done if Amartya Sen had actually been on the lift. It turned out to be Lord Meghnad Desai. The smell make his hair stand up on end. 

 This can profoundly influence the working of the society, including the care of its less fortunate members as well as preservation and guardianship of common assets.

This is economic behavior because scarce resources are involved. My farts are a free good. They represent 'culture' in that they are non-rival and non-excludable though, sadly, nobody is greatly enthused by them. 

 The sense of closeness to others in the community can be a major asset for that community.

Till COVID strikes- sure. 

 The advantages flowing from solidarity and supportive interactions have received much attention recently through the literature on "social capital." This is an important new area of social investigation.

Especially in very poor countries. Why spend money on digging wells or growing food? Just investigate social capital preferably on an Ivy League campus or else with the aid of a tax free UN salary. 

 There is, however, a need to scrutinize the nature of "social capital" as "capital" - in the sense of a general purpose resource (as capital is taken to be). The same sentiments and inclinations can actually work in opposite directions, depending on the nature of the group involved. For example, solidarity within a particular group (for example, long-term residents of a region) can go with a less than friendly view of non-members of that group (such as new immigrants).

This non-friendly view may result in more vigilant policing- or a culture of passersby catching and kicking in the heads of muggers-  which in turn may attract higher skilled migrants who don't want to be mugged every twenty minutes. 

  it may be a mistake to treat "social capital" as a general-purpose asset (as capital is, in general, taken to be), rather than as an asset for some relations and a liability for others

This is also true of physical capital. You have to spend a lot of money to knock down this factory which can no longer make a profit to make room for a shopping mall. The cost of de-toxifying a 'brown field' site may be prohibitive which is why greenfield sites are so much in demand. But this is also true of the 'human capital' that has built up in industrial districts which involves Trade Union militancy, racial grievances, and criminal gangs stealing everything not guarded by attack dogs 24/7. 

 There is, thus, room for some searching scrutiny of the nature and operation of the important, but in some ways problematic, concept of "social capital." 

Nope. I've said all that can usefully said on the topic. 

 (6) Cultural sites and recollection of past heritage

This cretin thought setting up an international University at Nalanda was a good idea purely because some such thing had existed hundreds of years ago. He writes ' there has been only partial excavation of the ruins of the ancient Buddhist university of Nalanda in India, which had come to its end in the twelfth century about the time when Oxford University was being founded (after having flourished for many hundreds of years, and having attracted scholars from abroad as well as within India - Hsuan Tsang from China in the 7th century was one of the most prominent alumnus of Nalanda). Further investment in Nalanda’s excavation, accessibility and facilities will not only encourage tourism, and generate income in one of the poorest parts of India, but can also help to generate a fuller understanding of the diversity of India’s historical traditions.

Have the people of Bihar benefited from Sen's obsession with Nalanda? Nope. The thing is a money pit. Good farm land was taken away from peasants and now they are stuck with a White Elephant which won't educated their sons and daughters or provide them with anything save menial work. 

Another constructive possibility is the furtherance of a clearer and broader understanding of a country’s or community’s past through systematic exploration of its cultural history, For example, by supporting historical excavations, explorations and related research, development programmes can help to facilitate a fuller appreciation of the breadth of - and internal variations within - particular cultures and traditions.

Furthermore, the presence of Western archaeologists can provide potential victims for dudes from ISIS who want to post a Youtube video of themselves decapitating White peeps. 

 History often includes much greater variety of cultural influences and traditions than tends to be allowed by intensely political - and frequently ahistorical - interpretations of the present. 

Very true. History shows that Hindus like Sen were living happily in East Bengal till...urm... they suddenly decided to run away. Archaeology may help explain why this happened. 

When this is the case, historical objects, sites and records can help to offset some of the frictions of confrontational modern politics. 

Very true. Jews and Palestinians are now constantly kissing and cuddling each other because of all the archaeological work which is being done in Jerusalem. 

 For example, Arab history includes a long tradition of peaceful relation with Jewish populations.

The UAE is now building synagogues and welcoming Israelis. I wonder why? 

 Similarly, Indonesian past carries powerful records of simultaneous flourishing of Hindu, Buddhist and Confucian cultures, side by side with the Islamic traditions. 

Hindus and Muslims came together to slaughter Communists fifty years ago. 

Butrint in Albania as a historical site shows flourishing presence of Greek, Roman and later Christian cultures, as well as Islamic history.

Which is how come Albania is such an economically advanced country. 

 The highlighting of a diverse past that may go with the excavation, preservation and accessability of historical objects and sites can, thus, have a possible role in promoting toleration of diversity in contemporary settings, and in countering confrontational use of "monocultural" readings of a nation’s past.

Why does Sen not return to Dacca if that is the case?

 For example, the recent attempt by Hindu activists to see India as just a "Hindu country," in which practitioners of other religions must have a less privileged position, clashes with the great diversity of Indian history.

i.e. India getting conquered by foreigners who had no interest in embracing the indigenous religion.  However, it was Mahatma Gandhi who described the Congress as only appealing to High Caste Hindus. That is why, in 1948, non-Hindu refugees who had fled were prevented from returning and barred from citizenship. Two years later, cow protection was made a Directive Principle of the Constitution. Guess which religion holds the cow sacred? 

This includes a thousand years of Buddhist predominance (with sites all over India), 

This is nonsense. There were some Buddhist Emperors but they also employed Brahmin purohits.  Indeed, the Thai and Cambodian monarchs still do. One may say Buddhism predominated only if the Emperor was persecuting some other Shraman religion- e.g. Ashoka's persecution of Jains.

a long history of Jain culture, conspicuous presence of Christians from the fourth century

The thing was not conspicuous anywhere except parts of Kerala. But Jews got there first. 

 and of Parsees from the eighth, 

They only gained visibility under the British. Armenians, however, were conspicuous at an earlier date. Then India became free and they left.

Muslim settlements of Arab traders in South India from about the same time, massive interactions between Muslims and Hindus all over the country (including new departures in painting, music, literature and architecture), the birth and flourishing of Sikhism (as a new Indian religion that drew on but departed from previous ones), and so on. The recollection of history can be a major ally in the cultivation of toleration and celebration of diversity,

Has this guy really not heard of Pakistan for Muslims and Khalistan for Sikhs? Why is it he only objects to Hinduism? Is it because of the peculiar politics of West Bengal where the Muslim minority has increased from 20 percent to 30 percent? 

 and these are - directly and indirectly - among important features of development.

No. They are completely unrelated to development. 

 Cultural influences on value formation and evolution: 

Why not speak of the influence of value formation on Culture? What about the value of influence in Cultural formation? How about the influence of culture on the value of formation? One can just switch around words in a meaningless sentence to get the same vacuous result. 

Not only is it the case that cultural factors figure among the ends and means of development, 

it is also the case that ends figure in the development of cultural factors and this sentence means shit. 

they can also have a central role even in the formation of values. 

and formation is central to the value of a role. 

This in turn can be influential in the identification of our ends and the recognition of plausible and acceptable instruments to achieve those ends. 

Very true. Culture is influential in our identification of suitable instruments to get our end away. 

For example, open public discussion - itself a cultural achievement of significance - can be powerfully influential in the emergence of new norms and fresh priorities. 

Very true. Contribute a fart to an open public discussion and people discover their priority is to get the fuck away. 

Does Sen say anything not utterly vacuous in this paper? Yes he comments on Huntingdon's comparison of Ghana and South Korea-

In the early 1990s, I happened to come across economic data on Ghana and South Korea in the early 1960s, and I was astonished to see how similar their economies were then. ....Thirty years later, South Korea had become an industrial giant with the fourteenth largest economy in the world, multinational corporations, major exports of automobiles, electronic equipment, and other sophisticated manufactures, and per capital income approximately that of Greece, Moreover it was on its way to the consolidation of democratic institutions.No such changes had occurred in Ghana, whose per capita income was now about one-fifteenth that of South Korea’s. How could this extraordinary difference in development be explained? Undoubtedly, many factors played a role, but it seemed to me that culture had to be a large part of the explanation. South Koreans valued thrift, investment, hard work, education, organization, and discipline. Ghanians had different values. In short, cultures count.

Korea has a single language and ethnicity. Ghana has 11 official languages. It was soldered together from various British possessions in the region. Still, about half were Akan- considered a highly entrepreneurial people with a storied history of state formation and international trade.  

Ghana is a lush tropical paradise which produces cocoa whose price was high in the Fifties thus creating a substantial budget surplus. South Korea was barely getting by on American aid.  Ghana should have industrialized after independence on the basis of free enterprise and light industry focused on 'wage goods'. Sadly, Nkrumah chose Soviet style planned development. I suppose you could say he was implementing the Sen-Dobb thesis- i.e. squeeze the farmers so as to have an investible surplus in a capital intensive State sector. Unlike the two Koreas, Ghana faced no military threat and had a popular leader. Sadly, like India, it pursued foolish economic policies- indeed, it had greater leeway to do so because the handsome and robust appearance of the people suggested a degree of ease and affluence.  Bhagwati's 1958 paper 'Immeserizing growth' explained why the terms of trade would turn against primary producers precisely because the people were hardworking and thrifty. There is alternative to industrialization and demographic transition is Malthusian poverty and involution. 

Sen won't quote Bhagwati. Instead he says- 

There may well be something of interest in this engaging comparison (perhaps even a quarter-truth torn out of context), and the contrast does call for probing examination. And yet, as used in the explanation just cited, the causal story is extremely deceptive. There were many important differences - other than their cultural predispositions - between Ghana and Korea in the 1960s when they appeared to Huntington to be much the same, except for culture.

There was only one difference. Ghana was taking the Communist path- like North Korea- but the people were freer to get rid of their leader. But it was too late in the day because the budget surplus had been squandered and the country was deeply in debt. 

 First, the class structures in the two countries were quite different, with a very much bigger - and pro-active - role of business classes in South Korea.

Sen is ignorant of the strong entrepreneurial tradition of the Akan people. 

 Second, the politics were very different too, with the government in South Korea willing and eager to play a prime-moving role in initiating a business-centred economic development in a way that did not apply to Ghana.

Because Nkrumah- who had spent 10 years getting higher degrees in America- chose the North Korean path.

 Third, the close relationship between the Korean economy and the Japanese economy, on the one hand, and the United States, on the other, made a big difference, at least in the early stages of Korean development.

But Ghana had been trading with Europe and America from before the time of Columbus! Incidentally, its original name was 'the Gold Coast'. We aren't speaking of some remote place in the jungle. 

 Fourth - and perhaps most important - by the 1960s South Korea had acquired a much higher literacy rate and much more expanded school system than Ghana had. 

Nkrumah, to his credit, did invest in education. But a country can be very well educated and still as poor as shit. Look at the Cubans. However, it would be wiser to consider school enrollment in Ghana at that period as a function of the demand for skilled labor. This meant there were big regional and gender disparities. However, there was no supply side constraint and so enrollment could be increased very quickly if parents could see that more and more skilled work was becoming available. 

The Korean changes had been brought about in the post-second-world-war period, largely through resolute public policy,

regarding what? A military and internal political threat whose solution required rapid economic growth of a type that might reassure America it hadn't been saddled with a money pit. South Korea sent a lot of troops- who performed well- to Vietnam for the same reason. 

 and it could not be seen just as a reflection of age-old Korean culture.

Sen is being charitable to Huntingdon. The dude meant that Koreans were cold adapted peeps, not guys with ginormous cocks who spent their days eating water-melon in between pleasuring your wife. 

On the basis of the slender scrutiny offered, it is hard to justify either the cultural triumphalism in favour of Korean culture, or the radical pessimism about Ghana’s future that the reliance on cultural determinism would tend to suggest. 

North Korea suffered a big famine in the Nineties. Ghana did not. 

Neither can be derived from the over-rapid and underanalyzed comparison that accompanies the heroic diagnostics. As it happens, South Korea did not rely just on its traditional culture. From the 1940s onwards, it deliberately followed lessons from abroad to use public policy to advance its backward school education. 

So did North Korea. In 1960, North Korea was considered more successful in eliminating illiteracy and making primary schooling compulsory.

Culture could be considered to represent 'Social Capital'. One way in which Capital of any sort can operate is to create 'barriers to entry or exit' which increases economic rent. Sen warns that it may be 'a mistake to treat "social capital" as a general-purpose asset (as capital is, in general, taken to be), rather than as an asset for some relations and a liability for others.

If cultural signals are 'costly to acquire', then they can solve an information asymmetry problem by serving as a screening device. Thus the kid who excelled in Rabbinical school, or Vedic or Confucian or Islamic school may have developed 'general purpose' cognitive skills. As a matter of fact, there is a lot of evidence that such young people can do well when they switch to 'modern' or technocratic education and training. 

 There is, thus, room for some searching scrutiny of the nature and operation of the important, but in some ways problematic, concept of "social capital." 

But that 'searching scrutiny' has to be evidence based. Moreover, if 'traditional culture' is seen as neglecting mathematics or physical science, then there is an indigenous way to correct the problem. After all, all the great 'High Cultures' had their own mathematical and scientific traditions. 

What Sen is really getting at is that immersion in one's own culture may increase xenophobia. What he forgets is that an illiterate lout can be even more xenophobic. 

  Cultural sites and recollection of past heritage: Another constructive possibility is the furtherance of a clearer and broader understanding of a country’s or community’s past through systematic exploration of its cultural history, For example, by supporting historical excavations, explorations and related research, development programmes can help to facilitate a fuller appreciation of the breadth of - and internal variations within - particular cultures and traditions. History often includes much greater variety of cultural influences and traditions than tends to be allowed by intensely political - and frequently ahistorical - interpretations of the present. 

But such History or Archaeology has had zero political effect. The Egyptians won't worship Osiris or return to building Pyramids. Pakistan isn't going to give up Islam if they find cities even more ancient than Mohenjo Daro. 

When this is the case, historical objects, sites and records can help to offset some of the frictions of confrontational modern politics. 

There is zero evidence for this view. 

 For example, Arab history includes a long tradition of peaceful relation with Jewish populations.

So what? The Jews were still expelled. Every time there is some new archaeological find in Israel, you don't find Palestinians saying 'Cool! Let's all be friends with the Jews. Indeed, lets invite more of them to come and settle here.'

 Similarly, Indonesian past carries powerful records of simultaneous flourishing of Hindu, Buddhist and Confucian cultures, side by side with the Islamic traditions.

Muslims and Hindus got together to kill Communists in the mid-Sixties. That turned out to be a sensible thing to do. 

 Butrint in Albania as a historical site shows flourishing presence of Greek, Roman and later Christian cultures, as well as Islamic history. 

What happened to that Greek and Roman culture? It disappeared. Islam has recovered quickly from suppression under Communist rule. 

The highlighting of a diverse past that may go with the excavation, preservation and accessability of historical objects and sites can, thus, have a possible role in promoting toleration of diversity in contemporary settings, and in countering confrontational use of "monocultural" readings of a nation’s past.

There is no evidence for this at all. If a country has a lot of antiquities, there will be a lot of archaeologcial excavations there. But the recent history of Egypt and Iraq and Syria and Afghanistan doesn't seem to show any positive correlation between 'the accessibility of historical objects' and pluralism or tolerance. 

 For example, the recent attempt by Hindu activists to see India as just a "Hindu country," in which practitioners of other religions must have a less privileged position, clashes with the great diversity of Indian history. 

The country was conquered by foreign invaders of various sorts. We get it. Tagore warned the Hindus that they needed to unite against the Christians and Muslims a dozen years before Sen was born in Tagore's Shantiniketan. His own family had to flee his ancestral East Bengal. 

Currently, the BJP Government at the Centre is pushing for education in the State language and a bigger role for religious texts chosen by the State itself. Sen may see this as bigotry. It is a fact that Congress Governments were formed in 1937, the Wardha model of Basic Education proved controversial because it was seen as promoting Hinduism. But failure to embrace mother tongue instruction and the teaching of religious texts discouraged attendance because jobs requiring literacy were few and far between. In other words, education was not offering any psychic benefit. 

Sen himself notes that Buddhism had encouraged literacy. Why should Hinduism not do so by the same means? 

To be sure, the post-war public policies on education were also influenced by antecedent cultural features. It would be surprising had there been no such connection. In a two-way relation, just as education influences culture, so does antecedent culture have an effect on educational policies. It is, for example, remarkable that nearly every country in the world with a powerful presence of Buddhist tradition has tended to embrace widespread schooling and literacy with some eagerness. 

The same was true of the Protestant religion in Western Europe. Ordinary people valued being able to read Scripture in their own mother tongue. Why should Hindus be denied this facility just because minorities feel uncomfortable with it? I understand that the second or third generation immigrant to Bangalore or Mumbai may not want to burden his child with having to learn Kanadda or Marathi. Yet, if the thing were made compulsory, then no particular child is disadvantaged. The pay-off is that they have better life-chances because they feel they belong to the State in which they were born.

This applies not only to Japan and Korea, but also to China, and Thailand, and Sri Lanka. 

British rule meant that Buddhists fell behind the Christians. This was a contributing factor in the ethnic and other conflict which overwhelmed that beautiful island. 

Indeed, even miserable Burma, with a dreadful record of political oppression and social neglect, still has a higher rate of literacy than its neighbours in the subcontinent. 

Sri Lanka and Burma saw bigger gains in female literacy during the colonial period. Much of the sub-continent was still stuck with 'purdah'. 

Seen in a broader framework, there is probably something here to investigate and learn from.

Parents want their kids to be able to read and understand Scripture translated into the mother tongue. They prize virtue in their offspring and want them to go to the Good Place when they die. 

It is, however, important to see the interactive nature of the process in which contact with other countries and the knowledge of their experiences can make a big difference in practice. There is every evidence that when Korea decided to move briskly forward with school education at the end of the second world war, it was influenced not just by its cultural interest in education, but also by a new understanding of the role and significance of education, based on the experiences of Japan and the West, including the United States.

Japan had imposed a highly discriminatory educational system on the Koreans. They were determined to rise up by emulating or outdoing their former rulers. Initially, people thought North Korea, with Soviet help, would rise faster. 

 There is a similar story, earlier on, of interaction and response in Japan’s own history of educational development. When Japan emerged from its self-imposed isolation from the world from the beginning of the seventeenth century, under the Tokugawa regime, it already had a relatively well developed school system, and in this Japan’s traditional interest in education would have played a significant part.

The state had a cozy relationship with the Buddhist religion whereby the latter ran its household passport system. 

 Indeed, at the time of Meiji restoration in 1868, Japan had a higher rate of literacy than Europe, despite being economically quite underdeveloped. And yet the rate of literacy in Japan was still low (as indeed it was in Europe too), and no less importantly the Japanese education system was quite out of touch with knowledge and learning in the industrializing West.

But many Japanese risked their lives to translate and disseminate European scientific and other texts. 

 When, in 1852,

June 1853

Commodore Mathew Perry chugged into the Edo Bay, puffing black smoke from the newly designed steamship, the Japanese were not only impressed - and somewhat terrified - 

they were familiar with Dutch steamships and had been warned of Perry's visit. By 1855, the Japanese had built their own steam-ship and had acquired a war-ship with Dutch help. By 1860, Japan was able to send a mission to the US on a screw driven steamship built by the Dutch. By 1863, Japan had launched its first indigenous was-ship. By 1869 it had an iron-clad war ship. Still it wasn't till 1910 that the Japanese could build warships that were 80 percent indigenous. 

and were driven to accept diplomatic and trade relations with the USA, they also had to re-examine and reassess their intellectual isolation from the world. This contributed to the political process that led to the Meiji restoration, and along with that came a determination to change the face of Japanese education. In the so-called "Charter Oath," proclaimed also in 1868, there is a firm declaration on the need to "seek knowledge widely throughout the world."38 The Fundamental Code of Education issued three years later, 

Clearly, some Japanese people had already embraced 'foreign learning'. It appears that indoctrination in their own mother tongue and traditional religion had not disabled them from intellectual activity. It didn't matter what laws the Government passed, what mattered was that Japanese people were patriotic and quick to learn anything beneficial to their country. 

Incidentally, the first steam ship built in India, by the Wadia family, launched in 1829. Today Japan and South Korea have 25 percent each of the world ship building market while Indian has  0.045 percent! This has nothing to do with 'culture' and everything to do with Sen-tentious Socialist ideas. 

The plain fact is Japan had adopted isolationism so as to keep the Christians out. Korea, too, was known as the 'Hermit Kingdom'. Once Japan had no choice but to modernize, it did so with a view to achieving naval and military hegemony in its neighborhood. This is what enthused Japanese parents. They saw their country was winning wars against first China and then even Russia. School enrollment shot up. Moreover, educated people had plenty of scope to use their skills building ships and submarines and fighter jets. 

Sen, of course, is against patriotism and religion and wanting your country to get richer and stronger. 

It might be asked, in praising inter-country interactions and the positive influence of learning from elsewhere,

which, can cause savants from less developed countries to just become parasites importing a foreign product in a slavish and uncritical manner. 

 am I not overlooking the threat that global interrelations pose to integrity and survival of local culture? In a world that is so dominated by the "imperialism" of the culture of the Western metropolis, surely the basic need is, it can be argued, to strengthen resistance, rather than to welcome global influence. Let me first say that there is no contradiction here. Learning from elsewhere involves freedom and judgment, 

no it doesn't, unless you are a patriot or are motivated by religious zeal. You pay your money and get a credential and then spend the rest of your life as a parasite. 

not being overwhelmed and dominated by outside influence without choice, without scope for one’s volitional agency. 

You can choose to be a useless parasite. 

The threat of being overwhelmed by the superior market power of an affluent West,

is what Indian economists succumbed to. Why bother trying to get Govt. of India to do sensible things? Just emigrate to some Western campus and demand intellectual affirmative action. 

 which has asymmetric influence over nearly all the media, raises a different type of issue altogether. In particular, it does not contradict in any way the importance of learning from elsewhere.

Why bother learning stuff that actually works if you get the same pay for regurgitating worthless shite about Freedom and Democracy and why the BJP is the Devil? 

 But how should we think about global cultural invasion itself as a threat to local cultures?

If kids can't speak their own language properly and know nothing of their own ancestral religion or culture or history, then we need to think about the price we are paying for 'global cultural invasion'. Chances are we will have a corrupt and useless administration while enemies start gobbling up more and more of our territory. 

 There are two issues of particular concern here. The first relates to the nature of market culture in general, since that is part and parcel of economic globalization. Those who find the values and priorities of a market-related culture vulgar and impoverishing (many who take this view belong to the West itself) tend to find economic globalization to be objectionable at a very basic level.

What matters is the 'terms of trade'. Is globalization leading to your people doing low value adding stuff while high value adding activities are concentrated elsewhere? 

 The second issue concerns the asymmetry of power between the West and the other countries, and the possibility that this asymmetry may translate into destruction of local cultures - a loss that may culturally impoverish non-Western societies. Given the constant cultural bombardment that tends to come from the Western metropolis (through MTV to Kentucky Fried Chicken), there are genuine fears that native traditions may get drowned in that loud din. 

But MTV and KFC hire smart people to promote themselves around the globe. We could do the same. 

Sen asks 'how to increase the real options - the substantive freedoms - that people have, by providing support for cultural traditions that they may want to preserve. 

The answer is to find ways to make those 'traditions' add greater value and then to promote them so that there is a virtuous circle whereby greater profits are made and reinvested. 

This is an ideographic matter. It is foolish to pretend that we are sitting on a big pile of money and that we can hand that money over to 'cultural traditions' that we like. 

This cannot but be an important concern in any development effort that brings about radical changes in the ways of living of people. Indeed, a natural response to the problem of asymmetry must take the form of strengthening the opportunities that local culture can have, to be able to hold its own against an overpowered invasion.

This would require lots and lots of money. Where is it to come from? 

 If foreign imports dominate because of greater control over the media, surely one counteracting policy must involve expanding the facilities that local culture gets, to present its own ware, both locally and beyond it. 

We can ban foreign movies, but they will still be smuggled in while the local cinema turns to shite because of lack of competition. All India Radio once banned film songs and cricket commentary and other things which people liked. They re-tuned their sets to Radio Ceylon which made a lot of money from advertisements. 

This is a positive response, rather than the temptation - a very negative temptation - to ban foreign influence. Ultimately, for both the concerns, the deciding issue must be one of democracy. 

Democracy in Sen's East Bengal meant famine and ethnic cleansing. 

An overarching value must be the need for participatory decision-making on the kind of society people want to live in, based on open discussion, with adequate opportunity for the expression of minority positions. 

Sen's people decided it wasn't safe to 'express minority opinions' in East Pakistan. Apparently, he had a cousin who, as a Communist, stayed on there. That story did not have a happy ending. 

We cannot both want democracy, on the one hand, and yet, on the other, rule out certain choices, on traditionalist grounds, because of their "foreignness" (irrespective of what people decide to choose, in an informed and reflected way). 

Yes we can if that is what the majority wants. 

Democracy is not consistent with options of citizens being banished by political authorities, or by religious establishments, or by grand guardians of taste, no matter how unbecoming they find the new predilection to be.

This simply isn't true. Democracies can do ethnic cleansing and religious persecution and homophobia and so forth. 

Local culture may indeed need positive assistance to compete in even terms, and support for minority tastes against foreign onslaught may also be a part of the enabling role of a democratic society, but the prohibition of cultural influences from abroad is not consistent with a commitment to democracy and liberty. 

The voters in a democratic country can restrict any liberty they like. Indeed, this is a condition for the survival of the country as a democracy. 

 Related to this question there is also a more subtle issue that takes us beyond the immediate worry about bombardment of mass Western culture. 

It is worth worrying about this only if you have the technological resources and the political power to prevent this 'bombardment'. 

This concerns the way we see ourselves in the world - a world that is asymmetrically dominated by Western preeminence and power. 

Sadly, that preeminence and power appears to be in decline.

Through a dialectic process, this can, in fact, lead to a powerful inclination to be aggressively "local" in culture, as a kind of "brave" resistance to Western dominance.

No kidding. That's why Gandhi took to wearing a dhoti. 

 In an important paper, called "What Is a Muslim?", Akeel Bilgrami 

an avowed atheist

has argued that the confrontational relations often lead people to see themselves as "the other" - defining their identity as being emphatically different from that of Western people.

Western people may have had a problem with a believing Muslim- or Hindu for that matter- they don't see an atheistic analytical philosopher as 'the other'. 

 Something of this "otherness" can be seen in the emergence of various self- definitions that characterize cultural or political nationalism and religious assertiveness or even fundamentalism. While belligerently anti-Western, these developments are, in fact, deeply foreign-dependent - in a negative and contrary form. Indeed, seeing oneself as "the other" does less than justice to one’s free and deliberative agency.

Very true. A girl can use her free and deliberative agency to become an elderly man and vice versa. I'm actually a beautiful teen-aged supermodel from Siberia. 

 This problem too has to be dealt with in way that is consistent with democratic values and practice, if that is taken to be a priority. Indeed, the "solution" to the problem that Bilgrami diagnoses cannot lie in "prohibiting" any particular outlook, but in public discussion that clarifies and illuminates the possibility of being alienated from one’s own independent agency. 

Bilgrami says he was asked about his religion by a potential landlord. He surprised himself by saying 'I am Muslim'. He hadn't thought of himself in those terms before. However, the landlord was not really concerned with religion. Suppose Bilgrami had said 'I am vegetarian and follower of Shirdi Sai Baba', that would have conveyed one meaning. As a matter of fact, since the name Aqeel is Islamic, there was little reason to ask his religion. 

Would 'public discussion' make a vegetarian tolerant of a non-veg neighbor? Perhaps. But that has not been my experience. 

 Finally, I should mention that one particular concern I have not yet discussed arises from the belief - often implicit - that each country or collectivity must stick to its "own culture," no matter how attracted people are to "foreign cultures." This fundamentalist position not only involves the need to reject importing Macdonalds and beauty contests to the non-Western world, but also the enjoyment there of Shakespeare or ballets or even cricket matches.

Bhutan is one such country. It considers itself the happiest on Earth. It is very Buddhist. Sen should approve. 

 Obviously enough, this highly conservative position must be in some tension with the role and acceptability of democratic decisions, and I need not repeat what I have already said about the conflict between democracy and the arbitrary privileging of any practice.

There is no such conflict. The majority in a democracy can arbitrarily privilege anything it likes. 

 But it also involves am additional philosophical issue about the labelling of cultures on which Rabindranath Tagore, the poet, had warned. 

Tagore was crazy. He thought India had a Race problem, like America. It had a religion problem, like Ireland. 

 This concerns the issue whether one’s culture is to be defined by the geographical origin of a practice, rather than by its manifest use and enjoyment. 

In a democracy, it is defined by the majority. 

Tagore (1928) put his argument against regional labelling with great force: 'Whatever we understand and enjoy in human products instantly becomes ours, wherever they might have their origin.

Which is why you become Chinese when eating Chinese food and French when drinking French Wine. 

 I am proud of my humanity when I can acknowledge the poets and artists of other countries as my own.

I am proud of having written 'Hamlet' a play supposedly written by some White dude named Shakespeare.

 Let me feel with unalloyed gladness that the all the great glories of man are mine.'

What about the great glories of woman? Did Tagore feel unalloyed gladness that he'd gotten pregnant by a succession of losers and delivered a fine brood of bastards?

In the old days, the Punjabis would joke that the only type of culture they had was agriculture. Bengal had wealthy landlords who cultivated the arts. But you can't have a healthy cultural life if people keep dropping dead of starvation. Getting 'mechanism design' right- i.e. ensuring people have incentives to raise productivity and allocative efficiency- is necessary for Development which in turn permits Culture and Refinement and Niceness to burgeon. Democracy does not necessarily mean that a country will get mechanism design right. But it might be the cheapest way to run a shit-show. Meanwhile cultured people can emigrate somewhere they will be appreciated- if only under the rubric of intellectual or aesthetic affirmative action.