The Indian Economy Blog

August 25, 2005

Flat, Round, Whatever, Dude

Filed under: Labour market,Regulatory reforms — Amit Varma @ 1:46 am

In an old article I just came across, Kaushik Basu writes:

There is a story of a prospective school teacher who was asked during an interview by the principal of a conservative religious school, “Is the earth flat or round?”

The hapless teacher looked around at the faces of the interviewers for hints and, not finding any, settled for: “I can teach it flat or round.”

The trouble with a lot of our economic policy advisers is that they are like the school teacher.

They try to gauge what answers will make them popular with their political bosses and then give them the advice they seek.

This may be good for the advancement of their career but is not good for economics or for the country in question.

Indeed. The rest of Basu’s piece is about India’s stupid labour laws, which, along with the license raj, have stopped India from becoming a manufacturing superpower. How long will we continue to keep ourselves poor in the name of good intentions?

7 Comments »

  1. So long as Leftists are in power.
    So long people prefer Congress over the BJP as the lesser of 2 evils.
    So long as we don’t get together and organise a Secular-Right political party.

    [Note from administrator: we have deleted a sentence from this comment because it contained a personal attack on two fellow bloggers. We do not encourage such attacks. Disagreement is welcome, as long as it is stated in a civil manner, but ad hominem attacks are not. We request those who wish to comment to please refrain from getting personal.]

    Comment by TTG — August 25, 2005 @ 2:58 am

  2. Unfettered in Silicon Valley, Indian-Americans have started hundreds of companies. India must learn to do what the Marxists never have: MOVE THE GOVERNMENT OUT OF THE WAY AND TRUST INDIVIDUALS TO ORGANIZE EFFICIENTLY. Societies based on zero-sum economics usually get just that: ZERO.

    Comment by PacRim Jim — August 25, 2005 @ 5:39 am

  3. I think the issue of economist tending to say what they think the policians want to hear is a problem around the world although it might be worse in India.

    TTG: I don’t think it is at all fair to blame bloggers like Dilip and Uma for India’s poor leadership. I read their blogs and while I don’t agree with everything they say I think it is usually pretty intelligent and thought provoking. And not all people who distrust laissez faire capitalism are supporters of the status quo.

    Comment by Michael H. — August 25, 2005 @ 10:10 am

  4. TTG

    If you have issues with Dilip or Uma’s ideas, that’s one thing. However, not sure what’s behind the ad hominen attack on Dilip or Uma. This sort of petty attack says far more about TTG than it does about Dilip or Uma.

    Most importantly, if you think they’re so powerful and influential such that they can influence a nation of a billion people, you’re really giving them a back-handed compliment!

    Why don’t you spend your time and energy trying to change their ideas? Then India would really get on the right track…[grin]

    Comment by Prashant Kothari — August 25, 2005 @ 3:26 pm

  5. Interesting. So it’s ok to spend megabytes on defaming Mother Teresa, that too after she’s dead, but a one-line crack meant in complete jest is considered a “personal attack”.

    Comment by TTG — August 26, 2005 @ 12:07 am

  6. TTG, I don’t think we’d give space on our site to defaming Mother Teresa either. We respect the views of those who comment here, including you, and we’d like to keep all exchanges civil so that constructive arguments can flourish. Getting personal detracts from the quality of the conversation, and is needless. I know from personal experience that while it’s tempting to make cracks at people you don’t agree with or dislike, it doesn’t help your cause. A lot of the people you would like to bring round to your point of view just get turned off. It’s counterproductive. You earn more respect for yourself by sticking to ideas. In fact, you disrespect your own convictions by turning to invective.

    Comment by Amit Varma — August 26, 2005 @ 1:18 am

  7. Amit Verma said: We respect the views of those who comment here, including you, and we’d like to keep all exchanges civil so that constructive arguments can flourish. Getting personal detracts from the quality of the conversation, and is needless. I know from personal experience that while it’s tempting to make cracks at people you don’t agree with or dislike, it doesn’t help your cause. A lot of the people you would like to bring round to your point of view just get turned off. It’s counterproductive. You earn more respect for yourself by sticking to ideas. In fact, you disrespect your own convictions by turning to invective.

    Brilliantly put. It took me some time to find these old references, but probably he learned all those thing from
    here and here and here.

    Comment by Arun Rajvanshi — August 28, 2005 @ 2:55 am

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