Monday, March 31, 2014

How would you measure development?

Another opinion piece on development...

The conventional definitions of development, democracy etc are far removed from reality, human happiness as well as from long term sustainability. There are misreadings of what is happening; other things simultaneously happening are deliberately ignored and the whole picture is missed; from there the wrong inferences are made; and then "solutions" are proposed that will send us all down the toilet.

While taking us out of one set of dogmas, we've been plunged into yet another set of dogmas, another religion that pretends not to be a religion : a religion of money. One where money in itself is ultimate; and the economists are the high priests who invent complicated explanations to disguise the fact that most of their money is fake; created out of thin air and is then traded for real wealth (food, land, water, minerals, products, labour), hence short-changing the people and inevitably causing inflation. They interpret everything as and when it suits them, at their profit and everyone else's loss (minting money and taking huge loans to help big industries and banks and airports is fine; but oh no! there is no money available to invest in transitioning off fossil fuels or to improve basic services). This religion has zero tolerance for anyone daring to question the mainstream discourse on what development should really be.

It is this religion that has decreed that India must compete with China and the West, that GDP must increase at an accelerating pace at any cost; that stock markets indicate the progress of the whole country; and many other things.

These pre-set agendas lead to an inevitable advocacy for centralized control and dictatorship. In that world-view, with those dominant parameters, Modi is a perfect fit. Those who want high GDP growth at all costs will find Modi a logical choice. It's not just media propaganda... it's also the religion of money that most of our middle and upper classes are unknowingly practising  that is driving them towards seeing Modi as the perfect and logical solution.

Within these standard definitions, there is seriously no way AAP can compete with Modi in destroying India and the world.
Our duty is not to compete with Modi in destroying our future; but to question and redefine the conventional definitions and measurements imposed on us.

Those who say that India is losing to China and the West... within those narrow frameworks, we're not supposed to win at all. It's a race to the bottom. Winning, as defined by the religion of money, will actually make India lose. So we need to rebel against the value systems of these guys. India failed to achieve high GDP growth? That's like saying a man has failed to abuse his children. Or a natural disaster has failed to kill enough people. Or a car driver hasn't lived up to the expectation of mowing down enough pedestrians. That's supposed to be good news! So, we've got to change the discourse... blindly accepting Word Bank standards and then starting to compete along them is only going to do us more damage.

Here's one development parameter I'd like to see adopted as an alternative to all the GDP, industry, stock markets etc:
The number of people in the country going to bed hungry at night. (With the aim of achieving the lowest value possible :P)
That's quite measurable; and it would be a great place to start changing the discourse and defeating the high priests of the religion of money.

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