The stock response when a captain of Indian industry is asked what he has done for India is, why? Why must industry do something when it is paying taxes and duties.
The commonsense logic behind the response is that industry must do what it is good at: employing people, making products, selling them, etc. Government must do what it is supposed to be good at: using the taxes collected for the greater common good.
The question has gained special currency in the Information Technology era. Why should IT do more than what it already has? The answer, says Nobel laureate Professor Amartya Sen, lies in historical reciprocity and a categorical imperative.
The country has made huge contributions, even though they are not often clearly recognised, to help the development and flowering of the IT industry in India, and it is not silly to ask what in return the IT might do for India.
Click on the AMARTYA SEN button on the top-right of the screen for the full unabridged text of Prof Sen’s captivating speech at the Nasscom meet in Bombay last month.
Interesting read. However, if I may be so arrogant as to take issue with the Nobel laureate, it is a bunch of crap.
Real estate is by far the bigger industry in India compared to IT. The last time I checked, one of the real estate heavyweights in Delhi was richer than Azim Premji, and figured on the Forbes list of billionaires. Every nalkaane real estate agent in the corner shop really is worth nalkaane followed by several zeroes at the end, and for the most part all tax free!
The people who run this industry too are products of the very same subsidised education that Mr.Sen mentions. This industry has had more phenomenal growth than IT in fewer years. While the conduct of technology businesses is transparent for the most part, no one really knows how these real estate companies build up huge “land banks”.
How about asking that industry to provide land for mass-housing projects? I’d be happy if the government atleast taxed all the many crorepati “builders” and “developers” according to their income. IT workers have no way to escape the tax net.
As for IT workers being generous with their income, I’d be willing to bet that most non-institutional donors to Akshaya Patra of ISKCON are indeed the self same ungrateful hackers.
So before we get on horses too high for us, ask your friendly neighborhood software engineer about his/her life and make friends with them. They are people too.
Disclaimer: I was a software engineer and have several family members in the industry, but I am in the business of usury now.
The IT emergence in India is mainly attributable to the outsourcing contracts from the West. These are software code factories employing thousands of young men and women who are paid a fraction of what their counterparts in the West would earn. No ground-breaking developmental work is done in software engineering in these code-sweat houses which can register India on the world IT R and D radar screen.
his whole Nobel winning, and thus currency winning, thesis was based on concepts, percepts, ideas , influences not to mention education and raashun (ration) subsidized by India, how much of it did he plough back?
Ad hominems aside, fundamental goat with his idea is that the solution is utopian and more importantly not sustainable- worse it is a surefire way to collapse any hope for an industrious and thus more equitable and sustainable society.
More to the point, one can always argue that even though education is subsidized, for a significant number of people securing those subsidies came at a cost of hard work and enormous sacrifices not to mention perspective forming stresses at a very young and unnatural age.
‘Scholars’ such as Amartya Sen are only good at pointing out what-is-wrong, and seldom give concrete, viable, workable solutions. They live almost all their lives outside India and come here for token visits.
Being the obsequious fools that we are, we bow down and act slavish before them and treat their utterances as words of God. This servility has and will be our bane and undoing. Tell me, has Sen ever lectured the US Government on do’s and don’ts?
Whew! I am glad that there are many who think that arm-chair critics like Amartya Sen & Noam Chomsky are a pain in the you know what. In their eagerness to be politically correct, these so called intellectual giants mouth unsolicited advice in spite of not having run anything on their own.Real life is all compromise which fact gets past these seat warming thinkers.
tarlesuba and SaneVoice are typical examples of bigots that the whole of India abounds in. Inform yourselves first by extensive reading, digest,then learn how to cerebrate and practise lateral thinking in stead of babbling by using latin phrases and new-fangled expressions. The answers to all your questionings are widely available if only you look for them in the right places. I will provide you with a few. Amartya Sen has donated the major part of his Nobel Prize money to establish the well known Pratichi Trust in India which is engaged in the upliftment of primary education in the country. Don’t show your ignorance any more than what you have already done by boasting about hard work, merit, “perspective forming stresses” at a very young age and “sacrifices” presumably on the part of parents of the entrants in the IITs and IMIs. By citing such examples you are only missing the point which is that among the poor third world countries, it was Govt. of India’s pragmatic farsightedness at the time of Nehru that saw the importance of training the abundant supply of young talents in the different technological, scientific and managemrnt fields and hence the establishment of the IITs, IISs and IIMs, the products of which are now benefiting the masses of middle class population with of course the loosening of the licence raj. Go back and read the whole speech in the right context. You have also displayed the same bigotry born out of ignorance when you ask whether Sen has the guts to lecture the US Government as he pontificates in India where he visits occasionally while living most of his life abroad. What a collosal arrogance! you are no “obsequious fools”, but a bunch of lazy, ignorant swollon-headed morons who would not take the trouble of finding out in this day of instant communication information-gathering. I could give you a huge list of articles and lectures that world famous economists like Amartya Sen, Jagdish Bhagwati and quite a few other equally talented Indians whose lectures not only to US Govt. organisations but the UN and right across the globe are influencing the policies of the Governments who are not only listening to these Indian geniuses but are also applying some of their ideas in the fields of politics, economics and science and technology with positive results. Wake up and do your bits. The aging Sen and his ilks will soon disappear from this earth. It is upto the vibrant young generations to translate their brilliant ideas conveyed through lectures, articles and books strewn all over the intelligent world into reality. I have no mercy for lazy bums! I like to shake them into a higher plane of intellectual reality so they can recognise the immense potential that they possess. By the way Sen, like Bhagwati retains his Indian Passport and has been spending about half his time each year in India since the beginning of his Cambridge, Oxford and Harvard years in the 50s and 60s.
The Rural Employment scheme had the blessings of Sen and was put together by his good friend Dreze. See where it got us.
It is not fair to lob criticism without reading the actual text of the speech. It’s obvious that many commenters did not read the text. Sen is interested not just in economics but also in history and philosophy. Please realize that his work transcends ideological and political boundaries. He is neither left nor right in his ideologies. He has criticized policies of both IMF and Mao.
Humbled crier, you are entitled to your views, there’s no debating that. But it’s unsavoury to get personal in your remarks by calling people names. The first mark of a civilized (read educated) person is to be able to digest criticism of every kind and also put forth his/her views in a decent manner; which you do not seem to be capable of.
“I have no mercy for lazy bums! I like to shake them into a higher plane of intellectual reality so they can recognise the immense potential that they possess.” Who has granted you this right? Who are you? What are you, that you expect everyone to be servile to your opinions?
Further, your purple passages are of no merit either, for anyone who would’ve changed their opinions of about Mr. Sen post your statement here will further stick to hating the economist even more. Get the drift?
On the contrary, Resident Alien seems to have brought out the very same aspects in a more dignified manner.