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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

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Patel

The removal of Laloo Prasad's RJD from Bihar will hopefully help slow down the "gale winds of divergence"

Vijay Dandapani

Divergence is not necessarily bad and culture beyond the usual suspects of bad labor laws, infrastructure and governance surely plays a role.

Secondly, looking at pre-'80 India and using the Armed and Civil Services as a proxy for the economy of the future may show some insights on how the churning anticipated by the authors may in fact be something India deals easily with. Both services reflected the relative ease with which mobility was attained. When Gujarat and Punjab both embrace labor law changes that rquire self-certification in factories for compliance with the law but one requires a random 1% of the sample set to be tested while the other - Punjab requires every factory to be tested for compliance, the outcome is not hard to predict - Gujarati factories and its labor market are going to thrive free of the oppressive (and likely corrupt) inspector.

Also, another aspect that may have influenced the early move out from manufacturing from the advanced states is labor productivity. A look at productivity levels for those states in relation to industrial countries for an explanation of $3K versus the normal $12K per capita decline in manufacturing could be interesting.

Aditya

A Poet's View

Some of our best thinkers say that India had better change her ways if she is to keep up with her more disciplined cousin, China. In this widely accepted worldview, China and the US are global bookends, and India must slip between these two giants, on the bookshelf of economics - and progress.

But India could be quirky enough to opt for her own bookshelf – not by design, but by habit. I know this is true for people like you and me, and for many others who came from “there”.

"There" may be a place outside the group, from where rogue chromosomes join the spiral, and evolve a new global being that confounds the sum of its parts.

My intuition tells me that there’s value in India’s hidden suspicion, self-doubt and insecurity – in and her craving for a different kind of change.

India may well be the shy teenager who opts out of must-attend parties, chooses grunge over high-fashion, and spends nostalgic nights in an untidy room. From this mess could emerge new voices, new metaphors and new ways of living – and working.

Ready or not, India is large enough that when she finds her voice, the world will listen. For, are today's rich cousins the ones to beat - or the are they Sirens who whisper, "Walk the other way"?

India’s trendsetters sit atop a mountain of everyday Indians, whose lives don’t make the MTV cut. Do you find yourself drawn into their eyes, drawn into worlds that your words cannot touch? Will they save their India for a different tomorrow?

Yes, there’s hope in the air, and money to be made, and the nation is abuzz with expectations. It happened in Japan, and now the Japanese wear suits and skirts and sing Elvis songs in karaoke bars, and soon the Chinese will follow. Somewhere under the Benettons lurk ancient Asian souls, not trusting the past, half sure about the present, and coy about the future.

It’s not a bad way to be, if their newborns should arrive with visions yet unborn. Into Asia’s iconic void, they could sow the seeds of tomorrow, brought forth from worlds beyond our graves. Perhaps the plan is larger than our theories can fathom. Perhaps the plan is to be slightly lost, so that we can stumble into who we are. And we can find our own way home.

Thanks for indulging this poet ...

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