That Other One-Year Anniversary: India PM Modi’s Shock Demonetization Decree

After demonetizing the Rupee currency note equivalents of $7.50 & $15 (USD), India’s society is still a disaster. Here’s a mix of humor and tragedy…

One year later, India is still a disaster, but at least there is some sense of creativity and dark humor about it:

Of course, the real problem in India is make known by Jayant Bhandari via Mises India

Those hoping to clean up our institutions imagine conducting sting operations, with hidden cameras, to catch the culprits in action. There is nothing wrong with such investigations. Governments should be afraid of the citizens. However, it is erroneous to think that the removal of bribery would solve the problems and defects of our institutions.

Survival in India requires paying bribes. Those who avoided paying bribes are not in the Indian gene-pool. While India is indeed one of the most corrupt places in the world, bribes in their simplistic forms can be seen as extra costs and mere transfers of purchasing power.

Financial corruption is merely the tip of the iceberg of corruption.

The Indian politician and the bureaucrat wastes enormous amount of time and energy on the drama that goes along with bribery. He wants you to kowtow before him. When the money has exchanged hands, he does not do the promised job. More importantly, he is utterly incompetent, indecisive, superstitious, and irrational. Without rationally applying capital and human energy, progress cannot happen.

We often hear about Indian gold smuggling, indian gold demand, and look at it from a financial side, but really, as Jayant points out, it is all over Indian society, from the bribes to the corruption, it is a fact of daily, all-day life:

 

Serious restrictions have been enforced on the ownership and use of cows. This means that a lot of poor people have lost their livelihood and cows face starvation. The apathy of the railway authorities means that day-trains leave with empty seats while desperate people cannot travel. Sidewalks are constructed in ways that they cannot be used. The list of unnecessary problems goes on.

The victim of government apathy loses his soul, self-respect, and is demeaned. The perpetrator gains nothing of real value. One very senior bureaucrat once told me that he enjoys when others suffer. These are loose-loose interactions. None of these issues are in the realm of conventional corruption and hence cannot be dealt with in the court of law.

This isn’t about picking on two Chief Ministers of India. Across the spectrum of politics and bureaucracy in India, exactly the same problem exists. The problem of corruption is not just about the ever-present need to bribe, which is the mere tip of the iceberg, but a much wider and deeper corruption of irrationality, utter lack of competencies, propagandizing the citizens, indecisiveness, and tribalism.

Only an awakened society can address the deeply entrenched corruption by voting for rational, non-tribal, intelligent leaders.