“Hell happens when the evil of the world exceeds our belief that we can conquer it”, says an actor, Tom Riley, playing a young Leonardo Da Vinci, the quintessential inventive genius and renaissance man, in a current British-American TV serial production called “Da Vinci’s Demons”. He says this, not for the first time either, in Episode 6, of Season 1.
The pronouncement has a majesty about it, the phrase, that is reminiscent of the great Indian epics, The Ramayana and The Mahabharata, particularly the latter. It suggests inexorable wheels set in motion that are the stuff of immutable fate itself.
And today’s crumbling economic scenario, reaping the whirlwind of inaction, is leading to a crisis of confidence in our present and future ability to cope with it. There are structural and policy problems preventing solutions. Socialism is the God that failed and yet is allowed to be in the way.
The inaction and the ignoring disregard of the classic economic principles where you cannot but attempt to balance budgets and work to create surpluses and reserves is the problem. You cannot let deficits finance unproductive endeavours and rank consumption without destroying the vitals of the economy. And cheap borrowed money growth applied to excess of every kind as in the West has to result in a most painful bust. And it has.
But fact is, on the strength of a couple of trillion dollars’ worth of economy, all told black and white included, you cannot provoke ruin time and again, with unheeding profligacy, free lunches and populism. We are catering to over 1.2 billion people after all, and there is not enough depth to this economy to endure crisis for very long.
And you cannot keep expanding the size of a wasteful, under productive and corrupt government without it catching up to you someday.
It is this that destroyed our one time mentors and gurus in the Soviet Union as soon as glasnost and perestroika replaced the jack boots of repression . And it is going to destroy us as completely unless we course correct as soon as the new Government, an NDA Government, with its right- of- centre ideas, is elected.
This kind of prosperity making policy might make sense to a Narendra Modi and his developmental economics, but does nothing to enthuse either the Congress Party with its Leftist roots, nor its supporters in the UPA ,which included, till lately the TMC, which has Maoist supporters further to the Left than the CPM Ms. Mamata Banerjee ousted.
Then there is the Left itself, long allied to the Congress Party from Mrs Indira Gandhi ’s times, till Mr. Prakash Karat fell out with Manmohan Singh in UPA I over the Indo-US Nuclear Power Deal and our coming out of pariah status as a de facto nuclear power.
The DMK and the AIDMK are also populist. So are most of the other regional parties in different states. Mulayam and Akhilesh Singh’s SP is Lohiaite, a form of rebellious Socialism, with some attitude towards the Congress Party. The rival BSP in vitally important Uttar Pradesh is also Socialist, with a crusading mentality in favour of Dalits.
The RJD in Bihar is Congress- allied Socialist and now the JD (U) too. The remaining constituents of the NDA in Punjab, the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra are probably the only right- of- center parties there are in India today, apart from the BJP itself.
This country is suffering every kind of economic crisis today. Exports are struggling, industry is stagnating, the service sector and IT are struggling. There are no new jobs. Wages are frozen. Redundancies and closures are increasing. Crime is climbing. Law and Order is under pressure. The Government is more corrupt than it had ever been. Internal insurgencies are more strident. External sponsored terrorism is running riot. Parliament and State Assemblies are in a state of non-functionality. The currency is losing value every day. All macro- economic parameters are flashing the red lights of danger. The banks are nearly bankrupt. The stock market is reeling. Real Estate is marking time.
And at the root of it all is an unsustainable Socialism gone on for much too long, that is proving too rich for our blood. It is just as it was before the USSR was thrown into the dustbin of history.
The helicopter shot, the aerial survey of our economy in June 2013, shows most of the polity gathered around dead and dying Socialist strategies; with tired populist arguments that have been discredited again and again and let people down with empty promises.
And off to the other side, is Mr. Narendra Modi’s bold new vision for the BJP, supported by the rump of the NDA and the RSS and allied organisations, saying everything can be set right if we take the path of fiscal responsibility and productivity. This is a country with enormous unrealised potential. This needs to be unleashed. If this is done country-wide, it will make us prosperous. Inclusiveness cannot mean misery loves company and let us beggar everyone per the Socialist prescription.
Mr. Nitish Kumar is glorying in poverty. Mr. Rahul Gandhi likes to slum it in between his elitist lifestyle. The Government of India operates with a wastefulness that makes the diplomatic community from the developed countries gasp.
The NDA will gather most of its allies post the election when it emerges as the single largest party. But all of them need to focus their attention on rejigging their economic policies towards productivity and growth as well.
June 27th, 2013