While discussing about the legal system of a free society, we often mention private legal firms and jurisdiction to take care of petty criminal incidences along with hard core crimes that may occur in such a free society where there is no government or aggressive authority to suppress Individual Freedom.
However, I have found that most of the supporters of democratic governmental systems oppose the idea claiming that such a free system will destruct itself and individuals will actually lose any available freedom in absence of state ruled jurisdiction and policing system. Often they mention hypothetical examples of sexual offenses and oppose the idea that a sexual offender can actually remain free in a free society if he makes an agreement with the victim and pay the agreed amount of money as fine to the victim and corresponding private security firm/s to which the victim and culprit have registered.
They feel that it is an obnoxious idea because if such monetary penalties are allowed for sexual cries, then no rapist will ever attain any serious punishment as they will victimize poor girls and boys for their criminal lust. The poor victim, being poor, will opt to compromise for a handsome amount of money and will not demand any physical punishment or jail term for the culprit. Such opposition occurs because of the common biasness against sex workers. People often feel that prostitution or selling sex for money is bad or immoral and hence they feel it should be avoided. Now if in a free society, the rapist is allowed to remain free of punishment for meager monetary payments, then it would be a direct support to prostitution. If the rape victim accepts money for being raped, then it is no rape, it is simple prostitution.
It is hard to convince people about the moral soundness of prostitution. They won’t believe that sex is an art and sexual acts are art form. When a woman performs sex to fulfill requirements of a man or when a man perform sex to fulfill requirements of a woman, then they actually perform work and for that work, they are entitled to ask for payments.
However, there certainly is a difference between a rape case and a case of prostitution. A prostitute initially agrees for serving or entertaining man or men with her sexual art. Oh well, it is not necessary that every prostitute should be highly skilled in sexual art. Yet, she demands money for whatever sexual satisfaction she provides to her clients. On the other hand, a rapist is not a prostitute, she was never ready to be used for sexual pleasure by her rapist and at least she was not ready for that when she was being raped.
Since the rape victim is not a prostitute and she was not ready for being sexually used initially, she has a right to demand for a jail term or physical punishment for the rapist. What if the rapist doesn’t agree to accept physical punishment or jail term and insist for monetary fine? He may succeed in making a compromise with girl. If the girl accepts monetary fine, then she cannot say that she was being raped. If she accepts monetary payment/fine for being raped, she is no different than a prostitute. I guess any woman will accept monetary fine for being raped rather than forcing physical payment or jail term for her rapist.
Impostors of fake morality may oppose my guess, but the real life supports my idea of accepting monetary fine or punishment for rape victims and allowing rapists to remain free. Recently, the Supreme Court of India allowed three rapists to enjoy freedom and removed all charges against them after they won an agreement with the rape victim who asked for monetary fine from culprits in place of prolonged jail term for them.
The rapists were initially awarded with a jail term of 14 years. Justices Markandeya Katju and Gyan Sudha Mishra maintained the conviction of the three rapists and said that the sentence of 10 years stood reduced to three-and-a-half years, the period of imprisonment already undergone.
The court further directed the convicts, who had raped the victim in Ludhiana on March 5, 1997, to pay a fine of Rs 50,000 each. Now since the three rapists have already suffered three and a half years of jail term, they have been freed.1
I don’t think anyone will now criticize the poor rape victim who appealed in the court to reduce the jail term for her rapists and to allow her to take monetary fine from each of the rapists. Obviously, it was her right and she made good use of it.
Every human has four endowments- self awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom… The power to choose, to respond, to change (Stephen Covey)
Human is a rational animal. None of us can ignore or deny the importance of the above mentioned four important endowments, none of us is such who does not use these effective tools of a rational mind in our daily routine life. Yet the extent to which we are aware of our rational faculty and its immense power to create happiness and success varies from person to person.
Self Awareness, Conscience and Independent Will
The process of discovering one’s own potential and accepting its limits at a certain point of time and to strive to increase is the real way to progress. A person with clear self awareness live and act in a manner which they discover using their own rational faculty, their mind, the inner compass to assess whether an act is possible or not, whether a particular way of thinking or behaviour is right or wrong.
In some situations, one may find himself in conflict between the established norms and his own perception of the circumstances. Man is a rational being; he has a choice either to accept the conventional norms or to apply his personal aptitude to find his way out of such situations. Yet, one cannot apply their rational mind if they are not aware of the effectiveness of the rational tools they possess. It is not necessary that a self-aware, independent person will always go against the socially established norms. An independent person is surely not anti-social; rather he (she) is pro-progressive with a will for improvement and refinement. The society may find such personal attitude as idiosyncratic and often oppose it, yet every person gains and enjoys the progress brought upon by such independent people. One of the famous examples of such a character was Galileo who dared not to accept the conventional norms and tried to establish the fact that the Earth revolves round the Sun. He was punished for his strive to solve out the mysteries of planetary system, yet he was not anti-social.
Often people lose the will to discover their own potential because of the religious, traditional and social aspects of their surroundings. Right since their birth, men are taught to follow the established norms. Children are taught to behave in a manner that will please others. They are taught to gain the approval of others. Peer pressures and need to compete with others often blurs the ability of person to seek his own self and to develop and sharpen his rational tools. They grow up as situation dependents and lack the potential to access the independent zone.
The first step towards realizing the importance and potential of one’s independent rational self, it is very necessary to realize whether one is free or he is independent.
A situation dependent person often becomes docile against the social norms and tends to believe that the best way to live is to please others and gain their approval.
A Situation dependent person
- Depends on the circumstances and finds himself unable to improve situations or change them.
- Fails to detect and make use of the non-salient or not so obvious clues that may bring forth a sudden surge of progress or effectiveness of their acts.
- Fails to give a shape or structure to uncertain yet seemingly rational and creative imagination and ideas.
- Fails to link the evolving information with the already established norms to judge whether they are right or wrong and is there a need to change or go against the established norms.
- Such person fails to retrieve information from their previous experiences. They lack the potential to learn from their mistakes and that is why they remain close to any possible progress.
- Often such people fail to gain the real inspiration which is intrinsic, rather they depend on extrinsic motivation and want others to suggest, direct or order them to achieve new goals.
- Often such people are extrovert as they seek other’s approval and most often they invest their inner and yet unknown potential to convince or impress others.
A person with self awareness and an independent mind will have an entirely different approach
- He will be able to recognize objects and motives distinctly and eminent from the circumstances.
- He will be able to enlist the priorities, discarding the irrelevant and trivial issues to concentrate on rationally beneficial points.
- He will be able to provide a rationally viable structure for his rational creativity and imaginations.
- Even the most rational person can commit mistakes, yet his process of learning and experiencing will make him able to link his prior experiences with current situations to help him avoid repeating similar mistakes and to attain progress.
- A person with an independent mind always seeks the real inspiration emanating from his inner self. He knows that the potential inspiration is always intrinsic in nature.
- He is self-motivated and self-content. He does not seek approval from others rather, he considers his own rational faculty as the only tool available to help him in understanding the reality.
- Often such people are introverts, deep thinking, and rational speakers. They choose not to impress others with vague expositions; rather they believe that the results of their endeavours will show the way.
Irrespective of being a dependent person or an independent person, everyone owns a certain rational faculty, his mind. That is why there always are possibilities to strive for improvement. Once a person realizes his own position and limits to which he is using his mind, he can strive for self-awareness and the conscience to understand and recognize their independent will and ability to give shape for their creative imagination in a rational manner.
So, are you willing to strive for achieving the independence of your mind?
The number of Indian families earning about $4500 to $22000 (Rs2,00000, Rs10,00000) per anum, which constitutes the middle class as per the World Bank’s definition of middle class in 1995-96 was 4.5 million, the number of such households grew to 0.7 million in 2001-02. Now India has 28.4 million such families by 2009-10. One can say that the Indian families are growing rich, from poor or deprived families; they are traversing towards the middle income group range. Irrespective of the higher inflation rates, one can justifiably state that the number of high-income households in India has exceeded the number of low-income households and similar is the assertion of National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER).1
Can India achieve richness?
The first issue is about the term India, how can a geographical region grow rich? Individuals in that region may surely gain prosperity but the region in itself is not able to achieve richness. Another issue is, even if India represents its people and not the geographical region, then how can a group or collective society or state grow rich? To grow rich is a Human Action,and a Human Action can be performed only by individual actors, only individuals possess ends and goals and the means to achieve those goals. A group or a collective society or a state cannot act, it even cannot decide. In fact a society cannot exist without the actions of individual members2 .” This certainly means that “India growing Rich” is a metaphor. India cannot grow rich, it cannot be poor, what is being said is that the number of individual families that are now in a richly or prosperous state is increasing. Obviously, it has nothing to do with the society or state or country that is represented by India. Yet, it certainly has a lot to do with the freedom individuals have in the Indian society and how is it influencing their person conditions.
This follows that although a society cannot exist independently without the actions of Individuals, the individuals and their actions can be affected by the society, state or country. That is, if a person in India or his family is growing rich, it is but obvious the result of his hard work and talent, but if a person is living in dire conditions, one of the many reason behind it can be the restrictions or the influence of the society or country he is living in. But how can a country restrict anybody from being rich or poor? Since country cannot act, it cannot restrict, nor can a society restrict. Yet, the “government” representing a society or community or country can surely restrict the individuals it represents. Yet again, what is government? It is a group of some individuals that take decisions and enforces their decisions and policies over the population of their state. When someone says that “government act” what he means is to say that certain individuals are in a certain relationship with other individuals and act in a way that they and the other individuals recognize as “governmental’3 .” The issue is very important to understand. To explain it further, take the issue of tobacco. Indian government pays farmers to grow tobacco; on the other hand, it forces all the companies selling tobacco products to include anti-smoking, anti-tobacco-chewing advertisements on their products. Both actions are contradictory, one may say government should make up their mind and take a consistent action. The thing is, government has no mind, it cannot think, it cannot act. Rather, there are individuals, politicians, judges, bureaucrats, etc. who thinks and take actions.
Thus, even a government cannot act; ultimately the individuals only can take actions; only individuals can have ends and the means to achieve those ends.
Is India really growing rich?
While talking about NCAER results, Martin Ravallion suggest that all these estimates by NCAER far exceed the likely number of people in India who are not poor by US standards. At the start, he simply ignores the importance of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) and blatantly states that “I will not say that someone has entered the Western middle class until the person has reached the US poverty line”4 . Obviously it is not so easy to understand that a person cannot buy a Reynolds’s ball pen in Rs 5 (approximately $0.1) but one can buy the same ball pen in India at that price. Irrespective of that fact, one cannot say that NCAER’s research is free of errors.
Why India is growing rich?
Now when I have explained that India cannot grow rich, Individuals and their families certainly can grow rich if government (some other ‘individuals’) may not restrict them, I should talk about the current phase of change in the status of individuals in Indian sub-continent. Why are Indian individuals enjoying this progress? Are the new generation of India much better, intelligent or harder working then the individuals of subcontinent before 1991? What has caused this economic progress? Is it the government (the group of ‘ruling individuals’) that has brought this progress?
The fact that India (Indian government, a few individuals who thought they could decide the fate of all individuals in India and who did) deprived itself of many free market benefits for more than 40 years during the Cold War while it flirted with political “neutrality” between East and West, but sought to build much closer economic ties with the Soviet Union. It is only since the collapse of the U.S.S.R. that Indian government started realizing its failure and allowing individuals to act for their prosperity by their own.
The question is, if government is allowing individuals to act for their own prosperity, is it doing any good? Or was it bad when government (or the group of some individuals) restricted individuals to pursue their prosperity and happiness? It is undeniable fact that with the emergence of free market and libertarian approach in Indian sub-continent, Indian individuals are now much freer to think about their ends and to act to achieve those ends. Since they can think for their prosperity and they can act to achieve it too, they are becoming rich.
Is Government Facilitating this Prosperity?
All the welfare and redistribution attempts of Indian government failed in 1991 and it accepted the defeat of Nehru’s centralized socialistic system. After 1991, India accepted the path of decentralization and government started shedding the so-called responsibility of making Indians prosperous and rich. Privatization is the name of mantra; freedom is the message of prosperity.
Obviously, a government (set of ruling individuals) can hinder the progress of individuals, they can legally and coercively ban, restrict and punish individuals from trying to get rich by legislating some senseless national laws, social contracts etc. But when a government realizes its failure and starts decentralizing, allowing individuals to live at their own, then one cannot say that it is the government which is facilitating the prosperity of individuals.
Individuals in Indian sub-continent are certainly growing rich, they are now freer and hence more able to grab the opportunities to use their mind and act to pursue their goals, their happiness and hence they are rich. No governmental group or political party can take the fame of making Indians rich. On the other hand, Indian government should be blamed for keeping Indian individuals under poverty for so long. With the current pace of anti-state trend in Indian sub-continent, as India will enjoy more privatization, decentralization, free market, economic, religious and political freedom, Indian individuals will attain more freedom.
These facts strongly suggest that all the welfare and income redistribution talks of Indian socialistic groups are futile. Lesser governmental control on individuals means lesser poverty, No governmental control over Individuals means No Poverty. Poverty will vanish in a no-government-state.
- Times of India, August 1, 2010, India has more rich people than poor now [↩]
- Murray Rothbard, “Man, Economy, and State”, Auburn, Ala.: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2004, pp. 2–3. [↩]
- Murray Rothbard, “Man, Economy, and State”, Auburn, Ala.: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2004, pp. 2–3. [↩]
- Martin Ravallion, January 2009, The Developing World’s Bulging (but Vulnerable) Middle Class, The World Bank Development Research Group [↩]
Global warming or climate change is a worldwide disquiet that needs to be addressed in a proper way. Scientific studies have regularly provided enough evidences regarding the regarding the human activities that harms the natural balance of our planet by producing large amounts of greenhouse gases (GHGs), most notably Carbon Di Oxide (CO2) by burning fuels. Now when it is established that global warming is a real concern, why is it that the world’s leading power, the United States is not able to legislate enough stern laws to check the pollution, emission of greenhouse gases, human activities that are causing global warming and to provide better greener ways to lead the world. The United States is the biggest contributor of green house gases, specifically the Carbon Di Oxide emission from coal based power plants, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of U.S reports that the United States’ Greenhouse Gas emission grew by 12% between 1990 and 2001. The global warming has already raised the average global sea level by four to eight inches during the last 100 years. Scientists believe that the increasing levels of GHGs may cause acute climatic and health impacts on humanity. Despite of all these known facts, the government of United States under the leadership of President George W. Bush rejected the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 and refused to sign the agreement that required United States to reduce its GHGs emission rate to 5% to 8% below their average level of 1990 by 2008 to 2012. On the other hand, Bush supported the idea of voluntary research and efforts at enhancing energy efficiency. In 2002 at Climate Action Report to the United Nations, Bush administration accepted the risks from global warming and informed that the GHGs emission of United States will increase by almost 43 per cent between 2002 and 2020 if the US government does not take stern actions to reduce GHGs emission1 In July 2004, Bush administration again accepted in their report to Congress on U.S. Climate Change Science Program that that the most probable explanation for global warming since 1950 is the increasing levels of carbon dioxide from human activities. However, Bush administration maintained their position to not to opt for any compulsory policies to reduce the emission of GHGs until more conclusive evidences about global warming are not produced. Global warming is affecting everybody on the earth and it is the cause of serious damages to all. Yet, no country initiates to take stern steps to reduce their reduction of GHGs. In his journal regarding Global Warming and its affect, Bradford Mank raises the question “Is Injury to All Injury to None?”2 The idea is simple, since global warming is definitely hurting everybody, yet, the prevention requires immediate actions that may prove to be commercially unviable, hence the governments throughout the world and specially the US government hesitate to bring about any concrete change in their policies to reduce emission of GHGs. Maybe, the injury to all is nobody’s concern.
On January 20th, 2009, when Barack Obama took charge as the 44th president of US, everybody hoped for better involvement of United States government and Congress in the bid to reduce the emission of GHGs worldwide3
Yet, apart from some policy changes, the new administration of US also failed to take any concrete and defining step to face the dangers of global warming and to resolve to reduce the emission of GHGs significantly.
Federal/National Climate Policy
The Copenhagen Climate Summit failed4 to impress anybody and despite all the hopes attached with Obama, no significant change was visible. Obviously, Obama administration had a great deal of immediate problems to tackle with including the recession period of 2009, the huge stimulus and highly increasing national debt along with the socialistic burdensome programs like healthcare reforms. However, a change was visible in the attitude of administration and on January 26, 2009, the House of Representatives of US Energy Independence and Climate Legislation, the Congress also passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act, both the legislations were meant to encourage renewable energy usage and increase energy efficiency. The Cash for Clunker program suggested the US administration’s initiative towards the greener options, the Cap Carbon Trade plan showed positive approach towards greener US, and US government also started trying to encourage innovators and entrepreneurs to create greener jobs.5 . The Clean Energy Job and American Power Act provided many programs that will raise funds from government to invest in the inventions and development of greener options for electricity requirements and will provide huge opportunity of green jobs.6 Yet, on bigger plan, there is no strict path towards achieving and implementing some policies that would lead US to reduce the emission of GHGs to about 5% to 8% below the level of 1990′s.
Not only that, all these positive steps towards clean air, green surroundings, clear atmosphere and cooler globe faced opposition within the senate in the form of The Dirty Air Act. The Dirty Air Act attacks the Clean Air Act directly. Many big oil companies and some senators along with their lobbyists claimed that Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) statement about the dangers of carbon pollution does not show any major threat to public health or welfare. If the Dirty Air Act passes, the US consumption of foreign and domestic oil will increase further and that will undo all the positive steps taken towards greener USA.7
One of the main reason behind the inability of the Congress of US is the powerful US corporate that funds in electoral campaigns. The business partnerships of US provide a space of such political forum where the motives of big enterprises cannot be ignored. Obviously, the big conglomerate like BP America, DuPont, and General Electric etc cannot afford to let Congress restrict their source of profits. Furthermore, no government would like to hurt the economy of the nation by almost destroying the leading industries of the country. The big oil companies deny accepting Clean Air Act, or any other proposal to reduce the carbon consumption.
William R. Cline in his book The Economics of Global Warming explained the expected economic damages that may be caused by global warming. He suggested that if the damages caused by global warming are smaller than the costs of reduction of emissions from fossil fuels, deforestation and other sources, than the attempt to discourage usage of carbon or fossil fuels is irrational.8
Self-interest is the main motive of any person that drives him to take rational decisions and implement them properly. Thus, if it is shown that the economic losses due to global warming are much more than the losses one will face by reducing carbon consumption, than naturally, the person will opt to reduce carbon consumption because that will be lesser loss for him or her and it will be healthier option too. Thus, it is easier for individuals to opt for greener options while it is difficult for the government or Congress to resolve and adopt policies to control carbon footprints. The reason being, as a collective, Congress or US government cannot think for individual losses, they will only think for the better profits of maintaining relations with big conglomerates, big oil companies and industries like GE, DuPont etc. The evil nexus of government and corporate will never let the greener options establish themselves in the market because the government will keep stimulating the conglomerates. Yet, an individual by himself can opt for greener, hybrid cars, which will consumer lesser fuel, the individual as a consumer may rift the market towards the greener options available in the market. The key to the trouble of global warming is consumerism. Consumerism is the principle of Free Market, which states, “free choice of consumer should rule the market, or, the consumer decides the economic structure of the society”.9
As it is clear that the public realizes the dangers of global warming much better than the Congress or US government, the citizens should opt for the free market principle rather than waiting for government to take proper actions. If the consumers prefers and demand green alternatives, clearer energy resources, fuel efficient cars, energy efficient appliances, renewable energy resources and other appliances to reduce their individual carbon fingerprints, than the producer, manufacturers and providers will be forced to provide environmental friendly alternatives for the society. Consumerism is the boon for human development (Reason for Liberty, 2010), and hence, if the individuals, the consumers consider that global warming is greater loss and hence they should opt for greener options, than the entrepreneurs, innovators and manufacturers will themselves be heralded towards providing greener options because that will be the more profitable execution for them. Once the big conglomerate start producing greener alternatives, the government will also feel no objection to provide greener policies, also, when consumers themselves will demand green market, green goods, green services and lesser carbon fingerprints, then the role of government will be minimal in case of improving the conditions of global temperatures.
Performance of States on global warming platform
Stephen Lacey reports that some of the states are moving faster towards green renewable energy options than the federal government or Congress. California, New Jersey, New York, Arizona and Ohio are not only proving to be great market for renewable energy resources like solar energy and wind energy, the state governments are also promoting the renewable energy options to far extent. Recently, Texas got rid of its eight coal power plants.10 Texas not only opted for nuclear alternative, but the Texas government approved plans to supply 35 per cent of power needs through renewable energy resources.
Stephen Lacey further reveal that the interference of state government in market through the SREC program is benefitting few large companies at the expense of many small companies.11 The picture clarifies the reason why the state governments are running faster towards greener US with lesser carbon footprints. The federal government deals with higher degree of market interference and hence, the Congress remains in effect of big business to create corrupt nexus that cannot decide for better greener options. State governments on the other hand have lesser power to interfere with the market, hence they are a little faster, yet, if somehow the government is decentralized and restricted from interfering the market, that is, if the market is left free, then the market will force the entrepreneurs, manufacturers, producers and business conglomerates to provide better, greener options to reduce the GHGs emission and ease the acute global warming conditions, the reason being, consumers demand “green” solutions to the global warming crisis. The demand of green alternatives by consumers will prompt the free market to create green jobs and will incentivize the entrepreneurs and energy industries to innovate better energy efficient renewable energy resources extraction.
Conclusion: The Actual Way to Improve Climate
It is quite clear that the US congress and federal government is lacking will and strong leadership to bring about any significant change in the policies to reduce pollution and greenhouse gases emission. The nexus between politicians, big business conglomerates and oil companies seems to be evil enough to thwart any possible change in the attitude of Congress towards the acute need of reducing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emission. It is evident that if nothing would be done to prevent or slow down global warming, there can be disastrous consequences on whole world. US federal government and Congress find it self unable to deal with the situation because the Congress cannot afford the economic turmoil if it breaks relations with the big business conglomerates and oil companies. Instead of taking firm and stern actions to compel the big industries to reduce their carbon footprints, Congress tries to cajole them to agree with a cap on carbon. Pete DuPont stated clearly that “global warming looks like neither the alarmists’ serious threat, nor an immediate crisis that requires governmental control of America’s economy to reduce it”, He suggested that Congress should consider the costs before passing policies on Global Warming.12 In such a scenario, it is difficult to believe that the big conglomerates like BP America, DuPont, and General Electric etc will accept the necessity of time so easily. Yet, there is a hope to save the earth against the ill-human activities. The individual citizens of U.S and whole round the world can force the conglomerates, politicians and governments too by denying their interference and monopoly in market and by demanding better, greener and feasible energy options.
Once the consumers themselves decide to reduce their own carbon footprints, the big companies will be forced to follow the suit. Congress, federal government and state government meanwhile should stop interfering with the market and let the new players, competitors, entrepreneurs and innovators provide better and efficient energy solutions so that the big conglomerate of US may also feel compelled to work towards a greener future. The key for a better, greener and safer world against the glooming danger of global warming is in the hands of consumer and in the policies of free market. The nexus between government, politicians and big business need to relieve the market to create greener world.
- Climate Action Report, 2002, Ratification of Kyoto Aside: How International Law and Market Uncertainty Obviate the Current U.S. Approach to Climate Change Emissions [↩]
- Bradford Mank, 2005, Standing and Global Warming; Environmental Law, Vol. 35 [↩]
- Oliver A. Houck, 2009, Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility [↩]
- BBC News, 2009, Why Did Copenhagen fail to deliver a climate deal? BBC News, 22nd December, 2009 [↩]
- Legislation, Energy Independence and Global Warming Committee of US, 2010 [↩]
- Clean Energy Job and American Power Act, 2009 [↩]
- Dirty Air Act round up, 2010 [↩]
- William R. Cline, 1992, The Economics of Global Warming, Institute for International Economics Washington DC [↩]
- Reason for Liberty, 2010, Consumerism is a Boon for Human Development, Reason for Liberty, April 19th,2010 [↩]
- Stephen Lacey, 2008, U.S State Solar Debate: Will SRECs Create Unhealthy Market Concentration? New Hampshire, United States [↩]
- Stephen Lacey, 2008, U.S State Solar Debate: Will SRECs Create Unhealthy Market Concentration? New Hampshire, United States [↩]
- Pete DuPont, 2009, Time for Inaction on Global Warming, Congress should consider the costs before passing “cap and trade” The Wall Street Journal [↩]
Defining recession is not an easy issue specially when there is no widely approved definition for recession. Newspapers and popular business tabloids suggest that recession is a period of general economic decline that causes and results in decline in the Gross Domestic Product of a country for two or more consecutive economic quarters of a financial year. The conventional associated indicators, causes or results of recession are considered to be a decline in stock market figures, dropping realty sector prices, and a steep rise in unemployment rate. Yet, the definition does not emphasize on any such consequences and hence it cannot be termed as a universal definition of recession. Furthermore, with this definition of recession that depends on two quarters of financial year, it is very difficult to mention the exact point of time of the beginning of recession and it is impossible to suggest what was the actual cause of recession. That is, recession remains a mystery.
Right since January 2008, a liquidity crunch was experienced by the non-financial companies and individuals and that resulted in job cuts. The average job loss of USA for the eight months was 81,900 job cuts per month by September 2008, during the last four months, it was 483,500 per month. Unemployment rate caused consumer spending to fell by 3.8% in the three quarters of 2008 and in fourth quarter it fell by 36% below the final quarter of 2007.Hence, the National Bureau of Economic Research’s Business Cycle Dating Committee declared that the US economy is in recession since January 20081 .
The mainstream economists and media pundits suggest that the cause of a recession is the tight money policies and raised interest rates by the Central government that results in liquidity crunch and causes job cuts, declining consumer spending and hence a recession2 . They thus support that stimulating the economy with easy money, governmental loans, huge stimulus packages and lowering interest rates may help the economy in bringing the boom again. The idea suggests that the Market cycles of Boom and Burst originates from the central bank action of expanding the money flow in the market and contracting it. They suggest that proper stimulus packages and government spending over the common welfare programs can easily sooth the situation by allowing more currency to float in the market. Plus, they suggest that such common welfare spending also help in improving the life of standards of common populace.
Failure of Obama’s Stimulus Packages
The idea of mainstream economists is absolutely flawed and this can be easily seen with the failure of the economic stimulus given by the Bush government and supported by the new government of Obama.
It should be clear that a Burst or a recession occurs because there was a boom in market. A boom obviously is the period when an economic sector is unnecessarily provided easy loans, higher profits and more support by the authorities and central government to cause high rise in prices that creates a false demand in the market and causes inflation. That is, the downturn, or the depression or the recession is exactly because of the Central bank, not because it started tightening the financial sources, rather it is because of malinvestment initiated by previously created credit resulting from central bank3 . Mainstream economists also suggest that the market will recover and the prices will inflate again if further easy money is provided through government spending, ridiculously huge stimulus packages and other similar tactics. They believe that by doing so, the stock market will again start rising high. Yet, with all economic stimulus provided, stocks as a broad group are down since last ten years4 . That is, economic stimulus and credit policies of Central bank failed since last 10 years.
It is also important to understand the reason of liquidity crunch. A liquidity crunch occurs only when the present amount of money in the market, which is nothing but a means of exchange, is malinvested in those sectors that are facing false demand or boom. Since the money was malinvested in supplying the false demand, it gets trapped. Lenders don’t get their loan back and they suffer liquidity crunch. Thus, the reason of a recession is the easy credit policies by the government and central bank that causes Boom in the market. When the wrong policies of the government and central bank fail, the market suffers recession.
Recession is not the problem, it is the cure of the problems of Malinvestment
Thus, recession can be defined as a cure to the ill-policies of government and central bank that caused boom in certain sectors such as housing market. Because of that boom, easy credit policies, subsidies, easy lending and many other government and central bank caused factors, the prices soars to extreme high and causes inflation and money gets trapped in malinvestment. As the recession acts as a cure to this situation of extreme falsehood, it starts decreasing the extent of false demand and tries to bring the market to its actual true situation. The prices start declining and the economy starts recuperating from the illness of false heights.
Since recession itself is the cure of problems of malinvestment that were caused by the government and central bank’s ill easy money and credit policies, it cannot be cured by further stimulus. The stimulus will only sustain the recession for longer periods until all the malinvestment is not neutralised and the economy comes in a situation to achieve sustainable growth5 . The idea can also be substantiated with the expectations of Housing economists who expect that over the next 10 or 20 years, the prices in realty sector may start rising again on an average, but that rise won’t be as much as the average rise was during the past decade6 . Obviously, because of easy money and mislead credit policies caused a boom in housing market and created a false demand that consequently resulted in unsustainable boom. As a neutralising phenomenon, the market forces caused liquidity crunch to cure the malinvestment. Until the malinvestment will not neutralise, market will not gain sustainable growth. Stimulus package can only delay the time for achieving the sustainable growth. The stimulus also failed to provide any help in improving the job market, the unemployment rate is still 9.7% in the month of May 20107 , while it was 6.9% in 20088 .
Now with the problems of liquidity crunch still persisting, even the retirees are looking forward to find jobs9 . The situation shows that expensive stimulus may also push US towards the same fate that the Greece government and public are suffering right now.
Robert Lucas supported the idea of Ben Bernanke to reduce the interest rates10 . Every sane minded person will support the idea. In fact, the government or the central bank should not have the power to decide or dictate the interest rates. Interest rates should be decided by the free market proponents freely as per the time requires and permits. Yet, till how long will the central bank and government let the market enjoy the falsehood of stability on the basis of stimulus, what will happen when the central bank and Obama administration will look forward to take the stimulus back? Only then the market will again step forward towards curing the malinvestment caused by bad credit policies and only after that cure the market will be in a position to attain a sustainable growth.
- William A. Strauss, 2009, Economic Outlook Symposium: Summary of 2008 results and forecasts for 2009, Chicago Fed Letter [↩]
- John P. Cochran, Austrian Business Cycles, Plucking Models, and Real Business Cycles, Austrian Schollar Conference, Auburn, Alabama [↩]
- John P. Cochran, 2001, Austrian Business Cycles, Plucking Models, and Real Business Cycles, Austrian Schollar Conference, Auburn, Alabama [↩]
- E.S Browning, 2009,After the Collapse, Guarded Hope for ’09, The Wall Street Journal, January 2, 2009 [↩]
- John P. Cochran, 2001, Austrian Business Cycles, Plucking Models, and Real Business Cycles, Austrian Schollar Conference, Auburn, Alabama [↩]
- James R. Hagerty, 2008, The Future of Home Prices, The Wall Street Journal, December 2, 2008 [↩]
- TradingEconomics, May2010 [↩]
- William A. Strauss, 2009, Economic Outlook Symposium: Summary of 2008 results and forecasts for 2009, Chicago Fed Letter [↩]
- Kelly Greene, 2009, There Goes Retirement, The Wall Street Journal, March 1, 2009 [↩]
- Robert E Lucas Jr., 2008, Bernanke is the Best Stimulus Right Now, The Wall Street Journal, December 23, 2008 [↩]
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With its current status of world’s largest producer of engineers and IT technicians, Indian government is now striving for implementing the technology in its administrative set-up and for doing that, the ruling class of India (The Politicians) have planned a grand program of provision of ‘Identity’ to all citizens of India through yet another identity card, although the new proposed identity card will be a ‘little smart’. The rulers feel that by tuning the system with the help of technological assets, they will win over the heart of young voters, further they suggests that the new database of identity cards will provide an efficient way to curb corruption involved in its various welfare programs, yet another propaganda the politicians are spreading is the use of Unique Identity Card for the prevention of crimes and terrorism. So here, we will discuss the worth of the program UID that grabbed Mr. Nilekani from his INFOSYS success and converted him to be cabinet minister rather than an entrepreneur.
UID card to tame Corruption
Unique Identity Card is yet another attempt of the government to assert that socialism, and welfarism actually works, and if it is not working than it is because of the corrupt nature of individuals rather than the corrupt nature of system, government is thus hell bent to prevent any corruption involved in its various welfare programs like National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, National Rural Health Mission, Bharat Nirman etc.
The government says that it will set up a UID Authority of India that will provide a unique identity for the targeted population of those welfare schemes and hence, the corruption inherited in such schemes may be reduced. That is, government yet again declines the fact that such welfare schemes are basically impotent and impractical while asserting that if government weave yet another security thread against the individual freedom, the corruption may reduce and things may work better. There is a basic problem in such a viewpoint. At present, government issues many of such identity cards that are being used to insure the proper beneficiary of the welfare schemes run by government. Yet, it is very easy to produce “fake credentials” and identity cards such as “Ration card”, voter ID card etc. So, by providing a UID smart card, that will contain a magnetic flash memory chip to secure the true information about the card holder that may not be duplicated without government officers concern, government thinks that corruption will be reduced, that is, its not the government officers, clerks and “babus” who are corrupt, but the public is corrupt, public provide bribes to the government officials to enjoy the benefits of schemes meant for helping the poor, while the poor as they cannot bribe, suffers. That may be true, yet how will the smart UID change the scenario? We already have a smart card for Driving Licenses since many years, which are no less sophisticated and technically sound than a UID, yet it fails to tame any corruption.
To record the biometric information of an individual such as his fingerprints, the shape of his hand bones, pattern of his retina, or voiceprint etc on to the idea can only confirm that the person holding the card is actually the owner of the card or not. That is, the UID is too much “fake-proof” it cannot be easily faked or duplicated. Yet, one can change the identity. The information such UID will hold can be as good as the source of information. Therefore, if the public and individuals are corrupt and if the corruption of Indian public is the soul reason behind the failure of governmental welfare schemes, than UID simply cannot help in removing any corruption and such schemes can never benefit the targeted group of individuals for which they are meant. The government officials entering the data in such “smart card” UID’s can be deceived by wrong information, fake birth certificates, salary or income certificates or they may be simply bribed for to issue fake ID’s that cannot be faked any further.
That is, although government is trying to push the cause of removing corruption with the help of UID, yet the UID’s are simply impotent and incapable to remove or reduce any corruption. UID cannot reduce bribery. Yet government is ready to force Indians to bear the extreme spending of $19 billions for the provision of such identity cards that are simply meant to be a failure in the cause of their issuance. This huge amount of money could have been used to “help the poor” yet the government has decided to invest this money to weave yet another government authority (UIDAI) that will control the identities of individual. Therefore, instead of bribing the local government and municipality officials, now the “corrupt public” of India will bribe the specific central government authority officers working for UIDAI. It will not reduce any corruption overall. Instead of taking the responsibility of the inherited corruption in its own base, government thus is blaming individuals and hence is trying to stage a new pattern of controlling and authorizing. How can we trust the government that after the failure of all its management, this huge spending will make it possible for government to reduce any corruption?
UID card for security reasons
India is constantly suffering the evil of violent terrorism from within its borders in form of Maoists, Marxists and Naxals, and from outside in form of Islamic militants.
Government thus suggest that the new “fake-proof” UID’s will help in strengthening the security system. The UID’s, which will contain the fingerprints, image of retina and a picture of the card holder are meant to be fake proof, yet are they really fake proof? The fingerprints can be faked by using a transparent rubber or plastic polymer on the fingers; retina can be faked out by using the contact lenses. That is, no matter how technically sound the system of UID will be, the same or other forms of technology will help the evil corrupt terrorists to deceive the UID security and hence, UID or any such smart card can never be fake proof. Imagine a terrorist simply uses the contact lens specially built for duplicating the retina of a genuine card holder along with using the plastic polymer on his fingers that is specially built to duplicate the fingerprints of same card holder; the picture can be simply duplicated on the card. The terrorist will use that card for entering a crowded building with his plans of violence. The “fake UID” will help him against any security check. The so-called wrong and overhyped security zone of UID will lax the security officials and that will further help the terrorist. The fancy technology of UID would give us a false logic of security and incur a dangerous overconfidence in the security officers who should be most cautious.
A UID will not prevent terrorists from entering the country, it will not stop the terrorist from purchasing materials for making of bombs, and it will not restrict them for making a weapon of mass destruction. The UID will not stop a terrorist from entering a public building like a Hotel or restaurant or bank and opening up their vests full of bombs. A UID cannot prevent such terrorism. On the other hand, terrorists will get help in targeting their “venue of terrorist activities” they will simply look for the places requiring a UID card check as there will be huge crowd and will commit a mass attacks through other channels.
In addition, the officials of the new proposed authority UIDAI will be the same people who are now in charge. Consider the level of their competency that will not increase because of a further new UID. The government had prior warning and information about the terrorists before 26/11 Hotel Taj attack. Government had prior inklings before the attack in Jaipur too. Government knew that the long coastal border of India is being used to infiltrate miscreants, yet because of its incompetency, it failed to secure Indians. Even after the attack of 26/11, Indian government failed to mend its ways and India suffered yet another brutal terrorist attack in Pune on German bakery, Maoists killed security officers at the police camp in West Bengal.
Misusage of UID
The governmental and political terrorists can also misuse the UID. The miscreants of MNS or Shivsena Hooligans may use the UID to confirm their victims and harass them. It would be very easy for government police to ‘identify’ innocent Muslims to attack and harass them after any incident like that of Godhra case, and to plan an attack like that of “Best Bakery” in much sophisticated way. After the assassination of Mrs. Indira Gandhi, Sikhs were brutalized throughout the India, because of which, many Sikhs tried to save themselves by cutting down their hairs “Juda to Munda Sardar conversion”. That helped many Sikhs to save their lives, but with UID, it would be impossible for any Sikh in such a case to save himself. In a way, UID will be a breach of the freedom of an innocent citizen and he would be an easy target for the government or politically imposed terrorism.
Conclusion: The UID can not increase the competency of government in either the case of security of citizens or the welfare of poor lot. The incompetent government and government officers may waste any amount of money on any such UID card, but I doubt it would help even a bit, yet the economic cost of the UID program is excessively high, that money could have been used for some real welfare purpose. Secondly, the UID will again threaten the individual liberty and government will further start controlling the innocent citizens while it is simply incompetent to catch and control Naxals, Maoists and Islamic terrorists.
“Just as we must not allow terrorists to threaten our lives, we must not allow government to threaten our liberties.” Ron Paul
Often statists try to color the inhuman governmental wrongs as ‘Humanitarian’ stern acts for the safety and benefit of all.
Can one really justify the Iraq Invasion by US as a Humanitarian act to save the Iraqis from the tyrannical regime of Saddam Hussein? One may say that Saddam was a real danger for Iraqi people and by overthrowing his regime, US actually served the welfare of Iraqis. They may say that although American Invasion killed Iraqi people, but those deaths were accidental and if Saddam’s regime has continued many people might have suffered death, penury and tortures under his tyranny.
Yet such justifications of foreign invasion is futile because nobody can know, what the future harms Saddam’s tyrannical government could have caused to the innocents or those harms if calculated properly could have been more than the harms and killings the American invasion caused on Iraqis.
That is, there is no actual reasonable way to say that Saddam would have caused any more harm to Iraqis than whatever has been actually caused by American invasion. Since there is no such real way, there can be no moral humanitarian justification for Iraq war. Nor such justification can be put forth to the American Drone invasion on Pakistan territories. Innocents are being attacked and killed in Pakistan. Children, mothers, elders are suffering the attacks. One can never say that had America not attacked Pakistan using drone missiles, Pakistanis might have suffered much more.
Since we cannot calculate about the harms that would have been caused if America had not attacked Iraq or Pakistan, we simply cannot determine the moral proper course of action, yet one thing that we know is, we should not directly murder or harm or injure the innocent, we should not jeopardize their economic and social life.
Yet that is what being done in Iraq or Afghanistan or in Pakistan by the American government, and all this is under the fake mask of Welfare of people, welfare of those people who are under attack, who are innocent and who are being killed regularly.
As a matter of fact, wars can never be justified.
Now a days, American government and media are also trying to paint Iran as a dangerous state under a tyrannical head of government. Every second day media covers an article how Iranians are suffering tyranny under Iranian regime. Will this be any moral base to justify yet another invasion by America?
Bombing civilian places full of innocent people was in no means necessary to oust Saddam, or to end his tyrannical regime. Nor is the use of very high explosives with the unmanned drone fighting planes on Afghanistan-Pakistan border, which every now and than kills the innocent public ‘unintentionally’.
How can the defenders of Iraqis or Pakistanis or Afghans claim that these deaths of Innocent people were accidental? They actually were pre-planned cold blooded murders, meant for the safety and welfare of those who were killed.
The so-called ‘smart weapons’ used by US forces, like Drones, Aerial an artillery bombardment etc failed hugely to defend the innocents, rather they killed the innocents, and are killing.
Doctrine of Double Effect
Again, government supporters claim that US forces did not aim to murder those innocents rather those innocents were unavoidably in the region of attack hence they were killed. This is known as Doctrine of Double Effect. It states that, if the injury to the innocent is controllable and proportionate, than only one can attack the culprit without considering the harm to the innocent. One cannot bombard a cricket stadium full of thirty to forty thousand audiences just because one of those audiences is a supposedly high profile terrorist. That is, just in order to encounter one terrorist or tyrant, one cannot jeopardize the life of whole audience of the cricket stadium. At most, one may try to shoot the terrorist with his gun without fearing that his missed shot may kill an innocent. Yet, in case of Iraq invasion or Drone attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the killing of innocents is obviously wayward and absurd. Many more innocents were killed without any proper success of actually killing or punishing the terrorists.
Obviously, all such humanitarian grounds in support of US forces invasion on Iraq or Afghanistan and Pakistan are futile. So, was the issue of nuclear warheads with Iraq a proper reason to invade Iraq, or can it be a proper ground to Invade Iran?
We now know that the intelligence reports that suggested that Saddam’s regime had nuke powers were fake and false, yet the Iran is beyond any doubt a Nuke power. Yet, Iran with Nuclear arms is a very minute matter.
USSR had tens of thousands of nuclear warheads and sophisticated delivery vehicles that were always kept in constant readiness. Yet USSR never threatened or ‘Blackmailed’ USA. How can a minute and much weak nuke Iran be of any threatening consideration to USA? Or How could have been Iraq any threat to USA even if Saddam had nuclear power?
US army also claims that Pakistani warheads are under threat and Al-Qaida may try to control them, hence they say that it is necessary to attack and end the Taliban and Al-Qaida outfits involved in Pakistan. The thing is, it is sincerely not wrong to try to kill the Taliban or Al-Qaida members, but US government has no authority or right to endanger and actually murder the innocents while trying to notch the terrorists.
Furthermore, can government justify the extremely large military budgets for which the common people are being confiscated of their wealth by means of taxation?
Attacks on our own citizens
It is not that a government can only kill the innocents in other countries. Many a times, government does not even flinch away from the possibility of killing its own citizens and that too for their own welfare.
During the Indira Gandhi regime in 1984, when a handful of terrorists lead by Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale occupied the Golden Temple, Indian government ordered attack and firing on the Golden Temple. That act was named as Operation Blue Star that killed Thousands of Innocent people along with Bhindranwale’s supporters. Those innocent people were simple religious people and Indian government actually was supposed to safeguard them. Similarly, many innocents were killed during the formation of Bangladesh by the Pakistani government.
The programmed massacre of Muslims in Gujarat against Narendra Modi’s state Gujarat government after the Godhra attack is yet to be forgotten. The list of fake encounter cases of central and state government police and special task forces keep on increasing month by month and it is all done under the mask of protecting and providing a secure welfare state for the same innocent citizens who are being butchered.
Conclusion: Just like other social welfare policies of government, the war and conflict safety policy of government also fails absurdly and instead of being a welfare state, a government lead state often turns out to be a warfare state, while wars brings no good for any one ever.