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March 07, 2009

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American Muse

Here's an interesting piece from Commentary Magazine: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/greenwald/58451

INDIA: A STARVING DEMOCRACY
Abe Greenwald - 03.13.2009 - 10:56 AM

Today’s New York Times reports that in India a shocking 42.5 percent of children under 5 are malnourished. Shocking, because we’ve spent the last decade marveling at India’s economic dynamism and democratic achievement. When terrorists attacked Mumbai last November virtually every report mentioned how much the city resembled a great American metropolis. Every analyst discussed India’s challenge as that of any other open democracy faced with a serious national security crisis. But a child population with 42.5 percent malnutrition doesn’t much resemble our democratic ideal. Nor does this:

A World Food Program report last month noted that India remained home to more than a fourth of the world’s hungry, 230 million people in all. It also found anemia to be on the rise among rural women of childbearing age in eight states across India. Indian women are often the last to eat in their homes and often unlikely to eat well or rest during pregnancy. Ms. Menon’s institute, based in Washington, recently ranked India below two dozen sub-Saharan countries on its Global Hunger Index.

We’ve heard a lot about the threat to America posed by emerging powers such as India. Such fear-mongering misses the point on two counts. First, a freer and more dynamic Asia is a good thing for America. It means more trading partners, more shared goals, and more easily persuaded allies. Second, free markets and elections don’t say much about a country’s endurance or stability. India is at an exciting and promising point right now. But it is also partially paralyzed by copious amounts of bureaucratic red tape, the legacy of a brutal caste system, cultural paranoia and hyper-plurality.

Let’s hope the subcontinent lives up to its P.R. If nearly half of India’s future generations will have suffered from malnutrition, it would constitute a humanitarian tragedy and, also, the loss of an American ally. A country that can’t feed its population can’t pose much of a threat. But more important, it won’t make much of a lasting contribution to the civilized world.

d nova

let's face it, economic activity often has way 2 many variables 2 use theory 2 make predictions.

when u cn control them, u cn do xperiments that may show trends. otherwise it's frequently 2 complex.

Fil Munas

Modern economic theory, dismally, is mostly mechanistic and pedestrian in its ethos. By envisioning the world as a collection of material objects that interact in predictable ways, economic witch doctors like Milton Friedman and his uninspired cohorts and groupies have dominated the culture that has led to the recent implosion of the capitalist model - an antithesis to the earlier collapse of the communist one.

The self-serving nature of merchantile economic predictions is odiously obvious. Less than a year ago Goldman Sachs predicted oil at US$200 a barrel while furiously trading in its futures. Giant investment houses, mostly run by shysters, have been forever upgrading and downgraging stocks to benefit their own trading accounts, bilking billions and billions from naive investors. Derivatives, swaps and astronomical leverage operated inside a black box known only to its manipulators. The public were led to slaughter.

And the end came swiftly.

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