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July 29, 2011

Well I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the corruption in India in at least one of my blog posts.  Today is the appropriate choice because of what has happened in Karnataka(the state where I am living) just this past week.  The story, here, in brief is that the chief minister of Karnataka has been implicated in a scandal where he and a few others stole about $3.9 billion dollars that was supposed to go to the government from mining revenues.  The reason it has been an especially big scandal is because the chief minister is from the BJP party (maybe my next post will deal with parties).  The BJP party has been criticizing the Congress Party(the party in power) for corruption and then here they are with a major corruption scandal, uh oh!

Unfortunately, corruption is pretty widespread in India.  Fortunately, I have not personally been a part of any corruption(that I know of).  Everyone talks about it though.  There is a site, here, where people can upload their bribe stories, etc, as you saw with the story above it is a huge political point, but it also affects the infrastructure(as in the less than adequate roads), tax collection, licensing for businesses, and then overall lack of respect for the rule of law.  People know they can get out of any petty crime (like littering, speeding, etc) either because they know someone higher up in the gov. or because they can pay.  There are organizations that are attempting to fight back…but most of those are governmental organizations or are set up by the government and hence have a conflict of interest.  Corruption is a hard thing to fight back against, but some people in India are trying.  In Gujarat (a state in Northern India) the chief minister is a man named Narendra Modi who all the people(here in South India) will tell you is the least corrupt person in government.  He has done wonders for Gujarat(in infrastructure, tax codes, corruption, and prohibition–i don’t know if i agree with that one), and even though he was partly responsible for the riots that killed hundreds of Muslims, the Muslims even respect him now.  Even he is not exempt from corruption according to some.

Fighting against corruption is extremely difficult, especially when the people(who are being hurt by corruption) are attempting to fight those that have the most power and money in India.  The thing that I do not understand is that even though all Indians will acknowledge that their government is corrupt and is hurting them, they all still want more government.  Many that I’ve talked to think the government should give more subsidies to developing industries, should nationalize things like mines or oil wells, in addition to providing them with national defense, police, courts, and infrastructure.  I just can’t get why when the government has mismanaged everything they touch, the people want them to touch more instead of going out on your own and doing it yourself like this city(this is a very interesting article about lack of government in this city), Gurgaon, in India.

Anyways, India functions, but could function so much better.  It reminds me of Atlas Shrugged where the looters(gov’t) keep making it harder for those who are productive to produce.  How much can India take and still grow at 8% a year?  Without the looters(gov’t) how fast would India be growing, how fast could they grow if they had the infrastructure of the US, if they didn’t have to bribe officials for licenses, if they had the rule of law and knew that all their contracts would be backed up–many South Indians don’t want to make deals with North Indians for just that reason.  India is great and improving a lot, but they are getting handicapped from their government instead of getting a helping hand.

In other news: I’m sorry I haven’t been doing daily posts, I’ve been a bit busy trying to ready up final reports and a final presentation to give to the big wigs here.


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