Casino Industry Treated Differently from the Entertainment Industry

Casino Industry Treated Differently from the Entertainment Industry

Posted by: on Aug 25, 2013 | No Comments

Yes, we have all heard the old bugbear of how gambling is bad for society. However, gambling is nothing but a common noun belonging to a larger family of more respectable relatives like ‘games of chance’, ‘betting’, and ‘probability.’ Yet,

Why Governments Fail?

Posted by: on Dec 21, 2012 | One Comment

When one is in office one has no idea how damnable things can feel to the ordinary rank and profile of the public – Sir Winston Churchill

Government isn’t the solution; government is the problem – Old slogan of the Libertarian Party of the USA

Feeling good about the government is like looking on the bright side of any catastrophe. When you quit looking on the bright side, the catastrophe is still there – P.J. O’Rourke

Why do governments perform poorly? Why do government actions have consequences which are the opposite of the intended objectives? Why are government forays into business abysmal failures? Why is the government record pathetic in controlling crime and terrorism? Why when the government administers justice, the horrendous delays negate the concept of justice? Why are government budgets perpetually in deficit and countries eternally in debt? Why are governments constantly looking for increased revenues and forever increasing taxes? Why are government actions hallmarks of ineptitude and inefficiency? Why is corruption endemic?….Why?

Can India Ever Progress?

Posted by: on Apr 5, 2012 | One Comment

“Dinesh Trivedi’s budget has caused a political storm, after…Trinamool Congress asked him to withdraw the hike or quit…The Trinamool Congress, termed across-the-board passenger fare hikes as a ‘hostile act’.”– Economic Times, March 15, 2012

Outsourcing vs. Obama

Posted by: on Oct 5, 2011 | No Comments

Barack Obama, the first black President of the United States and Nobel Peace Prize Winner, cuts across an impressive figure – one that inspires many from our generation. His speeches reflect intelligence coupled with idealism. He could very well be the next socialist cultural icon.

Well, that’s not exactly what I want to talk about. What I find interesting about Barack Obama is his ability to remain in a highly pro-nation state, at a time when cosmopolitanism and globalization are the order of the day. No doubt, every person elected as the President of the United States needs to have a strong pro-nation stand, but Obama’s speeches seem to go back several generations, talking about how the United States is falling back and needs to get ahead of countries like China and India in today’s competitive race.

His speeches often focus on outsourcing, specifically the outsourcing of jobs to India as sign of the United States’ productive incompetence. His belief that America could have been a far richer country if they had control over outsourcing seems regressive and represents anti-globalization tendencies. In fact in a number of ways, Obama’s stand seems to make little sense – it almost argues that the American population wouldn’t be able to compete in the global market without any state protection.

What is still more fascinating about all this is, Obama’s world view is still respected among intellectuals and academics all across the world – despite the fact that it lacks logic. Just reminds us of how the actions and beliefs of human beings are guided more by emotions and ideals than by logic.

Obama and Outsourcing

Posted by: on Nov 16, 2010 | No Comments

Barrack Obama is one of the most inspiring figures of our generation. He combines a majestic dignity with a deep immersion in popular culture. His speeches reflect intelligence and idealism. He is the next socialist cultural icon.

What interests me about him is his ability to be very pro-nation state in an age given to globalization and cosmopolitanism. There is no doubt that every elected president of the United States requires a firm pro-nation stand. But Obama seems to cut back several generations in his speeches about how the USA is falling back in the competitive race and needs to catch up with countries like India and China.

Outsourcing is often the focus of many of his speeches, as he cites the opening up of the service sector and the outsourcing of work to India as a sign of America’s productive incompetence. His idea that America would perhaps be a richer nation with a control on outsourcing seems almost regressive and very anti-globalization and free market. In fact in a lot of ways this stand makes very little sense, it almost seems to argue that Americans without state-protection would not be able to compete with the world market.

The recent midterm results were undoubtedly a repudiation of Obama’s boundary-hugging policies, but it is still fascinating that his world view commands respect amongst academics and intellectuals all over the world, despite its inherent lack of logic. It is a reminder of that fact that human beings are moved more by ideals and emotion than by logic.

The Military Industrial Complex

Posted by: on Sep 29, 2010 | One Comment

The US deployment of troops in Afghanistan has raised much ironic press against Nobel Peace Prize winner, Barack Obama. It has also brought back speculation with regards to the US defense budget, specifically money allocated to private production of defense equipment and the supply of this equipment to other ‘enemy countries’.

Many journalists and documentary makers have begun quoting Dwight Eisenhower’s farewell speech where with much foreboding he spoke of the Military Industrial complex and its many cancer like outcomes.

Interestingly India for the last decade has been speculating on opening up the private sector, in the defense sector. The government founded a Group of Ministers committee that submitted a report titled: “Reforming National Security System”. Based on the recommendations of the report, the defense sector was opened up 100% up to private investment and was given a 26% FDI cap.

This reform was part of an ongoing dialogue, obsessed with increasing India’s strength and research capability in terms of armaments. The country’s armed forces have been subject to poor, imported, and expensive armament technology for some time. India’s research divisions under organizations like the DRDO have seen negligible progress. Bearing these factors in mind, it seems natural that the government might want to look into private investment in defense by awarding Raksha Udyog Ratnas to reliable firms. But, is the RUR enough? And, isn’t the armament industry in America sufficient admonition against private investment?

Desiring government control is all nice and idealistic but when the money starts pouring in, it would be naïve to expect the government not to try and profit from private defense technology production. Maybe they’ll fling a few wars around the world? People will die.

If you were to glance at the decrepit state of the country’s defense technology now, you might neglect the warnings. The question in itself is not a closed one. Perhaps private investment in defense needs a lot more thought.

Freedom and Peace

Posted by: on Jan 16, 2005 | No Comments

Nepal needs peace. Its people are demanding it. They are demanding it because they know intuitively that the peace dividend can be huge. They know – no economist needs to tell them – that the resources which are being diverted by the government and the Maoists to fighting each other could go towards enriching them, should peace prevail.

I am not an expert on conflict resolution; I do not know what demands of Maoists can be met and what can’t be. However, I do know that to end the recruitment of the young people of this nation by Maoists, alternate employment opportunities are required.

Lack of opportunity is the reason that enabled Maoists to cheaply recruit the unemployed youth. If the young boys and girls had economic opportunity, if they could obtain jobs, or had the chance to start their own businesses, it would have been impossible for them to be hired by any terrorist organization.

People who are making money cannot easily be led to their deaths. The young in Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai, South Korea, and Australia do not offer their lives for revolutionary causes. They have too much to lose.

In Nepal, the girls and boys joining the Maoist had little to lose. It was easy, therefore, for the leaders of this ‘red revolution’ to capture the imagination of the young. They offered the young a life with a purpose. Yes, you could die, but, is life without a job and without hope of one any better? And, what if you won? You would then have the opportunity not only to chart your own destiny but that of your motherland as well. Many considered the rewards well worth the risk of catching a police or army bullet.

For peace to come, negotiations must go on, and one hopes that they succeed. However, the government must, irrespective of how the negotiations proceed, also take measures to end the conditions which led to so many of Nepal’s able-bodied men and women becoming terrorists.

It is not a pre-condition for Nepal’s economic progress that peace prevails. It would indeed be nice if it happens. If however the country and its citizens have access to economic opportunity and wealth, peace is that much more probable.

What is it that is essential for progress and prosperity? Economic freedom. Let the government institute as many market friendly policies granting people freedom to trade, manufacture, and deal with foreigners, and the chances of ending terrorism increase manifold. People, if they are busy doing business deals will not join the Maoists. Those who are already with the Maoist will find reasons to leave if jobs and opportunity are on offer.

The single most important measure which the government can take is to end all controls and taxes on foreign trade. As soon as this happens, people will become busy with imports and exports. They will become busy selling cheap goods to the Indians and Chinese. They will be busy manning the shops, and running shopping arcades for tourists. They will be busy handling the avalanche of shoppers which will descend on them from the neighbouring countries.

Imagine a duty free Nepal. Keep in mind that labour rates are the cheapest in the world and real estate costs are low. All this results in an explosive combination except that this will be an explosion which doesn’t cause death and destruction, but results in wealth and jobs. Shoppers will forget Hongkong, Singapore, and Dubai for Nepal.

Free foreign investment from bureaucratic oversight and regulation. Open every sector of the economy to investment. Reduce taxes and end the red tape which feeds corruption. Guarantee property rights and apply the law equally to all.

Do this and unemployment will end in no time. It will then be an uphill task for the Maoists to retain their comrades let alone obtain fresh recruits. The opportunity to pursue prosperity is hard to compete against, and the Maoist will soon find that out. Revolutionary slogans sell only if the audience have nothing to lose.

I don’t know when or even whether this country’s rulers will take it on this path to prosperity and peace. I do know that should a leader with vision and guts choose to make the people economically free, peace will follow as surely as the day follows the night.

The Himalyan Times