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OwlBot 2000
Jun 1, 2009


It would not be controversial to say that India is a nation afflicted by poverty, inequality, religious conflict, sharp class and caste divisions, bad infrastructure and an utter lack of women's rights. It is estimated that it 68% of India's 1.2 billion live under $2 a day. I trust that all of you are familiar with the caste system, the treatment of servants and the high levels of sexual assault. India also has dozens of languages and several major religions in its 28 states, which makes it hard to govern. Due to cramped living conditions and poor sanitation, diseases eliminated elsewhere in the world like cholera and even bubonic plague have made a comeback. Child labor is not an uncommon practice, and slavery is not unusual.

Is it possible to solve these without forcible secularization, changes to culture, industrialization and redistribution of land and economic wealth? Or is India already successfully improving under the existing Indian political structure equipped to handle the challenges before it, if it could only stop corruption?

One question I'm very interested in is whether the cultural/religious ideas of Caste will need to be eliminated from public consciousness before any progress can be made.

Edit: Lest it seem I'm picking on India unfairly, I realize surprise sex and class are global problems and not unique to India, and I'm also well aware of the effects of colonialism. But I'd like to know what India can do now to fix its own particular mix of problems.

Somebody fucked around with this message at Mar 11, 2014 around 14:32

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Plastic_Gargoyle
Aug 3, 2007
Injection-Molded

What makes you assume that it is even possible to "erase something from the public consciousness"? This has been tried over and over in many places throughout history and it's failed virtually every single time.

And regardless of how lovely the caste system is, ultimately you're arguing from a stance of cultural superiority here, aren't you?

Plastic_Gargoyle fucked around with this message at Mar 11, 2014 around 02:47

OwlBot 2000
Jun 1, 2009


Plastic_Gargoyle posted:

What makes you assume that it is even possible to "erase something from the public consciousness"? This has been tried over and over in many places throughout history and it's failed virtually every single time.

I don't know about that -- I think the "divine right of kings" and the "great chain of being" were considered common sense or just facts of life by the vast majority of people in Medieval Europe, but nowadays such ideas are considered laughable. What changes did it take to accomplish that, or to introduce and cement the now-common idea that slavery is never acceptable?

Plastic_Gargoyle posted:

And regardless of how lovely the caste system is, ultimately you're arguing from a stance of cultural superiority here, aren't you?

Perhaps, but I think the morality of things like slavery, women's equality and classicism are universal and apply to every culture equally. I'm certainly not willing to treat those issues as though they're morally relative and culturally dependent.

OwlBot 2000 fucked around with this message at Mar 11, 2014 around 02:52

Captain Oblivious
Oct 12, 2007

Who wants to live forever,
Who dares to love forever,
When love must die.


The most fundamental problems are cultural and as such the answer to the thread title is "there is nothing we can do, let alone should do".

Colonialism is a helluva drug, it takes time to catch up.

OwlBot 2000
Jun 1, 2009


Captain Oblivious posted:

Colonialism is a helluva drug, it takes time to catch up.

That's absolutely true, but I don't know that some form of colonialism can't be part of a solution in theory -- I don't trust America or anyone else to do it in reality. But suppose some invader came into a country, banned all discrimination against LGBT people, but didn't reap any financial reward for it or do anything else really. That would be some kind of colonialism, maybe, but I'd still support it if the end result were good.

Plastic_Gargoyle
Aug 3, 2007
Injection-Molded

OwlBot 2000 posted:

I don't know about that -- I think the "divine right of kings" and the "great chain of being" were considered common sense or just facts of life by the vast majority of people in Medieval Europe, but nowadays such ideas are considered laughable. What changes did it take to accomplish that, or to introduce and cement the now-common idea that slavery is never acceptable?

But to do that, people didn't erase the existence of slavery, or divine right of kingship from human memory as you seem to suggest. You can't erase facts like so much Yezhov; it's a crime against history itself.

Those changes didn't come about overnight, they were the result of hundreds of years of cultural and social evolution. Such things also are practically impossible to "plan" by their nature.

OwlBot 2000 posted:

That's absolutely true, but I don't know that some form of colonialism can't be part of a solution in theory -- I don't trust America or anyone else to do it in reality. But suppose some invader came into a country, banned all discrimination against LGBT people, but didn't reap any financial reward for it or do anything else really. That would be some kind of colonialism, maybe, but I'd still support it if the end result were good.

History's greatest crimes were committed in the hope that "the end result was good."

OwlBot 2000
Jun 1, 2009


"Erase from memory" was the wrong phrase to use, I guess I mean "make so abhorrent to the average person that nobody would ever propose it again." And I think democratic revolutions and subsequent control over the narrative and narration made "Divine Right" seem phony, and the Civil War and the abolition movement put chattel slavery in the grave in the Western public consciousness.

computer parts
Nov 18, 2010

A homeless person was out on the street, looked up at me and said, "Draft Manziel." Just like that.

And that convinced me, that the Cleveland Browns' fans wanted Manziel.

The idea of Caste is present among many cultures (including the West) and it is a complementary component to capitalism so I don't see why or how it would be erased in the near future.

I am interested in India, however, especially how their industrialization has gone and why there's apparently larger numbers of poor than in say, China or other industrializing nations.

OwlBot 2000
Jun 1, 2009


Plastic_Gargoyle posted:

History's greatest crimes were committed in the hope that "the end result was good."

I think equal and even greater crimes have been a result of inaction. I'm not proposing any kind of invasion of India, just strong guidance from other countries on key issues backed by the threat of sanctions. Is that colonialism? Of course, but if it's in connection to women's rights issues, poverty reduction, or public health I'm all for it.

OwlBot 2000
Jun 1, 2009


computer parts posted:

The idea of Caste is present among many cultures (including the West) and it is a complementary component to capitalism so I don't see why or how it would be erased in the near future.

No disagreement here, but at least there's the myth of class mobility and the idea that it isn't supposed to be set in stone and predetermined; even if that is the case under American capitalism I think people would be horrified by it if they really knew rather than all think that it is divinely ordained as a result of Karma. Even in the USA there's a strong "just world" impulse but I don't think it is nearly as conscious or so deeply ingrained as it is in South Asia.

ronya
Nov 8, 2010


OwlBot 2000 posted:

It would not be controversial to say that India is a nation afflicted by poverty, inequality, religious conflict, sharp class and caste divisions, bad infrastructure and an utter lack of women's rights. It is estimated that it 68% of India's 1.2 billion live under $2 a day. I trust that all of you are familiar with the caste system, the treatment of servants and the high levels of sexual assault. India also has dozens of languages and several major religions in its 28 states, which makes it hard to govern. Due to cramped living conditions and poor sanitation, diseases eliminated elsewhere in the world like cholera and even bubonic plague have made a comeback. Child labor is not an uncommon practice, and slavery is not unusual.

Is it possible to solve these without forcible secularization, changes to culture, industrialization and redistribution of land and economic wealth? Or is India already successfully improving under the existing Indian political structure equipped to handle the challenges before it, if it could only stop corruption?

One question I'm very interested in is whether the cultural/religious ideas of Caste will need to be eliminated from public consciousness before any progress can be made.

If you are interested in the the economic history of modern India, my sense is that you should consider the historical reasons behind the so-called "license raj" period, and why India went through the "Hindu rate of growth" when other Asian countries were doing relatively well.

On a broader basis, you should note the geography of India. Half of India's population is still employed in agriculture, which is intrinsically of a very low productivity, even after the Green Revolution. Also, this makes India subject to the unpredictable monsoon weather. Early infrastructure investment in modern India focused on irrigation works (dams, piping, etc.) to mitigate the risk, but fundamentally even the most well-irrigated farmland has a very low labour productivity. Investment can stave off starvation for another generation, but it cannot solve the problem; the only real way to vault into the industrial life would be to move people out of agriculture altogether. Land reform and irrigation can let a farmer feed his children, but it will not let him feed his grandchildren.

However, like China, this would mean rural-urban migration on a staggering scale for decades. Unless the government pre-emptively provides urban infrastructure on an equally staggering scale, urban conditions are likely to become intolerable for a sustained period, which would not be good for political stability. However, infrastructure planning is not easy and highly vulnerable to corruption; not merely because politicians are greedy (which they are), or murderous (which they really are, in India), but because infrastructure has massive effects on the quality of life for millions of people, which makes it very easy to mobilize supporters even if you obtain these projects corruptly, or implement them badly.

OwlBot 2000
Jun 1, 2009


I imagine the slums will get larger and larger and these problems will get worse as urbanization continues and agriculture shrinks. But I don't see a real alternative to greater urbanization. On a purely theoretical level, how advisable would an intensive industrialization program be if accompanied by sufficient food imports and infrastructure development? I'm picturing Stalinism minus Stalin, and also with food.

It's interesting that the right-wing explanation (not anyone's here) for why a given third-world country isn't doing well is "corruption." Yes, it's there and prevalent, but that seems more like an effect than a cause -- and surely there isn't quite enough of it to explain the massive shortfalls between a country's results and its potential.

OwlBot 2000 fucked around with this message at Mar 11, 2014 around 03:12

Silver2195
Apr 4, 2012

i think he's asking the Doylist reason for her to be around

OwlBot 2000 posted:

forcible secularization

quote:

eliminated from public consciousness

You're showing some creepy authoritarian tendencies here. I'm not a big fan of Hinduism, but "forcible secularization" has never led anywhere good, unless you're using a nonstandard definition of "forcible."

Edit:

OwlBot 2000 posted:

I'm picturing Stalinism minus Stalin, and also with food.

You're confirming my initial impression here.

Typo
Aug 19, 2009


Plastic_Gargoyle posted:

What makes you assume that it is even possible to "erase something from the public consciousness"? This has been tried over and over in many places throughout history and it's failed virtually every single time.
The Caste system was largely obsolete in many parts of India (like the Punjab) by the 19th century, then the British came in and essentially reinstalled it.

Considering the fact that it largely ingrained into the public consciousness by colonialism there is nothing impossible about removing it.

7c Nickel
Apr 27, 2008

DARK SEXY, I LIKE IT
AND CAN'T WAIT.


Give the Naxalites nukes and hope for the best.

OwlBot 2000
Jun 1, 2009


Here's what I mean: strong separation of 'church' and state, abolition of laws that enforce religious practices, no religion taught in schools or religious schools, and.. that's about it. At least in Europe, doing that plus raising standards of living makes fundamentalism decline greatly.

Typo
Aug 19, 2009


computer parts posted:

The idea of Caste is present among many cultures (including the West) and it is a complementary component to capitalism so I don't see why or how it would be erased in the near future.
This is really bad false equivalence

Silver2195
Apr 4, 2012

i think he's asking the Doylist reason for her to be around

OwlBot 2000 posted:

Here's what I mean: strong separation of 'church' and state, abolition of laws that enforce religious practices, no religion taught in schools or religious schools, and.. that's about it. At least in Europe, doing that plus raising standards of living makes fundamentalism decline greatly.

I'm pretty sure India already has most of those things. It's raising standards of living that's the hard part.

Miltank
Dec 27, 2009

Rollout. Rollout! ROLLOUT! ROLLOUT!ROLLOUT! ROLLOUT!

Typo posted:

The Caste system was largely obsolete in many parts of India (like the Punjab) by the 19th century, then the British came in and essentially reinstalled it.

Considering the fact that it largely ingrained into the public consciousness by colonialism there is nothing impossible about removing it.

You are going to need to give a source for this.

Silver2195
Apr 4, 2012

i think he's asking the Doylist reason for her to be around

7c Nickel posted:

Give the Naxalites nukes and hope for the best.

I know you're not serious, but the Naxalites are part of the problem: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...cms?referral=PM

OwlBot 2000
Jun 1, 2009


Silver2195 posted:

I'm pretty sure India already has most of those things. It's raising standards of living that's the hard part.

In practice Hindu Law and Sharia courts administer much of the 'justice' in parallel legal systems. When there are issues of abuse, exploitation and so on that strengthens local religious leaders and helps further the oppression of women.

Interestingly some Muslim women are trying to make 'women-only' Shariat: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...ow/21075650.cms

Main Paineframe
Oct 27, 2010
LIKES: GUMMI BEARS

DISLIKES: JEWS, BLACKS, GAYS, HISPANICS, GYPSIES, ABORIGINES


OwlBot 2000 posted:

I don't know about that -- I think the "divine right of kings" and the "great chain of being" were considered common sense or just facts of life by the vast majority of people in Medieval Europe, but nowadays such ideas are considered laughable. What changes did it take to accomplish that, or to introduce and cement the now-common idea that slavery is never acceptable?


Perhaps, but I think the morality of things like slavery, women's equality and classicism are universal and apply to every culture equally. I'm certainly not willing to treat those issues as though they're morally relative and culturally dependent.

The only way things can disappear from a culture is if the people themselves decide to abandon those things. An outsider coming in by force and trying to eliminate parts of the native culture in order to fit the invader's view of how society should be doesn't work. Even if the invader's intentions are genuinely good and pure and moral according to their own standards (remember, the colonialists often imposed cultural changes that fit medieval Europe's view of what was good and pure and moral), the people aren't going to change their ways just because some jackass outsiders with a lot of money or guns say so.


OwlBot 2000 posted:

Here's what I mean: strong separation of 'church' and state, abolition of laws that enforce religious practices, no religion taught in schools or religious schools, and.. that's about it. At least in Europe, doing that plus raising standards of living makes fundamentalism decline greatly.

Having a constitutionally-enshrined separation of church and state, a ban on laws which enforce religion on the populace, and removing religion from the public schools sure have done a lot to eliminate fundamentalism in the richest country in the world, haven't they?

Badger of Basra
Jul 25, 2007
Don't tell Maliki!

OwlBot 2000 posted:

That's absolutely true, but I don't know that some form of colonialism can't be part of a solution in theory -- I don't trust America or anyone else to do it in reality. But suppose some invader came into a country, banned all discrimination against LGBT people, but didn't reap any financial reward for it or do anything else really. That would be some kind of colonialism, maybe, but I'd still support it if the end result were good.

Do you currently own or have you ever owned a pith helmet?

Beyond whether or not moralizing colonialism is right, I think a more practical problem is whether it would even work. The Indians themselves have tried to put the values you're talking about into effect (take a look at their constitution some time, it's pretty great) and it hasn't worked. Why would it work better if the Indian people saw it as an outside imposition?

Arakan
May 10, 2008

After some persuasion, Fluttershy finally opens up, and Twilight's more than happy to oblige in doing her best performance as a nice, obedient wolf-puppy.

Main Paineframe posted:

Having a constitutionally-enshrined separation of church and state, a ban on laws which enforce religion on the populace, and removing religion from the public schools sure have done a lot to eliminate fundamentalism in the richest country in the world, haven't they?

You hear about people getting gang raped cause 'religious reasons' a lot in the U.S.?

ronya
Nov 8, 2010


OwlBot 2000 posted:

I imagine the slums will get larger and larger and these problems will get worse as urbanization continues and agriculture shrinks. On a purely theoretical level, how advisable would an intensive industrialization program be if accompanied by sufficient food imports and infrastructure development? I'm picturing Stalinism minus Stalin, and also with food.

India has plenty of room to grow, since it has not consumed the 'easy' steps on the industrialization ladder (namely universal high schooling, housing, reliable electricity+water).

On a purely theoretical level, it is easy to talk about aggressive projects to build new planned cities, or demolish slums and replace them with high-rise public housing. So, glibly, you can say that it would be 'very advisable' to take out massive loans from the West to pursue these programmes. In practice, I think the problems of corruption and political will be binding.

Take political will. Since you are interested in the caste issue, let me give a relevant anecdote, this was republished in (of all places) Reason magazine. It highlights very well the fact that there may be very poor losers from liberalization:

quote:

Maya assigned herself to our house in a small, gated community in West Delhi in 1977. We had no choice in the matter. If we wanted our trash picked, bathrooms scrubbed, and yards cleaned, Maya was it. Indians find dealing with other people’s refuse not just unpleasant, but polluting. Hence only dalits, whose caste impels them to do this work, are willing to do it, something that both stigmatizes them and gives them a stranglehold on the market. And they have transformed this stranglehold into an ironclad cartel that closes the door on all alternatives for their customers.

When Maya got married at the age of 16, her father-in-law paid another dalit $20 for her wedding gift: the “rights” to service 10 houses in our neighborhood, including ours. Maya has no formal deed to these “rights” and no court would ever enforce them. Yet they are more inviolable than holy writ. Maya’s fellow dalits, who own the “rights” to other houses, can’t work in hers, just as she can’t work in theirs.

Doing so, Maya insists, would be tantamount to theft that would invite a well-deserved beating and ostracism by the dalit community. No one would lift a finger to help a “poacher” in distress or attend her family functions like births, weddings, or funerals. She would become a pariah among pariahs.

This arrangement has given Maya a guaranteed monthly income of about $100 that, along with her husband’s job as a “gofer” at a government lab, has helped her raise three children and build a modest house with a private bathroom, a prized feature among India’s poor, in one of New Delhi’s slums. But Maya’s monopoly doesn’t give her just money. It also hands her— and her fellow jamadarnis or sweepers— clout to resist the upper caste power structure, not always for noble reasons.

None of Maya’s 10 employers dare challenge her work. Maya takes more days off for funerals every year than there are members in her extended family. Complaining, however, is not only pointless but perilous. It would result in stinking piles of garbage outside the complainer’s home for days. Every time my mother, a stickler for spotlessness, has gotten into spats with Maya over her sketchy scrubbing habits, she has lost. One harsh word, and Maya simply boycotts our house until my mother goes, head hanging, to cajole her back. Nor is Maya the only jamadarni with an attitude. Nearly all of Delhi is carved up among Maya-style sweeper cartels and it is a rare house whose jamadarni is not a “big problem.”

But Maya’s clout comes at a huge personal price: It shuts the door on inter-caste acceptability. Segregation has loosened considerably among the first three castes. Intermingling and intermarriage, even among the highest brahmin and the relatively lower baniya (business) castes, is now common, especially in cities.

But dalits are allowed to socialize normally with other castes only if they give up trash-related work, although marriage remains taboo regardless. Otherwise, they are regarded as polluted and every interaction with upper caste folks becomes subject to an apartheid-like code.

Some of the homes where Maya works, for example, have separate entrances that allow her to access their bathrooms and collect their trash without having to set foot in the main house. Although the families have formed a genuine bond with her and treat her generously, plying her with lavish gifts on festivals, there are limits. They give her breakfast and lunch everyday, but in separate dishes reserved just for her. Sitting at their table and sharing a meal is out of the question. Not even my mother’s driver who, though poorer than Maya, belongs to a higher caste (higher than my family’s), would visit her home and accept a glass of water.

Maya is resigned to such discrimination, but not her oldest son, 36. He holds a government job and works as a sales representative for an Amway-style company and dreams big. He is embarrassed by his mother and often lies about her work to his customers for fear of being shunned. He claims he makes enough money to support Maya and wants her to quit, but she will have none of it. She fears destitution and poverty more, she says, than she craves social respectability. Her caste might be her shame, but it is also her safety net.

But the choice may not be hers much longer.

Upon retirement, she had planned to either pass her “business” to her children or sell it to another dalit for about $1,000. But about six months ago, local municipal authorities started dispatching vans, Western-style, to pick up trash from neighborhoods—the one service that had protected Maya from obsolescence in an age of sophisticated home-cleaning gadgetry.

Maya and her fellow dalits held demonstrations outside the municipal commissioner’s office to stop the vans. The commissioner finally agreed to a compromise that lets Maya and her pals collect trash from individual homes and deposit it at one central spot from where the vans take it for disposal. But Maya realizes that this is a stopgap measure that won’t last. “I got branded as polluted and became unfit for other jobs, for what?” she wept. “To build a business that has now turned to dust?”

In a liberal society, it would obviously be abhorrent to have a caste of trash collectors. However, if you already have a caste of trash collectors, some minority of the trash collectors may have accumulated so much seniority and so many attendant privileges that, after a generation of work, they now benefit from their low caste status. This is still not a net improvement, but obviously they will lobby vigorously for the preservation of everything which they have worked so hard to gain. You cannot fairly take it away.

Now this problem has multiple layers. If you have a small society - a city-state, say - you could carefully inspect the situation and hammer out some bargain that would preserve Maya's accumulated status, but still allow you to replace manual cleaners with vans and equipment. Maybe you 'buy' the license from her, as she bought it from her predecessors, and then discard the license system. Maybe you could bribe her away by offering something much better than merely a house with a private bathroom, like (say) a flat with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms. But in a country the size of India, this is plainly not possible. If Maya is to attract attention, she has to stage a demonstration. But if you relied on demonstrations to reveal who would be worthy of such benefits, then you will find many self-serving demonstrators, and worse, many corrupt self-serving officials who claim to be meeting the demonstrator's demands but are actually stuffing the 'demonstrations' with friends and cronies, or even even worse, only selectively meet demands from the right caste, race, or religion.

So that's political will. Corruption is a different problem. Even if you decide to do something, you must still have people to go out and make it a reality. What stops the official, or contractor, from stealing all the funds? The historical solution of East and Southeast Asia is to rely on cronies: that is, a select group of people who are overpaid to do key projects, but who will only continue to receive such opportunities if they carry out the project to a minimal standard (usually measured by the yardstick of "am I going to have angry constituents at my doorstep in five years" for social projects, or "are you actually convincing foreign buyers to purchase your stuff" in export industries - i.e., metrics that are both difficult to game and lend themselves to creative cost-saving innovation by the implementer). Since the crony wants to continue to have kickbacks, they will not be completely kleptocratic. If they screw up too much, they're not only out of the club; they may lose their life in the process.

But such overpayments need to be funded from somewhere. The historical solution is to gouge these payments out of the extant small bourgeoisie. This lends itself very well to rapid industrialization, since displacing cottage industries is exactly the point of mass manufacturing and the transition to industrial consumer goods. In East/Southeast Asia, for a variety of idiosyncratic reasons, these small businesses were often politically weak.

India faces two problems here. The first is that it lacks the centralization necessary to maintain such a singular club of cronies. Instead, you have a lot of disparate factions occupying different levels of the federal bureaucracy, with the power to execute or evaluate projects devolved to quite subordinate sub-state municipal bodies. It cannot rely on promoting successful officials in the way that post-liberalization China does, or the micromanagement of the Asian tigers.

And second, unlike the East Asian states, its small bourgeoisie is large and organized enough to oppose a systematic state attack on their existence. There are too many 'shopkeepers', if you will - too many small labour-intensive businesses. Prior to the late 1980s liberalization, Indian industry was therefore predominantly in the sectors that the small bourgeoisie did not compete in, heavy industries like chemicals, steel, shipbuilding, etc. The industrial policy of the five-year plans wrt small businesses was more protection, not less. So the centralist authoritarian strongmanship that dominated economic miracles in East Asia cannot work in India. Even if you had an Indian Stalin, Stalin would not be able to build an acquiescent consensus in favour of such growth.

ronya
Nov 8, 2010


Hayato Ikeda, Minister of International Trade and Industry and eventual Prime Minister of Japan, in 1952:

quote:

"It makes no difference to me if five or ten small businessmen are forced to commit suicide", [because of the drive toward heavy industrialization]...

Randarkman
Jul 18, 2011



OwlBot 2000 posted:

Here's what I mean: strong separation of 'church' and state, abolition of laws that enforce religious practices, no religion taught in schools or religious schools, and.. that's about it. At least in Europe, doing that plus raising standards of living makes fundamentalism decline greatly.

Actually Norway, often seen as one of the most secularized and least religious countries in the world (though I believe we have more Christian evangelicals than the other Scandinavian countries) had a state church until quite recently and has religion (often almost exclusively Christianity) taught in schools from about 2nd or 3rd grade, and many people attend religious private schools (that receive government funding).

ronya
Nov 8, 2010


A last remark:

If there's a 'good' kind of corruption, it's one in favour of more infrastructure rather than less. It is far better to be a rich country with bridges to nowhere, than a poor country with not enough bridges - as the US New Deal demonstrated, it's actually kinda hard to pour concrete badly.

But assembling a political culture that moves in favour of overbuilding in a highly populated country is tricky. The ridiculous grade-separated highways of Shanghai exist because China, as authoritarian and corrupt as it is, cannot summon the political will to demolish enough of Shanghai to arrange the highways more neatly. So they just spent an insane amount pushing the project through anyway, overcoming the problem via technical solutions. India labouriously doing public consultations and parcel-by-parcel land acquisitions is almost certainly more liberally democratic, and it'll get the highway for less, but it'll also spend much more time doing so.

Ardennes
May 12, 2002

It is always about people.


I see someone brought up the license raj and comparable high growth rates post-liberalization. However, recently growth rates have been dropping and the rupee has weakened but there hasn't been any sign this has been caused by a "return of the raj" which opens up the question if the end of the raj unleashed a relatively temporary bubble that wasn't actually sustainable.

Btw, just to be clear the license raj wasn't a Marxist or socialist founded system but rather was cleared by India's internal mechanics and its own forms of auturky.

As far as the solution to India's ills as aggressive modernism, I do think present day China does have plenty of pitfalls that can be avoided and public consultation maybe isn't such a bad thing. In addition, I think liberalism has its limits in India especially if India doesn't have a ready export market to throw its cheap labor at.

Ardennes fucked around with this message at Mar 11, 2014 around 04:37

ronya
Nov 8, 2010


Randarkman posted:

Actually Norway, often seen as one of the most secularized and least religious countries in the world (though I believe we have more Christian evangelicals than the other Scandinavian countries) had a state church until quite recently and has religion (often almost exclusively Christianity) taught in schools from about 2nd or 3rd grade, and many people attend religious private schools (that receive government funding).

Remove family law from religious remit and into the secular authority - with actual personnel who can dismantle self-appointed family law courts, enforce inheritance judgements and divorces, etc. - and the self-sustaining material role of religion quickly disintegrates

I suspect that the rest is immaterial, for reasons you point out: there are many religious countries which seem able to adapt to the recession of the church from political dominance. That's not the same as implementing the very bleeding edge of Western progressive culture, of course, but it is probably sufficient to be quiescent in the face of steady liberalization, rather than being actively reactionary.

Weldon Pemberton
May 19, 2012



OwlBot 2000 posted:

That's absolutely true, but I don't know that some form of colonialism can't be part of a solution in theory -- I don't trust America or anyone else to do it in reality. But suppose some invader came into a country, banned all discrimination against LGBT people, but didn't reap any financial reward for it or do anything else really. That would be some kind of colonialism, maybe, but I'd still support it if the end result were good.

In some ways colonialism was a "solution" to some of the problems you outlined in the OP- the British defined the borders of "India" (except for Pakistan and Bangladesh not being in it), they attempted to modernize and centralize the administrative system with some success, they introduced English as an executive language (it still has a lot of prestige there today), while Orientalist scholars developed an essentialist view of what the "nation of India" was, based on their understandings of ancient texts and the advice of elite natives. All of these things accompanied the side of imperial conquest that is more familiar to us today- the human rights violations, racism, repression of rebellions, economic domination etc. As you said, India is incredibly culturally diverse and it may not have made any sense as a single nation before these events.

Part of the difficulty for India has been in balancing attempts to assert itself as different from and independent of its colonial past with the necessity of adopting "Western" ideologies and strategies to become a global power. The two dominant parties in India take different approaches to this problem. The Congress Party has been in power for most of the post-independence period and traces its legacy to a lot of elite, upper-caste Nationalists who worked in the colonial government. They are often accused of being "Westernized" pawns by the BJP, a Hindu-chauvinist party with neo-conservative ideals and a much narrower idea of what "the nation" should be. Other political groups like the Shiv Sena have roughly similar ideas to them. The problem is that the BJP are better at defining the "ingroup" that constitutes the nation and projecting the idea that they alone represent true Indian culture and concerns. This doesn't really bear out in reality, because a lot of the cherished notions of the BJP don't make any sense as "ancient Indian beliefs", such as their homophobia and glee over the fact that India has nuclear weapons now. But it doesn't really matter, because they are able to present themselves as traditionalist.

There are LGBT and women's rights groups in India, and there are plenty of people who push for secularization and religious tolerance and relaxed notions of caste (caste is derived from a concept in Hindu theology, so notions of abolishing it are pretty complicated). The government doesn't just ignore these issues, although occasionally they rule in a disappointing direction (like with the recent ruling on Section 377). There are actually "affirmative action" type programs to help "backwards castes" and other systems to help disadvantaged groups, though they need to be expanded. The problem is really that these people are outnumbered by zealots and people who aren't really partisan but hold certain prejudices or beliefs that put them in opposition to these measures. Education is also generally poor in India, although some places (like Kerala) have a high literacy rate. My personal belief about this is that concentrating on public education and fostering a notion of the nation as a multicultural country would go a long way to helping progressive ideas become dominant. The diversity of India is a trait that lends itself well to a lot of the ideas we have in the West about multiculturalism and religious tolerance, but there is scope within the history and culture of the area for it as well. It doesn't have to be a "Western" form of government, and there is great danger of more communal rioting and hate crimes if the right is allowed to keep fostering hatred and division. The only alternative to this is to split up the place into more homogenous states, really. A Western power invading would just solidify the notion that tolerance is intrinsically Western, and cause mass unrest for other obvious reasons.

As for the poverty and poor health, it's a somewhat different issue from the above that I don't have an answer to. There is a huge difference between the rich and poor and the rural and urban, which I would guess is due to the rapid economic growth. Libertarian ideals are also becoming more popular, which is worrying. Health issues are partly a consequence of that and poor education/superstitious beliefs. It's somewhat strange that secularization seems to be selectively happening. People are no longer afraid of hijras cursing them, and won't give them any money, but they still want their corpse thrown in the Ganges.

Yiggy
Sep 12, 2004

"Imagination is not enough. You have to have knowledge too, and an experience of the oddity of life."


OwlBot 2000 posted:

It's interesting that the right-wing explanation (not anyone's here) for why a given third-world country isn't doing well is "corruption." Yes, it's there and prevalent, but that seems more like an effect than a cause -- and surely there isn't quite enough of it to explain the massive shortfalls between a country's results and its potential.

I would disagree with it being an effect rather than a cause for much of their problems. I would also challenge the assumption that there isn't quite enough of it to cause the problems we see in India. There was an idealism present in the early days of the Indian government that really died off with Nehru, if not before given the extent to which his efforts were constantly dragged down with the Kashmir issue, border struggles with China, and the intensified regionalism due to his push for pan-Hindi-language state.

That he left such a large power vacuum in his wake, and that it was filled with his daughter who was not only incredibly corrupt and authoritarian, but also largely not qualified for the leadership role she was born into, is responsible for creating an environment which has allowed corruption to flourish to the extent it has, even up to today. One could make the argument that the corruption was a consequence of strong tendency towards dynastic leadership, which in turn is a consequence of a culture where endogamous jatis and the integrity of the family line are so paramount. But, at the end of the day the extent of the corruption is so great that it almost doesn't matter.

As to the extent of it explaining the shortfalls between results and potential, you're underestimating how bad it is I think. The incestuous ties between government and industry created an awful legacy of inequality but also left the bureaucracy, civil service and police force so depleted and anemic that just to survive themselves you see officials wielding that power to squeeze the populace. While I was there Durga puja was coming up soon, and my host was explicit about being careful not to draw attention around police on the streets, as since they weren't getting any sort of Durga Puja Bonus (kind of like a christmas bonus) than they squeeze it out of anyone they harass. And in India its not necessarily always the case where they're greedy and wanting more (though certainly there is some of that) but also that income and support is low enough that alot of that happens merely for survival.

This also leads to a culture where people don't seek out these jobs and positions out of any sort of civil pride or patriotism, but rather just because these jobs give people enough power to take what they need to get by. Dowry culture is still endemic to Indian society, and Indian Civil Servants are starting to auction off their marriage to the highest bidder, which only further emboldens these awful trends. Some states like U.P. make their civil servants take an oath that they won't engage in the practice, but given the joke that is the rule of law in that nation you can imagine how effective that is, especially in an area where Hindutva cultural and politics are the norm.

You also don't see a lot of support for positive change among high level officials. In Kolkata, there was a rash of gangrapings and murders in the outlying villages, to the point where there was street protests in Kolkata and the villages. This was during an election year, so rather than kicking up an uproar by trying to address the problems the Chief Minister of West Bengal said anyone complaining about the rapings were communists and pornographers, with the newspaper publishing reports of party thugs sent to harass some of the protest organizers in the village. One of them was a teacher of one of the girls who had been raped and murdered, and for his involvement he had his job threatened. You also have incidents like with Narendra Modi and the Gujarat riots in '02 and Rajiv Ghandi and the mass Sikh killings back in '84, when communities have their leaders in power, there is a tendency to ignore mass violence and rioting among other communities, which only emboldens the perpetrators because they know there will be no consequences. In my first night in India I was sitting in an airport and the first newspaper article I saw was about a dalit community having to evacuate all of their female relatives to distant family members out of (justified) fears that police forces would continue to not intervene with the riots and home raids after a brahman girl eloped with a dalit boy. Rule of law really is a farce there.

And the lack of rule of law removes any power for the populace to enact change at the ballot box. There was an anti-corruption movement roughly 1-2 years ago, but it was arguably as effective as the Occupy movement here was. In many districts the voting problems are similar to what we saw in early American politics, where gangs will outright steal ballot boxes. Late last summer I remember my tabla teacher asking to reschedule one of our lessons seeing as that day was an election day in his village, and his wife didn't want him leaving the house because of roving gangs. There system is riddled with the worst aspects of machine politics.

I used to be very idealistic and hopeful about India's future, but after spending half a year there and following its news rather than its history, I've become increasingly despondent. What should we do is certainly a question, but I think more importantly we also have to ask what can we do? Laws have been put on the books to try and abolish outmoded cultural practices, but the effect is slow when it is at all perceptible. Marriage laws have been liberalized, caste has been "legally" abolished, there are affirmative action protocols in place to try and breath strength into the dalit community. But like I mentioned earlier, you still see communal riots and violence when brahmans and dalits dare to intermarry. And in truth the ascendancy of democracy has even aggravated some caste issues, as they have essentially turned into voting blocks, giving a new incentive to enforce endogamy among the jatis as they try to consolidate wealth in such an unstable country with such rampant inequality.

Like I said, I don't know what can be done. In my humble opinion though, these things need to be addressed, some of them more aggressively than others.
*The gender population disparity
*The persistent dowry culture
*The panchayat system of village council governance
*The lack of support for police officers and civil servants at the bottom level of bureaucracy
*Land reform
*Public health and birth control
*Childhood marriage, which even though its illegal is still an issue. And even when its not sub-18y.o children, women are encouraged to marry at a very early age.

and honestly the biggest one which impacts all of the others

*Standard of living

Miltank posted:

Typo" post="426803820 posted:

The Caste system was largely obsolete in many parts of India (like the Punjab) by the 19th century, then the British came in and essentially reinstalled it.

Considering the fact that it largely ingrained into the public consciousness by colonialism there is nothing impossible about removing it.

You are going to need to give a source for this.

Seconding this request

Yiggy fucked around with this message at Mar 12, 2014 around 10:19

ronya
Nov 8, 2010


Ardennes posted:

I see someone brought up the license raj and comparable high growth rates post-liberalization. However, recently growth rates have been dropping and the rupee has weakened but there hasn't been any sign this has been caused by a "return of the raj" which opens up the question if the end of the raj unleashed a relatively temporary bubble that wasn't actually sustainable.

Btw, just to be clear the license raj wasn't a Marxist or socialist founded system but rather was cleared by India's internal mechanics and its own forms of Auturky.

It was tied to the Fabian socialism of Nehru, but yes, it's a bit vague to label it therefore 'socialist'. Singapore was also Fabian socialist. These abstractions can all be implemented differently. Licensing would not have been a problem if the licenses were actually readily granted.

In any case, I think many countries would be thankful to have 8% growth for two decades, rather than merely 2-3%. If growth never reaches 8% again, that's still a large improvement. Presently it's at 5%?

Personally I regard the reasons for premature de-industrialization in India as a question with obvious candidates - the Mumbais of India have already reached a low-end first world quality of life, but India is not maintaining urbanization at the same pace; it's run out of all the readily-upgradable areas of urban India accumulated during the license-raj period. If it wants to maintain high growth, the states need to divert infrastructure investment to their more rural reaches. Granting land titles is a good start but it's incredibly slow. Trying to reform pockets of slums is difficult when any incremental improvement just leads to yet more people moving in from the countryside; what India needs is more cities, not merely more neighbourhoods. But this is not my area of focus so it's very much a casual analysis.

Wanamingo
Feb 22, 2008

I'm sorry Doctor Kisses, I'm so so sorry

I do fully admit that I'm coming from one of the GBS India surprise sex threads, but I really feel that this should be posted when discussing the current state of the country. Just in case anybody here hasn't seen it yet, it's a bunch of very pictures covering the extreme poverty that plagues the place. It shows photos of dead and decaying bodies as well as people with disfiguring diseases, so don't click if you're feeling squeamish. It may not be the most unbiased source, but it's still worth looking through just to get an idea of what parts of the place are like.

http://www.chinasmack.com/2010/pict...-reactions.html

Ardennes
May 12, 2002

It is always about people.


ronya posted:

It was tied to the Fabian socialism of Nehru, but yes, it's a bit vague to label it therefore 'socialist'. Singapore was also Fabian socialist. These abstractions can all be implemented differently. Licensing would not have been a problem if the licenses were actually readily granted.

I would say that Nehru and post-Nehru policy is pretty different than Fabianism and probably should qualify as its own thing especially since the "end goal" of the Indian state wasn't in any way Marxist.

quote:

In any case, I think many countries would be thankful to have 8% growth for two decades, rather than merely 2-3%. If growth never reaches 8% again, that's still a large improvement. Presently it's at 5%?

Thats the thing, growth of even 5% may not be sustainable and that of liberalism that is widely lauded also leads to booms and busts without a steady market for export growth. Ultimately, the different between Asian economies of that period and India was also largely political, India was a non-aligned state (unlike Taiwan, Korea, Japan) and didn't have open trade access to the West, especially the United States. This obviously changed, but it could be argued it came too late for India that India is now already competing with so many other nations for exports to the first world there isn't much room for growth and if anything growth likely will decline or stagnant. The lower of value of the Rupee makes their exports cheaper but also causes a lot of other issues that may be dangerous for them in the long run.

quote:

Personally I regard the reasons for premature de-industrialization in India as a question with obvious candidates - the Mumbais of India have already reached a low-end first world quality of life, but India is not maintaining urbanization at the same pace; it's run out of all the readily-upgradable areas of urban India accumulated during the license-raj period. If it wants to maintain high growth, the states need to divert infrastructure investment to their more rural reaches. Granting land titles is a good start but it's incredibly slow. Trying to reform pockets of slums is difficult when any incremental improvement just leads to yet more people moving in from the countryside; what India needs is more cities, not merely more neighbourhoods. But this is not my area of focus so it's very much a casual analysis.

I would say parts of Mumbai maybe are first world or near to it, but lets not be ridiculous here, there is also ridiculous amounts of poverty and have nots in Mumbai and other Indian cities. Mass urbanization of that sort in India will probably require a turn to authoritarianism and massive expense, and has the real possibility of going sour. That said, it is also going to also require a fundamental realignment of wages and expense in India, if India doesn't have an export market there isn't going to a large middle class you could put into those cities unless you redistribute wealth in some manner.

quote:

I do fully admit that I'm coming from one of the GBS India surprise sex threads, but I really feel that this should be posted when discussing the current state of the country. Just in case anybody here hasn't seen it yet, it's a bunch of very pictures covering the extreme poverty that plagues the place. It shows photos of dead and decaying bodies as well as people with disfiguring diseases, so don't click if you're feeling squeamish. It may not be the most unbiased source, but it's still worth looking through just to get an idea of what parts of the place are like.

http://www.chinasmack.com/2010/pict...-reactions.html

Granted, those GBS threads are pretty ridiculous and I think real borderline in my honest opinion.

Ardennes fucked around with this message at Mar 11, 2014 around 05:15

OwlBot 2000
Jun 1, 2009


Badger of Basra posted:

Do you currently own or have you ever owned a pith helmet?

I've no use for your pithy remarks.

Main Paineframe posted:

The only way things can disappear from a culture is if the people themselves decide to abandon those things. An outsider coming in by force and trying to eliminate parts of the native culture in order to fit the invader's view of how society should be doesn't work. Even if the invader's intentions are genuinely good and pure and moral according to their own standards (remember, the colonialists often imposed cultural changes that fit medieval Europe's view of what was good and pure and moral), the people aren't going to change their ways just because some jackass outsiders with a lot of money or guns say so.

I don't think the last point is true at all. Iranians are no longer mostly Zoroastrian, Germanic and Slavic peoples don't worship Odin and Perun, and Latin Americans are Catholic even though each of these groups preserves some echoes of the former culture.

Wanamingo
Feb 22, 2008

I'm sorry Doctor Kisses, I'm so so sorry

Ardennes posted:

Granted, those GBS threads are pretty ridiculous and I think real borderline in my honest opinion.

They are, don't get me wrong. There's a reason I owned up to reading those things.

ronya
Nov 8, 2010


I think the geopolitical effect on trade of being NAM during the Cold War are overstated - Tito's Yugoslavia, Suharto's Indonesia, Mahathir's Malaysia were all part of NAM. Mahathir spent a decade attacking the US, Israel, and Zionism whilst cultivating both the US and Israel as major trade partners (albeit with the latter proxied through Thai ports).

India fundamentally pursued import substitution instead of exports. This was domestic policy, not external constraint.

However, you're right that it now has to compete with the horde that is the Chinese rural population for first-world markets.

OwlBot 2000
Jun 1, 2009


I made a joke or two in GBS but decided I wanted to actually learn what is being done or should be done because India is really that bad. Is there any chance of India becoming a superpower absent some miracle / competent dictator or is it too fragmented and too late to the race?

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Tatum Girlparts
Sep 8, 2011

More like Tantrum Girlparts!
I can't be smug if I never stop whining.



OwlBot 2000 posted:

I made a joke or two in GBS but decided I wanted to actually learn what is being done or should be done because India is really that bad.

Nothing really can be done in such an ingrained issue filled region. I mean even colonizing or whatever would need to involve bringing back the "well in my culture we hang people who do [insane backwards thing like widow burning or gang surprise sex as punishment] so let's see what culture wins" type of argument and that's not really effective or pleasant.

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