August 15, 2014

"The time has come to think seriously about whether we have a national character or not."

"Today, unfortunately, the atmosphere is that if you go to anybody for work, that person will immediately ask, ‘What is in this for me?’ When he learns that there is nothing for him, he will say, ‘Why should I?’ We have to break out of this cycle of ‘what is in this for me’ and ‘why should I.’ We need to shine our national character."

Consider who might be saying this before clicking here.

23 comments:

rhhardin said...

If both sides don't come out ahead, there's no transaction.

The contrapositive is the point. If there's a transaction, both sides come out ahead.

Each time that happens, the national wealth increases by the sum.

That's where wealth comes from.

That's where poverty comes from, in the former case being proposed.

MnMark said...

From what little I know about India, I don't imagine it has much of a real national character because it is made up of quite a few very different subpopulations. The more subpopulations, the less they all have in common, and thus the less national character.

Same with the USA. The more internationalized it becomes through mass Third World immigration, the less it is a nation and the more it becomes simply a international space within which the international conflicts of the world will play out on local scales.

If you want a world full of real diverse peoples, with real national characters, we need to split the world into a whole bunch of smaller countries with much more unified and self-identified peoples. The struggles are almost always within one country between competing peoples. Give each people on earth their own nation and then the hell with immigration...you live with your people and you work to change your people's culture if you don't like it. Then we'd have a world full of authentic, unique countries with people who identify with one another and thus have high social trust and all the good things that come with that.

The progressives with their transnational collectivist dreams want to solve the world's problems by getting rid of uniqueness, by making everyone ultimately one mixed race and one universal inoffensive culture so there is no conflict. That can never happen in reality. Much better to focus on giving each ethnic/cultural/identity group, each 'people', on earth their own country and then have international organizations like the UN with a mission to prevent invasions between countries. It will never be perfect but it makes for a much more peaceful and interesting world than trying to force everyone under one world government and eradicate all "inequality", i.e. uniqueness.

The Godfather said...

I don't understand what this guy is talking about in the quoted passage. Is he saying you're asking for a job or offering one? In either case, why is he surprised that, if there's nothing in it for me, I say no? As for his program, it is commendable to try to reduce corruption, but "giving" people a bank account doesn't seem like an effective way to do it.

Lucien said...

Assuming for argument's sake that nationalism as an organizing principle has been an alloyed but on balance good thing, what reasons have we to believe that it will always be a mostly good thing, or marginally better than the practical alternatives?

kcom said...

I guessed Hillarity Clinton.

Ralph Hyatt said...

I know one Indian immigrant that thinks Modi is a religious fanatic. I don't know enough about him to form an opinion on that, but judging by that statement he is definitely an economic illiterate.

David said...

I had no clue before I clicked through.

The man has a big task before him. Raghuram Rajan, who is his head of their equivalent of the Fed, is going to be a key player. He is a very impressive fellow, presently on leave from University of Chicago where he is a professor in the business school.

Ralph Hyatt said...

As for the guaranteed bank accounts, currently poor Indians are provided with actual food. Poor people with bank accounts could be given money to buy food, thus getting the government out of the food distribution business.

Michael K said...

"A former outreach worker for a right-wing Hindu organization, he used his Independence Day speech to entreat Indians to act in the interest of the nation, saying he had been struck by the degree of infighting and self-interest he had encountered within the federal government."

From what I read, this guy has not read Adam Smith and should.

PatHMV said...

Altruism is not a sound basis around which to organize an economic system.

That's not to say that altruism has no place in human affairs, of course, but one cannot build a system around the hopes that almost everybody will act altruistically almost all the time.

Part of the problem is that, because human nature is inherently fallible and sinful, there will ALWAYS be people trying to take advantage of others. Suppose 95% of the population is willing to be extremely altruistic, but 5% (1 in 20) are consistent cheats who love to prey on the altruism of others. If each cheat takes advantage of, say, 15 other people, then that means that only about 20% will avoid being taken advantage of. In reality, cheaters are pretty ambitious, and will probably, on average, take advantage of 19 other people (and probably many more). So that every single altruistic person will be taken advantage of by a cheat, and probably far more than that. Who in their right mind would remain altruistic at that point?

The United States has succeeded, in large part, because on the whole we channel the selfish urges of our people, in both the political and economic realms, into activities and modes of behavior that are likely to strengthen everybody, over the long run.

pm317 said...

Modi is well respected and has done wonders for the state of which he was the chief minister (I think Gujarath). He got tainted by the Hindu-Muslim clash that happened there but has since redeemed himself by bringing massive economic development to that state. He seems very smart. He is not a religious fanatic and he is not an economic illiterate. What he is talking about in that snippet about jobs is to be entrepreneurial but also be philanthropic and helpful. India needs both capitalism and less cut-throatism. Bank accounts idea is a good one and may eliminate a lot of corruption and actually help the people who need the assistance.

The Crack Emcee said...

We have a national character, exemplified by the image of a white guy with a whip.

There's many who have no desire to change it,...

A to the C said...

Crack, if you mean that we can be generally thought of as a nation of ass kicking, treasure hunting, babe kissing, nazi killing, ruggedly handsome archeologists whose parents for some strange reason named us after a flat mid-Western state, then count me in for not changing our national character!

Ralph Hyatt said...

"Bank accounts idea is a good one and may eliminate a lot of corruption and actually help the people who need the assistance."

That had occurred to me. Its pretty common all over the world for officials in charge of distributing food aid to divert it to the black market.

And I like I said, I don't know enough about him to judge whether or not he is a religious fanatic. The guy that told me that is pretty left of center so I suspect that he would tag any display of religiosity as fanatic.

Drago said...

The Crack Emcee said...
We have a national character, exemplified by the image of a white guy with a whip.

Beats the hell out of national character exemplified by the image of a black guy eating his Minister of Health or an image of a thousands of blacks wielding machetes and chopping down a million Rwandans in just 100 days.

Just 100 days.

Now those blacks were motivated!

Somebody throw crack a human leg, it will calm him down a bit.

pm317 said...

@Ralph Hyatt

In India, there is the Congress party and then there is the BJP (Modi's party) and hundred other smaller ones. Congress like how the Democratic party here brands conservatives, tries to brand the BJP as religious zealots. I don't think they are. Religion is not what is on everybody's mind there. Economic development and eradicating poverty are, and people are eternally looking for a competent person to make it happen. Modi's claim to fame is what he has done in his state of Gujarath which appears to be quite impressive. We will see.

chillblaine said...

"We have a national character, exemplified by the image of a white guy with a whip."

Indiana Jones?

rhhardin said...

The Chinese hired guys to whip them.

Ten guys have a company towing barges up the river. They each grab a rope and walk the tow path, hauling the barge.

They hire a whipper that they pay out of their own pockets, to whip anybody not pulling his share.

The idea is that you're not paying him to whip you, just any slackers.

He will whip you, though, if you don't pull your share.

Anonymous said...

Blogger pm317 said...
@Ralph Hyatt

In India, there is the Congress party and then there is the BJP (Modi's party) and hundred other smaller ones. Congress like how the Democratic party here brands conservatives, tries to brand the BJP as religious zealots. I don't think they are. Religion is not what is on everybody's mind there. Economic development and eradicating poverty are, and people are eternally looking for a competent person to make it happen. Modi's claim to fame is what he has done in his state of Gujarath which appears to be quite impressive. We will see.

8/15/14, 3:45 PM
------------------------------

I agree. The cold corrupt hand of Congress has been on India too long. His portrayals in the press have been like the Tea Party in this country i.e., grossly distorted.

Ralph Hyatt said...

@pm317 and LarsPorsena

I appreciate the info. Thanks.

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Moneyrunner said...

I am always amused when otherwise intelligent people assume that what works in one culture is transferable to another.