this tyranny is okay

Any criticism of the market as God these past two decades led to being branded a heretic. The market had all the answers. There was no miracle it could not perform. Some, like Swaminathan Aiyer, argued that markets alone could save the environment. Others, like Time magazine, asserted that hunger was but a function of anti-market systems. Want jobs? Leave it to the market. The market wasn’t just good for democracy. It was Democracy. This was the baloney of the last 15-20 years. There were other possible positions. Such as that you might need the market. As a tool, not as a tyranny. As just one instrument amongst many, not as an all encompassing ideology. But that would have been blasphemy. [italics mine]
p.sainath in the essay 'The globalisation of inequality'.

the indian left liberal, or whatever anyone whose politics hovers around the same concerns and interests as sainath voices would like to call himself, is quite a character. he would look away when the market is allowed free play in schools and health, but would object strongly if airlines or hotels owned by the government are privatized. it's okay to throw small change at farmers to get them to ensure your food security, but it's irrelevant how big a role nonexistent public healtcare (or expensive private healthcare) plays in driving farmers to suicide. in a country where the unorganized sector forms 93% of the workforce (almost half of those workers, i think, have to look for a new job, if you could dignify the worst kind of manual labour with that title, every day or week or month or couple of months) the best kind of social security he can offer is a job scheme that involves worse than the worst kind of manual labour (because it offers no scope for learning about new tools or technologies, no training or retraining and not even minimum wages most times) and reaches not more than 2 to 5 percent of that 93%,..the point i am driving at now (as i did many times earlier), is that that the indian liberal is not a mere hypocrite. he is much more lethal.

one reads swaminathan aiyar and understands what kind of people he's concerned about. swaminathan aiyar recommends a bigger role for private players in schools, swaminathan aiyar thinks the family is the best social security an indian worker needs, swaminathan doesn't seem to care about public healthcare because i've never seen a column by him on the subject.

swaminathan aiyar likes private schools because the india he lives in doesn't need government schools (except of the kendriya vidyalaya kind), swaminathan aiyar doesn't care about social security because his kind of indians mostly work in the organized sector where they have job security, pensions and benefits and insurance coverage (insurance penetration is less than 5% in india- most of it is bought by aiyar's india). and they also have urban and rural property-for them private healthcare can never cost the earth because they can always hike its price.

what does sainath think of schools, social security and public health? except in a very general sort of way i don't think he has ever wandered deep into those mostly rural hells- like swaminathan aiyar, he doesn't seem to care. i suppose the tyranny of the market can be an effective tool in those areas?

kapil sibal seems to have stirred no one except a few trade unions.


Anoop Saha said...

Wow. I am shocked by your choice of words? How come the left liberal, and I consider myself as one of those, albeit a little more radical, of India lethal? Why is it a he? There are a large number of women, including some very prominent ones, who form this group. The non-mainstream left radicals including the maoists, are led largely by women leaders.

In fact, Sainath has written extensively about private healthcare in India. He has repeatedly said rightly that India has one of the largest (and worst) privatized healthcare around the world.

In the left liberal narrative, the role of the state is to defend and ensure the rights of all its citizens. And food, water, education, health, employment are as much basic rights as speech, movement and religion. The fundamental lacuna of the Indian constitution, written by a largely feudal committee is non-recognition of these as basic rights. The only sane portions of the constitution are because of Dr. Ambedkar, who tried his best to make India an egalitarian society.

kuffir said...



that's the sainath archive at india together. only two (of the several dozen articles) deal with health. please let me know if you can find any on schools or even education in general.

Anonymous said...

P Sainath is also not writing about dowry system. He also did not write against Hindutva (or did he ;)). Anyway this kind of speculative arguments will not hold water.

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