Yes, the IT industry has to do more for India. But not what Prof Sen says it should
Amartya Sen made a JFK-esque speech asking the IT industry what it had done for India. His point was not that the IT industry isn’t doing anything for the economy at large—he concedes that it is—but that it should do ‘much more’. Indeed, Sen argues, given that it has benefited from the country’s contributions to its development, the industry should have a ‘sense of obligation’ to do much more.
Sen has a point. But it’s not the one he intended to make. The IT industry’s primary obligation is to its shareholders and customers. It will be doing its bit for the country as long as it does this with efficiency and excellence. This ‘sense of obligation’ may not even apply to state-owned enterprises and public sector undertakings who can best serve the country by sticking to their charter than by attempting to champion various good causes. Of course, corporations, like citizens may want to do good for the society they are a part of. But they have no moral or legal obligation to do so. In a country where a communal socialist government is not only unwilling to do the needful to unshackle restrictive labour laws that hurt both employers and employees but is also attempting to impose community-based quotas on private companies, the use of the word obligation must be treated with extraordinary care.
What is true is that Indian industry in general has chronically under-invested in improving the quality of governance. Industry associations like FICCI, CII, ASSOCHAM and NASSCOM have seen themselves solely as a voice of their members. In India’s political economy they are an ‘interested party’ on various issues. Furthermore, their ability to shape government policy has been limited to the extent their most influential individual members have been able to create and exploit specific loopholes that only benefit a small number of companies. Thanks in part to the license-permit raj and its legacy, large corporate houses have found it more worthwhile to invest in ‘fixers’ who could work on the concerned ministry rather than in broader initiatives that benefit the industry as a whole. Contrary to what Sen argues, NASSCOM has perhaps been more inclined to pursue a progressive industry-wide agenda than its ‘old economy’ counterparts. Furthermore, there are private commercial ventures, like those that Rajesh Jain, Atanu Dey and Drishtee are working on, for instance, that seek to both address a social need and turn a profit at the same time.
But where are the think-tanks, the public policy schools, the social science research endowments and sponsored professorships? To its credit, corporate India has foundations working on setting up village schools or improving rural infrastructure. While these are commendable, they are no substitutes for the industry applying sustained pressure on government to do its job well. Running village schools and improving rural infrastructure, after all, is the government’s job. The Acorn has argued in the past that the IT industry has to find its political feet. Not because it has an obligation. But because it is necessary for its own growth and development. The externalities from doing so can far more profoundly benefit the nation than from any ‘obligations’.
40 thoughts on “Amartya right Amartya wrong”
Nitin, thank you for the plug.
I would like to argue that since the government has been running village schools and rural infrastructure, and has not had much success, perhaps a different approach needs to be explored for both. I have been thinking that it may be that the government should get out of the business of “running” the educational institutions. Agreed that public funds have to be allocated for universal primary education and for research into vital areas. But funding and delivery are entirely different activities. The government has to fund some things that will not be funded by the private sector — especially if they are what economists call public goods. But the private sector is much more efficient in delivering all services — whether they be public goods or private goods.
What I am basically saying is that we need to unbundle the funding from the provisioning.
>> Yes, the IT industry has to do more for India … >>
The IT industry does not have to do more for anyone except its shareholders. However, this must happen if and only if the specified taxes have been paid. The IT industry (as well as all industry and individuals) are not beholden to India, over and above paying the appropriate taxes on profits. Has this happened ?
THe Indian IT industry is a splendid contemporary example of how Indian private players will behave when they acquire a certain scale. This is why I am wary of rampant privatization of public goods (eg, infrastructure, schools, etc) in the Indian context.
They will quickly organize themselves into a position where it will be almost impossible for competition to emerge. Do you want to start an Infosys today ? You have to be prepared to run a bus transport service for starters. The MNCs are finding out how tough this is. They will form strong lobbies (such as NASSCOM) who will go on to extract maximum tax concessions from a hapless government. About the issue of quotas, I am willing to bet that the IT lobbies will be prepared to strike a deal with the government ( SC/ST quotas in exchange for tax holiday extensions). Is this scenario unimaginable ? Recently, NRN literally eulogized Manmohan Singh on CNN-IBN.
The issue of the tax holiday is not just a side-show – it is the central issue. You cannot have multibillion dollar profit making cash cows out of the tax nets for ever. The tax holidays must end now , not in 2009 – not in 2014 or 2019 (via the SEZ or STPI extension route).
I apologize if I sounded too harsh.
>> different approach needs to be explored for both >>
Completely agree. You have some excellent intiatives in your post.
Premise 1 : The government of India is an inefficient machine. No program is outside political interference, which is at worst corruption and at best incompetence.
Premise 2 : It is hopeless to try to fix 1. Therefore for atleast crucial areas like primary education – lets get private players involved.
If you separate the funding from the delivery, then we come back to the premise 1. Will the funding reach non-political forces ? I can easily imagine powerful politicians (the same ones who run 80% of private colleges in the south) cornering all the funding. They are surely not going to standby and see thousands of crores slowly walk past them.
I guess, I am just afraid that the advantages offered by private involvement will evaporate. The scheme will quickly degenerate into a transfer of primary education from the government to the politicians.
I am sure you have grappled with these issues, what are your thoughts ?
Those interested might want to check the Economist’s 2005 Jan Survey of Corporate Social Responsibility.
Their thesis can be summed up from the opening essay of that survey – “private enterprise serves the public good only if certain stringent conditions are met. As a result, getting the most out of capitalism requires public intervention of various kinds, and a lot of it: taxes, public spending, regulation in many different areas of business activity. It also requires corporate executives to be accountableâ€”but to the right people and in the right way. CSR cannot be a substitute for wise policies in these areas. In several little-noticed respects, it is already a hindrance to them. If left unchallenged, it could well become more so. To improve capitalism, you first need to understand it. The thinking behind CSR does not meet that test”.
realitycheck: Yes, I have pondered the question in the educational sphere and instead of using the Acorn as my soapbox, I will use my blog. This will happen in the next few days.
Highly recommended reading on CSR and its meaning
Nitin – you are doing disservice to the country by writing on a blog that reaches a small audience. You should consider writing for the vernacular and national newspapers.
Yes. Even Adam Smith recognised this. Nothing in my argument suggested that the government has no role in the governing the industry. Quite the contrary, that it must be compelled to play that role well. You are essentially talking about enhancing competition by reducing barriers to entry. Yes, that’s very much what a government ought to do.
Arguable, because locational elasticities may be high for certain types of firms, especially at the lower end. But let’s accept this for the sake of argument. Merely paying the same tax as some other type of firm will neither lead to better governance nor help the industry to remain globally competitive.
Excellent analysis though you are being generous to Dr.Sen.His exemplifies the communal socialist mindset.
BTW-I had written a typically incoherent note on this sppech titled “Analysing Amartya Sen’s Churchillian Exhortation” sometime back but after i read your post realised that it was not Churchill but JFK who gave this piece of inspiring quote “Dont ask what the country…….”.(:.
Thanks for that link to Reason magazine. Quite relevant to the first part of my post:
I like Uncle Milton’s position, but this post is more consistent with John Mackey’s line.
But my post is not about CSR. Rather it’s about Corporate Political Resposibility…nice phrase eh?
What has Amartya Sen done for India?
While I agree with you Nitin, unfortunately the world is moving the other way primarily because the proponents are loud and have emotional appeal. The yearly love fest in Davos is classic case where anyone who says corporations should worry first about profits and have no societal obligations will be hounded into submission. Vast majority of CEOs of major companies have bought into it at least on the face of it. They may well believe in it until they lose focus causing trouble for their companies and stake holders or it’s a good PR campaign without actually doing anything about it – BP’s John Brown who quit recently comes to mind. Anyone who resists is tarnished as evil – GE’s Jack Welch comes to mind. That’s one reason they use legal maneuvers, by pocketing politicians, to side step the social obligation mine fields while paying lip service to it.
Link: ‘For each job created in the IT-ITES industry, four more are created in the rest of the economy,’ says the study commissioned by the National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom). So much for not contributing to the overall development.
Another report on IT sector says, every rupee invested on IT sector gives 100 % returns to the economy. IMO IT Industry has contributed more to the Economy compared to what the govt has done for it.
I agree with realitycheck. But Nitin, the point isn’t whether paying (or not paying) taxes makes firms/industry more competitive or have good governance. If the IT sector did pay taxes, there’s not much that people can crow about it not contributing to India. “Hey, we pay the taxes. If the government can’t manage its revenues and funnel them to developmental activities, then that’s a different issue.”
Well yes. But let’s remember that tax incidence is a very complex matter. If a tax-free industry results in creating hundreds of jobs (and shareholders) in the highest income tax bracket, it is still ‘paying’ taxes, but indirectly. So ‘taxing’ the company itself becomes an issue of form, rather than substance.
Jagadish, Reality Check,
Coincidentally, Tech Central Station had a related column today.
A company like Infosys has historically paid a tax of only 11% and even its CEO feels that it ouught to pay the regular tax. Imaging the amount released (several billion dollars) for ‘public benefit’ if these corporates pay their dutiful amount.
Nitin, Sen’s list of ‘what India has done for IT’ is not sound. Probably thats the difference between a Nobel brain and a birdbrain!
“Back in our two-company example, one earns zero profits but has well-paid workers, rich shareholders and wealthy customers. The other earns huge profits but has low-wage workers, poor customers and middle-income shareholders”. IT companies have huge profits, well-paid workers, rich shareholders and wealthy customers, low or no taxes. Old economy metal basher has low profits, low-wage workers, not-so-wealthy shareholders and pays tax at the highest rate.
>>I would like to argue that since the government has been running village schools and >>rural infrastructure, and has not had much success, perhaps a different approach needs >>to be explored for both. I have been thinking that it may be that the government should >>get out of the business of â€œrunningâ€ the educational institutions. Agreed that public >>funds have to be allocated for universal primary education and for research into vital >>areas. But funding and delivery are entirely different activities.
Kerala has “aided” schools in which the government provides the funding (salary, resources etc) and a private management runs the school. This has been around probably before independence. Good in theory, bad in practice, at least in kerala. All it has facilitated is a strangle hold for missionary schools and a money grubbing excercise for the private management predominantly the church. Teacher appointment is a big business in kerala – prospective teachers are expected to pay lakhs as a donation/appointment fee and they get paid by the government. It has also created a church controlled education mafia that resists any regulation of a highly lucrative business.
Privatization is not a panacea, (primary + secondary) education is an area that needs public control and is one of the areas that the government needs to control, others being infrastructure development and law/order.
>> Merely paying the same tax as some other type of firm will neither lead to better governance nor help the industry to remain globally competitive. >>
Not to belabour the point, but in that case the IT industry has to put forth data that establish the correlation between being globally competitive and the tax holiday (both corp + indirect like customs+excise). You can have employees pay income tax *and* companies paying corporate tax. It is not an either or case. All the economic multipliers will still happen with tax holidays being withdrawn. Unless, of course they can prove that their competitiveness depends on this tax holiday.
It might have been true in the early 90’s when telecom costs 2Lakhs per month for a single 64kb leased line, and the entire industry was in its infancy. Not any more.
The IT industry must also come clean with how they are investing the “tax holiday money”. If it goes into R&D and building strategic strengths, it is kosher. If it goes into acquiring hundreds of acres of land or to just accumulate cash reserves, it is quite another story. So , which one is it ? Any guesses.
I would welcome tax holidays as a tool to nurture industry in its infancy or to attract investments into backward areas. A LCD panel manufacturer or a motherboard unit, bring em on. India imports every single LCD you see here.
Sorry for encroaching your blog comment space, I will put up a post on this topic soon.
Corporations may not have any legal obligation, but they certainly have a moral obligation to do well unto society. Everyone (and since corporations in our time have begun to assume personal rights) is morally obliged to do a little more than simply pay back their dues to society. That oft repeated Milton Friedman quote about corporations being morally (or otherwise) being obliged to do well unto their shareholders, is like much else the man said and wrote since the late 1950s, horse manure. The principle that corporations owe nothing more than taxes to the state and returns to shareholders is a mere artefact of law, and mistakenly assumed to be morally/ethically founded. But that still doesn’t make Amartya Sen’s pathetic keynote a speech to remember. You wonder why NASSCOM invited this man. His economic prescriptions have for the most part been worthless; he has not read (leave alone anticipated) even a single turn of the Indian economy. And he has the cheek to claim that he wrote a book on the ‘Argumentative Indian”? That was a lazy compilation of his 10-year old lectures riddled wth howlers (and panned by notables such as Ram Guha, and yours truly) and trying to conjure out of thin air an Indian intellectual history cast exactly in the simplistic mould that Sen thinks the Western History follows of Original secular/humanist Greeks-> Dark Ages-> Reformation/Rennaisance-> Enlightenment -> Modernism. Having nothing to talk about Sen sounds like a cheap social climber dropping names and venues where he has delivered the same bunk.
No corporations do not have any moral obligations. They are only required to follow law.
Agree with realitycheck and commend akhondofswat for his example.
There’s got to be something wrong with the picture of IT Co.s sitting on mountains of cash reserves screaming for tax breaks -especially if you are twisting the metal basher for all he’s got. To turn Nitin’s point around, they are not directly helping “employ thousands of people”, that can be viewed as a side-effect of their primary objective -to rake in profits for the shareholders. Infosys I think has campuses in China and other places trying to reduce its operational costs below Indian levels.
sanb writes above: “Privatization is not a panacea, (primary + secondary) education is an area that needs public control and is one of the areas that the government needs to control, others being infrastructure development and law/order.”
Why do you maintain that education needs public control? Do you have an argument or is it just a prejudice that was forced into your head living in a socialistic economy and you never took the trouble to actually examine that proposition? What is it about education that it requires public control?
Ask yourself why. Please. And if you cannot answer the question, then perhaps you should ask yourself why is it that lots of educational institutions exist around the world which are not controlled by the Indian government (and indeed any government) and yet they deliver what is required. And then ask yourself why after decades of control by the Indian government, hundreds of millions of people don’t get even the basics of a rudimentary education.
If you ever pause to ask these questions, perhaps you may see the answer yourself. Noone can tell you the answers. You have to arrive at them yourself.
That’s not turning my point around. That’s my point.
I see many commenters debating on whether IT companies should pay taxes. Perhaps they should. But don’t forget locational elasticities (in other words, their ability to move to lower cost locations) may be high for some business segments, and also that taxes on corporations are ultimately taxes on people. But the debate over taxes is beside the point of this post. Even if they do pay taxes as in other industries, that still does not excuse their chronic underinvestment in improving governance.
You may want to see the responses to these posts by Andrew Leonard, over at Salon.com; and by Krish, at Krishworld Politics
>> Why do you maintain that education needs public control? Do you have an
>> argument or is it just a prejudice that was forced into your head living
>> in a socialistic economy and you never took the trouble to actually
>> examine that proposition? What is it about education that it requires
>> public control?
Let us make an attempt to play civil, silly and rude comments aren’t necessary to discuss this topic.
Public control of primary and secondary education is a prejudice that was forced into my head after observing and to a certain extent suffering through a bunch of aided and private schools. Private enterprise anywhere has a very specific agenda, for some private schools it just might be to generate profit, and in some other cases it is to push certain relegious beliefs and generate a profit as well. In either case, the overall quality of education that a child receives suffers. How much do you think a teacher in a typical private school (convent/church school) gets paid? In Bangalore the going rate is 1 or 2K Rs p/m. Do you really think that you will receive quality teachers at that level? The same story can be repeated for any other type of resource. Certain investments in a society will take a long time to deliver a return – education is definitely one of them, and this is where the public (or government) really needs to invest. Especially since barrier of entry for a private participant is very high (regulatory and other wise) so competition is not going to drive up quality except at the very high end of the cost scale. Accessibility of educuation is another important reason why primary and secondary education has to be publicly funded. Yet another reason is to provide help to children with learning disabilities. Private schools typically tend to throw out childer who doesn’t necessarily perform very well in their tests – one can’t blame them, after all they don’t exist for public good.
Good private education is typically extremely costly, bad and mediocre private education typically offered by christian churches in India combine the worst – bad quality with a very solid religious agenda.
Now let us look at University of Phoenix and Harvard/Stanford University. One has an immediate profit motive (UoP) other has a well endowed trust and a really long term view and there is a difference in the quality of education that they provide.
You don’t have to go too far to find educational institutions that are/were essentially private that have provided excellent education – example in India would be IISc (Tata Insititute) and TIFR. Both have these had the same quality – well endowed trust and no immediate profit motives or agenda other than education just for the sake of public good.
In pretty much of the developed world publicly funded education is a primary aspect of the society for all of the reasons that i have described above. In the US, for profit charter schools have not really done that well either, for all the same reasons as above. Even in India compare the quality of education in kendriya vidyalaya with private schools or compare well run government schools with private schools (another very specific example is a Govt Girls High School in Trivandrum called Cotton Hills they consistenly outperform most of private schools in the state in the most common measure Secondary school pass rates).
Now let us go to the last point you made – primary and secondary education in India has been grossly underfunded especially after independence. There are a variety of reasons for that – bureaucratic control, pre-dominance of education mafia etc. End result is the spectre of parents queuing up to pay through the nose for fairly bad education. So don’t confuse bad implementation with the need for public education, and privatization and profit motive does not guarantee good decisions, efficiencies or good execution either. If it did you wouldn’t have hundreds of large corporations failing due to very bad operational decisions.
So there are several good reasons to have a good public education system. It has nothing to do with socialism, capitalism, marxism or any other ism for that matter, and this isn’t Zen or advaita philosophy to ask questions and arrive at answers myself. I don’t care too much for your patronizing/condescending tone either. If you want to have a rational and civil discussion on this topic either on these pages or elsewhere we could have that.
I am sorry sanb but I don’t see where you have shown that government CONTROL is needed for education and that it is beneficical. I think it is precisely BECAUSE of government control that Indian education is in shambles. Indeed, education is not special in being the victim of government control. Every sector which the government controls is a mess.
For one thing, you conflate funding of education with government control. They are not the same. My position is that government control is harmful, and public funding of certain aspects of education is required. If you distinguish the two, you may not make such a muddle of the whole thing.
Now here is a simple lesson. (Patronizing? You bet.)
The poor quality and high price of the existing private educational institutions is because of limited competition IN the market. That limited competition in the market arises from the government’s control of the sector which leads to competition FOR the market. There are barriers to entry which force high prices and corruption. Yes, sir, corruption is the most striking feature of Indian education. More than the police or organized crime, education is the most corrupt sector. Here’s how it works.
(continued in the next comment)
(continued from comment #29)
Suppose you want to start a medical college with 200 seats. You get a call that tells you that you will send Rs 10 lakhs per seat in cash to Mr X before you get your license. The cash Rs 20 crores is distributed according to the rank — the politician gets say Rs 10 crores, the bureaucrats who mediate the process Rs 5 crores, and the rest for the entire set up.
Now you start your college. Not that you really have much medical training to impart. But hey, there are people desperate to get a medical degree. You charge a fee for admission. You ask for only Rs 15 lakhs per seat on average in cash. You have to recover the Rs 20 crores in cash you paid. You get Rs 15 lakhs per seat precisely because the number of “licenses” handed out is kept low — a monopoly control by the government. If you don’t understsand the implications of monopoly control, brush up on your Econ101. (Patronizing? You bet.)
Monopoly: restricts supply so that the price charged is way above cost and thus maximize rents.
The effect is low quality and high prices.
Anyone who says that the government should control education has some serious difficulty in distinguishing the problem from the solution.
Patronizing? Yes, the only rational response to idiotic ill-considered nonsense.
I finally read Amartya’s talk at NASSCOM. May be it’s me but I thought the whole thing was bit confusing. He equates IT industry with information (on Indian society) and because they have information they should help India in larger sense. That equation is way off base. If anything IT industry more information about western countries (where its clients are) – and I doubt it’s sociological information. And his second point that IT industry obliged to the country because the country gave it so much (IITs and other good stuff) – if that’s true where are the other world class industries now or in the past! It’s only true in as much as the government didn’t crush the IT industry as soon as it was born with it’s monopoly like it did to every other industry. In any case, his case for obligation of IT industry was very weak. Some in this forum make a better case – regarding piles of cash (although those piles belong investors) and taxes.
The rant at Krishworld was boringly circular – that guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about (even about Adam Smith) – I’ll take the last phrase from previous (Atanu’s) comment to describe it 🙂
Now you are off arguing like an indologist. First try and understand the issues more clearly, get all your data current, don’t try to hold onto to dogmatic beliefs – in short think like a rational human being. Sometimes, stand that you have hung your hat on may have to be modified to fit facts as they roll in. Otherwise you sound like a blathering indologist.
The first point i had made was – public (government) funding and private control hasn’t worked, i gave you a very specific example in kerala. Don’t give me drivel about econ-101 and monopoly control.
Now on your second example – When AK Antony was the chief minister of Kerala last time around – he decided to granted licenses to every one who had applied for medical and engineerin colleges. Primarily because he didn’t want to offend any one, but the net result was large number of colleges. Did that in any fashion improve quality and reduce prices – no. There are lots of reasons for that, and requires analysis beyond econ-101. It has been a relatively similar story in Karnataka as well.
Your econ-101 text books need to be updated to reflect the learnings of the great california electricity experiment, and probably even the coming meltdown of the US airline deregulation experiment. Too much of any thing is bad, privatization or free market is not a magic wand that can solve every thing. One would have thought that is common sense, but alas..
Finally, the government needs to be a primary facilitator of economic growth and that is the only role that the government should play. If you have any pointers that prove otherwise please share that. I definitely can’t claim that i am educated enough to dismiss any even slightly contrary opinion as “idiotic ill-considered nonsense”.
Quote sanb: “Finally, the government needs to be a primary facilitator of economic growth and that is the only role that the government should play.”
That’s patented socialist bullshit. Dangerous unadulterated patented socialist bullshit.
Economic growth happens because of the actions of free agents producing and trading economic goods and services. Government does not produce economic growth nor is its job to facilitate economic growth. The only job the government has is to guarantee that people are free from coersion. And it is the job of the people to ensure that they are free from the coersion of governments. If a government starts getting too uppity, it is time to overthrow it. Of course, idiot socialists (but I repeat myself) would like to impose government in every freakin’ aspect of an individual’s life.
Here’s something from an ancient document which has some bearing on what the government should do and what if it doesn’t: ” … Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. â€” That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, â€” That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness…”
sanb, you just don’t get it, do you. Here’s spelling it out for you:PRIVATE SECTOR GOOD; PUBLIC SECTOR BAD; GOVERNMENT EVIL; All those who say otherwise are opposing the PARTY LINE and are part of the AXIS OF EVIL.
Very interesting debate – one the one hand we have “patented socialist rhetoric” and on the other, equally patented hackeneyed rhetoric of life, liberty and happiness. Can’t the Indian IT industry, allegedly one of the greatest sites of innovation and creativity in the world, draw upon something a bit more cutting-edge and contemporary? Why are our choices still bound by binaries such as governnment control/”free” enterprise, with at best marginal accommodations for NGOs? Are there no other innovative governance structures in sight? Lets agree for the moment that all the IT industry is obliged to do is to maximize value for its shareholders. If so, obviously the drivers of social change through IT would be these shareholders. CALPers for example (who I suspect many of you may not feel favourably about) has had important effects on corporate governance. Why can’t one think of building a movement such as that in India? A different model exists in the realm of fair trade movements which can help alter the nature of wealth generation in the IT industry. While I admire tremendously the efforts like Drishtee, DEVALT etc., these need to be supplemented by larger scale efforts which go to the mainstream of the IT industry.
I forgot to say one thing in the comment I justed. I disagree with Sen (and I think agree with most of you here) that moral persuasion is not the way to get companies to do social good. This is where I feel Sen avoids a full-fledged analysis of the matrix of interests and relationships within which corporate motivations and actions emerge. If we were to change corporate activity, only agents whose actions are relevant to their interests can do so. In the public/private binary, the government is the only agent to affect private activity, but the real question is who gets the government (or the state more broadly) to do things in an appropriate manner (especially if – as is most often the case – a collusive relationship exists between certain sectors of business and the government)? This is where the role of specific social actors are critical (such as shareholders, the open source movement in this case, social entreprenuers etc.).
“Thatâ€™s patented socialist bullshit. Dangerous unadulterated patented socialist bullshit”
It is more closer to Libertarian view than socialism. But then you need to think about it little bit.
“sanb, you just donâ€™t get it, do you. Hereâ€™s spelling it out for you:PRIVATE SECTOR GOOD;”
Ahh Bush democracy, should have caught on earlier.
“Hereâ€™s something from an ancient document which has some bearing on what the government should do and what if it doesnâ€™t: â€ â€¦ Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. â€” That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,”
US Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights were Ho Chi Minh’s favourite documents as well. Those were his guiding principles for his fights against the French and Americans. So that cuts both ways too.
You can’t be serious! I like the Friedman view that business only has a responsibility to its stakeholders. However, in reality business – or any entity – has those obligations that we place on it. So your view that business has no other obligation is not fact, but your opinion. Of course, it is trendy opinion.
Just a side note on education and public service. Privatizing primary education is a useful step towards improving education quality. However, it only works where markets will function. There are several problems with private operation of education – particularly the exclusion of children based on non-financial criteria. Please remember that while free-markets may be great, they don’t always work. See my post Private Education for the Poor (Part 1 and Part 2 on Vouchers
That’s a nice one. Who’s the we? On what basis do “we” impose obligations?
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