Three thoughts on Independence Day

On socialism, constitutionalism and curbing intolerance

For contemplation on Independence Day—on the need to expunge socialism from the Constitution in letter and spirit; on the norms of public activism; and how competitive intolerance might be reined in.

Related Links: Three thoughts on Independence Day 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004 & on Republic Day 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005

6 thoughts on “Three thoughts on Independence Day”

  1. Nitin, ‘socialism’ per se does not have to be a bug bear. The political systems in most developed countries (e.g.Western Europe) have a distinct socialist bent. It ensures that basic services – water, electricity, schools, public transport, parks etc. – are available to all, at a nominal price (fee or tax). In other words,a socialist view is necessary if maximum people have to benefit.Unlike communism which re-distributes poverty, socilaism re-distributes wealth.
    In India,ideologies like socialism, hardcore communism and Hindutva are mere political weapons to be wielded at election and confidence vote time. None of them are intended to benefit the people at large, probably that is the reason for your opinion that ‘socialism’ should be expunged from the Constitution. There’s nothing wrong with socialism, it is the people claiming to practise it that are self serving.

  2. Sridhar,
    The political systems in most of Western Europe do have a socialist bent – no wonder they have among the more stagnant economies in the world – President Sarkozy is now trying to get France past the 35 hour weekday – these people dont even want to work the standard 8 hours a day, you will find almost in any developing country or US. Another thing that you conveniently forget is that almost every European country was an colonizing power which fleeced its colonies, giving them a headstart – some thing which they still have not lost.

    Also if the socialist view is necessary for the maximum people to benefit, i wonder why India has 300 million people living at below poverty levels. Also you seem to have no qualms about the whole concept of re-distributing wealth -Any concerns about asking the people for their permission to take their wealth from and “re-distribute it” to? Or should Government play the role of the glorified goonda who gets money/dues from innocent citizens by bullying them with exorbitant taxes ?

    “There’s nothing wrong with socialism, it is the people claiming to practise it that are self serving.”
    Really ? Nothing wrong with Socialism? Nothing at all? Well, you are probably at the wrong blog then. Not that diverse opinions are welcome here – but you stating that there is nothing wrong with socialism as though its an established fact does not exactly make it conducive for debate – nor does it understand why Nitin wants the word out of our Constitution.

  3. Sridhar,

    There’s nothing wrong with socialism, it is the people claiming to practise it that are self serving.

    Well, that line has been used in the defence of many -isms.

    But we are not discussing the fine points of philosophy, but rather a question of whether it makes sense to enshrine a particular economic philosophy in the constitution. Dr Ambedkar himself was against it, btw, preferring to allow the people to choose the policies they wish.

  4. My comment was not a defence of socialism or other -isms, Nitin. I repeat, its significance can be seen in its implementation in Europe where most people have access to basic, good quality services. Taxes are high (when compared to say, the US). For an individual, it is a burden but if it results in good services for many, is it wrong?

    Could we call this re-distribution of wealth, NS, without any strong arm tactics? Also, the primary reason (not the only, of course) for Europe’s stagnant economy is its ageing/aged population. The continent needs more skilled young workers. These are not available in the new additions to the EU (East Europe) and need to be sourced from say, India, China or SE Asia. But Europe (apart from the UK) is conservative on immigration, Monsieur Sarkozy hates immigrants, actually!

    Finally, just two examples.
    -What is the state of public services in countries like Albania which abandoned Hoxhaism? They were all privatized overnight and become too unaffordable for most people.
    – What is the income differential/disparity like in progressive Hungary, post-1990? Almost the same as in India.

    I am not advocating blanket imposition of socialism.Expunge it from the Constitution, if you like. But it has its uses. It is one way (not the only one, of course, NS)to speed up the ‘trickle down’ or ‘the capillary up’ movement of economic benefits.

    Thanks for your comments, btw.

Comments are closed.