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Kerala Development Model - I

I think that Malayalis need an honest introspection. What are good things about our society? What are the things we are lacking now? How do we compare ourselves with other societies? Where do we want to go from here?

First of all Malayalis need to evaluate the current situation. There is a big time stagnation in development in Kerala, in my opinion. More communal politics, suicides etc. are only symptoms of this. Kerala right now has lot of wrong priorities. Why do neighbors in Kannur etc. kill each other? At the end of the day, what do they achieve? Do these deaths in anyway contribute to the upliftment of any part of the society? Does anybody, ANYBODY, benefit from such killings? If not, why are such things going?

We know that stagnant water causes lot of diseases. Similary stagnant society creates lot of social diseases too. Right now, this is the situation in Kerala. We have achieved certain social progresses due to the hardwork of our previous generation. But we achieved them long back. 1980s and 1990s are lost decades for Kerala society. I cannot see any big achievements there. The issue is that we are trying to do 'more of the same'. What is more of this 'same'? 'Social equality', 'wealth distribution' etc. (I am personally very passionate about both of these ideals.) But we have to remember that the "marginal benefit" of further stress on these is diminishing and it has started negative benefits. (For those who are not familiar with the term:- "Marginal" is an economic term. For example, marginal utility is the utility one derives from an additional unit of a thing. For example, for a thirsty person, marginal utility of drinking water is very high for a few initial ounces. But marginal utility diminishes substancially as more ounces are consumed. Marginal utility of 1000Rs is very high for a poor person, as compared to a rich person.)

'More of the same' is not a good prescription for dramatic changes. When I talk about dramatic changes, I don't mean revolutionary changes. We need evolution. We need to build institutions. (The era of revolution is long gone for Kerala society.) We need to build upon the good things we already have. More intention for wealth distribution is having negative consequences. How? Say, more taxing laws are introduced. When taxing becomes unscientific, actually tax income reduces. This is because more money goes undergound. This also encourages corruption. Corruption encourages inefficiency and reduces growth. Lot of energy is spent on getting the infrastructural and bureucratic things for the business done. Remember that these activities don't add any value to the society or to people's life. Underground economy creates other phenomenon like corruption, mafia etc. There are scientific and established models for taxation. But all third world countries think that laws can change things. Laws cannot make changes on their own. Without a system to support a law, the law is counter-productive. That means, if we cannot implement a law with, say 90-95% enforcement rate, don't make the law. Scrap the law. This is vitally important because, a law is not an option for the citizens. It shouldn't be. Laws bring predictability and stability to the system. Such stability increases efficiency of transactions (business or otherwise). There is usually a significant difference between a first world country and a third world country. In the first world country, laws are taken very seriously. They don't make laws if they cannot enforce it. Laws that are unenforceable are scrapped. Supremacy of constitution and hence law and order is the most sacred thing about a constitutional democracy. But again, if most people don't have something to lose (meaning they should possess something, some job, some property, some dignity ...) laws cannot be enforced properly. In Kerala, lack of awareness and too much politics are probably the major contributors to corruption.


By Haridas

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

Part VI

Part VII


Part IX

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