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Kerala Development Model - VII

Let me talk a bit more about out attitude.

We have strikes, bandhs, and hartals quite often. Most of the time, this is ridiculous.

These forms of protests were started in India by Gandhi etc. during the struggle against British. The idea was to hurt Britain's economic interests in India, even if that means hurting ourselves. But remember, Britain was/is an external force. Today, Britain is not ruling India. Why are we doing hartals and bandhs? We do bandhs and hartals to hurt ourselves. Suppose that we have 10bandhs/hartals per year, our economic growth may be suffering, say by one or two percentage points. This may mean that we are losing tens of thousands of jobs a year. Well, we are only hurting ourselves. A bandh/hartal is a classic example of shooting one's own foot. That is why we see such nonsense only in third world countries.

Strikes are a different species. That is also meant to hurt somebody (employers). Employees have a right to strike. That is true. But striking employees without seeing the big picture almost always hurt themselves in the end. This doesn't mean that employees should not bargain collectively. That is a democratic right and it is a necessary tool to end the abuses of business owners. But in Kerala's context, I think the abuse is generally by the employee side (in the organized sector). (Have we heard slave labor etc. in Kerala in the last several decades?) Again, we are talking about balancing things, not over-simplifying complex issues. Modern countries improve the standard of living of employees by increasing the minimum wages occasionally, by mandating fair employment practices and work place safety etc. In modern countries, wealth is not stashed up by a few and the rest is starving. Even if Bill Gates is extremely rich, he is not consuming all of it. The wealth is doing good to the society. The investment is creating jobs in the society. Modern companies are increasingly giving stock options to employees. Partnership between employees and employers is the way to go. Again, Malayalis have to change their view of employers dramatically. This is a cultural shift and it is not easy. Immediately after independence, India considered industries like steel as modern day temples. Present day Malayalis have to start considering wealth creators as saviours of the society.

Again, no modern country can allow anybody to take laws into their own hands. But we still seem to think that it is bad only if employers do that, but not that bad if employees do that. A law is not an OPTION for citizens. If laws are not enforced with all the might it takes, that means that society is either undemocratic or a thirld world country. "RULE OF LAW is supreme". This is no slogan. This is a very "pragmatic ideal". When societies take this into heart, that is a step towards becoming a "developed country".


By Haridas

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

Part VI


Part IX

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