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Kerala Development Model - IX

More on envisioning Kerala as a developed society.

One key difference between developed countries and developing countries is that in developed countries (especially in western countries), most of the things are viewed in a system perspective. Social systems cannot be planned totally scientifically. But in developed countries, there is a big part of it as scientific. Of course, a part of it is always "art" (subjective). De-personalizing is a key aspect of system perspective. In developed countries, if something doesn't work too often, they say "system doesn't work". In places like Kerala, we blame leaders, bureaucrats and in general persons. This is a big difference. Of course, accountability is a key aspect of any system. But the system should be designed in such a way that it should work somewhat well even with ordinary people and even under sub-optimal conditions. We do it when it comes to scientific problems. For example, when we design a bridge, we design it for most of the worst conditions. But when it comes to social areas like economics, taxing, law and order, and education we take more of a subjective way. The problem here is that, sustained improvement of such systems is difficult. "If something cannot be measured, it cannot be controlled." Many of these things can be measured, but we don't pay much attention to that. When we don't take a systemic approach to things, we make the same mistake over and over again.

A system has some inputs and some outputs. It takes some energy and resources to make these inputs to outputs. For example, how can police reduce the number of accidents to, say 50deaths/year on a particular stretch of highway? Police know that last year, number of deaths was 82. Police also has records for the last several years. Police also knows that relationship between speed, and death rate, relationship between night time driving and death rate etc. Also, the highway is segmented depending on the nature of the part of highways. Now, police also has collected statistics about relationship between number of tickets given, number of arrests (for drunk driving) etc. with average speed. There are also other statistics. The thing is that all such information are collected and analyzed systematically.

Now, with the information, police can start giving sufficiently enough tickets to people driving at higher speeds. The action will affect in reduced average speed and hence reduced number of deaths. But, of course, if police aims to reduce the number of deaths to much lower levels, citizens may oppose (because that will mean less speed and more actions by police).

Such scientific systems are part of western societies in all parts of life. Very few things are totally subjective. De-personalizing can also have other positive effects. This can reduce corruption, for example. System shouldn't depend too much on one or two persons. For example, file pushing is an important "right" of our government employees. This means monoploistic ownership of some "information". Information is power. This also means more corruption. No!!

In a systemic framework, the database of problems and solutions grow as time goes by. Documentation, feedback, and analysis are ongoing processes. People can learn from other people's mistakes. Also, such documented information brings an evolutionary dimension. Newer people can refine the system from where it has left off. Also, more people can see the information. That is a good thing as far as society is concerned. One of the reasons why science in India didn't progress much is that Brahmins kept it as a monopoly. Western science, eventhough started much later did the opposite and rest is history.


By Haridas

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

Part VI

Part VII


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