On Making A Difference

Our country India has a long history of Socialistic policies. Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister India, and an admirer of Stalin, modeled the nation on the brutal slaughterhouse of Soviet Union-In the name of intelligent planning. It didn’t occur to him that planning of a central authority tampers with the plans of individual citizens. Rulers who came after him weren’t any better . It is true that things have improved slightly in the past few decades as of economic reforms, but the essentials remain the same. The concept of individual liberty is unknown to most Indian citizens.

Most Indians are unsatisfied with the state of things. They long for a radical change. Some of them are conceited enough to think that they can change things for good if they rise to positions of power. Though some are slightly aware of the inherent systemic problem, their understanding is not deep enough. They fail to realize the complex level of understanding of social sciences it takes to bring about a change.They step into action instead of trying to bring about a radical change in the mindset of people through intellectual means.Recently I came across the manifesto of such a political party, Jago[1] . What makes this political party different is that it pays lip service to the free market economy. They vaguely understand the importance of a high level of economic freedom, but are unable to understand the inherent contradictions in their views. Let us analyze their political positions in some detail.

  1. People would be granted individual freedom over and above a social minimum-which means: basic survival needs such as food, clothing, shelter, education, healthcare and security needs will be met by the Government.
    None of these basic services grow in the nature, or are absorbed from the atmosphere. They are produced by individuals. If some people are to be provided with these facilities, who is to produce them? What if people who produce them are not willing to share their produce? Will they be purged? Inflating the rights of man can’t be done without an outright infringement of their fundamental rights. Often people talk of the right to a free education or health care, for instance, without giving a moments thought to its cost. When some sane person opposes their Utopian dreams, he is casted off as a person who doesn’t care for the poor. It should be noted here that these services are demanded as people should have the freedom to pursue their self interest. Nothing is said of the self interest of their innocent victims. The fact that it is not in ones rational self interest to gain the unearned too, is evaded. So much for their belief that the free market economy is ethically superior. The “basic minimum” can’t be provided without mulcting the tax payer, and hampering capital accumulation? It is capital accumulation which makes high wages and a high living standard possible. The welfare state is totally incompatible with the free market economy. One can’t choose both. Both are mutually exclusive possibilities. They have made their choice. There is no other.
  2. Soviet Russia made impressive initial progress.
    This is a distortion of facts. It concedes too much. The majority of people were starving themselves to death even in the initial phase. If even enemies of collectivism are duped by such propaganda, we can’t blame the communists for spreading them.
  3. A Government is necessary for maintenance of law & order, enforcement of contracts, justice, defense, currency.
    All these services could be provided by the market, and in a much efficient manner. Apart from the inherent immorality of taxing people and monopolizing these sectors, it should be said that Government is an inefficient organization. As law, defense , police and currency are presently provided by the Government, most people have problems imagining how this could be done by the market. However our living standards shouldn’t be dragged down to the level of imagination of such retards. It is an elementary fact of economics that monopolies are bad for the consumer. It applies to defense , law and police too. Government control of money and credit , as we all know, had led to continuous debasement of money. Arbitrary credit expansion in not possible under a free, full reserve banking system based on Gold Standard.
  4. Reservations would be replaced with free and mandatory school education.
    One interesting thing about most opponents of reservations is that they propose quality primary education as the solution. They are too dull to realize that free primary education is as, or more harmful than reservations. Both infringes personal freedom. There should be no such free gifts. Mandatory school education is abduction. Children of parents willing to homeschool their children, shouldn’t be dragged to Schools which are similar to prisons. Subsidization of education would only prevent most children from acquiring the education they would have acquired, if left alone.[2]
  5. There would be only one syllabus for all schools and only one all India level examination conducted by only one board at class 12.
    Potential dictators want to decide what is good for the society, and ram it down their throats. The education scene can’t be improved by forcing everyone into the same mold. There is great variation in the skills and interests of various children. A common syllabus decreed by the Government does injustice to all sorts of children. They should be free to pursue their interests. Only competition among various modes of education for Objective truth would improve the state of education.
  6. All infiltrators coming from Bangladesh and other countries are to be identified & punished.
    No one with the slightest understanding of the concept of liberty would support this. Government doesn’t rightfully own all the land of a country, hence and shouldn’t have the right to have a say in these issues.
  7. Capital punishment for major crimes.
    Capital punishment is barbaric. One can’t be absolutely certain that a person has committed a crime in many cases. So, it makes little sense to take their lives off. Moroever, history proves that such severe punishment doesn’t prevent the likelihood of crimes.
  8. All voters will get Rs. 800/- per month
    No comment is necessary on such stupid schemes.
  9. Low tax rate would mean better compliance, more revenue and less corruption.
    It seems this conclusion is based on the fallacious “Laffer curve”. 1) It is not at all evident why Government revenues should be maximised. 2) There is no guarantee that a reduction in the tax rate would increase the revenue. It depends on the scale of reduction and several other factors.
  10. The function of the government would be to see that no deforestation takes place.
    As long as there is demand for wood, people will grow trees. It is a profitable business. If a particular owner stops producing them, there is an opportunity to make profits and others will. Every good that is in demand will be provided by the market. If no one produces wood, someone can easily make profits by producing it. There will always be people willing to wait for years if it is necessary. There is no shortage of people to engage in such activities. Who is more likely to preserve a land and grow trees-A bureaucrat who has no incentive to preserve a land, and has to exploit the land as much as possible during his time, or a private owner who has every incentive to preserve the land, and grow trees as his revenues from the land depends on the preservation of that land?
    People are more likely to preserve trees when it is profitable to do so. In Europe, where private ownership of forests is far more common (Unlike in the US) less people complain of destruction of timber resources.
  11. Population growth should be controlled.
    Population doesn’t impede development. New York City is highly populated. But a lot of wealth is being generated there. Japan is thickly populated. It is a very rich country.Holland, Monaco, Britain and Liechtenstein are thickly populated.Europe is a thickly populated continent, next only to asia, whereas African countries are heavily underpopulated. Hong Kong has a higher density of population, yet it is much wealthier than India and China. Most people point out the large population of India and China, for instance, as a cause of underdevelopment.That’s plain nonsense. It is the lack of economic freedom, not population which makes countries poor.
  12. Ban on child-labor will be strictly enforced.
    Banning child labor would only throw some many children and poor families into poverty and starvation. Children join the labor force only when it is an economic necessity. A ban on child labor doesn’t change the fact that these children badly need those jobs. Such children , in the words of Ludwig Von Mises, would “infest the country as vagabonds, beggars, tramps, robbers and prostitutes.”

By now, it should be evident that the goals of Jago party has nothing to do with Individual freedom. Libertarians should think twice before supporting such inconsistent defenders of Individual freedom. It would only harm our cause of pure liberty.

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