Rajni Bakshi’s insightful article (“Mass violence and business”, Mint, 23 October) was spot on. No civil society can prosper in an atmosphere of public lawlessness. Yes, India may be going through a cathartic transformation. But it would be a great mistake to assume that such a flux always leads to a better society in the end. The average Indian today believes that lawlessness related to identity politics is unpunishable. If right-thinking individuals don’t address this mindset, we will end up becoming a deeply divided society and will never be able to rise to the ranks of developed nations in another 100 years. Indian business will be left wondering where the promised land disappeared, while multinational companies will pack their bags and disappear.
I understand the excitement that Mihir Bholey (“Tata Nano and design dreams”, Mint, 27 October) feels with the Tata Nano moving so close to him at the National Institute of Design.
Isolate the Tata Nano in a design studio and yes, it’s an innovative piece of design that responds to many future urban needs. But design has to take a much more holistic view of things and also stay within its context.
Basically, get out of the ivory tower. My argument is not new, but I am rather disappointed that a faculty member of India’s premier design institute, that is nurturing designers of tomorrow, elevates the Tata Nano for all the wrong reasons.
Given the impending fuel and environmental crisis the world faces, would not Ratan Tata’s money and design expertise have served India better had they designed an innovative public transport system that “responds to the crucial Indian design issue of affordability, safety and human dignity”? A good public transport system would not only have offered an “affordable design solution to a common man’s transportation needs,” but hopefully got some bigger wheels off our congested and polluted city roads.
Given India’s driving culture, or lack of it, can you imagine our city roads with thousands of two-wheel riders—notorious for their poor civic and driving sense—now on four wheels competing with the equally crazy road sense and impatience of larger car drivers, autorickshaws, tempos, two-wheelers, cows and pedestrians? How can the Tata Nano then qualify as something that gives us “... safety and human dignity”?
The right car at the right time for European cities maybe, but India? India desperately needs design professionals who can think holistically, think green, and basically just think.
It was interesting to read Vivek Moorthy’s piece on the Great Depression (“Black Thursday, 24 Oct 1929”, Mint, 24 October) and the lessons from it. It’s interesting that he finds that US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke has apparently learnt the right lessons from the Great Depression thanks to Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz’s studies.
If you actually think of it, Friedman would have totally opposed Bernanke’s actions. He is using the wrong tools for the occasion. Just take a look at what Schwartz, now 92, has to say: “Today’s crisis isn’t a replay of the problem in the 1930s, but our central bankers have responded by using the tools they should have used then. They are fighting the last war.”
1929 was a liquidity issue (the Austrian school would like to differ). Today’s crisis is definitely not one. It is a solvency crisis. You can’t get banks that don’t want to lend to do so at gunpoint or credit being force-fed to them.
Friedman would have let these banks fail. Bernanke needs to leave aside the hubris of Princeton academia and listen to the people who forecast this, rather than listen to those who had no inkling.
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