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Bill Gates and his $90 billion

Bill Gates and his $90 billion
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First Published: Fri, Jun 29 2007. 12 15 AM IST
Updated: Fri, Jun 29 2007. 12 15 AM IST
Robert Barro, in his article “Bill Gates’ charitable vistas”, Mint, 27 June, has raised a most sensitive issue. But to believe that Gates needs a Harvard professor to help him “understand the vital role wealth creation plays in society” is a bit naive, even by nerd standards. Bill, and perhaps Melinda, are now out to find out who or what they actually are and what, in fact, their true social worth is, sans fickle stock market valuations, the value creation mirage, ephemeral product innovation and dubious productivity enhancement measures. About $90 billion is a small price to pay to step out of the corporate bubble and make the final journey of self-discovery. Therefore, it’s time we relieved Bill of his statistical responsibilities. I suggest we leave the couple alone.
—Nataranjan Bohidar
Here are a few thoughts on your two excellent articles on China—“The dissimilar Asian twins”, Mint, 19 June (by Bharat Karnad) and “Resolving border issue: So what is Beijing up to?”, Mint, 21 June (by Manoj Joshi).
Our China policy has disappointingly become more an adjunct of its trade policy. Like the West, we, too, are enamoured of its markets ignoring national issues of sovereignty.
Whether it is the overflowing of lakes in Tibet, diverting the south-flowing Himalayan rivers to the north, laying railway lines to Lhasa and now the road to the base of Mount Everest, there has been no meaningful response from our government.
The inescapable conclusion of the people is that the government is still mired in its 1962 debacle and is not talking to the Chinese with the robust outlook of a democratic nation that has made substantial progress in these past 45 years.
The Indian government must shake itself out of this defeatist outlook.
Bharat Karnad’s prescription of more active assistance to Vietnam needs to be heeded by the government. We should supply Vietnam with a few of our Brahmos missiles.
Also, we should have a closer look at the Xinjiang issue that has a bearing on our long-term economic and strategic interests in the region. Uighurs, as the natives of Xinjiang call themselves proudly, are viewing the Chinese as alien thieves who have occupied their land, disgusted with the daily bullying behaviour of the Hans.
China will no doubt belatedly realize the futility of its aggressive policies towards Tibet and Xinjiang and its continued pursuit of environmental devastation.
Leave aside the possibility of the pent-up anger of the Tibetans and Uighurs bursting, southern China will, sooner rather than later, begin to ask a few uncomfortable questions to the bullying North China. They will revolt on realizing that the south will be deprived of its precious water. It will be too late by then.
Manoj Joshi has referred to our PM’s remark of China being our “greatest neighbour”. There was hardly any need to paint them in those superlative terms.
Our home and foreign office have blundered on the Arunachal Pradesh issue.
Even the Indian media does not seem to be adequately appreciative of the dangers lurking on the China front.
A headline in a daily a few days back is, “Indo-Sino ties have improved, says Pranab”.
Some others are debating in their columns when democracy will dawn on China, little realizing that China, democratic or totalitarian, will pursue its interests doggedly. And it is we who need to shape up our policies towards them.
— S. Subramanyan
“Farm to Fork at the right price”, Mint, 31 May, by Anjani Sinha of MCX was interesting. But I feel both farmers and consumers will be totally dependent on brokers if prices are set in futures trading.
— Muhammad Irfan, Karachi
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First Published: Fri, Jun 29 2007. 12 15 AM IST
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