Monday, May 26, 2008

Wanted: A few Tree Planters

Oil Price hike, does not, by itself surprise anyone. What is all wrong, is the timing. The backdrop of all round soaring inflation and high food prices is hardly the perfect setting. But that is not my immediate worry. The next thing that might hit us soon, unrelenting and unmanageable, is a case of severe food shortage. We are staring into the face of a modern day drought.

It takes a few years for wrong macroeconomics to make its presence felt. A few decades at the most. Likewise, a wrong like this cannot be corrected through short term first aid measures. It takes a few years of great economic planning and execution to correct a situation as mammoth as this. In short, we need tree planters and not manicure shrub gardeners.

Therein, ladies and gentlemen, lies the problem. Our 5 year term democracy has many benefits. But there is one shortcoming. It does not encourage people to be tree planters. Everyone wants to make their 5 years look good. That creates manicure shrubbery that looks good on paper and in photographs. Even good minds that are a part of the current government have not been able to give serious thought where it is due(which is what heightens the frustration. One does not expect good macro economics from Advani. But a Montek Singh Ahluwalia or a Manmohan Singh not doing what they do best, is unforgivable)

Unfortunately, one only has the problem. No solutions.


Z said...

Our present government has had 11 years, most of which has been a period of economic expansion and low inflation. So, they saved money for the lean years, right? Not likely - as they raised more and more money through hidden taxes, they wasted it all and borrowed more.

The trouble is that a successful government becomes greedy, lazy and arrogant, especially if it's re-elected with a large majority. And then, when in trouble, they try to hoodwink the electorate. I like your phrase 'manicure shrubbery'.

adi said...

ah! u shud have been an economist and policy maker. how simply u've put it across, the summary of centuries of traditional wisdom adapted to modern possibilities, "we need more tree planters"
loved it

dharmabum said...

thats very succinctly, and neatly put. what we need, is visionaries, at one level.

at another level, i also feel we need responsible people. people who can do out and do their bit, irrespective of whether they understand economics. i for one, dont !

just a thought - is advani really a bad economist or is that because of some inherent bias? i mean, we can't judge someone at some particular aspect with something else they have done / said in mind, right?

EYE said...

this post reminds me of a story i heard as a child... of a gardner who is old and about to die. He plants mango seeds. He dies after an year or so but the trees grow to give shade and fruit to every body. We need more gardeners like him.

How do we know said...

HI z: So, the more things change, the more they remain the same. (Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely)

Hi Adi: Thanks!!

Hi Dharma: Advani was just a metaphor for the average politician who is all talk and no vision, much less action. he was also a symbol of the BJP, which I do believe is a party terribly short on thought leadership(or any leadership, for that matter). The idea was that when junta with credentials raises ur hopes bcs of those credentials, and then does not perform, its even more frustrating that a person from whom u know nothing should be expected.

Hi eye: Yes, that is a wonderful story. I should tell it to my child one of these days. Thank you for reminding me of it. :-)