Recently, Jug Suraiya wrote an editorial decoding the popular support for Narendra Modi. In his opinion the secret of Modi’s success lies in the fact that his ‘campaign has not been anti-poor; it has been anti-poverty’. Do not give handouts to the poor, instead eradicate poverty itself. Successive governments, in Suraiya’s opinion, have had a vested interest in letting the poor remain poor. The poor may be utilized as a vote bank by bestowing populist welfare measures during elections, but if poverty itself goes then the vote bank is lost. Otherwise, what explains the fact that despite over sixty years of independence so many Indians still remain poor! What Modiji has understood is that within every ‘have not’ also lurks a desiring ‘will have’, a new man who is not satisfied with the crumbs thrown at him by the so called welfare state. So, onward to dignity and prosperity countrymen! Down with all subsidies! Onward to a two digit GDP growth rate!
Beautiful thoughts indeed, but unfortunately mere words do not feed an empty stomach. Let every verbose writer be forewarned that those who do not understand this oft repeated and yet indubitable piece of wisdom are frequently forced to eat their words.
Everything is fine; what really constitutes NaMonimics?
A popular prejudice, no matter how strongly entrenched, must justify its existence before the judgement seat of reason or relinquish its right to exist. That phasing out of all subsidies is in the interest of the toiling masses has become a popular prejudice in the minds of the adherents of ‘NaMonomics’, the majority of whom are young professionals most likely to be employed in the corporate sector. Whether or not ‘NaMonomics’ constitutes a set of coherent principles of economics, distinct enough to command a separate name is of course a valid question. In my humble opinion it is little more than an unholy alliance of the US born conservative, rabid neo-liberalism with locally bred hindutva chauvinism. A second objection that might be raised is that Modiji himself has never explicated at length what NaMonomics really is and hence he can hardly be critiqued for what his bhaktas misunderstand as being his opinion. I fully concede to this objection: like every professional politician, Modiji too reserves the full right to vacillate and contradict himself as often as he likes. But having conceded this and despite it, one needs to deal with the idea of NaMonomics because it seems to be gaining currency among the urban middle class and irrespective of whether or not Modiji himself adheres to the principles of governance attributed to it, at least his followers believe that he does.
Coming back to the issue of freebies and alleged populist measures, could one safely say that the toiling masses of the country do not desire them, or at least concede that the same are not in their interest?
The Arguments as given by NaMonomics
Subsidized hospitals are a drain on the economy; to maintain them the government is over-taxing our corporations, squeezing their profits and killing the incentive to invest. Free/semi-free health care makes our people lazy. Knowing full well that they would get health-care for free, they do not feel the urge to work hard and save enough to buy health care. Our education system need not be subsidized. Parents must work hard and save enough to be able to pay their wards’ fees. Why should the government bear the costs and that too through taxing the Tatas and Ambanis? If the parents cannot afford the high fees of privatized universities, then the student must borrow a loan to finance his/her education and pay back when he/she is employed. Our model is the US higher education system with its student loan debt of 1 Trillion dollars that the hard working young professionals are paying back by toiling (with dignity) for the better part of their youth. So, a big yes to Max hospital, Fortis, Apollo etc and a big no to the subsidized government hospitals. Thanks to the endeavors of our enterprising capitalists, now it is hard to distinguish between hospitals and five star hotels! Yes the fee is a tad high, but aren’t we getting better services as well? And the poor, it is their own fault, they ought to have worked harder, and may be have produced lesser children; we need to educate them, to make them more aware, through our private universities and schools which of course they can enter only if they work harder and produce less children.
Food security! It is a mindless sop, a political stunt, a gimmick and a drain on the economy; a life of security will make them lazy and they will produce more children if they get free food. Unemployment occurs because they do not like to work. How could a hard working individual remain unemployed? Make them work harder and give incentives to the rich to invest by letting them pay fewer taxes so that the nation may grow; when the rich grow richer, the GDP grows faster and our nation’s pride grows. Whereas, when the poor get free food, free health-care, free education etc, profits die, the GDP grows slower and the national pride diminishes.
Anatomy of NaMonomics
Religious chauvinism, wanton profit motive of the corporations, narrow sectional interests of the new middle class employed in the corporations which is hopeful of accruing fat crumbs out of the expected rich dividends of the corporations out of the sale of people’s hard won social security and the overweening ambition of a charlatan.
By Pranshu Prakash
Video Source: In trying economic times, US should learn from Narendra Modi|Joe Walsh- Support Narendra Modi@YouTube, Narendra Modi’s Vision on How to Develop Economy and Growth Rate of India-maskedkane741@YouTube