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--- ralph rau <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> Vineet Aggarwal of the Transport Corporation of
> India explains in the Economist the typical jouney 
> of  a truck journey between two great metro 
> cities of India. Calcutta and Mumbai. This distance
> of 2,150 km takes 7 nights at an average speed of 
> 11km per hour (yes 11 km/hr) and 32 hours spent 
> waiting at toll booths and check points.
Mario observes:
Hey, Ralph,
Thanks, I think, for another depressing scenario for
India's lack of progress or prospects that you seem to
revel in as a putative career pessimist:-))
I hope Bill Gates and Lakshmi Mittal and the other
businessmen scrambling around India are not listening
- except to me of course :-))
Anyway, did you know that back in the day, Indira
Gandhi ran Mr. Moolgaonkar of Tata's out of her office
when he suggested that India embark on a massive
national highway building to rival Germany's Autobahn
or the US Freeway system?  She wouldn't hear of it
because she said it would "only" enrich the
industrialists.  Never mind that, if managed by a
combination of equipment and labor, it would have
employed millions, created an economic tsunami, and
opened up the country and the manufacturing economy
for business and tourism.  I think they should get
back to Moolgaonkar's vision, which would still apply.
 Better late than never.
Ralph writes:
> India has a long way to go. And to paraphrase the
> cynic - the living will surely get worse before it 
> gets better 
Mario observes:
After pausing and reflecting it seems to me that what
India desperately also needs is some relief from all
these cynics, from the anonymous one that Ralph cites
to all of Cornel's "educated" friends to Elisabeth's
favorite cynic, a guy named Malthus, whose pessimistic
followers have been patiently waiting for him to be
proven right for 200 + years only to be repeatedly
confounded by those pesky optimists, aided and abetted
by those problems solvers from the growing population
Ralph continues doggedly:
> Go to doingbusiness.org/Economy rankings. In a
> ranking of 155 countries by ease of doing business 
> in 2006, the World Bank and IFC ranks India at 116, 
> two places below Iraq, 56 below Pakistan and 25 
> below China. 
Mario is bemused:
At the same time that other lefties who oppose the
liberation of Iraq are telling us that it is an
unmitigated and deadly quagmire, doingbusiness.org
ranks Iraq ahead of India as a place to do business. 
I hope Cornel and Gabe, George and Marlon are paying
careful attention to this.
This incredible source also ranks chaotic, backward,
madrassa dominated and desperately struggling Pakistan
way ahead of desperately liberalizing India and China,
whereas you cannot get a flight into India or China
these days for all the American and European
businessmen scrambling to do business in India and
China, whereas Air Pakistan wishes it were that lucky.
I guess it all depends on who is doing the opining 
for doingbusiness.org.
Ralph writes:
> We need to constantly remind ourselves of these
> harsh realities when faced with the euphoria of 
> India "rocking". We cannot and should not ignore or 
> overlook the masses of the stinking poor who in
> India threaten to overwhelm the minority of the 
> perfumed 150 million middle and upper class having 
> discretionary income.
Mario observes:
Ralph, I think we constantly need to remind ourself
that we need to forge ahead, with dogged
determination, no matter what.
I guess the adjective "perfumed" enabled you to adjust
the widely accepted estimate of 300+ million middle
and upper class Indians down to only 150 million.  The
rest are presumably not yet using western-style
deodorants, or at least American-style based on the
Europeans who were sitting next to me during my last
flight :-))
Or maybe the figure came from that pesky
doingbusiness.org and it's jaundiced outlook for
Ralph, I don't know how old you are, but I lived
through the first half of India's euphoric but chaotic
and grossly wasted first 50 years after Independence. 
I escaped in despair.  Now I am gradually creeping
back as I see a glimmer at the end of the tunnel.  The
progress since they jettisoned socialism and began
their unfortunately too-slow-for-my-liking but steady
process of "liberalization" has been nothing short of
amazing.  So what if it is uneven right now?
Even if you and doingbusiness.org are 100% correct, do
you have a workable alternative that makes sense for a
diverse, multi-cultural and relatively poor and
uneducated country, thrashed first by colonialists and
then by socialists, that is also committed to freedom
and democracy?
I think India should speed up the liberalization,
welcome foreign investment and ownership, begin the
highway building program mentioned above, and never,
ever quit.  Just keep going, full speed ahead.
Listen carefully to the constructive critics and
skeptics, but beware the cynics who will sap your very
spirit and break your very will, if you will let them.

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