Politically Incorrect
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Book on Global Issues & Governance

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Politically Incorrect Document Transcript

  • 1. Politically Incorrect Abhinav Tyagi “Today's problems cannot be solved if we still think the way we thought when we created them” - Albert Einstein -
  • 2. Preface Being obsessive compulsive can be good or bad. In my case, hopefully, it has yielded a positive outcome. Born to an economist father and a historian mother, I was brought up with the values of social justice and idealism. It was not as much about my parents’ educational backgrounds but about their value systems that I have witnessed till date. They have never ever preached anything but I have mostly seen them do the right things. It is only when I started living alone and traveled to a few places that I began to have issues with my own internal beliefs. I was not able to reconcile how my parents lived their lives, with how a lot of other people did. Till the day I lived with my parents, I (naively) thought that everyone else leads his/her life the same way. I was about to rise to a rude awakening. As I interacted with people from various walks of life, such as, business owners, corporate managers, farmers, doctors, engineers, scientists, marines, policemen, traders, artists, motivational speakers, event planners, restaurateurs, entrepreneurs, academicians, policy makers, students, office clerks, socialites, car mechanics, housemaids, investment bankers, financial advisors, Wall street thought leaders, ministers (religious), software programmers, authors, sports persons, cab drivers, postmen, vegetable vendors, air stewardess, radio jockeys and lawyers, I started becoming aware of the realities of life. This interaction provided me a 360- degree view of our society and the world, at large. Even though, at times, the tone of this book may seem politically incorrect (and even idealistic), it may be noted that I have not discounted my interactions with a variety of folks in all kinds of places. The idea is to accurately communicate the ground problems and offer solutions without biases and adulterations. This book caters primarily to young students in colleges (and universities) and hopes to inspire a sense of awareness of and responsibility towards the world we live in. It does not cater to any special interest groups, organizations or institutions. I sincerely hope and believe that this book will also strike cords with folks from different walks of life who through their life experiences have developed certain value systems, and this book should provide structure and a voice to their thoughts. Neither am I an expert on the topics discussed in the book nor
  • 3. do I claim to be one, but the book tries to develop a holistic understanding of our world, its people and its institutions, and also tries to explore out-of-the-box solutions to some of the global issues we face today. This book was not authored in a library of an Ivy League school or a cozy corporate office or even a political leader's mansion. The meat for this book, instead, is derived by interacting with people from different cultures, nationalities, professions, age groups, social & economic strata and societal groups (activists, military etc). The book has made a sincere effort to reflect the feelings, thoughts and ideas of the above mentioned people and of course, the author. Those who have a restless energy in them that keeps nudging them to speak their hearts out, to make this world a better place, should find a great outlet to their thoughts and feelings through this book. If this book is able to reinforce, in even one individual, an obsession for social justice and an inspiration for building a more peaceful and progressive world, I would consider this book a success. I also hope to reach out to the wealthy and the powerful, to encourage them to pro actively involve themselves with making this world a better place. Throughout the book, I have tried to be as objective and concise as possible and avoided any real world examples that would invite any unnecessary controversies. This book is not a diatribe or a preaching manual (I am myself a work-in-progress) but a sincere effort has been made to cut to the chase and put things in black and white without worrying about political correctness. I hope that this book can resonate with you and help you develop a more holistic perspective of our world, its people and its institutions. The book does not claim to offer any earth- shattering information but is a humble effort to inspire, provoke and rally change in your perspective, on our world and on your role in it. You (the reader) are the most important entity and I hope you will find this book thoughtful. Thanks in advance for reading. With warm regards, Abhinav Tyagi
  • 4. Acknowledgements Inspiration for this book came from the two years spent on the idyllic University of Maine campus and the terrific people I met there. That environment helped me to assimilate my experiences during the years of my under and un employment. My parents and sister also helped me with the necessary encouragement and stood by me during those difficult years. Genuine appreciation and valuable guidance accorded by Honbl. Nicholas P. Heymann, an alumnus of my school (and a very well respected Wall Street Analyst), during my years at the University of Maine, was also instrumental in making this venture possible. Last but not the least, this book is also very much a result of the free spirit of self expression that is the essence of United States of America, and which leaves no one with an open mind, untouched.
  • 5. CONTENTS 1. Creators, Operators, Mediators and Talkers 2. Duality in human existence 3. Water is the new Oil 4. Energy: Elixir of Economy 5. Healthcare 6. Education 7. Microfinance: The quiet revolution that is about to take off 8. Decentralized development: An engine for equitable growth 9. The Fiber of Prosperity 10. Global Youth: Opportunity or Threat? 11. If the environment is screwed nothing else really matters 12. Don't do charity 13. Specialize for Peace 14. Re inventing the Government Administrative machinery 15. Re Branding the Government 16. Measuring Government Performance 17. Its all about Political Will 18. Accountability, Accountability, Accountability 19. The Right Cabinet 20. Building Value Systems Top Down 21. The concept of Nations, Democracy & Power 22. Credits where they are due 23. Bare your soul 24. What is Success? 25. Integrity is Integrated 26. Lets do it Now!
  • 6. Quick Brush up on the Chapters The book is not at all meant as a preaching guidebook or a diatribe. We have lot of such stuff out there and no one wants to read another piece. It simply tries to put together some of the ground realities and issues that we face, globally, and hopefully will inspire you to think about these issues more holistically. The findings presented in the book are derived from my numerous interactions with a variety of people, my readings of a variety of subjects, and my own thought system developed as a result of my experiences (both failed and successful) over the last 11 years. The book emphasizes the role & importance of Government(s) in tackling some of these issues. I begin by categorization of people based on their key skills & professions. The second chapter talks about the widening split between the 'haves' and 'have-nots'. The following six chapters deal with the issues of water, energy, healthcare, education, micro credit and decentralized development. Ninth chapter emphasizes the critical role an optical fiber network can play, as a facilitating infrastructure for other initiatives. The following chapter discusses the role of youth in shaping our tomorrow. Eleventh chapter reminds us of the importance of environment as the most precious asset of our planet. The next chapter denounces 'charity' – both the usage of the word as well as the moral hazard it brings with it. The following chapter makes a case for specialization of countries in achieving world peace. The next seven chapters talk about deficiencies in governance systems, measurement of government performance, ways to re engineer and re brand the governance, and most crucially the importance of having suitably qualified people in top political posts, the need for political will, the need for accountability at every level of government and the need to lead by example (demonstrating value systems at the highest level in political leadership). These chapters are followed by a chapter on the evolving concept of nations, democracy and power. The twenty-second chapter is a tribute to those people who work behind the scenes and who, in reality, are the real heroes of society. The chapter is followed by a call to all corporate folks to begin to contribute to the society that has given them so much. The next two chapters try to define success and integrity. The final chapter is a request for all readers to begin to think about, contribute to, or facilitate the endeavors talked elsewhere in the book. Even an acknowledgement of the issues faced by our world is a great step in this direction. Style of communication used in this book is simple, concise (to the point) and non-diplomatic. I hope you enjoy reading this book!!
  • 7. 1 Creators, Operators, Mediators and Talkers “All things will be produced in superior quantity and quality, and with greater ease, when each man works at a single occupation, in accordance with his natural gifts, and at the right moment, without meddling with anything else” Plato Greek philosopher & mathematician
  • 8. Before we try to understand the world, its people and institutions, it is a useful exercise to try and categorize people on the basis of their professions/skills. I have classified people as: • Creators • Operators • Mediators • Talkers Creators create. Farmers provide us food; Soldiers and cops create sense of security; scientists create intellectual property; entrepreneurs create business systems; engineers design softwares, structures, machines and equipments; leaders build and transform teams, organizations and societies; authors write books, stories and plays; good teachers instill a sense of enthusiasm among the students, for lifelong learning; musicians compose music; movie makers conceive screenplays; Visionaries create and disseminate a vision. Operators operate and execute Creators' plans and designs. Blue and white collar workers enable operation of services and manufacturing units; CEOs and divisional managers help to run organizations and divisions; doctors help to live us longer and healthier lives; administrators help to administer policies, programs and workflow (e.g. civil servants, bureaucrats).
  • 9. Mediators mediate transactions. Traders mediate buying and selling of commodities (physical and soft), contracts, financial instruments; Investment bankers mediate deals between investors and company owners; Real Estate agents mediate buying and selling of houses; Recruiters help to match employers with employees; Diplomats mediate peace processes and treaties; Judges deliver justice; retailers and wholesalers mediate distribution of goods; political brokers mediate seat sharing in legislature and exchange of favors between businessmen and politicians; Journalists mediate delivery of events & news to the consumers of those news; teachers facilitate transfer of education & knowledge to students. Talkers talk. Yes, that’s precisely what they do. Majority of politicians are talkers. They are able to convince their electorate to vote for them in elections, through their impressive speeches. They leverage imperfect information, ignorance and sometimes, indifference of people (towards politics) in their electorate, to win elections. However, there also exist (albeit few) Political “leaders” who have a vision and are passionate about the welfare and development of their electorate. These political “leaders” can be categorized as Creators because they help to build societies.
  • 10. 2 Duality in Human existence "The outstanding faults of the economic society in which we live are its failure to provide for full employment and its arbitrary and inequitable distribution of wealth and incomes." John Maynard Keynes British Economist; Father of Keynesian economics
  • 11. Sharp contrast in how the rich (and the powerful) live versus the existence of the poorest, brings to fore the biggest duality in our human existence. While the rich have got richer, a significant % of the world population still lives on less than $2 a day (refer the World poverty distribution maps provided at the end of the chapter). The following photos can illustrate this duality better than words.
  • 12. There are regions in our world where even today there is no electricity and clean drinking water. Forget telephone and TV. There are regions where people are forced to eat rats for dinner even though they are vegetarian by religion (not that a non- vegetarian would savor rat meat). There are places where maternal deaths during delivery due to lack of adequate healthcare facility are a norm. There are places where people are not aware that they have AIDS, even though the area has a high incidence of this deadly disease. There are regions with no hope for a better future, where there are no employment opportunities, no women rights and no education infrastructure. The “Ten-Ten” formula In my opinion, if top 10% of the richest, voluntarily part with just 10% of their income, the world can change for the better. The money could:
  • 13. 1) feed all the poor of the earth 2) bring electricity to every home on the planet 3) bring clean drinking water to the entire humanity 4) build schools in all the remote areas of the world 5) provide healthcare to everyone on the planet Such large-scale voluntary contribution exercise can happen only if there is a deep sense of responsibility, not only among the wealthy but people at large, towards the less fortunate. As Hellen Keller has aptly remarked: “Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other's welfare, social justice can never be attained.” It is important to note, however, that the issues discussed above cannot simply be tackled by pouring in money. Apart from offering monetary support (in form of aid, charity), it is important that the wealthy also contribute their talents and skills to develop the poverty ridden regions. This is the only way to sustainable poverty alleviation because unless we seal the bottom of the bucket, no amount of water can fill it. Development efforts must include building of schools, skilling of the poor and creation of employment opportunities. These efforts have to be in co operation with the local governments. If one looks at the big picture, ultimately this development would trickle into demand for products/services and would benefit the businesses in the area (and hence the overall economy of the nation & the world).
  • 14. While creation of wealth is crucial to human progress and prosperity, and must be encouraged, it has to be accompanied with creation of opportunities for the poor, so as to bring more inclusiveness in our world. It is a matter of shame for the entire humanity that while we take pride in all the infinite advancements in science, technology and commerce, and are planning to take commercial flights to other planets, we haven't yet been able to achieve basic social equity on our planet.
  • 15. Global Poverty map - % of population (UN Data)
  • 16. Percentage population living on less than $1.25 (PPP) per day
  • 17. 3 Water is the new Oil “Water is life's mater and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water.” Albert Szent-Gyorgyi Hungarian Biochemist; 1937 Nobel Prize for Medicine
  • 18. Water is the foundation of life on our planet. It is difficult to overstate the importance of water for health, economic development, environmental integrity and social cohesion. As the United Nations (UN) Millennium Report in 2000 concludes: ‘No single measure would do more to reduce disease and save lives in the developing world than bringing safe water and adequate sanitation to all.’ It is also difficult to overstate the scope and consequences of the current global water crisis, one that leaves more than 1 billion people without access to safe drinking water. Pictures below depict the serious situation of water crises.
  • 19. Water is the driving force of all nature. It is essential for the workings of our ecological systems. It is essential for our health and the health of our communities. It features prominently in our spiritual life. It binds us together through shared waterways and shared water sources. It shapes our relationship with nature, politics and economies. Competition for water is heating up everywhere. Continuing population growth and urbanization, shifting dietary habits towards more water-intensive foods, spiraling demand for alternate fuel crops and growth in water-intensive industries, are all contributing to ever-growing demand for water. At the same time, water pollution, degraded ecosystems and global warming endanger local water recharge, quality and sustainable supply around the world. Two in every five people in the world today live in international water basins, and more than fifty countries on five continents have been identified as hotbeds for potential future conflicts over water. Water ‘grabs’, the irresponsible appropriation or diversion of water without consideration for other users, abetted by corruption, may translate tension into open conflict. It is high time that public policy makers, businessmen and activists begin seeing water as a “public good” in the real sense and join hands to develop technologies, solutions and policies that would promote a more efficient and equitable use of water. Research and commercialization of sea water desalination using energy
  • 20. efficient methods must be made a top priority and a multi national research team may be instituted to work on that. Demand Side Water management Globally, about 69% of fresh water is used for irrigation while industrial and household usage is about 15% each. Others: 1% Household: 15% Irrigation: Industrial: 69% 15% Water may be used more efficiently in Irrigation by • encouraging use of sprinkler systems (providing sprinkler systems on subsidized prices; regulations mandating use of sprinkler systems) • monitoring irrigation water usage using digital systems. This digital information may be recorded in a database
  • 21. • placing a cap on irrigation water usage and removing subsidies on diesel and electricity (used to pump water) if the consumption exceeds the cap Water may be used more efficiently in households (esp. urban homes) by creating a tiered system of water rates, wherein, the rates go up dramatically, as the consumption of water in a household goes beyond a certain level (say, average consumption per person, for the region). Tiered water pricing must be supplemented with Water awareness programs. Tax incentives may also be provided. Privatization may also aid in more efficient usage of water. Industrial usage of water can be made efficient through use of policy measures (tax incentives) and technology. Supply-Side Water management Governments need to encourage private sector participation in building Water treatment plants and distribution systems, by ensuring a transparent and corruption free system, a reasonable rate of return for the equity provider, and by ensuring that the long term purchase contracts (in Public-Private partnership projects) are honored 100% of the time. Desalination of sea water must also be encouraged and such systems may be powered by the tidal or wind power systems integrated with the desalination system.
  • 22. Contamination of rivers must be checked by pre-treating municipal wastes. It is imperative to appreciate that Water is a scarce resource and if steps are not taken aggressively, to preserve it, danger may be posed to nations' integrity (and internal peace) – with one state flexing its muscle over the other, to have access to water. Tensions could also arise between industry groups and farmers, over the usage of water. This is of course, besides the fact that we literally need water for survival.
  • 23. 4 Energy: Elixir of economy “It is evident that the fortunes of the world's human population, for better or for worse, are inextricably interrelated with the use that is made of energy resources.” M. King Hubbert Geologist known for his Hubbert Peak Theory
  • 24. It is rightly argued that Energy is at the heart of all human and economic activity. Food, water, medicines, transportation systems, clothes, electronic gadgets, entertainment and everything else needs energy to be produced. There are no two opinions on the importance of energy in our lives. However, the way we produce energy is being debated due to environmental concerns. While a consensus is building up on the increased use of solar power, wind power, geothermal power, bio fuels (bio ethanol, jathropha) and tidal power, the economics of generating energy from these alternate sources is still hampering large scale adoption. Solar power is one area where lot of research is being done and new technologies, such as, nanosolar, are being developed and tested, as I write this. If nanosolar becomes a commercial success, we could see a significant increase in solar power generation across the world, because this technology makes construction of large scale solar farms cheaper than other solar technologies. Wi n d far m
  • 25. Sol a r far m in a de s e r t Ethanol plant surrounded by corn fields
  • 26. Jatr o p h a (biofu e l) pl a n t a t i o n Nuclear energy is being revived as a solution to the problem of energy security and environmental degradation. However, it does have issues, namely, long time to commission a nuclear power plant, high initial capital costs (making the electricity produced, more expensive) and most importantly, nuclear waste disposal. The Energy Tri-Challenge The challenge we face is three-fold. Firstly, we need to ensure energy security i.e. adequate future supply of energy for the ever increasing world population. In the words of Tony Blair (ex Prime Minister of UK): "In the future, energy security will be almost as important as defense". Secondly, we have to improve the reach of energy, especially electricity, which is a must for decentralized development (discussed later). The power infrastructure needed to facilitate reach in a particular
  • 27. country is illustrated in the figure below. Finally, we have to ensure that the environmental security is not compromised due to increased demand for energy. Interestingly, all three of these issues can be tackled by gradually increasing the % of alternative energy in the energy- source portfolio. For example, a decentralized solar generator provides energy security, is environment friendly and enables reach of energy to the remotest parts. Power infrastructure High Grid based + distributed Distributed power power generation generation + some Grid based No. of remote areas w/o Grid based Distributed power (centralized) power generation generation Low Low High Transmission losses Measures promoting energy security and environmental protection are provided below:
  • 28. 1) Increasing dependence on Solar and wind We should try to tap solar and wind energy, followed by geothermal, bio fuels and nuclear power, in that order. Even though solar power can only be generated while the sun is there, it would significantly reduce dependence on coal or oil based power. Likewise wind energy has a huge potential to replace fossil-fuel based energy generation. 2) Mass transportation systems All key cities around the world must have mass transportation systems. Such systems may be developed as group initiatives, wherein the G20 or another similar group of countries, must come together to assist other countries in planning, funding and transferring technology. Apart from mass transportation systems, car pool may be encouraged by governments. 3) Transmission losses & theft must be checked Automated metering, replacement of faulty transmission equipment and privatization of electricity transmission and distribution are some of the ways to check transmission losses and theft of electricity. In most developing countries, as much as 50% of electricity is lost during transmission due to thefts and poorly maintained transmission & distribution infrastructure. Therefore, curtailing such losses & thefts can significantly help to alleviate the energy crises in such countries.
  • 29. 4) Mandatory usage of biofuels with regular fossil fuels Use of biofuels in conjunction with fossil fuels must be mandated in all nations. Ethanol and Jatropha oil can be the key biofuel additives.
  • 30. 5 Healthcare "He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything" - Arabic Proverb
  • 31. A healthy body (and a healthy mind) is the basic foundation for all other forms of human, economic and social development. To that end, importance of healthcare infrastructure can hardly be overstated. Having said that, healthcare reforms are long overdue in almost every nation of the world. There are several elements to the healthcare puzzle, most important of them being: a) Health education to the last mile The basic building block of any healthcare system is health education. Apart from health clinics, such education could be imparted through pan-country distribution networks, such as, Post Office or a pan national bank. Health education could also be delivered via Satellite systems (in conjunction with education – discussed in next chapter). Women health, child health and elderly health must be emphasized, along with preventive health. Menace of AIDS, TB and the newly prevalent H1N1/H5N1 viruses can only be tackled by educating people throughout the world. Companies like Microsoft and Google who are already at the forefront of Healthcare can play an even bigger role in this area by digitally connecting the remotest parts of the world. b) Health services to the last mile Health education has to be supplemented with easy access to good quality healthcare in all parts of the world. Healthcare delivery infrastructure may comprise of fixed health clinics, mobile health clinics and Telemedicine. Telemedicine is a system where diagnosis of health can be done remotely by means of a communication link (internet/satellite) and a specialized
  • 32. software which interfaces with sensors that can guage the body temperature, pulse rate, heart beats and transmit images of symptomatic body parts.
  • 33. The choice of the Healthcare delivery medium depends upon the country's doctor density as well as the number of remote locations that need to be served. Interplay of these two variables and the corresponding healthcare delivery model has been provided below. Healthcare Solutions High New clinic/dispensary Set up Health centers establishments in remote serving a group of areas remote areas; Telemedicine Country’s doctor density Transportation of doctors once a week (mobile); Telemedicine Telemedicine Low No. of remote locations Low High c) Application of IT to facilitate healthcare initiatives Information and Communications Technology (ICT) have always been a great enabler of reach, efficiency and quality. In healthcare sector, ICT can enable:
  • 34. • Healthcare education delivery • Health diagnostic services • Healthcare audit • Healthcare intelligence development Healthcare education delivery and diagnostic services have been discussed earlier. Healthcare audit and intelligence are discussed next. Healthcare audit is a way to guage the performance of a healthcare system at every delivery point. Various performance metrics, such as, number of physicians, number of nurses, number of people served in a month/week, case outcomes (resolved, referred, unsuccessful cases) can be fed in real-time into an online system, from every delivery point. Such a real-time audit system is a great way to make the healthcare system agile in terms of identifying outbreak of epidemics and in terms of quickly identifying any bottlenecks in the healthcare delivery system. “Healthcare intelligence” is the knowledge derived from accumulation of data on medical cases, their treatment and the final outcome. This knowledge can be used to observe trends in diseases, and can also help in guiding treatment of certain diseases with certain symptoms in certain category of people (either racial category or disease category). Such treatment guidance system is especially beneficial in areas where there is shortage of quality physicians and medical specialists. In such
  • 35. areas, the doctors may seek assistance from a “Healthcare intelligence” system in determining atleast an initial course of action (especially in emergency situations). d) Population control Last but not the least, population control must be made an intrinsic part of any healthcare policy. High population levels put stress on the natural resources and environment, and the economy, in general. Unabated growth in population shall lead to food shortages, and ultimately affect the nutrition level and overall health of individuals adversely, leading to a greater need for healthcare. In words of Hellen Keller, "Once it was necessary that the people should multiply and be fruitful if the race was to survive. But now to preserve the race it is necessary that people hold back the power of propagation." While the above suggested measures seem like common sense things to do, healthcare systems in most countries (especially developing ones) leave a lot to be desired. In countries where healthcare is provided as a government service, lack of political will and corruption in healthcare administration & delivery (and not the lack of technology and finances) is the reason for inefficient and deficient healthcare systems. In countries where healthcare is mostly privatized, the healthcare providers are gouging enormous price from their customers, making healthcare unaffordable for a vast majority of people. In either case, the end consumer (of healthcare) is suffering.
  • 36. 6 Education “What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to the human soul.” Joseph Addison English essayist, poet and politician
  • 37. Education is at the core of economic development of any country. Without appropriate education infrastructure, no country can progress. The current format, content, delivery mechanism and institutional framework of education, in most countries, leaves much to be desired and must be revamped. For some countries, the re engineering of education sector is not even a matter of choice. Case in point is an Asian country that boasts of having the largest number of youth population in the world in the next 10 years. While on one hand this implies potential availability of enormous manpower that can propel the country's economic growth, on the other hand it necessitates a massive revamp of the country's education sector. And the window of opportunity to achieve this is very small. Very soon a huge chunk of youth population will attain the age where they would be eligible for college education and an equally massive population would begin their schooling. The country has to therefore prepare its education infrastructure within this short time span, otherwise, the same potential human resource could turn into millions of uneducated & unemployed youth. Recommendations for Re engineering of the education sector (involving re designing the format, content, delivery mechanism and institutional framework) are provided below: Format Currently most schools have primarily one-way communication (teacher to pupil) in a classroom setting. There is a need to introduce Group Discussions and public speaking in the classroom
  • 38. setting. Books should be complemented with online lessons, class presentations and external speakers. Educational games and interactive exercises may also be part of the curriculum. If possible, there should be educational visits. Case studies may be used in classes to teach subjects. Content Apart from conventional subjects, there should be subjects dealing with: • Personal financial management • Global issues – environmental, political, business, social • Career options available to students after school (in certain countries school students believe that there are no other professions besides engineering and medicine) • Information systems – How they have impacted various industries and professions (to prepare students for future work and social environments) • Ethics in business and society • Concepts should be integrated through case studies. Delivery mechanism In addition to lecture oriented delivery inside classrooms, newer mechanisms should be adopted. These may include: • Satellite based real time interactions with students from schools in other countries and regions within the same country. • Powerpoint/Multimedia presentations in the class
  • 39. • Online lessons through PCs • Speaker series Institutional framework • Public-Private partnerships must be used to set up new schools in remote/less developed regions. • Management of existing government schools may be privatized. In this model, the government would pay for the schools operations and private sector will manage the administration of schools. • 1 to 2 year teaching assignments at government sponsored schools may be made a mandatory part of National Service. • Teaching at government schools for a year or two, may be made a pre-qualification for applying to a government job. • Bureaucrats must be made in charge of the schools in their respective regions/districts. For example, in countries where District collector is incharge of a district, he/she should be made the Chief Education Administrator for the district. • Parameters may be laid down to assess the efficiency of schools, performance of students and clear accountabilities must be set. These accountabilities may be published online (in public domain). • Education content must be audited every 2 years and updated to reflect the current affairs.
  • 40. Education being the most important social goal of any country, it must be prioritized. There should be no lax on the accountabilities and performance metrics. The remaining chapter discusses ideas and ways to enhance the effectiveness and reach of academic and corporate education. Specifically, following topics are covered: • Global education • Corporate training and re skilling • Quality education to the last mile • Human Resource Development Global University for a globalized world In our ever changing, globalized world, the education too should reflect globalization in true sense. An online global university (refer figure on next page) may be formed which can deliver top quality education across the globe. Here, professors from some of the best universities around the world, can come together through an online platform and deliver classes via the Internet, to an equally diverse set of students from a variety of cultures and regions of the world. Such an online program will be highly flexible because the curriculum can be adapted quickly to the contemporary issues. Moreover, it will promote a more holistic understanding of key issues facing the world, such as Global financial systems, Environmental safety, Terrorism, Unemployment, Poverty, Social injustice, Healthcare and Education.
  • 41. Global Education Delivery Model Customized content, Interactive, Flexibility of location & time, International outlook, Leveraging best academic minds Professors from a variety of universities and Age, location, profession of expertise may come together to deliver a course student becomes irrelevant
  • 42. Corporate training & re-skilling via “A la carte” online system An online e-Learning platform should be developed to train and re skill corporate managers, workers and executives. The supply of content could be from an individual industry expert or a university or an industry association. Benefits of such an online corporate training platform include: • Flexibility in customizing the curriculum to meet the training needs of a firm (Companies can provide the outline of the training to which the consultants and universities can submit their proposals) • Employees can train at their chosen place and time (and even pace) • A la Carte system implies that the companies can pick and choose what modules they wish to train their individual employees in • Such a re-skilling or training programme could act as a confidence & morale booster for the employees Quality education to the last mile This can be achieved by using Satellites for delivering world class education to the remotest parts of the world. LCD Mega screens may be installed in the remotest parts of planet earth, and educational lessons, current affairs programmes, speaker series (in local languages) and programmes on various countries, may be delivered via satellite. Such an infrastructure is an absolute must to remove the misery and hopelessness in certain places of the world. It would also help people to better
  • 43. understand the world that they live in and are part of. Most of all, it would excite these people towards personal upliftment and upward mobility in society. Speaker series may include people from different walks of life: • Authors • Economists • Historians • Musicians • Scientists • Industry gurus • Scholars & Academicians • Sports figures • Corporate managers • Engineers • Doctors • Geologists • Entrepreneurs The idea is to sow a seed of curiosity among the students even in the remotest parts of the world. Human Resource Development Ultimate objective of good education infrastructure in any country is Human Resource Development (HRD). To that end, education infrastructure is just one element of HRD.
  • 44. The HRD model proposed here includes 4 elements: • Education Education content should be redesigned to include contemporary topics discussed above, apart from the conventional subjects. • Personality development (sports, communication skills, English language skill) In today's globalized world where work and information flows seamlessly around the globe, it is critical to make Personality development an intrinsic part of education system. Participation in sports and development of English language skills must be emphasized throughout K-12 and beyond. • Vocational training Given the increasing specialization in the nature of work, globally, it is imperative that vocational training be imparted to all college graduates in their areas of interest/abilities. Vocational training may be seen as a polishing exercise where raw talent is moulded into Human resource that can be utilized productively by the employing organization. • Employment opportunities Without adequate employment opportunities (qualitatively and quantitatively), education and vocational training are not of much benefit to either an individual or the nation, as a whole. For complete Human Resource Development it is critical that the governments and the private sector work collaboratively to create job opportunities. While this is a challenge in developing countries with large populations, I believe it is
  • 45. also an opportunity for these nations to create industries that could absorb large number of people. For example, by creating mega solar farms in the Thar Desert of India and the Sahara, the Kalahari, and the Namib of Africa, entire new industries can be created. A solar farm would need solar panels (and thus the need for solar manufacturing units), panel installation specialists and solar farm maintenance workers, at the very least. Human Resource Development = Education (including contemporary content) + Personality development (sports, communication skills, English language skill) + Vocational training + Employment opportunities It is worth noting that all the elements of Human Resource Development (especially Education, vocational training and employment opportunities) are needed in tandem, to have a positive impact on the society. Any missing or imbalanced element can, in fact, be counterproductive for the country (society). Analysis of the interplay between the education level and vocational training in terms of its impact on the productivity of workforce and their re skilling potential is provided in the matrix below. As can be observed, lack of either proper education level or vocational training or both, does not yield
  • 46. the most desired results. Emphasizing formal education without any avenues for vocational training produces a workforce that is not highly productive. On the other hand, if vocational training is emphasized without adequate emphasis on formal education, the workforce may be productive at the task they are trained for but their ability to grow professionally through re skilling, may be significantly hampered. Impact of education level & vocational training on productivity High Pool of educated but Most productive; most unskilled people; flexible in terms of re Less productive but skilling; Greatest chances potential for skilling of integrating with the new economy Formal education Exclusion from the new Career options limited; economy Productive but less potential for re skilling & integrating with new economy Low Low Vocational training High
  • 47. Likewise, if promotion of education (and subsequent high education penetration) is not supplemented with adequate employment opportunities, this may lead to frustration among the educated due to under and un-employment, and may also lead to brain-drain (through emigration). On the contrary, if the employment opportunities are available but educated/skilled people required for such positions are not available, this may lead to immigration of talent (which is good for economic development) leading to societal tensions between the immigrants and the natives. This has been observed in some of the most developed countries in form of “glass ceilings” and discriminatory pay. The following matrix illustrates this dynamics between education and employment opportunities. Impact of Education penetration & Employment opportunities on Society High Frustration due to Progressive, un/under hopeful society employment; emigration Education Penetration (%) Immigrants/expat Hopelessness in dominated society; society; hotbed for potential bed for terrorism protectionism Low Low Employment opportunities High
  • 48. 7 Microfinance: The quiet revolution that is about to take off "Microfinance is an idea whose time has come." Kofi Annan 7th Secretary-General of the UN; Nobel Peace Prize winner
  • 49. I call microfinance - the financial “Drip irrigation”. There are more similarities between Microfinance and Drip irrigation, than differences. Both are provided in small amounts and offered right at the area of need, and both help to provide maximum return to both the provider and consumer. Currently worldwide microfinance loan portfolio stands at $25B and experts believe that $250B more is needed to reach all the poor of the world. Microfinance loans defy the key finance principal of Risk and Reward. A Microfinance loan offers very high rates of return and has one of the lowest default rates. In other words it is a high reward – low risk game. This should be reason enough for financial institutions to develop their Microfinance asset portfolio and reach out to the poorest of the poor in the remotest parts of the world. A good indicator of the success and lucrativeness of the microfinance model is the flow of smart money (Mutual funds, Venture Capitalists and Private Equity) towards microfinance in recent years. A phenomenon that was started by Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh in 1976 is about to take the world by storm. Financial pundits have taken serious note of this financial asset in recent years and I am confident that in next 10 years we will witness exponential growth in this domain. I believe that for microfinance to yield its full benefit, the recipients of these microloans need to be equipped with education and awareness about the opportunities that exist. Till
  • 50. now, microfinance has mainly been used to facilitate very small ventures & to meet incidental expenses, such as: • purchasing cattle, sheep or chicken • starting a tailoring or a barber shop • starting a handicraft making unit • cost of burials, sickness • crop failure • healthcare costs (medicines, treatment, surgery) • purchase of farm equipment (irrigation, transportation, seeds) • purchasing of bikes, radios, boats • construction of wells • home renovation • microenterprise working capital In the next phase, we should see creation of ventures that are higher in the value chain, such as, food processing; manufacturing handicrafts, glassware and brassware for exports; retail shop for clothing, electronics, cycles; cyber cafes; taxi service. The only constraint to the microfinance model is that by its nature, it cannot support financing of high investment ventures – which are essential for creation of new wealth. For example, mass manufacturing that can leverage economies of scale and
  • 51. provide consistency in product quality is essential to creating low cost, high quality products that can be exported to other areas, regions or countries. To that end, currently, microfinance is essentially a wealth transfer tool within a small area. However, that does not take away its importance in terms of creating livelihoods in the poorest and the remotest parts of the world. Given the huge number of people in poverty in several parts of the world, microfinance can be a great trigger for economic development in those areas. Microfinance: Grass root banking
  • 52. Microfinance: Working capital and credit to vegetable sellers Microfinance: Promoting local crafts
  • 53. Microfinance: Venture capital for a home based business Commercial banks, private equity shops and Asset Managers should make Microfinance an integral part of the portfolio. Next generation portfolio should read: Equities, Bonds, Cash, Commodities and Microfinance loans. The day when mutual funds will start to put money in microfinance, like they do in stocks, our world would have become a step closer to removing poverty. Likewise, a specialty bond called 'Microfinance bond' may be introduced. Such bonds would be a great win-win for global investors and the millions of microfinance recipients. 'Microfinance bond' will provide high yield with low risk and has the potential to raise billions of dollars for microfinance institutions.
  • 54. 8 Decentralized development: An engine for equitable growth "As a rule of thumb, involve everyone in everything." Tom Peters American management guru
  • 55. Decentralized development is the key to equitable growth in any country. Besides promoting equitable growth, it helps to discourage the migration of people to a few key cities, which has positive effects in terms of reduced pressure on the infrastructure, easier management of homeland security, and reduced stress on environment around the key cities. Having a metropolitan city for every 5 million people in the country can serve as a rough benchmark, for the number of metropolitan cities that may be developed in a nation. Of course, in case of developing countries, a key impediment to such decentralized development is financial resources. With the lack of full fledged capital markets in developing economies, it is difficult for governments to raise enough capital to develop pan-nation metro cities. This has led some developing nations to chose the path of promoting development of Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in partnership with private companies. Private corporations have been encouraged through incentives, to develop, mega Special Economic Zones, that would be like a city by themselves (with their own power supply, water supply, sanitation). The success of such schemes has not been completely problem-free as well. Arbitrary allotment of land for industrial purposes (causing the fertile farm land to be siphoned away for industrial activity) and land acquisition problems due to inadequate compensation to farmers (marred by delayed payments and political middlemen and corrupt bureaucrats receiving a cut of such payments ) have been the key hurdles to SEZ development.
  • 56. According to World Bank estimates, as of 2007 there were more than 3,000 projects taking place in SEZs in 120 countries worldwide. A variety of institutional structures ranging from fully public (government operator, government developer, government regulator) to 'fully' private (private operator, private developer, public regulator) have been utilized. For such a decentralized development to be truly successful, there must be a network of highways, railways, airports that connects these cities. The local economies of these cities may be supported by developing industries that reflect the skills and resources available in the region, and/or by building a services base (that can serve either the local economy or national economy or even international markets). Given the population of the major developing countries, such pan-national metro cities can thrive simply by serving the local population. Apart from the essential elements of a decentralized development, such as: • Healthcare facilities • Banking facilities • Postal facilities • Public transportation • Power & Water infrastructure
  • 57. • Roads • Houses • Airports, Railway Stations, Airports • Commercial district a very important element of decentralized development is development of recreational facilities & avenues, which helps people to socialize, have fun together or with their families and get a sense of joy & relaxation. A less expensive way to promote decentralized development is through creation of small scale industries spread across the country. A lot of developing countries have successfully used this model and I believe it can be fruitfully utilized in the undeveloped countries, as well. Some of the small and mid-sized businesses that can help to kick start local economies are listed below: • Handicrafts • Brassware • Bricks made from agricultural waste and ash • Fish farms • Horticulture – flowers, perfume • Auto parts manufacturing • Manufacturing of FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods)
  • 58. • Manufacturing of textiles • Glassware • Plasticware Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP) Markets Discussion of decentralized development cannot be complete without emphasizing the importance of such development to the private sector. There was a time when the Multi National Corporations omitted the poorer and less developed (Bottom of the Pyramid) regions of a developing country from their marketing plans. But it has now been realized and understood that these less developed regions (especially those where development has been started) are the key to future growth of the MNCs. Even though the per capita purchasing power in these less developed regions may be low, the population of these regions is large enough to contribute to the bottom line of the MNCs, provided the companies customize their product and service offerings to this new BOP market. Product sizing, packaging, pricing and delivering is now being altered to meet the requirements of these BOP markets and to make the venture profitable for the companies. As an example, an FMCG conglomerate started selling its shampoos in ultra-low priced sachets* in a BOP market, and discovered that their strategy was a hit. Due to the sheer volume of sachets sold, this venture became a highly lucrative business for the conglomerate.
  • 59. Decentralized development helps to build the economic capacity of the previously undeveloped region, thereby increasing the purchasing power of the people therein. This increase in purchasing power has the potential to trickle down to the bottom line of a corporation, provided the corporation has customized its business model and marketing strategy to this new market. I will close by saying that decentralized development is good for the government, the private sector and most importantly for the people. *A sachet is a small disposable bag, often used to contain single-use quantities of consumer goods, such as ketchup or shampoo.
  • 60. 9 The fiber of prosperity “The Internet lives where anyone can access it” Vinton Cerf Computer scientist; Father of the Internet
  • 61. Optical fiber is the most revolutionary technology that can significantly make a difference to our world. By connecting the remotest region of the world with high speed optical fiber network, we can literally connect billions of people living in the dark fringes of misery, with the rest of the world. A high speed information network: • can facilitate communication between the remotest regions and the rest of the world • can act as a medium for dissemination of literacy and education, and removal of ignorance • can be used to facilitate remote healthcare • can be used to disseminate information on weather, disease outbreak, natural calamities
  • 62. • can be used to discover prices for commodities (including crops) • can be used to facilitate matching of micro credit donors with seekers (kiva.org is a case in point) • can be used for facilitating interactions between government and its citizens, and making it easier, quicker and less expensive, both for government and the citizens. These interactions may include payment of taxes & levies, payment of utility bills, voting, application for licenses, subsidies & loans, determination of crop prices, purchase of insurance, purchase of fertilizers, search for employment in government and application for admission to schools & colleges • can be used to bring entertainment to the remotest parts In my humble opinion, an optical fiber network has the potential to improve the lives of billions of poor people, around the world. Investment in building a country wide information highway (fiber optic network) is the most prudent investment any government can make.
  • 63. 10 Global Youth: Opportunity or Threat? “Employment is nature's physician, and is essential to human happiness” Claudius Galenus Roman physician and philosopher of Greek origin
  • 64. Demographics of a nation directly impacts its stability and development. There are some interesting things happening on the demographic front, globally. While the growth rate of world population is declining, the number of people added each year is stable at almost 76 million (over 200,000 people every day). Median age of the population is rising (it was 28 in 2005) yet every year there are more people below the age of 30. While the policy makers in the industrialized world ponder over falling birth rates, their counterparts in developing and undeveloped countries are getting alarmed by the rapidly rising population in those countries. In 2006, there were over 6.5 billion of us. UN projections indicate we will be almost 9 billion by 2050 – thats almost an addition of 40% more people in a span of just 44 years. “Law of compounding” sucks when it comes to the subject of population. Apart from the rising global population, the age structure dynamics is also something that we must pay attention to. The age composition of any country can be categorized as either Favorable or Adverse. When a country's age structure is favorable, its government and institutions are relatively easily able to provide social welfare to the country's people and solve economic and political problems. When a country's age structure is adverse, it is more difficult to meet these challenges, resulting in lost opportunities and sometimes state failures. Favorable age structures are observed in countries with sound economic prospects and which have a large proportion of the
  • 65. population comprised of working-age adults, with smaller proportions and slower growth among dependent children and older adults. A favorable age structure provides a sufficient tax base for government services and a social safety net for the more dependent age groups. Adverse age structures, in contrast, often develop in countries with weaker economic prospects and where there is a rise in the proportion of young and/or dependent age groups. Countries with adverse age structures (especially due to higher proportion of younger population) are breeding grounds for potential social conflicts and tensions, due to high degree of unemployment. The following matrix depicts these age structures. Age Structures High Adverse age structure Neutral age structure High degree of High degree of employment unemployment;potential among working-age adults; hotbed for social tension; savings rates may be low; high government cannot take govt. taxes may be seen care of dependent population adequately Dependent population Neutral age structure Favorable age Due to lesser employment structure opportunities at home, lot Lot of working-age adults of adults may work abroad; employed in the economy lesser dependent and can support the population makes it easier dependents easily for working adults to emigrate abroad Low Low Economic strength of a country High Low degree of dependent population = Smaller proportions and slower growth among dependent children and older adults
  • 66. Past data has shown a significant correlation of Adverse age structures (resulting from high proportion of young population) with Civic conflict and weak democracy. According to a report by Population Action International, between 1970 to 1999, 80% of all outbreaks of civil conflict that resulted in atleast 25 deaths and in which the government was an actor, occurred in countries in which 60% or more of the population was under age 30. Likewise, nearly 90% of countries with very young structures had an autocratic or weakly democratic government at the end of the 20th century, while more than 80% of countries with mature structures were fully democratic. While a high proportion of young population may pose grave challenges to the environmental sustainability, peace/security and democracy, this same challenge can become an opportunity, if the youth can be trained/skilled and absorbed into the economy in a manner that enhances the productivity and the output of the economy. Some of the measures that may be adopted by young countries (population wise) especially developing ones, are provided below: • Retirement age of government employees must be reduced by 5 years from the current retirement age. It is a no-brainer that youth being more productive can enhance the overall productivity of the economy. And of course, such reduction in retirement age will bring millions of youth into workforce. • Government jobs must adopt corporate-style performance model wherein non-performers are made redundant after
  • 67. certain levels of repeated non performance. This would help to free a lot of jobs currently occupied by grossly inefficient government employees, many of whom join the government for the very stability of such jobs. • Governments in developing and undeveloped countries must undertake massive infrastructure development and reconstruction programs, that would create millions of jobs for both the rural and urban youth. Such projects may be funded through government bonds tapping into domestic markets or funds raised in foreign markets. Sovereign wealth funds also have the potential to fund such infrastructure creation. Countries like UAE, Norway, China, Japan & Singapore have huge piles of foreign reserves that can be diverted to creating productive assets in the developing and undeveloped world. In the long run, such investments are a win-win because they help to create employment in developing countries thereby also creating huge markets for the products/services of firms based in the industrialized countries. Last but not the least, such undertaking helps to uplift the quality of life of millions of people around the world. • Attracting black money (dirty money) for infrastructure development can also be a viable strategy. Governments may allow use of such money for purchase of infrastructure bonds. Bonds with such facility may pay a lower interest than identical bonds purchased with white money. This is again a win-win. The government can unlock a huge reserve
  • 68. of unaccounted money and can obtain such capital at a lower cost. At the same time, the entity/person hoarding black money can convert it into white money (by paying a nominal capital gains tax or interest income tax) while also receiving a return. These developing countries with a vast pool of youth population have a small window of opportunity that must be seized by their governments. First the governments will have to ramp up the primary, secondary and tertiary education infrastructure and then skill the graduates. This ramp up will have to be in tandem with enhanced healthcare and nutrition. At the same time, the government will have to ramp up the physical infrastructure and even expand the manufacturing base so as to absorb the millions of educated and skilled youth, produced each year. A match between the number of youth entering the workforce and the number of jobs is an absolute must to ensure peace and harmony in these developing countries, and the world at large. Pyramid below depicts the equality in importance of education, health and employment opportunities, in tapping the potential of millions of youth, and hence creating a peaceful and economically productive society.
  • 69. Job creation Peace & Economic productivity Health & Nutrition Education & Skilling
  • 70. 11 If the environment is screwed nothing else really matters “We won't have a society if we destroy the environment” Margaret Mead American cultural anthropologist
  • 71. Economic and social progress is of least value if it comes at the expense of our environment. I cannot imagine living in a world where one has to walk around wearing oxygen masks for breathing, where floods and droughts become seasons, and where trees, plants and animals are only to be seen in text books. What I have just said is so banal (and repetitive) that I actually thought twice whether I should even write this note. But the fact is that the threat to environment is real and imminent. It needs our immediate attention and we need to prioritize environmental protection. While transitioning from the pre-industrial to industrial phases, we, as human beings were in awe of industrial discoveries and inventions. Productivity increased; agriculture was replaced by manufacturing; focus then started shifting onto services. At the same time, a lot of countries in Asia & Africa were gaining independence from their colonists. These countries which were earlier busy with their freedom struggles were facing humanitarian crises post-independence. There were large scale migrations (due to partitions), food & grain shortages and the exploitation of these nations by their colonists would leave them dilapidated for several decades following the independence. During these periods – industrialization of the west and recuperation of the East – environment was accorded the least priority. By the time the West woke up from their party and the East had just started to resurrect, it was too late. Ozone had started to deplete, sea levels had started to rise, there was a
  • 72. marked increase in earth's temperature and ice caps had started shrinking. Flora and Fauna in various regions of the world was classified as endangered.
  • 73. This is not a desert. This is (was) Amazon forest.
  • 74. Arctic is melting Some scientists have recently stated that we have less than a decade to reverse the adverse environmental changes. This should ring an alarm bell for us. All corporations, governments and people must rise above all other differences, to unite in their efforts to save our planet.
  • 75. While a lot of attention has been given to environment in recent years, and a variety of measures, programs and initiatives started, a lot still remains to be done to save our planet. Some of the ways we could check environmental degradation, includes: • Using public (mass) transportation instead of individual vehicles • Promoting use of electric cars • Using recyclable stuff • Switching off electrical gadgets when not using them • Using technologies that automatically cut energy consumption based on some control parameters • Switching to alternate fuels/energy (solar, wind, tidal) instead of coal • Retrofitting all emission sources/points across the world with new technology • Discouraging travel and utilizing IT as a communication enabler • Ensuring rapid curtailment of forest fires • Strictly implementing ban on poaching/killing of endangered animals While all of these ways are being currently implemented, there is a need for widespread/global education campaign to increase awareness among people about the threat to environment.
  • 76. Last but not the least, population control is also needed for checking environmental degradation. However, this is not as easy to implement given the political dynamics involved. In most developing countries, the most populous section of the society, is also the most influential in determining the fate of politicians and political parties simply because of their numbers and the their higher than average voter turnout. No party wants to bell the cat. Any party that tries to mandate population control on such populous groups may face voters' wrath in the elections. Educating these groups on population control has not yielded very promising results because of their low education levels and the argument that more kids in the family mean more bodies to earn money. However, the good news is that, of late, such groups are beginning to understand the long term benefits of smaller families, and its role in bringing upward mobility to such families.
  • 77. 12 Don't do charity “Charity is injurious unless it helps the recipient to become independent of it” John D. Rockefeller American industrialist & philanthropist
  • 78. Firstly, the word 'Charity' is belittling because it implies inability of the recipient to fend for themselves. While that may theoretically be true but the core reason for that situation is an ineffective governance (due to greed and inefficiency) and insensitivity of business and political leaders. It is the responsibility of any government to enable each of its citizens to be able to earn livelihood and lead a dignified life. Secondly, instead of providing free food or money or clothes, the poor must be provided education, they must be trained to enter the workforce and they must be assisted in career guidance & job search. Give them fish, they will enjoy the dinner tonight; teach them how to fish and they will enjoy dinner every night.
  • 79. 13 Specialize for Peace “A durable and equitable peace system requires equal development opportunities for all nations” Willy Brandt German politician; Noble Peace Prize winner
  • 80. It seems imperative that for all countries to live peacefully with one another and have peace within their societies, they will need to have a competitive edge in one or the other economic area. Not only would this enable the respective countries to create wealth for themselves but it will also make them a stakeholder in the progress of the entire world. It is also important to understand that the developed countries will have to help the underdeveloped countries to become competitive in their areas of specialty. This may be achieved by introducing new (latest) technologies in the region (as against the previous approach of exporting older technology to the underdeveloped markets); introducing newer managerial techniques and tools; and also helping the underdeveloped countries to build their education and health care infrastructure. Unless we have such a model of global inclusiveness, there will always be soft spots and regions which will support and breed terrorists and other disruptive forces. Having said that, it is not sustainable for our world to to have a few highly developed countries ('haves') and a large number of underdeveloped ones. Initially, the 'have nots' may witness social unrest within their boundaries but sooner or later the undeveloped regions shall become a breeding ground for exporting terror, maritime piracy (Gulf of Aden is a hotbed of such activity), promoting international drug trafficking, money laundering, illegal arms sales and in the worse case scenario,
  • 81. an agent for illegal nuclear trade. Not that all this is not currently happening, but if proactive measures are not adopted by the developed world to build an “inclusive” model, these problems would only worsen with time. Each country – whether developed or developing – should assess its strengths and areas of opportunities. These could be: • Vast pool of educated youth • Service oriented culture • Natural resources – fertile soil, coal, oil, metals etc • Wastage of agricultural produce • Scenic beauty • Marine productivity • Land pattern – deserts, mountains, plains • Weather – winds, rains, heat • Creativity in society • Abundance of a particular vegetation or crop • Location Every nation should leverage their natural strength to the maximum. Not only will this create prosperity for the country but it will also benefit the entire world (through efficient resource utilization). Nations that have leveraged their natural strengths have made a mark for themselves in those specialist areas.
  • 82. Industries that have (or can be) developed on the basis of natural strengths of a country: Vast pool of educated youth • Business Process Outsourcing • IT services industry • Engineering services Service oriented culture • Business Process Outsourcing (airlines, hospitality credit card services, financial services) • International summits, conferences & workshops Natural resources – fertile soil, coal, oil, metals, gems, river systems etc • Production of crops, fruits & vegetables • Exports of commodities • Refining of commodities to value-added products • Power generation (large and small scale hydro power projects) Wastage of agricultural produce • Food processing industry (domestic & export markets) • Cold Chain development (Pre-harvest processing, Storage, transportation, retail) Scenic beauty • Tourism (including Eco Tourism) – Resorts, Safaris, Tourist spots • International business summits, conferences
  • 83. Land pattern – deserts, mountains, plains, coastline • Deserts may be used for setting up solar farms • Desert sands may be used to develop optical fibers (used in telecommunications) • Mountains may be used for hydel power • Access to seas (Coastlines) may be utilized to develop aquaculture (fisheries, marine life) for food, medicines Weather – winds, rains, heat, cold • Windy countries/regions may develop wind farms to generate power • Rainy areas – Groundwater (for domestic use & even export of water) • High solar intensity regions may emphasize solar power generation • Colder regions may develop cold storage facilities for domestic as well as foreign markets Creativity in society • Entertainment industry • Publishing industry Abundance of a particular vegetation or crop • Biofuel • Food processing Location • Refining base for oil • Shipping industry
  • 84. • Ports industry (rent seeking) • Tourism industry • Economic & financial capital for multilateral organizations
  • 85. 14 Re inventing the Government Administrative machinery “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete” Buckminster Fuller Philospher, futurist and global thinker
  • 86. Governments worldwide need to give a serious thought to re inventing how they administer. With the rapid adoption of the internet and related technologies, evolution of new markets (e.g. online services), the opening and subsequent emergence of previously closed economies, and increased incidences of terrorism (extremism), the governments cannot administer effectively using archaic assumptions, work flows and control systems. Some of the areas that must be looked into, include: 1) Digitization of all the government records: This would promote quick retrieval of information, increase transparency and trust (between citizens and the government) and the stored data can be used to develop “Administrative Intelligence” which can be used to guide the Administrators. 2) Digitization of work processes: By making the internal and public interface processes available online (intranet, extranet and internet), not only would the costs involved in executing the processes, come down, but it would increase the transparency (and hence accountability) as well. Use of technology shall make the administrative machinery leaner (in terms of staff, consumption of paper and other operational costs) and help to reduce the time spent on internal approvals and in delivering public services. Incidences of error related with manual processing may be eliminated, as well. While, federal and state governments are beginning to implement IT in their administrative systems, the governments need to set aggressive
  • 87. time lines for digitization of entire administrative system, and ensure that the state systems and federal systems are integrated (to avoid redundancy in data and processes). 3) Public Access to government funding information Timeline for all the public programs initiated by the governments (both federal and state) along with the administrators responsible for the implementation of those projects must be made available on the internet. Budgets allocated and the details of spending must be provided, too. 4) Public Access to government processes Every time a citizen engages with the government, the status of the engagement should be made available online. The system should be similar to the online application process to various colleges and universities. Unless public can see in real time how their taxes are being spent and the status of their interactions with the government, they will not trust the governments and will continue to be cynical of them. For example, if I apply for a new phone connection, I should be able to track in real time, the status of my application, online. While in the short term, use of technology would be resisted by some because their vested interests may be affected but if the Governments are sincere about social equality, democratization and development-of-the-last-mile they would go ahead with implementing technology throughout their administrative setup. In the long run, this would significantly boost the Government's image among the citizens and even foreign nations, and of
  • 88. course, will improve the efficiency of the entire administrative machinery. Benefits are summarized below: • Efficient utilization of tax money • Improved public delivery services – cost, time, quality, transparency • Increased trust between the Government and its citizens • Increased foreign investment – which further leads to economic development 5) Sharing of data base and work processes among government departments Sharing of data and work processes among various government departments can significantly increase the efficiency of all the departments (by speeding the inter-department approval processes) as well as reduce the wastages due to un-coordinated public works projects. For example, real-time data on projects could be shared between the Transportation, Railways, Sewage disposal, telephone, electricity and the local public works department (responsible for roads, lighting). This would ensure that all necessary approvals are obtained quickly and that there is no rework. Reworks are a major issue (and drain on resources) in public works. Very often, due to lack of co-ordination among the road and sewage disposal departments, the sewage pipes are changed after the road has been re constructed. This necessitates a fresh series of patchwork on the roads. Not only does the rework make the road less usable for a longer time period, it also costs the government more.
  • 89. Revitalizing state owned firms Even though the state owned firms are not directly a part of government's administrative machinery, re-vitalizing such organizations is an important part of reinventing the government set up. Some of the ways of achieving this are listed below: • Reduce fixed pay and add performance based pay • Introduce labor reforms that allow for flexibility in shedding non-performers and hiring as per the needs of the organizations, through simple process. Currently, in most countries, it is next to impossible to lay off a government employee even if he is a non-performer. This breeds an unhealthy sense of security among government employees and translates to a lackadaisical attitude towards the job. • Introduce regulation that bans strikes by government departments especially in areas of essential services. I know first hand how it feels when the electricity of entire city is cut off or the broadband service is disrupted due to a strike by the electricity & the telecommunications departments, respectively. Such service disruptions do not just affect ordinary consumers but they affect the functioning of critical infrastructure such as airports and hospitals. This also has a severe negative impact on a country's image. • Cross leverage firms in the public sector to improve asset utilization, remove redundancies, increase work variety (and hence motivation of employees) and ultimately improve
  • 90. the return on government's equity (ROGE). Cross leveraging is discussed in detail later. • Shift all work flow processes to IT systems – for quick, error-free, paper less work • All project accountabilities may be made public by publishing project details on the Internet • Upgrade skills of employees every year through mandatory corporate training courses State owned organizations that can be revitalized using the above measures, include: • Post Office • Railways • Non Banking Financial Institutions (NBFIs) • Hospitals • Police • Government Schools • Government Colleges • Vocational training Centers • Scientific research organizations • Industrial & Agricultural Equipment Manufacturer • Food processors Cross Leveraging
  • 91. Government organizations such as public sector banks, Non banking financial institutions (insurance companies, pension funds), post office, railways, government hospitals, police, government schools/colleges, scientific research organizations and vocational training colleges should be cross leveraged, by utilizing each other's distribution network/reach, co-branding and allowing transfer of employees across organizations. Cross leveraging by firms may include: • utilizing the network of other organizations for distribution of products/services and for communicating with potential customers. For example, a Post Office network could be used to sell/distribute insurance or other financial products. • allowing personnel skills, knowledge and experience in one firm to be transferred to another through deputations and transfers • having access to a common marketing database (client database). For example, the electricity, water and phone departments could use a common (shared) customer database and integrate their billing and CRM processes. This would lower their costs of operation as well as benefit the customers by reducing the number of interaction points. • collaborating on projects (and using technology as an enabler). For example, government's telecommunications and power related organizations could jointly develop
  • 92. technology to transmit data and electricity cheaply, over the power lines. As an example, the Post Office can • distribute Financial products of public sector banks and NBFCs (insurance, auto loans, equipment loans, microfinance) • market FMCG (Fast Moving consumer Goods) • distribute and collect enrollment forms for schools, colleges and vocational training colleges • provide intelligence to local police • administer market research surveys • disseminate information on epidemic in other parts of the country • disseminate information on preventive healthcare • disseminate adult literacy kits State owned NBFIs could: • manage financial assets for other government organizations • provide venture capital for government's research organizations Railways could be used for:
  • 93. • Food balancing: Railways can help to transport food to shortage areas by receiving real time information. This can significantly reduce storage costs and wastages. • Mobile healthcare: Railways can be used to provide mobile healthcare in the remotest parts of the country. This helps to avoid setting up a namesake health center in a remote part which is merely a cost center for the government and is exploited by the officers in charge of funding the health center. Government Colleges and Vocational colleges may have arrangement with Public Sector organizations for internships of their students.
  • 94. 15 Re Branding the Government “Customers must recognize that you stand for something.” Howard Schultz Founder, Starbucks
  • 95. Reforming a government set up and its governance style must be supplemented with a conscious, proactive re branding of the image of the government and its governance. This is especially crucial in developing countries where years of inefficiencies in governance have (rightfully) made citizens and foreigners cynical of such governments. Initiatives for re-branding a country's governance must include: • Communicating through various media the changes that have been brought in the governance. Specific examples and facts must be provided. The message should be clear, succinct and uniform across the country. • Increasing interaction between the publicly elected representatives and the public through town hall style meetings and Internet blogs. • Re-touching all the points of contact of the Government. Governments interface with the citizens & foreigners through public relation offices, embassies, utility offices (water, phone, electricity, post office), airports, railway stations, bus stations, police stations, fire stations, traffic police, passport offices, offices for registration of firms, offices for driving license, food distribution program offices, government health centres/hospitals, consumer forums, websites. All these offices/interface points must be remodeled/re touched.
  • 96. Re-touching may include: • Modernizing the offices in terms of aesthetics and functionality • Emphasizing presentability, proactiveness, poise, intelligence, personability and efficiency in the people hired for front-office (public interfacing) jobs. Compensation provided to such folks should be competitive and if possible, better than the market (for similar jobs in the private sector). • Re designing all the government website interfaces (webpages). The websites should be as aesthetic and easy to use, as a Fortune 500 company website.
  • 97. 16 Measuring Government Performance “Government is a trust, and the officers of the government are trustees; and both the trust and the trustees are created for the benefit of the people” Henry Clay American statesman and orator
  • 98. While macro indicators such as GDP growth, inflation trends, Industrial production growth, trends in the production of capital goods, unemployment rate and foreign exchange reserves are important parameters for assessing government performance, there is a need for more holistic framework for evaluation of government performance at various levels – federal, state, town, district. Every such political unit must at least be evaluated on the following parameters to assess the efficacy of the government in-charge of the concerned unit. • Number of poverty related suicides • Number of deaths due to inadequate emergency healthcare • Trends in Air pollution levels across the country • Trends in electricity outages • Trends in water supply disruption • Trends in condition of roads • Number of schools with enrollment and pass rates. • Trends in the employment numbers • Number of communal, racial incidents • Number of public representatives with criminal records
  • 99. • Productivity of public representatives (discussed below) I propose a more exhaustive (holistic) framework for assessing governance. The elements of this framework are discussed next. • People • Healthcare • Education • Housing • Economic Standard of living • Safety • Urban built environment • Rural-urban disparities • Community strength and spirit • Civil & political rights • Natural Environment People • General sense of satisfaction with quality of life, immigration/emigration trends Healthcare • Life expectancy • Infant mortality
  • 100. • Communicable Diseases • No. of general physicians/practitioners per 100,000 population • Barriers to accessing a general practitioner. • Mental health and emotional wellbeing (Suicide rates + rates of hospitalisation for attempted suicide) • Recreation and leisure (key free time activities; people’s satisfaction with leisure time) Education Number of schools per 100,000 students; Cost of education; Access to education by people from all stratas of economy; quality of education in both private and subsidized schools. Housing Housing is a fundamental component of quality of life. Without appropriate shelter, people cannot meet their basic needs and participate adequately in society. Housing issues can have flow- on effects for health, education and community wellbeing. Percentage of private dwellings owned and rented • Percentage of population within each ethnic group who own their own home • Number of people living in temporary private dwellings. • Housing costs and affordability
  • 101. • The cost of purchasing a home relative to incomes. • Rental costs vs. income trends • Home mortgage vs. rents Household crowding • Proportion of the population living in crowded households. (crowded households are defined as those in which two or more additional bedrooms are required) • No. of applicants to new government housing as % of housing available Economic Standard of Living • Home ownership, energy, health care and education costs in relation to overall rate of inflation. • The cost of food as compared to overall inflation. • Rental housing costs and clothing costs • % below poverty line • % of wealth owned by the richest 10% Safety Child safety • Rate of substantiated child abuse and neglect per 1,000 • Residents’ rating of safety of local neighbourhoods for children to play in while unsupervised
  • 102. • Rate of hospitalisations for unintentional injury per 100,000 children aged 14 years and under. Road Safety • Rate of serious and fatal road injuries per 100,000 population • Length of stay in hospital due to road crash injuries • Social cost of accidents (includes loss of life estimates) Workplace safety • Incidences per 100,000 employees Crime Levels • Total offence rate per 100,000 population • Number and rate of recorded burglary offences per 100,000 population • Number and rate of recorded violence offences per 100,000 population • Number and rate or recorded sexual offences per 100,000 population • Number and rate of total car offences per 100,000 population • Total drug and anti-social offences per 100,000 population.
  • 103. Urban built environment Look & Feel of the city • Sense of pride • Graffiti • Vandalism • Litter • Noise pollution Land Use • Green space per 1000 people • Access to green open spaces Traffic & Transport • Motor vehicle ownership • Means of travel to work • Distances travelled by mode of transport • Population travelling outside their city to work per 100,000 Public Transport • % population using public transport • Affordability of public transport • Safety of public transport • Convenience of public transport • Ease of access to public transport facilities
  • 104. Rural-urban disparities • Are there any visible disparities in access to public services/amenities between rural and urban areas? Community Strength & spirit • Types of social networks • Location of social networks • Sense of community • Community resilience • Contact with neighbours • Number of people engaged in Unpaid work • Trust • Social isolation • Personal support Civil & political rights • Community involvement in council decision making • % of city residents having an understanding of how their council makes decisions. • % of city residents believing that the public has influence on the decisions that their council makes. • Voter Turnout (federal, state and local council elections) • Representation on local decision making bodies
  • 105. • % of Women in federal & state assemblies and local councils • Does the ethnic composition of assemblies reflect the ethnic diversity of the political units? Natural Environment Waste management and recycling • Access to kerbside recycling • Trend in volume of landfill Energy Use • No. of Energy efficiency projects underway • Is energy efficiency promoted through schools, TV and newspaper? • % of transmission losses (theft related, faulty/old equipment & power lines) • No. of electricity outage incidences (how do these vary across regions, cities and towns) Air Quality • Air pollution levels in relation to those prescribed by Health agencies? Beach and stream/lake water quality
  • 106. • Water quality levels Water Consumption • Trends in the depth of ground water table across cities. Productivity of Public Representatives Apart from assessing the performance of a government body or unit, there should also be evaluation of the productivity of public representatives. A Benefit-Cost Analysis model to assess the productivity of public representatives is presented below. Benefit to the government = Tangible benefits + Intangible benefits Tangible benefits = Government Revenues from a project (by monitoring a project for swift/efficient execution) + No. of jobs created (Salaries) + Net Profit for the suppliers, farmers, factory owners (through contracts/subcontracts) Intangible benefits = Benefits due to increased healthcare access, education, drinking water, electricity, access to highways/roads, improved banking, improved telecommunications (mobile, internet, satellite), improved sanitation, online price discovery esp. for agricultural commodities, improved access to local and export markets, opportunity for vocational training, opportunity for learning English, maintenance of social cohesion and harmony, improved safety for women & children, social security, improved image of the country.
  • 107. Cost to the government = Tangible Costs + Intangible Costs Tangible costs = Salary + Perks (House rents at market rates, Transportation, Foreign Travel + Stay, Private Parties) Intangible costs = Cost due to delay in approvals/disapprovals + Cost due to wrong decision making/judgement (new project, privatization etc) + Cost due to personal agendas (leading to social unrest, corruption etc) + Cost due to graft/bribery/kickbacks Net Value Added (NVA) of a Publicly elected leader = Tangible NVA + Intangible NVA Tangible NVA = Tangible Benefits to the govt. - Tangible cost to the govt. Intangible NVA = Intangible Benefits to the govt. - Intangible cost to the govt. From the above, it is a no-brainer that calculation of intangible costs to the government shall be the most difficult to evaluate and the most controversial, too. To that end, at least the tangible NVA for public representatives should be positive. Productivity of government employees Tangible NVA for a government employee is easy to determine. However, it is more challenging to quantify the intangible benefits & costs. Tools must be developed to evaluate the Net Value Add of a government employee.
  • 108. I believe that an unbiased measurement of government performance and those of its members (publicly elected and bureaucrats) is a critical step to reforming the government machinery. Such measurement shall enhance accountability. Currently, due to lack of either performance measurement systems or the integrity of such measurement systems, and due to unavailability of such information in the public domain, most governments & bureaucrats are operating scot free. As an example, consider a developing country where it is a well known fact that only 10%-20% of developmental money assigned to a project/program reaches the project. Rest is all wasted away in form of graft and inefficiency. In such systems, an honest and detailed performance measurement system is an absolute necessity to ensure that tax revenues are not misappropriated.
  • 109. 17 Its all about Political Will "Will is character in action." William McDougall British psychologist
  • 110. Comprehension & appreciation of the measures and scenarios discussed in this book is important for efficient governance, improved environmental safety, equitable growth and building progressive societies. However, that is only one part of the puzzle. Bureaucrats have always had a good understanding of these issues and there has never been a lack of ideas either, put forward by the civil society (businessmen & academics). But to make things happen, there is a need for POLITICAL WILL among the politicians even if that means making tough decisions in the short run and even perhaps hurting their vote banks. In other words, comprehension of issues together with Political Will, are the basic ingredients of societal transformation. Without a sustained political will to implement the measures discussed in earlier chapters, those measures are not worth much. Yes, they do provide for an inspirational reading but to affect changes in reality, the public representatives must have a desire and determination to act on them. I have no doubt that within a few years of sincerely pursuing changes in the governance, people will start to understand the benefits of those changes, and this would significantly help the public representatives to win people's hearts, and of course, the votes. In most countries (especially developing and undeveloped), “Political Will” takes backseat to personal GREED and other
  • 111. Conflicts of Interest among politicians and political parties. Unless this is changed, we will not see any “real” societal transformation in these countries. The following matrix provides various scenarios resulting due to interplay of Political will and self-promotion by politicians. Political Will – Self promotion Matrix High Idealistic scenario; Things get done; seen possible in States ruled by in most developed kings/dynastic leaders countries and developing countries Political Will Rare; almost zero Corruption, inefficiency; possibility of such seen in undeveloped scenario countries Low Low High Self promotion by leaders As an example, let us consider a developing country in Asia with over 600 administrative units and almost that many parliamentary seats (people representatives). Each year close to $0.5M is provided as development funds to these representatives. No prizes for guessing how much of those funds goes to the bank
  • 112. account of the representative. One would do good by visiting any district at random and asking people if there were any new roads built or if there were any new schools, libraries or health clinics established in last 3 years. More often than not, you will hear that no one even bothered to visit the district or that there has been no new development in the area. Point I am trying to make is this. If a representative genuinely wanted to develop his area, he could easily have done that within a year. In developing countries with cheap labor and raw materials, a lot can be done with US$0.5M, of course, if one has the intentions to do so. In my humble opinion, “Political Will” is a must to bring any kind of changes in the governance or in other areas. Even in the absence of intellectual capacity, a political leader can make a significant difference to the society and the world, if he has the will to pursue progressive policies. Figure below describes the interplay between “Political Will” and “Intellectual Capacity” ans underscores the importance of “Political Will” over “Intellectual capacity”.
  • 113. Political Will – Intellectual Capacity Matrix High Progress possible by Things get done; seen in bringing most developed intellectuals/specialists into countries politics Political Will No progress possible; Seen in countries having most undeveloped caste and region-based vote countries are a result of banks; leaders avoid tough this decisions Low Low High Intellectual capacity of key leaders
  • 114. 18 Accountability, Accountability, Accountability "Accountability breeds response-ability" Stephen R. Covey Management Guru
  • 115. The issue of lack of political will brings us to the mostly- absent element in governance - “Accountability”. Accountability is necessary to establish trust between a government and its citizens. Information technology can be used to promote accountability. For example, one way to check the misuse of government funds is through implementation of Information Technology systems that provide real-time information on: • funds dispersed and the purpose/project for which the funds are allocated • proposed time line of the project • progress of the project • and the representative accountable for the project Such a system should be implemented at every point of funds dispersal and at every level of public representation. The information must be accessible by the general public, over the internet. However, development and use of such a system will only be possible if the political leaders are sincere about their accountability to the public, or in other words have the political will to create an accountable system of governance. The topic of accountability is incomplete without a discussion on Corruption – which is a direct outcome of lack of
  • 116. accountability. A framework for categorizing various forms of corruption is provided below. I call it “The Corruption Pyramid” (refer to figure on the following page) which puts into perspective the magnitude of the various forms of corruption. While we hear, read and see stories of graft and corruption among business entities and between business and the public, through various media on almost a daily basis, these constitute a very small fraction of the overall “corruption pie”. The “Real” corruption that extracts a high monetary and social cost from a country almost always involves the government (and its machinery) and is too sophisticated to be understood by majority of people.
  • 117. The Corruption Pyramid Government-Public: Misuse and misappropriation of public money (tax revenues, funds allocated to Social service programmes) by bureaucrats and politicians for personal gains and/or for funding of political party operations (elections; day to day running of parties); graft by politicians and govt. employees; evasion of G-P taxes/duties/fines by public Government-Government corruption: Personal greed of political leaders, funding of G-G foreign governments for domestic political gains and sometimes, for larger national interests. Government-Business corruption: To seek government tenders & licenses, to obtain access to public/national resources at highly discounted rates, to lobby for preferential Trade regulations, Preferential treatment of files, inside G-B information of the tendering process, Resolution of operational hurdles, evasion of customs/import duties Business-Business corruption: Falsified audit, inflated IPO pricing, favorable Credit Ratings, Price collusion, M&A advisory, Restructuring advisory, Business B-B espionage, Rigged Bidding Business-Public: Preferential treatment, inside information, Resolution of B-P operational hurdles, obtaining procurement contracts P-P Public-Public: Preferential treatment, inside information Note: Government here implies publicly elected representatives
  • 118. It is also interesting to observe the levels of various types of corruption across various types of economies. The chart below provides a qualitative assessment of the various types of corruption in the developed, developing and undeveloped countries. Le v e ls of v arious type s of corruption in v arious e conomie s Govt-Public 10 Govt-Govt Public-Public 5 0 Govt-Business Business-Public Business-Business Developed Developing Undeveloped The various forms of corruption are discussed next. • Public - Public (P-P) • Business - Public (B-P) • Business - Business (B-B) • Government - Business (G-B) • Government - Government (G-G)
  • 119. • Government - Public (G-G) Public - Public (P-P) Motivation: Such corruption germinates from trying to seek preferential treatment in daily life or inside information (e.g. trying to know the status of a file or a case). Prevalence: This type of grass-roots corruption is mainly seen in undeveloped countries and in developing countries (slightly lesser). Developed countries exhibit minimal levels of corruption of this kind. Business - Public (B-P) Motivation: Preferential treatment, Inside information (e.g. seeking information from an employee of a competing firm), Resolution of operational hurdles (clearing of land), Obtaining procurement contracts by bribing the “Buying manager” Prevalence: Undeveloped countries exhibit highest levels of this form of corruption, followed by the developing countries. Developed countries also exhibit this form of corruption, but in lesser magnitude than the developing countries. Business - Business (B-B) Motivation: Audit (e.g. an independent auditor colludes with the client to secure future work with the client), Initial Public Offering (e.g. a company planning an IPO may offer graft to an investment banking firm in return for the bank overstating the
  • 120. strengths/quality of the firm and overpricing the offering), Credit Ratings (e.g. a company wishing to keep its bond ratings overrated may bribe the credit ratings firm), Price collusion (e.g. businesses may keep the prices of their goods/services artificially high by working in tandem), M&A advisory (e.g. a business promoter wanting to get rid of a company against the wishes of its employees/managers may bribe an M&A advisory firm to propose selling off the firm), Restructuring advisory (e.g. a business wanting to layoff employees may bring in an external consultant to recommend the same), Business espionage (e.g. one business trying to stealthily know the pricing strategy or future plans of another firm by paying bribe to a consultant who may be offering his consulting services to both the clients), Rigged Bidding (e.g. a firm colluding with another firm while bidding for a business or contract) Prevalence: Interestingly, this form of corruption is more prevalent in developing economies and the developed economies than the undeveloped countries. This is due to the fact that this form of corruption is more sophisticated and pertains to the high end of services. Most undeveloped countries do not have the institutional frameworks where such corruption may be observed. Government - Business (G-B) Motivation: Government tenders & licenses, public works, Trade regulations (Lobbying for Tax credits, subsidies & other incentives), Cheap access to (or use of) public resources.
  • 121. In undeveloped countries and countries with closed or tightly regulated economies this form of corruption is seen as a natural way of doing business. In countries where the economies have been recently opened (in last 20-25 years), this form of corruption is commonplace, as well, partially due to the “pre free-market” mindset of the government participants (public representatives and bureaucrats) and promoters. In the developed world, this form of corruption has been primarily restricted to lobbying by companies and special interest groups. However, by no means, lobbying is small in magnitude. It has been seen across a range of industries, from the pharmaceutical industry to telecommunications to restaurants to fertilizers to food processing. Prevalence: This form of corruption is found in all types of economies. However, undeveloped economies have higher incidences than the developing ones, which in turn have higher incidences than the developed economies. Government - Government (G-G) Motivation: Funding of political parties (elections; day to day running of parties); funding of foreign governments for domestic political gains and sometimes, for larger national interests; personal greed of political leaders, funds for oiling the system for political party gains
  • 122. This form of corruption may be seen in a variety of transactions and interactions between the governments. Specifically, it may be observed in defense procurement, Peace treaties, Cease Fires, Protection treaties, Technology transfer, Trade regulations, Oil purchase and Reconstruction, to name a few. Kickbacks and commissions fee are the primary methods of graft. Defense procurement and oil purchase are the more obvious transactions, smelling of such graft. However, transactions such as, initiating peace treaties, starting/stopping cease fires, protection agreements (wherein a nation seeks military help from another), transfer of critical technologies and trade regulations (for e.g. country A bribing country B to impose trade sanctions on country C's imports into country B) are other more subtle ways by which Governments indulge in graft. Prevalence: This form of corruption is also found in all types of countries/economies, and is perhaps the oldest and most prevalent form of corruption. All countries, developed, developing and undeveloped, display an almost similar magnitude of this form of corruption. While this form of corruption is the least visible, it is among the biggest types of corruption, in terms of monetary value. While an argument can be made that such form of graft is a means by which by political parties (incumbent government) raise funds for elections and for running their parties, it is worth noting that a significant portion of such graft is diverted towards individual political leaders and towards oiling the system for individual and party gains.
  • 123. Government - Public (G-P) Motivation: Misuse and misappropriation of public money (tax revenues, funds allocated to Social service programmes) by bureaucrats and politicians for personal gains and/or for funding of political party operations (elections; day to day running of parties); graft by government employees; evasion of taxes/duties/fines by public; influencing a civil or a criminal case. Prevalence: Developed world has far fewer instances of this form of corruption than the developing and undeveloped countries. Yet, this form of corruption extracts the most price from the global society, and is most damaging to the world, at large. This form of corruption is the root cause for lack of adequate infrastructure (clean drinking water, electricity, education, healthcare, low cost homes), malnutrition (& chronic hunger), unemployability, unemployment and all the related ills such as poverty, drug abuse, child labor, HIV AIDS, chronic disease, homelessness, urban crime, environmental degradation and hopelessness among the marginalized sections of the society. The most ironical aspect of democracy in developing and undeveloped countries is that the political leaders, by engaging in this form of corruption, crush the right to a dignified life of the very people who voted them to power. The weakest sections of the society accept their wretched lives as their fate written in stone. The middle class feels a sense of hopelessness and ultimately becomes indifferent to the plight of their fellow countrymen and this form of corruption. The immense social cost
  • 124. that is extracted by such corruption, dwarfs any tangible cost associated with it. In my humble opinion, if politicians and bureaucrats take a vow to change their ways and put an end to this form of corruption, we would have solved most of the problems. The various forms of corruption discussed above, make our world collectively poorer, unhappier, less peaceful and a more unsafe place. We may be able to justify all our acts of corruption but there is no way we can hide from ourselves & our conscience. The duality of human existence (discussed in Chapter 2) is a direct result of corruption – a product of human greed & apathy towards the poor. In Adam Smith's words: "The disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and the powerful, and to despise, or, at least, to neglect persons of poor and mean condition is the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments." The duality of human existence (discussed in an earlier chapter) is, in my humble opinion, the single biggest threat to world peace. Millions of people living on the fringes of society are potential inductees to local and international terrorist groups, mafias and other groups trying to destroy the fabric of society. While we endlessly debate on how to eradicate terrorism, local uprisings and increasing incidences of violence, we almost always do not pay attention to the root cause of such activities - corruption and apathy towards the poor. Let us try to spend just one month in the kind of wretched conditions in which millions live and I am sure that most of us
  • 125. (especially those who are disconnected from the realities of life due to their wealth or power) will forget preaching peace and harmony in boardrooms, living rooms, classrooms, award functions, and on TV channels. In summary, the day we would begin to respect another human being's right to a dignified existence, we would have solved most of the world problems.
  • 126. 19 The Right Cabinet “The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” Theodore Roosevelt 26th President of the United States
  • 127. Like in the corporate sector, the key to improving government efficiency and innovation is to attract and retain the brightest and the best. And it has to start with fielding the right candidates. To that end, Electoral reforms are a must in most nations around the world. There are 2 elements to electoral reforms: • Promotion of a truly independent & powerful Election Administration body (known as Election Commission in many countries) • Screening of electoral candidates Promotion of a truly independent, powerful Election Commission Election Commissions in most nations are not believed to be powerful enough to raise voice against key politicians, who disobey election rules. While the commission does raise concerns over the misconduct of politicians during elections, it is more of a talk than action. We need to enact a law in the legislative houses that gives the Election Commission, the authority to act fearlessly against any politician who is not abiding by the rules/standards set out by the commission. Appointments to the Election Commission board may be based purely on the merit of the commission's officers, and politicians should not be legally allowed to influence any appointments. Lateral appointments to the commission should be avoided at all levels within the commission, and a conscious
  • 128. effort must be made to promote all officers from within the commission (based on merit and a 360-degree feedback). Apart from giving the Election Commission greater autonomy, the Election Officers may be provided adequate security to ensure that these officers can conduct their tasks fearlessly. Last but not the least, the pay scales of the Election Commission may be set at higher levels than other government bodies, to discourage any incidences of graft. Screening of electoral candidates I believe that there needs to be a stringent process to screen political candidates. Quality of politicians is crucial for proper development of any country. If the screening processes for employment with the public sector and private sector jobs are demanding then why should there be any laxity with regards to selection of political candidates? At the very least, any aspirant to a public office that represents people (Member of Parliament (federal level) and Member of Legislative Assembly (state level)) should have been involved in national service for atleast 3 years, be a graduate at the minimum, have no criminal history/record and should not be a narcissist or psychotic individual (as determined through personality tests and the past of the individual). The public representatives should also be physically healthy, especially if they are aspiring for a key political position (such as Cabinet minister). Political positions being executive in nature require both experience as well as energy and enthusiasm. With due regards, it must be
  • 129. stated that very often we see politicians who can barely walk, handling important political positions. Therefore, certain minimum health requirements must be laid down before a person can fight an election. If we can successfully implement above measures, I am confident we will be able to filter out incompetent and corrupt politicians from entering the political race. This would increase the level of trust among the public, on politicians and the political system. After putting in place a good screening system for election contestants, the next step would be to pick and choose the best minds for cabinet positions or for “Consultant-to-the minister” positions. A good Cabinet of Ministers for a country (especially for a developing country) should ideally look like this: • Health Minister: Healthcare specialist, Practitioner, Healthcare Administrator • Education Minister: Retired Professor, Dean of College, Well recognized scholar • Power Minister: Engineer or Technocrat with experience in private sector power utility • Agriculture Minister: Agricultural scientist or field engineer who is aware of real issues and problems • Commerce Minister: CEO of a major corporation, industry analyst, strategy consultant or a successful entrepreneur
  • 130. • Rural development Minister: Someone who has worked with an NGO or a rural development organization; retired bureaucrat from Agriculture ministry • Science & Technology Minister: A professor in science, a scientist with a vision or a technologist • Finance Minister: Ex CFO, senior finance professional, CEO of a state-owned bank, or an Economist • External Affairs Minister: Former ambassador, Well known expert in international affairs • Defense Minister: Ex Defense officer, Defense strategist, Retd. bureaucrat from defense ministry All these Cabinet Ministers should be permitted to hire/bring in world class experts & consultants in the respective fields, on multi year contracts. As can be noted above, an ideal cabinet should comprise a mix of free-market corporate executives and socialist mindset professionals (scholars, academicians, activists and ex-bureaucrats). While the ex-corporate execs help to introduce efficiency & innovation in government functioning along with bringing contemporary outlook to country's policies, the socialist mindset folks can ensure that the economic growth of a country is inclusive and takes care of all the stakeholders. While one could argue that the strength of a “Democratic system” is its ability to empower the people to decide who should represent them, I believe that the vast majority of people who
  • 131. influence election results (especially in the developing and undeveloped countries), actually do not understand who is really good for them and who is not. If the demographic profile of voters across nations were to be created, it would be observed that in most nations, the people who influence the selection of majority of representatives, have lower education and incomes than than the average education and income levels for that nation. Essentially these people vote for the 'perception' of a politician and not the 'real' abilities and the 'real' person in the politician. The reason for this phenomenon is that in most developing and undeveloped countries, the educated people abstain from exercising their voting rights, as a way of disapproving of the inept political leadership. Indifference and laziness is also responsible for such abstinence from the voting process. On the other hand, the less educated and marginalized sections feel important at the time of elections because that is the only time when political leaders are rallying around them for their votes. These people are also lured by petty gifts during the election. The result is a large turnout of voters in the marginalized sections while a significantly smaller turnout amongst the educated (middle and upper class) voters. Not surprisingly, then, the biggest irony of democracy is that the vast majority of people elect representatives who lack the vision, drive and intellectual capacity to facilitate progress of the vast majority who brought them to public offices. There
  • 132. are a couple of ways to tackle this systemic problem. Firstly, the civic societies and the Election administrator (commission) should lobby the political parties for a gradual increase in the proportion of those candidates (in elections) who either have had successful careers in the corporate sector or in social sector (as bureaucrats, scholars, scientists, activists, social workers, public sector ex-employees). A lot of developed countries do follow such a system, and in fact, adoption of such a system has been responsible for the growth and economic success of such countries. However, here it is also worth mentioning that intellectual capacity, if it is accompanied with self-promotion is even more harmful than self promotion among leaders without intellectual capacity (refer figure below). Therefore it is important for the Election commission to conduct due diligence on the integrity of the successful professionals being nominated by the parties. As some people say “Intellect is important but Integrity is even more important”.
  • 133. Intellectual Capacity - Self Promotion Matrix High Common in undeveloped Corruption at the countries highest level; both in developed and developing countries Self-Promotion Idealistic scenario; Some countries have transformed Rare from undeveloped to a developed country in a short time span due to this Low Low High Intellectual capacity of key leaders Secondly, an internet-based online system for voting should be introduced alongside the conventional voting. Given the high internet usage rates and a low voter turnout among the educated, the voter turnout would increase significantly as a result of online voting. Voters who didnt vote simply out of laziness or lack of time or not being in their constituency, at the time of voting, would turn to online voting in huge numbers. Even those who do not vote, out of disapproval for the key political parties, may actually cast their votes. This would benefit the
  • 134. independent candidates and in the long term the nation's democratic process would be strengthened. Apart from the issues of screening of candidates and voter turnout, there are other roadblocks to a healthy democracy. Firstly, it is a very common occurrence that multiple members of the same family stand in elections representing different parties. While it can be argued that in democracy, every person has the right to choose a political ideology per his/her wish, however, we all know that contesting from different parties is a way of “political hedging” used by such families. In simple words, such an arrangement increases the chances of the family being politically relevant and continue to reap the perks, therein. Electoral screening process may be used to check such misuse of public representation. Secondly, some publicly elected representatives switch sides after elections, as a way to seek favor or a political position. This is a blatant betrayal of the trust imposed by the public in such representatives. For example, if a candidate seeks votes from the public as a representative of party A and wins, and later joins party B, he is essentially betraying the people who voted for him as party A's representative. The only way to curb this malpractice is by enacting a law that prohibits any switching of parties (after being elected) until the next elections when the representative must fight elections representing the new party where he wishes to go.
  • 135. Both these issues are indicative of greed for power and self- promotion, and must be tackled firmly. I will close this chapter by noting that people, world wide, belonging to any social strata or religion, do not want to be manipulated (divided) on the basis of caste, sex, religion or region. They want good governance (corruption free and efficient) and opportunities for upward mobility. That's it. To that end, the first step to a healthy democracy is to promote nomination and selection of public representatives who have integrity, and are intellectually capable, progressive, non self promoting and non divisive. This seems like an unachievable wish list but unless we have such high standards in our polities, we cannot get rid of other evils of our society.
  • 136. 20 Building Value Systems Top Down “It is not fair to ask of others what you are unwilling to do yourself” Eleanor Roosevelt Wife of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • 137. Economic progress has to be matched with social progress. Economic progress is a function of increased worker productivity, use of technology, innovation, natural resources and financial resources. On the other hand, social progress is a function of social cohesion in the society, value systems in the society and a sense of pride among individuals in the society. Of these, value systems are the most important. It is often said that a “strong” country is economically sound while a “great” country is not only economically sound but has great value systems, as well. A value system that flows from the top, and encourages professional & personal integrity, social equity (inclusiveness), empathy for less fortunate, generosity, humility and a sense of camaraderie in daily life, is the key to building a progressive society (refer table on next page for classification of societies) and a progressive nation, in true sense. Political leaders (and those in public service) worldwide should take the lead and set examples for above mentioned values. However, it is easier said than done, and requires personal commitment on part of top brass of various political parties to make sure that they promote those in the party who exhibit these good values. That in turn implies that the top brass themselves have to be prepared to change their own ways, if needed. Because
  • 138. if they cannot lead by example, they cannot expect their subordinates to respect these value systems. Classification of Societies Parameter Progressive Less De generative progressive Women rights & freedom High Medium to low Low/No Medium (Glass Social justice High doors & No ceilings) Quality of political leadership (w.r.t. Integrity, Above average Average Poor education) Medium Spirit of camaraderie/Social High (triggered by No cohesiveness events) Power distance* Low to medium Medium Very high Corruption levels Low to Medium Medium Very high Spirit of charity among the None (self- High Medium elite promotion) Journalistic integrity Medium to High Low to medium None Value of education High Medium Low Least Moderately Most Distribution of wealth inequitable inequitable inequitable Authoritarian / Nature of politics Progressive Divisive Dictatorship * Power distance is the extent to which less powerful members of institutions and organizations within a country expect and accept that power is distributed unequally.
  • 139. Apart from leading by example, there needs to be a change in the incentive structure of governments. For example, Ministers in the federal and state governments should be paid handsome salaries. However, this alone is not enough. There are several instances of political leaders wherein their greed for power and money never ends. They use their contacts and influence to set up businesses, broker business and political deals, award multi-billion dollar government contracts & licenses to favored parties, sell-of government assets at massive discounts to their friends & family, channel tax payer's money to sham projects, and so on. Therefore, a change in the incentive structure has to be complemented with a fundamental shift in a political party's organization. The party must field candidates from corporate and social sector, who are successful in their domains, have integrity and are either already well off (financially) or are known for their intellectual capacity. In summary, leading by example, incentivization and political party re-organization are the key mantras for building value systems in the political system and hence in the society.
  • 140. Lead by example Pillars of “Value Systems” in political system Incentivize Re organize
  • 141. 21 The concept of Nations, Democracy & Power “If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in the government to the utmost” Aristotle Greek philospher
  • 142. Understanding of the world, its institutions and its people can not be complete without an understanding of the concept of Nations, Democracy & Power. The evolving concept of Nations (National boundaries) requires an understanding of two phenomena: migration and globalization. Wandering in search for food, water and shelter dates back to the stone age. Last few centuries have seen international migration, both voluntary and forced. Economic opportunities, quality of life, social injustice, communal disharmony & genocide have been the key driving forces behind migration between nations. Impact of Economic opportunities and overall quality of life on international migration is illustrated in the figure below. Inter national migration High Those who value quality Very little migration; of life will migrate Migration mainly due to non economic reasons – weather, relatives, leisure, travel Economic opportunities Migration of masses Migration is limited; assured short term relocation to foreign countries Low Low High Overall quality of life
  • 143. More recently, we have witnessed the phenomenon of globalization. This phenomenon has significantly diluted the concept of political boundaries of Nations. With increased globalization the perception of a national boundary has altered. People, especially who are able to participate in the globalization are beginning to see themselves as the citizens of the world. An Indian born in Singapore and settled in US and making trips to UK for work is not mentally tied to a nation. Instead his concept of society is his work place, his home, the countries he visits and his social circle (which is mainly developed through Facebook or MySpace). This guy knows people from over 50 countries, he can speak atleast 3 languages and is more up to date on an international sports event than on an event in his country of birth or country of residence. While such internationally mobile global citizens may be few in number, there are millions of people globally whose mindsets are being transformed right in their home countries in a manner that is melting the national political boundaries. This social transformation is being driven by the popularity of Social networks, TV and overseas education. Social networks such as Facebook are enabling people with similar interests to interact with one another, leading to development of groups and subgroups of people who are tied by a cause or a sport or a genre of music. Like wise, TV is getting more globalized with thousands of channels from just about every country on the planet, and is moulding the mindset of youth, right in their living rooms. Increase in the number of students preferring to
  • 144. go overseas for study is also playing an important role in shaping multinational mindsets. Globalization of mindsets has been further accelerated by economic globalization (arrival of global brands). An interplay of these two phenomena is illustrated in the figure below. It can be observed that simultaneous presence of both economic and mindset globalization is beneficial for the society. Such a society is truly multicultural, promotes creativity and is progressive. People in such societies dont have national (political) boundaries even in their sub conscience when they are interacting with one another or with people from external societies. Mindset vs. Economic globalization High Great interest in imported Truly multicultural stuff; society; creativity; Foreign travel by citizens; scientific & artistic Increase in emigrants; progress is maximum Copying of ideas & systems Globalized mindset of local people “Cut off” society Slower adoption of Least scientific & foreign goods, ideas; artistic progress Not truly multicultural society Low Low High Level of economic globalization
  • 145. Apart from the globalization of the mindset and the economies, lack of economic opportunities in certain regions and countries has also encouraged mass emigration (and migration). Therefore, given these developments, political boundaries of nations have become redundant for most people (especially the middle and the upper class) and are of relevance only to the politicians. Even a commoner is beginning to understand the reason why politicians are always keen on bringing up the issues of protectionism, and do not want to resolve long standing issues pertaining to political boundaries. By keeping such issues alive, politicians are able to justify their relevance disproportionate to their actual contribution to a society. It is also interesting to note that redundancy in political boundaries has not affected the attachment of emigrants and non- resident citizens (particularly the youth) to their home countries. Through my interactions with people living away from their home countries, I discovered that such people felt a stronger sense of affection for their home country while living abroad. And many of these people rightfully argue that they can better contribute to their home country by being outside than being in it. I also agree with this notion. In my opinion, I would do more disservice to my home country if I were to work in my country and evade taxes or work unproductively in a job which doesn't interest me, than if I was living abroad and leveraged my talents to the fullest. Quite obviously, in the latter
  • 146. scenario I would be able to do more for myself and hence contribute more effectively to my country, as well. Next, I wish to discuss the concept of Democracy. Health & efficacy of a democracy depends on two factors more than anything else. These are: a) Ease of forming a political party & contesting elections Nations where it is easier and affordable to run elections are capable of displaying true democracy – where every individual can have a say in the governance of a country. b) Number of key political parties Large number of key political parties imply a broader representation base and helps to check any misuse of power by any individual party. A “True” democracy is one which houses several key political parties and where the barriers to entry (in politics) are low. Though such a setup is conducive to developing a progressive society, “True” democracy is more difficult to achieve in practicality.
  • 147. Analyzing Democracy High Democracy based on True democracy broad issues/political views Ease of forming a party & contesting elections by any citizen Informal Power Pseudo democracy sharing system; Undemocratic set up Low Low High No. of key political parties Countries with multiple key political parties but where barriers to entering politics are huge, are Pseudo Democratic. While a breadth of ideologies may have a voice in such a country, bringing “Real changes” is very difficult. As an example,let us consider a country with multiple political parties of national stature. All these parties try to get votes by positioning themselves differently on issues that are not relevant to the people anymore. And it is almost impossible for an individual without huge amount of money or muscle power to form a
  • 148. formidable party that can take up the real issues facing the people. Therefore, even though theoretically its a democratic setup but in reality common people have no say in influencing relevant issues. Citizens of such nations may become indifferent to the causes of their country and lose their sense of belonging to that place. In nations where its easy to enter politics and where there are just one or two key political parties, an individual can exercise some influence over the issues of concern to him/her. He/she can do so by either joining one of the bigger political parties or seeking support to his/her causes from those parties. Finally, nations where entering into politics (by an individual who lacks money or muscle power) is impossible, and where the key parties are just 1 or 2 in number, democracy is only for namesake. However, some nations with similar setup use Referendums as a way of enabling public participation. In such countries, the vision, intellectual capacity and political will of the political leaders defines the future of the nation. A lot of countries with similar set up have shown remarkable progress – much faster than in other kinds of democratic setups. We have talked about Nations and we have talked about Democracy. A more sensitive topic that naturally follows any discussion on these subjects is that of “Power”. Without delving into the categorization of power (which can be had from any book on Organizational Development), I will state that the strongest form of power is one which is accompanied with love and respect.
  • 149. If people like you and respect you, you have “real” power. Power that is derived only by virtue of a position or ability to do favors, vanishes as soon as the position or the ability to do favors, vanishes. In context of politics, the most powerful political leaders are those who live in the hearts of people. It is an indisputable fact that almost no one in politics is absolutely clean (you know what I mean), and it would be naïve for anyone to think that the public doesnt know this. The public, even in a democratic setup, is not institutionally equipped to sanitize the political representatives. Therefore civic society has no choice but to overlook the deficiencies in the character (lack of integrity or intellectual capacity) of the political representatives and judge them by their developmental work and how they treat people, in general. Hence, despite deficiencies in personal character and lack of intellectual capacity, the political representative who is able to deliver on his promises (made to the public) is able to win the hearts of people. Such political leaders gain popularity among the people and do not need any formal positions (such as ministerial berths etc) to make themselves politically relevant. They wield enormous influence even without holding any formal position of power, and can shake entire governments or administrative systems.
  • 150. 22 Credits where they are due “Civilization is a method of living, an attitude of equal respect for all men” Jane Addams American activist; Nobel Peace Prize winner
  • 151. They are beautiful. They are charming. They entertain us. Yes, I am talking of celebrity actors, athletes, sport stars and TV personalities. Undoubtedly, entertainment is and has always been an important and integral part of human happiness. Not surprisingly, then, the entertainers have always got more than their fair share of attention. However, there is more to this than what meets the eye. Media companies are content dependent and thrive upon sensationalism and therefore, are highly vested in the above mentioned folks. To that end, a major part of the attention given to these people is media fabricated. Given the power of media in creating perceptions and in shaping the public opinion especially among the younger generation, it plays a key role in influencing any society's value systems and its power- distance*. As an example when we routinely see the news of a celebrity's illness or his new possession on the first page of a national daily and on the other hand find the news of bravery of security forces or of skillfulness of a doctor in successfully completing a complicated operation, buried either in the sidebar of the front page or the sixth or seventh page of a newspaper, it is quite natural for most of us to start valuing a celebrity's existence and status in society to be higher than that of an engineer, doctor or a soldier. Over time, we start to believe that a celebrity is larger than the society and the nation, as a whole, and a power-distance is created. The reality, however, is that those of us who do routine tasks day after day without any yearning for fame, power or quick riches,
  • 152. are the “real” heroes and the real strength of any society. They choose to live for pride of honor, satisfaction and contribution instead of living for pride of Power, riches or fame. These are the people who keep us safe from enemies, they toil for us in scorching heat so that we can enjoy exquisite delicacies, they design innovative products and systems to make our lives more productive, they find ways to cure us of deadly diseases, they help us rehabilitate and recuperate from illnesses and they encourage us to learn. They are the fundamental blocks of our society who help us to relax, enjoy, learn, be healthy and ultimately progress in life. It is high time we give credits where it is due. Let us all salute our “real” heroes – the soldiers, policemen, farmers, factory workers, scientists, engineers, teachers and doctors. Lets put the food where the mouth is.
  • 153. 23 Bare your soul “Most people say that is it is the intellect which makes a great scientist. They are wrong: it is character.” Albert Einstein
  • 154. Having interacted with numerous corporate managers, investment bankers and consultants from strategy and audit firms, I am in awe of their (at least majority of them) intellectual prowess. However, a lot of these folks are also some of the most self- centered, success hungry folks I have known. For them, the world revolves around them (atleast thats what they like to believe). It gives them a great ego boost to be part of the largest IPO deal of the year or the most talked about restructuring or the highest ever increase in net profits. A lot of these folks hide behind their expensive business degrees or the “killing” they made for their employer. They seem to be able to justify everything (their interactions with others; their insensitivity to the world around them) by their professional success. I sincerely hope that this book can change heart of atleast one such banker or a consultant or a manager to be more sensitive to the world around them; to appreciate that they were born on the same planet as others and to develop a sense of responsibility towards the society. We cannot always blame political leaders for the state of our societies. We also have the duty to change ourselves and contribute in whatever little measure we can, to make this world a fairer, more sensitive and more equitable place. To that end, investment bankers, business consultants and corporate managers are amongst the most influential bunch of people who have the
  • 155. intellectual ability and connections needed to bring about positive changes in their societies.
  • 156. 24 What is Success? Try not to be a man of success, but rather to be a man of value. Albert Einstein
  • 157. My definition of success has altered significantly over the years due to my experiences (both, good and not so good). I used to measure success as an individualistic achievement that serves to set us apart from the rest – in form of receiving awards, making money, obtaining promotions and possessing material things. Theoretically this model for qualifying success looks sound but it rests entirely on external inputs. I have realized through my own personal experience that to me success was really about being liked and respected by people around me and a sense of satisfaction that I received by helping others. These are both intangible metrics, but are the most important ingredients of success, in my opinion. If everyone used this yardstick to measure success, we would have solved major world problems. In sum, Success is the ability to win hearts.
  • 158. 25 Integrity is Integrated “One man cannot do right in one department of life whilst he is occupied in doing wrong in any other department. Life is one indivisible whole” Mahatma Gandhi
  • 159. I am never able to understand how a 'good' businessman who cheats in his personal relationship be a 'good' businessman. What is the guarantee that he cannot cheat his suppliers, customers, stockholders and employees? Likewise, how can a consultant with a top strategy firm or an audit firm or with an investment bank – who doesn't have any empathy for ordinary people - solve complex business problems – most of which have a direct or indirect link to people, whether it is an operations issue, a sales issue, productivity issue or winning customers. A 'good' businessman (or consultant) is also a 'good' family man and a 'good' citizen. A person who is devoid of latter two qualifications can at most be a good businessman, and not a 'good' businessman. Being 'good' is about having Integrity and EQ. Anyone with high IQ, determination and hunger can be good but only those who also possess EQ and conscience, can claim to be 'good'. To that end, Mr. Ratan Tata, Mr. Anand Mahindra and Mr. Nicholas Heymann are some examples of 'good' business leaders, while Mr. Sachin Tendulkar is an example of a 'good' sportsman.
  • 160. 26 Lets do it Now! “We must be the change you wish to see in the world” Mahatma Gandhi
  • 161. What are we waiting for? If we have the wealth and the influence, lets start working together now. Lets tackle the water crises, the energy crises, terrorism, healthcare issues, education, unemployment, poverty and exploitation NOW! Let us lobby for these causes in Congress, boardrooms and on factory floors; let us contribute some of our wealth to building schools, hospitals; let us fund research of alternative energy fuels and technologies;let us create new employment opportunities in areas with no source of employment; lets push for transparency in government processes. We just cant wait forever. Lets be the role model for a new world order where equality is a norm and transparency a way of doing things; where we care for our environment the way we care for ourselves; and where we unite not divide.