Thursday, August 31, 2017

Modi's Remarkable Political Maneuvers Are Nobel Peace Prize Size

Of all the heads of state on the world stage right now, Modi is the most remarkable. He promises to be the economic Gandhi of India, the Deng Xiaoping, the Lee Kuan Yew. None of the three - the Mahatma, Deng, or Lee - had to contest elections like Modi has to. And it is not just every five or four years. In India a France size election is just round the corner all the time.In that sense India is not just the largest democracy. It is a perpetual democracy. 

The true test of political leadership is if you can get the people to make short term sacrifice for long term gain, and Modi seems to have managed to do it. His grand moves of demonetization and the GST ("good and simple tax" in his words) might have dragged the growth rate down from a high of 7.9% to a still impressive 5.7% but without demonetization and the GST perhaps India could not have aspired for a growth rate of 10% or more. Now it can. 

But Modi does not have the luxury of time. The growth rate has to now go past at least 8% before he has to go back to the people in 2019 to renew his personal mandate. 

Job creation is a major hurdle. It will happen or not in the so called informal sector. Making available credit to the chaiwalas (tea sellers) of India is what will do the trick. 

On the political front Modi seems to be defying gravity. He repeated his total sweep of Uttar Pradesh. Nitish Kumar, projected by many as his most likely rival in 2019, has instead switched sides and joined him again. This would be like if John McCain were to join the Democratic Party.

Modi's challenge is to remain Prime Minister for at least 15 more years and give India sustained double digit growth rates, and then give the country a successor who will continue on that double digit path. All electoral victories however impressive will not mean much unless that economic objective is met. So far he shows all signs he will deliver. 

In his very first year as PM Modi successfully concluded India's border dispute with Bangladesh. The dispute made the Israel Palestine land dispute look like a piece of cake. Just recently he got China to step back from potential war, or at least a skirmish. These are Nobel Peace Prize size political moves. A prize that he deserves, by the way. But it will be Gandhiesque if he does not get it. There is no telling he will not fall into the white blind spot. This is Time magazine Man Of The Decade if you ask me. 

The thorn in his side continues to be the extreme right wing of his own organization. Hindu pride is fine. But anti-Muslim intolerance is offensive. If ever the BJP ends up in disgrace, that social weakness is going to be the reason why. It is the same God both Hindus and Muslims pray to. Five blind men are touching the same elephant. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

The World Needs To Move Towards A World Government

The debate if the 21st century will continue to be an American century, or if it will become an Asian century is moot. This is not even going to be an Internet century. The Blockchain will prove bigger than the Internet, and bigger still technological trends are right around the corner. The nation state itself is about to be shown its place. It is high time the world moved towards creating a world government. One person one vote has to be the basic premise.

Third Culture Kid (TCK) Barack Obama is best positioned to be George Washington to the world. He was born to a Kenyan in Hawaii, he grew up in Indonesia as a kid, he was America's first black president, and he did a decent job of steering America after a Great Depression like economic event. His Obamacare was so well placed, the opposition party, despite having all three branches of government at its disposal, has not been able to dislodge it, despite having opposed it non stop right from its enactment.

India leads on the biometric ID front. And Narendra Modi has acquired a Deng Xiaoping, Lee Kuan Yew like stature. Add to that India's population size and history of democracy, and that puts Modi in a strong place to help architect the world government.

The world government would be a new layer of government at the very top, just like the local level, the state level, the national level. It is the roof all national governments need.

One per cent of GDP should be the tax each national government ought to pay for membership. By the time the world government is put in place, the UN and all similar world bodies ought to be subsumed by the new world government. Take that World Bank, IMF, the International Criminal Court. Three branches make sense. You would not need a separate WTO, or G7, or G20.

New York City would be the legitimate capital, it still is the most diverse city on the planet.

You could have a bicameral legislature. In the lower house, each nation would have a voting weight in direct proportion to its population. In the upper house the voting weight would be in proportion to the size of the economy. At first the two houses would elect the President of the World. But soon enough perhaps the POW could be elected directly by people all over the world voting on their smartphones.

A world with a world government will have to become a borderless world. Maybe not as step one, but soon enough. How about the magic bullet with which to double the global GDP!

Doka La Standoff: China Proved Its Point On Tibet

If in 1890 the British Empire recognized Tibet to have been Chinese territory and dealt with the Chinese state on all matters Tibet, perhaps it is not true that China invaded Tibet in the 1950s. That is the point China intended to prove through this standoff and it has done so. China did not back down. China proved its point. Done and over with.