PK Siddharth, former IPS officer who left FTI after initially joining it for a short while (because he found he did not really want liberty in India but better ways of implementing the existing socialist model), has kindly asked me a few questions by email.
I'd like to note that as a matter of practice I do not respond individually to emails that discuss policy or economics issues. Always a public response.
The communication so far with PK is provided below, and my final response is at the end.
Once again may I request everyone (including PK) – please DO NOT write to me by email/ on Facebook messenger seeking a comment on a policy matter. Please use my blog to publicly raise the issue. Or be prepared that I could, if I so wish, make the whole matter public, as I'm doing in this case. Alternatively, I might just switch off – not because I'm impolite but because I expect my time and health to be respected. By writing publicly on policy matters I hope to educate 100s of people. Email can only educate one at a time.
Dear Sanjeev,Since I still follow your blog, which is not at all an Occasional Blog, but a almost a daily bulletin, I keep getting in my mail box your wrings on the blog, I find your writings to be bevy incisive whether one agrees with them on not. I by now know that you have better understanding of capitalism than a professor of economics or political science.But you commitment to the cause of capitalism now prompts me to ask a few very basics questions: Which are the countries that you think are the models of classical libderalism and capitalism. Sid we ever have any? And which are the countries that you consider models of socialism? And, what today India is, a capitalist country or a socialist country?
Thanks, PK.I have clarified repeatedly that there no nation that has followed all the foundational principles of liberty. However, if you go into the history of USA, you'll find that Jefferson came closest to establishing a nation founded on the principles of liberty. That was not to last, and for the past 100 years USA has had significant socialist influence. It is only saved by its Constitution from becoming a third world nation.India is clearly a socialist country today, if you take the preponderence of its policies into account. By no means is it a free nation. That has also been empirically demonstrated repeatedly by numerous studies.RegardsS
May I add, I do not take any one-on-one questions since this info – of use to others also – gets lost in emails.Please do ensure that you comment on the blog. That way more people will get educated at the same time.RegardsS
Pl do let me know the present countries that are closest to the capitalist model of your dreams. Are classical liberalism and capitalism logical corollaries?
Dear PK, in BFN I have articulated an example of the model of liberty for India. I don't dream. It is just my preferred option based on current knowledge. It is something to be discussed and debated upon by the Freedom Team. I am ONE person out of a billion and don't have any desire to impose my "dreams" on anyone.Now, as to which of the present countries comes closest to being a free society. Well, based on data, experience, and anectodal information, I'd rate Australia as close to the most free nation on earth today. Freedom is under considerable threat here, but it is still more free than USA, more free than UK, and definitely more free than ANY non-British European nation. I'd still rate Australia only 7 or a max of 8 out of a possible 10 on freedom. If you read my presentation here, you'll realise why (btw, I'm giving my third talk on this topic – to a restricted audience in Melbourne – on 15 November.)In many ways, thought, it is pointless asking this question when India is not even 2 out of a possible 10 on liberty. BFN is replete with 10s of examples to show how liberty is trampled in India every day. The simple reality, as I've already shown through a quotation from Mises yesterday (I do hope people are READING what I'm writing, for I can't possibly keep repeating everything again and again and again!) is that:"The philosophers, sociologists, and economists of the eighteenth and the early part of the nineteenth century formulated a political program that served as a guide to social policy first in England and the United States, then on the European continent, and finally in the other parts of the inhabited world as well. Nowhere was this program ever completely carried out. Even in England, which has been called the homeland of liberalism and the model liberal country, the proponents of liberal policies never succeeded in winning all their demands. In the rest of the world only parts of the liberal program were adopted, while others, no less important, were either rejected from the very first or discarded after a short time. Only with some exaggeration can one say that the world once lived through a liberal era. Liberalism was never permitted to come to full fruition."
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