More than ever, the news headlines in India are dominated by the “Development” news. And when they talk about development, it is often about 1) Number of MNCs coming in 2) Amount of foreign investment 3) # of jobs created and 4) Amount of concrete constructions etc, along with other funny words like GDP, foreign reserves, Purchasing power etc. Let’s see why this fall short of the development we should be measuring. For our simple understanding, let’s define country’s development as progress of its citizens to a better state.
Let’s look at other measures first.
Let me pick a couple of them from the list, and I hope you will get where I am going.
If we are “developed”, do we need a law to tell us that we should not rape? If we are “developed”, do we need a law to tell us we should not burn down neighbor’s house? In other words, Laws exist because we failed to behave as “developed” people. Every time we need to add more laws, it is an acknowledgement that we have failed, and we are under-developed.
What happens if all the police are given vacation (remember Akbar Owaisi)? If we are going to kill each other if there are no police, then we are certainly not developed. And if the only thing that’s stopping us from invading the neighboring country is a strong army, then we are not developed. So the more police and the more army we need, the more under-developed we are. For example, USA has the most number of prisoners. Now, is USA really a developed nation by this measure?
You may ask, what’s wrong with having more Hospitals? I guess you would agree, a developed nation would have healthier people, and the need for hospitals is low.
Here is a tough one, in a developed country, would we have more jobs, or less jobs? To understand this better, let’s look at it in a different way. Imagine a giant corporation, which employs every single person in the country. Then imagine lakhs of smaller companies which employs the people of the country. The difference is, in the second scenario, we have many entrepreneurs, there is variety, there is competition and there are opportunities. So the more entrepreneurs we (and the lesser job holders) we are more developed.
Based on the above line of thought, here are some signs we can look at to understand our direction of development.
The heavier the school bags, shorter the playgrounds, busier the roads, taller the buildings, more the medicines, bigger the shopping malls, faster the trains, more number of fridges we have, more the time we spend on facebook, more selfies we take, more the TV time etc none of them represent “development”