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Dec 25, 2010

Is libertarianism suitable for Nepal?

Couple of weeks back, I received an email from a gentleman who showed concern regarding the suitability of libertarianism for Nepal. Reading the email, I was grateful to him for his time and effort to show his concern and I also realized that if one wants to promote ideas of liberty in a society like ours, she has to take in account the collective nature of our society and culture. And hence, the ideas need to be adapted into actions that make sense to the members of our society. Recently , I also participated in a colloquium on Indian Liberal Tradition and during the discussion I learned that one of the pivotal work Indian liberal leaders of first generation did was adapt the ideas of liberalism into Indian context so that they became very relevant to the society they were being discussed in.

Here, I present you the email I received and my reply.

The email:
 Mr. Giri,
Although I am not a libertarian and in fact I do not agree with some of its core beliefs, I must commend you for your attempts to put your views forward. Individualism cannot work in Nepal for the time being because of the rigidly collective nature of Nepali society (and not so much because of the Nepali state, which barely exists).
‘Libertarianism’, or any other ‘ism’ has to be tailored to each society’s needs and aspirations. The failure to do so will only bring more confusion than previously existed. A country like Nepal—for the most part still living in the 15th century is not likely to accept the tenets of a new and rather radical system. People have been culturally programmed here not to accept responsibility for their actions.
Anyway, these are just preliminary thoughts. If you want to debate them you can always email me.

My reply:
Thank you Mr. Gyawali for the email and your concern and sorry for my late reply. You are right in saying that Nepali society is rigidly collective in nature. However I differ with you when you say Nepali state is weak or barely exists, It barely exists when it comes to its basic functions such as law and order, administration of justice, handling of foreign diplomacy but in other aspects of life I find it pretty much strong and interfering. Just look at our history to date...first the ranas, then the panchayat, then the monarch, don't you think the state had been strong in those times although it may seem a bit weak at the current transition phase. The economic sphere and social spehere of the citizens of this country has always been controlled by the state. The exorbitant tariff rates , restriction of foreign direct investment, inflationary monetary policy, cumbersome license permit raj and the massive corruption, state backed cartels and syndicates, highly politicized trade unions that are major impediment to  our industrial growth, massive corruption and inefficiency through public enterprises and so on...what do you think about that?
Regarding relevancy of libertarianism, I take it more as a philosophy of life as compared to an ideology. I agree that it is a philosophy developed from the western thought but i also believe that its principles are more of universal nature (such as that humans are rational beings, free markets bring prosperity, private ownership brings better handling of any resources, spontaneous order emerging through markets is better form of organizing a society rather than an iron fist). For me it's primarily a way of living life and viewing the world and then secondarily a way of organizing our society and taking nation forward. I find it hard to believe that a long defunct-ridiculous and proven wrong world-wide philosophy like communism can flourish in our country even though we Nepalese have fought for our freedom time and again. I believe the collectivist thought of Nepali society has been accentuated by the leftist political parties and leaders even though i agree our society and mostly Hinduism is somewhat collective in nature. However, there is also this fact that even Hinduism has liberal aspects to it in the Charvak school of thought.

I wholeheartedly agree with you when you say any 'ism' has to be tailored to meet a society's need and aspirations and sincerely believe libertarianism in its purest sense won't be applicable here. Various dimensions of our society like diversity, caste systems, culture should be taken into consideration. I might believe in an individual's right to bear arms but i would not necessarily advocate it in the context of Nepal, I might believe education isn't a basic human right and state has no business in providing education and yet i would support state's minimal involvement although i would advocate some private components in it such as the education voucher system. However, i also believe that the so called "perfect time' for liberty never comes. I find it rather foolish when people say Nepal is not ready. what the heck...if it's not ready for freedom and prosperity then it can't be ready for anything else at all. There are examples of countries like Poland and Estonia who jumped from totally communist structure to free market structure. People there had hardly any sense what price of a good or service meant at all but still they did it. And they happen to be the most prosperous and vibrant societies among the nations that separated from USSR.

By the way, i was wondering what were the tenets of libertarianism that you disagreed with. It would be interesting to discuss, I believe.
So what do YOU think about the suitability of libertarianism in Nepal. Please share your thoughts, agreements and disagreements in the comment box below! 

Dec 22, 2010

पूँजीवादलाई पूँजिपतीहरुबाट बचाऊ

हिजो प्रकाशीत डा. भोला चालिसेको "सार्वजनिक निजी साझेदारी र समाजवाद" नामक लेख साह्रै नै सान्दर्भिक  र तथ्यपरक छ । लेखकले भनेझै नेपालमा पूँजीवादलाई पूँजीपतीहरू  बाट नै ठुलो खतरा छ । अधिकान्श विश्वले बढ्दो ब्यक्तिगत र आर्थिक स्वतन्त्रता तर्फ पाइला चाली रहेको र सम्मुन्नत हुँदै गैरहेको अवस्थामा नेपालमा भने पूँजीवाद भन्ने शब्द उच्चारण गर्नै डराउनुपर्ने हुनु दुर्भाग्यपुर्ण कुरा हो।   आजको विश्व को एक आम नागरिकलाई बुझ्न हम्मे हम्मे पर्ने बिषय हो -सारा विश्वले अन्तरस्थमै खराब सिध्दान्त हो भनेर स्वीकारेको ,जस्को प्रादुर्भाव भएको समयलाई डर , त्रास र अन्धकारको युग भनेर विश्वले स्वीकरिसकेको र जस्का गलत नितिका कारण करोडौ मानिसले ब्यर्थमा ज्यान दिनु परेको , देशहरुको अर्थतन्त्र ध्वस्त भएको साम्यवाद, समाजवाद जस्तो निति नेपालमा चै किन यस्तो हाबी भएको होला । तर जब हामी हाम्रो नीजी क्षेत्र र पुजिपतीहरुको क्रियकलाप हेर्छौ , त्यो हाम्रा लागि आस्चर्य को बिषय रहदैन । प्रतिस्पर्धा र जोखिम उथाएर ब्यापार गर्नुको साटो राज्यको खर्चमा आफ्नो ढुकुटी भर्न लागि परेकाहरुले अर्थतन्त्रमा राज्यको भूमिका बढाउनु पर्‍यो भन्नु नौलो कुरा नै भएन । राज्यका मार्फत प्रत्यक्ष वा अप्रत्क्ष्य रूपमा एक्लौटी अधिकार र जनताले तिरेको करको पैसा ब्यक्तिगत रुपमा प्रयोग गर्न पाइने भएपछि सार्वजनिक-निझी साझेदारीका लागि उनिहरु कस्सियेरै लाग्ने त भए नै । राज्यको अहिले सम्मको प्रदर्शननै, अर्थतन्त्रमा राज्यको भूमिका न्युनिकरणका लागि जोडदार तर्क हो । नीजी क्षेत्रको यस्तो अनैतिक व्यबहारले नीजी क्षेत्र झनै बद्नाम हुने र अर्थतन्त्रमा आघात पुग्ने भएकाले आजको एउटा आवश्यक्ता पूँजीवादलाई पुजिपतीहरुबाट बचाउनु पनि हो ।

Dec 17, 2010

Global financial Crisis-Blame the populist policies not free markets!

Just read this view-point entitled “Smooth functioning free market; conditions are attached” on The Himalayan Times of Dec 15. The leftist economist and critics who are riding the bandwagon of state intervention after the global financial crisis declaring it a failure of markets comfortably choose to forget the fact that economic depressions are part of a democratic process of the market to transform resources stuck in unproductive sectors towards more productive sectors and the financial recession emerged from the misguided policy of the US government that encouraged dirt cheap credits for home-ownership. Misguided by the bad policies, banks and other financial institutions invested majority of their resources in the home mortgages which increased the investment in housing sector tremendously. When the market couldn’t take the expansion anymore it busted dragging down major financial institutions as well as other industries. So, the financial crisis instead of being a failure of market is in fact the failure of state intervention in the mortgage markets. Had it not been for the unnecessary intervention of the state in the markets, the recession would never have occurred in first place. For the past 10-12 years, the U.S. economy invested in housing at a rate above that suggested by historical trends. This boom coincided with a substantial increase in homeownership. These facts suggest that the U.S. over invested in housing during this period.  It’s sad that a respected economist like Dr. Dhungel chooses to ignore the facts and give a biased viewpoint to further state intervention.

Dec 9, 2010

My journey of 1000 movies and 100 movies you shouldn't miss!

I recently watched the French movie "Persepolis" and with it completed my journey of watching 1000 movies. My obsession with movies started a couple of years back when I rented the movie "House of Wax" and watched it. Though I was able to get a fair sense of the storyline and what's happening, I was surprised at my inability to understand the dialogues. It was a disgrace to my knowledge of English language that I couldn't understand it being spoken in a movie properly. The indignant me then embarked on a movie watching spree. I watched one movie after another until I could hardly find a movie in the store that I hadn't watched already.

One year and more than 300 movies later, I was still pretty bad at understanding the dialogues and subtitles were my saviors but it didn't matter anymore as a whole new exciting world of art had opened up before me.Movies now were rarely just a 2-3 hour enjoyment but more than that they were a form of art that drew upon a lot of factors including social trends, values and norms of the society they reflected, the viewers they addressed and the philosophy, vision, techniques and idiosyncrasies of their makers. Any they were immensely informative. I realized movies if watched with discretion would be much more than just an idle time pass.

I went on to watch IMDB's Top 250 movies ever made and American Film Institute's Top 100 movies of the last century (97 out of 100 yet.) and Time's Top 100 movies (81 out of 100 yet). I sought after earliest of the movies (earliest one I have watched is "The Great Train Robbery") and movies from various countries (USA, UK, France, South Korea, Italy, Iran, India, China, Nepal, Mexico, Sweden, Israel to name a few) and watched as many as I could find.I realized along the way that the more movies you watch the more you wean away from mainstream movies and towards art and independent movies. Well, after watching 1000 movies all I can say is I am ever more eager to watch more movies.
By the way, you can read the whole list of movies I have watched to date here and below are the 100 (there are more though) of my most favorite movies (in alphabetical order) I have watched to date and think you shouldn't miss them if you are into the business of watching movies. Not all the movies in the list are great movies in the "great movie" sense but all of them are my favorite. Enjoy!
  1. 12 Angry Men (1957)
  2. A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
  3. A River Runs Through It (1992)
  4. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
  5. Aguirre, The wrath of God (1972)
  6. Alien (1979)
  7. All About Eve (1950) 
  8. Amadeus (1984)
  9. American History X (1998)
  10. Apocalypse Now (1979) 
  11. Big Fish (2003)
  12. Braveheart (1995)
  13. Brief Encounter (1945)
  14. Brotherhood (2004)
  15. Casablanca (1942)
  16. Casino (1995)
  17. Children of Heaven (1997)
  18. Crash (2004/I)
  19. Departures (2008)
  20. Downfall (2004)
  21. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
  22. Fight Club (1999)
  23. For a Few Dollars More (1965)
  24. Forrest Gump (1994)
  25. Gandhi (1982)
  26. Gattaca (1997)
  27. Glory (1989)
  28. Gone with the Wind (1939)
  29. Goodbye Lenin! (2003)
  30. Goodfellas (1990)
  31. Gran Torino (2008)
  32. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
  33. Hotel Rwanda (2004)
  34. Ice Age (2002)
  35. In the Mood for Love (2000)
  36. Inception (2010) 
  37. Innocent Voices (2004)
  38. Into the Wild (2007)
  39. Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
  40. Jurassic Park (1993)
  41. Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
  42. Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001)
  43. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
  44. Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)
  45. Life Is Beautiful (1997) 
  46. Little Manhattan (2005)
  47. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
  48. Malèna (2000)
  49. Mary and Max (2009)
  50. Masaan (2015)
  51. Memento (2000)
  52. Million Dollar Baby (2004)
  53. Mulholland Dr. (2001)
  54. Nights of Cabiria (1957)
  55. North by Northwest (1959)
  56. Oldboy (2003)
  57. Paths of Glory (1957)
  58. Planet of the Apes (1968)
  59. Pulp Fiction (1994)
  60. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
  61. Schindler's List (1993)
  62. Se7en (1995) 
  63. Singin' in the Rain (1952)
  64. Some Like It Hot (1959)
  65. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring (2003)
  66. Sunset Blvd. (1950)
  67. Swades: We, the People (2004)
  68. Taxi Driver (1976)
  69. The 400 Blows (1959)
  70. The Battle of Algiers (1966)
  71. The Conversation (1974)
  72. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
  73. The Departed (2006)
  74. The Dark Knight (2008)
  75. The English Patient (1996)
  76. The General (1926)
  77. The Godfather: Part II (1974)
  78. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
  79. The Hustler (1961)
  80. The Last Emperor (1987)
  81. The Last Samurai (2003)
  82. The Lives of Others (2006) 
  83. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003)
  84. The Machinist (2004)
  85. The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)
  86. The Pianist (2002)
  87.  The Prestige (2006)
  88. The Sea Inside (2004/I)
  89. The Secret in Their Eyes (2009)
  90. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
  91. The Sixth Sense (1999)
  92. The Social Network (2010)
  93. The Usual Suspects (1995)
  94. The Wages of Fear (1953)
  95. The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006)
  96. Toy Story Trilogy (1995-2010)
  97. Up in the Air (2009/I)
  98. V for Vendetta (2006)
  99. Walk the Line (2005)
  100. Whiplash (2014)
So what do you think of my list? What movies did I miss? Share about your favorite movies in the comment box below.

Nov 26, 2010

Budget for 2010-2011 and entrepreneurship development

Any government aspiring for economic growth has to recognize the importance of the private sector and entrepreneurship, therefore, policies that allow for their growth. Hence, it’s notable that the budget recognizes the private sector and skilled manpower as the beacon of economic growth.

Generally, there are four elements of an entrepreneurship-friendly economy. First, it must be easy to form a business, without expensive and time-consuming bureaucratic red tape. As a corollary, abandoning a failed business should also be simple and straightforward. Added to this, a reasonably well-functioning system should exist that channelizes savings to investments, and a flexible labor market that allows entrepreneurs to attract new and skilled labor and fire the non-performing. Unskilled labor is also quite necessary for entrepreneurship to flourish.

The budget for fiscal year 2010-2011 fails to make any provisions for improving the abovementioned element. However, the decision to reduce the number of days to get tax payment by 12 days for a year is a step towards reducing bureaucratic hassles for the entrepreneurs.

The second element is secured property rights and proper enforcement of contract laws. It’s unfortunate that Nepal’s performance in property rights and enforcement of contract laws are quite poor and is deteriorating instead. The budget doesn’t address this at all which is unfortunate.

As third element, the government must discourage activities that divide up the wealth rather than increase. Activities such as criminal behaviors, “rent-seeking” behaviors, and excessive taxation should be discouraged. The government should also refrain from favoring certain industries or certain economic groups. It’s very unfortunate that the government has decided to hike taxes on progressive basis once again on personal income.

The government spending is in the most unproductive sector of the economy. The government activities are more inclined to dividing up the economic pie rather than expanding it. In this context, hiking taxes is going to be counterproductive as more and more proportion of an individual’s income is drawn to be invested in the unproductive sector rather than the entrepreneurial sector.

Finally, for a successful entrepreneurial economy, the government institutions should work towards ensuring that successful entrepreneurs and established companies continue to have incentives to innovate and grow. Eliminating cartels and too high marginal tax rates are some of the things the government can do in this regard. This year’s budget makes it unequivocally clear that those cartels or syndicates of any kind will be considered illegal and the registration of such organizations is automatically invalid. Though the provision itself sounds promising, the implementation seems very unlikely due to the powerful forces including politicians behind these organizations.

The government’s decision to provide blacktopped roads, electricity transmission lines and drinking water services to any venture providing direct employment to more than 100 Nepali nationals, and health posts with health worker to ventures employing more than 500 Nepali nationals sounds very promising, but it is very likely to be just another populist agenda.

The government has decided to take forward the Youth Self-Employment program which after much initial hue and cry has subsided into a quiet department in the Finance Ministry.

One thing that’s clear from this year’s and past budgets is that our government lacks a clear vision and understanding of entrepreneurship development. Entrepreneurship development requires a holistic approach because one positive step towards promoting entrepreneurship can easily be negated by another step that’s counterproductive to entrepreneurial environment of the country. For example, providing a tanker of diesel is of almost no use when power cuts are increasing to 14 hours a day. The government should also realize that if it’s serious about entrepreneurship development, it needs to focus on major policies rather than small group appeasing programs or populist agendas. If the government could work towards simplifying and reducing procedures for business registration and closures, making labor market flexible as per the market’s demands, ensuring property rights and enforcing contract laws, discouraging rent-seeking behaviors, eliminating cartels and syndicates and reducing the top marginal rates of taxes, entrepreneurship development could be ensured. It is also essential that the policies concerning entrepreneurship not change along with the change in governments.

It is, however, appreciable that despite all the obstacles and hurdles, the budget was unveiled to the relief of all entrepreneurs and general public alike. The budget can be considered fairly positive for entrepreneurship but has little, if any, effects on long-term development of entrepreneurship in Nepal.

-Surath Giri

(Published in The Himalayan Times of 25th November 2010)

Nov 21, 2010

Rakesh Wadhwa’s “The Deal Maker”: A review

I just finished reading Rakesh Wadhwa’s debut novel (written with Leon Louw) ‘The Deal Maker’. Well known for his free market and capitalism oriented articles in leading newspapers of Nepal, India, Sri Lanka and the US, Mr. Wadhwa has finally come up with a book that tries to sum up his political-economic views. Hence the book is more of an economic treatise than a work of fiction. Inspired by Ayn Rand’s monumental classic Atlas Shrugged, The Deal Maker follows the rise of Sudesh Kumar from an ordinary Indian boy to the prime minister of India. Sudesh too influenced by Atlas Shrugged, applies free market principles to lift India out of poverty into the world’s hub of trade and prosperity. The title “the Deal Maker” well suits the novel as it reflects the protagonist Sudesh Kumar’s deft abilities to make smart deals that benefits his people as well as his country.

Sudesh Kumar, the son of an honest policeman from a village near Delhi, aspires of becoming the prime minister and changing India after growing up. However, his life falls into disarray after his father dies in a government hospital due to hospital staff’s negligence. Sudesh, through a series of events ends up working for a multi-national company headed by Ray Upton, who is a passionate supporter of objectivism and free markets. Working for Ray Upton, Sudesh not only learns about business and investments but also a mentor who teaches him the philosophy of libertarianism that guides Sudesh’s every action thereafter. Returning to India after working in Upton Corporation for years, he embarks on the road to becoming a prime minister. Becoming the prime minister is next to impossible for an ordinary guy when added to his lack of knowledge of politics are traits like honesty, straightforward way of dealing with people and the belief in free markets which is almost heretical in Third world societies. However, Sudesh ability to influence people with his arguments and cutting smart deals help him along his journey.

Surrounding the main protagonist’s story are other various sub plots with related stories and twists which is generally asked for by a fictional work. Venashri, the daughter of India IT mogul, Inder, childhood buddy of Sudesh who later becomes a top cricketer of India, Police superintendent Nanek singh, Madhumati, the secret agent who is hell bent on eliminating criminals, Shakti, the sister of Inder who’s in love with Sudesh lead their own lives but at the same time contribute in many ways to the journey of Sudesh.

The prominent importance of this novel I find as a libertarian is its ability to express the ideas of free markets and libertarianism is a way that’s understandable even by the laymen or casual novel lovers who aren’t much familiar with political-economic discourses. I believe fiction is a wonderful and effective medium to reach out to the people with your ideas as the phenomenal success of Ayn Rand’s works in creating objectivists out of readers and the success of Robert Heinlein’s “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” in creating libertarians shows us. We can expect “The Deal Maker” to influence people in similar direction making them aware of the real problems that the third world societies face today and the importance of free markets in creating prosperity.

Despite its success in disseminating ideas, The Deal Maker however doesn’t succeed too well as a novel. The series of events are somewhat too fictional and unrealistic even for a fictional novel about rags-to riches and the dialogues characters use while interacting with each other are too lame. Although it’s necessary for the novel to create a different world to discuss the ideas, when the world is too fictional the readers are less likely to relate the ideas in the real world. It would be sad if a reader tosses the book away after reading it thinking everything discussed exists just in a world created by Mr. Wadhwa’s mind. Besides, it would also have been better to have the name of Linux inventor right. The author could have worked harder to eliminate such minor technicalities and make the novel even better.

In spite of these, Mr. Wadhwa has done a great job of creating this novel which if nothing else, will surely help thousands of readers get different perspectives of the society they live in and the policies their governments are following. I am sure it will educate many people about free markets and their importance in creating prosperity. And hopefully make some more libertarians. Even if nothing as such were to happen, I am  still very happy that Mr. Wadhwa wrote this book, for now I have a definite book to gift or recommend when a novice book lover asks me “What is the best book about free markets or libertarianism for absolute beginners?”

Nov 18, 2010

Jack and Suzy Welch's "Winning": A very enjoyable and productive read!

I read this book a while ago. After hearing countless praises and the ubiquitous presence in every “best self-help/motivational/management books” list, I was finally able to get a hold onto it and go through it. I must say Jack and Suzy Welch’s “winning” deserves all the acclaim it has been receiving. Jack Welch, who transformed General Electrics, from a sleepy "Old Economy" company with a market capitalization of $4 billion to a dynamic new one worth nearly half a trillion dollars, has done a good job writing a book that provides the readers with the insights on how to manage and lead a company as a leader or how to progress or at least survive as an employee. My experience of reading couple of management books tells me that one of the lacking aspect of such books is their inability to relate the concepts fully with the day to day operations. However, where others books fail, winning succeeds by providing multiple examples concerning the issue being discussed and Jack’s valuable insights.

Unlike his previous book, Straight from the gut, even layman and people without corporate experience, can also relate with the contents of Winning because as the author says, he wrote the book as an answer to the countless questions he is asked during interactions. Full of management techniques, their day to day applications, advices for succeeding makes the book a joyful and productive read. Though the book covers multitudes of areas of running a company, some of the lessons I learnt and that I could relate much to my company are:

Having candor among team members in a company is a must for success. As a leader, you should try to create an environment where team members can be blunt and direct when it comes to anything related to the work and the company.

Differentiation between employees on the basis of their performance is necessary to get the best out of everyone (Top 20 percent, middle 70 percent and the bottom 10 percent). I feel this technique wouldn’t be suitable for an organization like mine where every team member is very closely knit with the other and long term commitment and involvement is highly valued, but in general I find this principle quite beneficial for any other team or organization. I agree to Jack’s implication that differentiation when mixed with candor is beneficial not just for the company but for the employees themselves.

His insights about crisis management are also quite helpful. Having a mindset that the crisis is much more severe than it looks at the beginning really helps for one to be better prepared. I also liked his advice that one should never make the boss use their political capital to save him/her. Forcing the boss to use political capital has long term adverse effects in one’s career.

One thing I noticed while reading the book is Jack’s strong faith in free enterprises. Whether it’s about hiring or firing employees, competing with other companies or dealing with the government, his ideas represent his strong support for free enterprises. Winning is one of my favorite books on management and winning itself. I would highly recommend the book to any one interested in winning!

Nov 15, 2010

अधिनायकवादी अर्थव्यवस्थामा किन आर्थिक मन्दी आउँदैन

(Leftists and authoritarians around the world are touting the global financial crisis as a byproduct of free market capitalism and increased state control of the economy as the solution. However, their claims are miles away from truth.  I have translated the article called "The Alleged Absence of Depressions under Totalitarianism"by Ludwig Von Mises as an attempt to shed lights on this issue.)

धेरै समाजवादी लेखकहरु आर्थिक संकट र व्यापारिक अवसादहरु पूँजीवादी अर्थव्यवस्थामा अन्तर्निहित अवगुणहरु हुन भनेर जोड गरिरहेका हुन्छन् । समाजवादी अर्थव्यवस्था भने यस कूरीतिबाट अछुतो रहने उनीहरुको जिकिर हुन्छ ।

तर पहिल्यै पनि स्पष्ट भैसकेको र फेरि पनि देखापर्ने एउटा कुरा के हो भने बरोबर भइराख्ने व्यापारिक घटबढ एउटा स्वतन्त्र बजारको परिधिबाट उत्पन्न हुने चीज नभएर स्वतन्त्र बजारले तय गर्नेभन्दा कम उचाइमा ब्याजदर राख्नलाई सरकारद्वारा  गरिएको हस्तक्षेपको उपज हो । यस विन्दुमा आएर अब हामीले समाजवादी योजनाको कथित स्थिरताको बारेमा मात्र छलफल गरे पुग्छ ।

हामीले यहाँ के बुझन जरुरी छ भने आर्थिक संकट उत्पन्न हुनुको कारण बजारको प्रजातान्त्रिक अभ्यास हो । जब उद्यमीले काममा लगाएका उत्पादनका कारकहरु प्रति उपभोक्तालाई चित्त बुझ्दैन तब उनीहरु आफ्नो  गुनासोलाई कुनै सामान खरिद गर्ने वा नगर्ने व्यवहारबाट अभिव्यक्त गर्दछन् । कृत्रिम रुपमा गिराइएको बजारको कुल ब्याजदरबाट दिग्भ्रमित भएका उद्यमीहरु सर्वसाधारणलाई संतुष्टि प्रदान गर्न चाहिने तत्कालका आवश्यकता पूरा गर्ने क्षेत्रहरुमा लगानी गर्नबाट चुक्छन् । अनि जब उधारोको विस्तार अन्त्य हुन्छ गल्तीहरु उजागर हुन्छन् । उपभोक्ताको व्यवहारले व्यापारीहरुलाई आफ्नो कि्रयाकलाप उपभोक्ताको प्राथमिक चाहनातर्फ समायोजन गराउन बाध्य तुल्याउँछ । अर्थतन्त्र उचाइँमा हुदाँ भएका गल्तीहरु सच्याउने र उपभोक्ताको इच्छाहरुतर्फ समायोजन गर्ने प्रकि्रयालाई नै आर्थिक मन्दी (अवसाद)  भनिन्छ ।

तर एउटा समाजवादी अर्थव्यवस्थामा केबल सरकारको मत मात्रले स्थान पाउँछ र जनताहरु कुनै वस्तु वा सेवाको मूल्यबारे आफ्नो  मत अभिव्यक्त गर्ने कुनै पनि माध्यमबाट विाचत हुन्छन् । एउटा तानाशाहले कति स्रोत चालु खपतलाई छुट्याउने र कति अतिरिक्त लगानीको लागि राख्ने भनेर गरेको निर्णयलाई जनताले समर्थन गर्छन कि गर्दैनन् भनेर मतलब गरिराख्नु पर्दैन । यदि तानाशाहले कम खपत गर्ने धेरै लगानी गर्ने निर्णय गर्दछ भने जनताहरु थोरै खान र जिब्रोमा ताल्चा लगाउन बाध्य हुन्छन् । कुनै पनि संकट आइपर्दैन किनकी जनताहरुसँग आफ्नो  असन्तुष्टी व्यक्त गर्ने अवसर नै हुँदैन ।

जहाँ कुनै व्यापार नै हुँदैन त्यहाँ व्यापार राम्रो हुने वा नराम्रो हुने हुँदैन । त्यहाँ भोकमरी तथा कुपोषण होला तर आर्थिक संकट हुँदैन । आर्थिक संकट जुन बजार अर्थतन्त्रको समस्या हल गर्ने एउटा प्रकिया हो । जहाँ व्यक्तिहरु रोज्नका लागि स्वतन्त्र छैनन त्यहाँ उत्पादन गतिविधि निदेर्शित गर्नेहरुको प्रकियाबिरुद्ध  आवाज उठाउन उनीहरुले पाउँदैनन् । पुँजीवादी देशहरुमा पनि जनमतले सस्तो मुद्राको नीतिलाई समर्थन गर्ने गरेको पाइन्छ । जनमानस कृत्रिम विज्ञहरुको सस्तो मुद्राले विना कुनै खर्च सबैलाई सम्रिद्ध  बनाउँछ भन्ने गलत दावीहरुले गर्दा दिग्भ्रमित भएको हुन्छ । उनीहरुले याद गर्दैनन् कि लगानीलाई त्यस हदसम्म मात्र विस्तार गर्न सकिन्छ जुन हदसम्म बचतको माध्यमबाट पूँजी जम्मा भएको हुन्छ । उनीहरु वित्तिय लहडको परी कथाले गर्दा झुकिन्छन् । तर वास्तविकतामा मानिसहरुको व्यवहारले महत्व राख्छ परी कथाले होइन। यदी मानिसहरु आफ्नो  चालु खपत कम गरेर बढी पैसा बचत गर्न तयार छैनन् भने लगानीको विस्तारका लागि चाहिने दिगो माध्यमको अभाव हुन्छ । यो माध्यम पैसा छापेर वा बैंकको खाताको कर्जा  (क्रेडिट)  ले उपलब्ध गराउन सक्दैन ।

यो साधारण घटना हो कि व्यक्तिले मतदाताको सामर्थ्यमा  गर्ने काम उसले बजारमा गर्ने व्यवहारको विपरीत हुन्छ । त्यसैले उदाहरणका लागि उसले यस्ता कार्यको लागि मत हालीराखेको हुन्छ जसले कुनै एउटा वा सबै वस्तुको मूल्य वृद्धि गरिराखेको हुन्छ जबकी एउटा उपभोक्ताको रुपमा भने ऊ यी मूल्यहरु कम भएको हेर्न चाहन्छ । यस्तो आपसमा विरोधी व्यवहारहरु अज्ञानता र गल्तीका कारण भैराखेका हुन्छन् । मानव स्वभावका कारण यस्तो भैरहन्छ । तर एउटा सामाजिक संस्था जसमा व्यक्ति न त मतदाता हो न त के्रता हो वा जहाँ मतदान र खरीद देखावटी मात्र हुन्छन् त्यहाँ यस्ता कुराहरु अनुपस्थित हुन्छन् ।

Author: Ludwig Von Mises
Translation: Surath Giri

Nov 2, 2010

सरकारको स्वरुप (Ayn Rand's Nature of government को नेपाली अनुवाद )-भाग ३

यी सबै मामलामा न्यायलाई निर्देशित गर्ने आधारभूत सिद्धान्तमाथि नजर गर्ने हो भने  यो सिद्धान्त हो -कुनै पनि व्यक्ति अर्को व्यक्तिबाट कुनै पनि मूल्य उसको सहमतिविना प्राप्त गर्न सक्दैन र एउटा व्यक्तिको अधिकारलाई एक व्यक्तिको एकतर्फी निर्णय  अविवेक या मनमानी स्वेच्छाचारिताको भरमा छोड्न  सकिदैंन । 
स्मरण रहोस् , व्यक्तिमाथि बलपूर्वक नियन्त्रण नै एकमात्र सेवा हो जुन सरकारले दिन्छ । आफैलाई सोधिहेर्नुस  बलपूर्वक नियन्त्रण गर्ने कुरामा प्रतिस्पर्धाको के अर्थ हुन्छ ।

Ayn Rand
कसैले पनि यस सिद्धान्त वा शब्दलाई विरोधाभासी भन्न सक्दैन किनकि स्पष्ट छ यसमा प्रतियोगिता र सरकारको भिन्नताको ज्ञानको अभाव छ । न नै यसलाई कुनै अमूर्त बहाव भन्न सकिन्छ किनकि यसको वास्तविकतासँग कुनै सम्बन्ध वा संपर्क  छ  न यसलाई कुनै निश्चित रुप दिन सकिन्छ । यसलाई एउटा उदाहरणले नै स्पष्ट पारिदिन्छ -मानौ श्रीमान् स्मिथ जो सरकार  ए  का उपभोक्ता हुन् लाई शंका लाग्यो कि उनीकहाँ श्रीमान् जोन्सले  जो सरकार बी का उपभोक्ता हुन् चोरी गरे । प्रहरीको समूह जब श्रीमान जोन्सको घरमा जान्छन् त उनीहरु प्रहरी समूह बी लाई ढोकामा पाउँछन् जो श्रीमान् स्मिथको शिकायतलाई वैध मान्नबाट अस्वीकार गर्छन र सरकार ए को प्रशासिनलाई मान्यता दिदैनन् -तब के   हुन्छ तपाईं आफैं अन्दाजा लगाउन सक्नुहुन्छ ।

सरकारको अवधारणाको उत्पत्तिको अत्यन्त लामो एवं जटिल इतिहास छ । सबै सभ्य समाजमा सरकारद्धारा सही तरिकाले काम गरेका केही उदाहरणहरु छन् । यो आफूले आफैंलाई सरकार र लुटेराहरुको समूहको बीचमा केही अन्तरहरुको मान्यताको परिघटनाको रुपमा व्यक्त गर्छ  सरकारलाई  "कानून एव   व्यवस्था  को रक्षकको" रुपमा सम्मान एवं नैतिक अधिकार सुनिश्चित गरियो ।

तथ्य यो हो यहा सम्म कि  अनैतिक सरकार पनि केही हद सम्म न्याय एवं व्यवस्था कायम राखिराख्न अनिवार्य सम्झन्छ  या त स्वभाव वा परम्पराको कारण या आ७३टज्ञद्धद्धण्सना अधिकारहरुको केही हदसम्म नैतिक औचित्य ठहर्याउनको लागि जस्तै फ्रान्सका सम्राटले  राजाका ईश्वरीय अधिकार को स्तुति गरेका थिए र त्यस्तै गरि सोभियत रुसका आधुनिक तानाशाहहरुले आफ्नो शासनलाई आफ्ना अधीनस्थहरुको नजरमा  उचित ठहर्याउनका लागि धन खर्च गरेका थिए।

मानव जातिको इतिहासमा सरकारको उचित कार्यप्रणालीको ज्ञान हालैको उपलब्धि हो । यो केबल दुई सय वर्ष पूरानो हो र यसको शुरुवात अमेरिकी क्रान्तिको समयबाट भयो । अमेरिकाका संस्थापकहरुले समाजको आवश्यकता र स्वरुपको पहिचान मात्र गरेनन् बरु ती साधनहरुको पनि खोजी गरे जसबाट यसलाई व्यवहारिक रुप दिन सकियोस् । एउटा स्वतन्त्र समाज अन्य कुनै मानविय उत्पादन सरह  याट्टच्छिक साधनहरुबाट वा केबल इच्छामार्फत वा असल मनसाय भएका नेताहरुबाट प्राप्त गर्न सिकंदैन । स्वतन्त्र समाज बनाउन र यसलाई स्वतन्त्र बनाइराख्नका लागि एक वैध सिद्धान्तहरुमाथि आधारित जटिल न्याय व्यवस्थाको आवश्यकता पर्छ । यस्तो व्यवस्था जो प्रेरणा  नैतिक चरित्र वा कुनै निश्चित अधिकारीको इच्छामा निर्भर नहोस् यस्तो व्यवस्था जसमा निरंकुशता फस्टाउने गरि कुनै कानूनी कमीकमजोरी नहोस् ।

अमेरिकाको नियन्त्रण एवं संतुलन व्यवस्था यस्तै एउटा उपलब्धि थियो  र यद्धपि संविधानका केही विरोधाभासले आधुनिक राजनीतिक व्यवस्थालाई फस्टनउने केही मौका दियो सरकारका अधिकारहरु सीमित एवं नियन्त्रत गर्ने साधनका रुपमा संविधानको अवधारणा विलक्षण उपलब्धि थियो ।

आज जब यस विषयलाई समाप्त गर्ने सामूहिक प्रयास हुन्छ पर्याप्त रुपमा भन्न सकिइराखिएको छैन कि संविधानले सरकारलाई सीमित गर्छ निजी व्यक्तिलाई होइन । यसले निजी व्यक्तिको आचरणहरुलाई निर्धारित गर्दैन  केबल सरकारको आचरणहरुलाई मात्र । यो सरकारी अधिकारहरुको चार्टर होइन बरु सरकारको विरुद्ध नागरिकका लागि नागरिकको संरक्षणको चार्टर हो ।

अब सरकारका आज प्रचलित विचारहरुमा नैतिक र राजनैतिक अवनतिको अधिकतम सीमा माथि विचार गरौं ।

व्यक्तिका अधिकारहरुको रक्षक हुनुको साटो सरकार  तिनको सबैभन्दा खतरनाक उल्लंघनकारी बनिरहेको छ स्वतन्त्रताको रक्षा गर्नुको साटो दासता स्थापित गरिरहेको छ  शारीरिक बल प्रयोग गर्ने वालाबाट रक्षा गर्नुको साटो सरकार आ७३टज्ञद्धद्धण्सनो मर्जीको कुनै मामलामा कुनै तरिकाले शारीरिक बल  र जोर  जबरजस्तीको प्रयोग गरिरहेको छ । मानव संबन्धहरुमा निस्पक्षताको उपकरणको रुपमा काम गर्नुको साटो सरकार अनिश्चितता  र भयको घातक शासकको रुपमा काम गरिरहेको छ । यसका लागि उसले ती अस्पष्ट कानूनहरुको प्रयोग गरिराखेको छ जसको व्याख्या अधिकारीहरुको स्वेच्छामा छोडि दिइएको छ । व्यक्तिको उच्छृंखलताले गर्दा हुने अन्यायबाट व्यक्तिको रक्षा गर्नुको साटो सरकार स्वयं पनि अन्यायपूर्ण तरिकाले अधिकार ज्ञापन गरिरहेको छ । यसप्रकारले हामी तीब्र गतिमा उच्चतम अवनति तिर पुग्दै छौं -त्यस्तो अवस्था जहाँ सरकार आ७३टज्ञद्धद्धण्सनो इच्छाले जे पनि गर्न स्वतन्त्र हुन्छ  जबकि व्यक्तिले भने जे पनि गर्नका लागि सरकारको अनुमति लिनु परोस् । यो व्यक्तिको इतिहास सबैभन्दा अन्धकारमय समय हो  त्यो अवस्था जहाँ बर्बर शक्तिको शासन हुन्छ ।

 प्राय ः यसप्रकारको टिप्पणी गरिइन्छ कि आफ्नो  भौतिक प्रगतिको बावजुद मानवजातिले त्यसको तुलनामा नैतिक प्रगति गरेका छैनन् । यसप्रकारका टिप्पणीमा मानवप्रकृतिको बारेमा केही निराशावादी निष्कर्ष निकालिन्छन् । यो साँचो हो की मानवजातिको नैतिक अवस्था लज्जाजनक स्तरमा पुगिसकेको छ । तर यदि सरकारहरुको विकराल नैतिक उलटपुलट - परोपकारी सामूहिकतावादी नैतिकताद्धारा सम्भव  बनाइएको  जस अन्तर्गत मानवजातिले आफ्नो  प्राय ः इतिहास गुजारेका छन  माथि विचार गर्ने हो भने आश्चर्य हुन्छ कि कसरी मानिसले आफ्नो  सभ्यतालाई बचाइराख्यो र आफ्नो  दिशामा कदम बढाउन जारी राख्यो ।

व्यक्ति राजनीतिक सिद्धान्तहरुको स्वरुपलाई पनि अझ स्पष्ट रुपमा हेर्न शुरु गर्छ जसलाई व्यक्तिको बौद्धिक पुनर्जागरणको संघर्षको हिस्साको रुपमा स्वीकार र समर्थन गरिनुपर्छ ।


Author: Ayn Rand
Translation: Surath Giri

Oct 27, 2010

Economic Freedom Report 2010 and Nepal

The “Economic Freedom of the World 2010 Annual Report” released by Fraser Institute, a leading think tank of Canada, portrays a miserable picture of economic freedom in Nepal. Nepal with a score of 5.34 ranks 125th out of the 141 countries where the study was undertaken. Nepal continues to be one of the least economically free countries in the world and is among the very few countries whose degree of economic freedom has actually decreased in the last 30 years despite the fact that majority of the world in the same period was moving towards more economic freedom. The dismal portrayal shouldn’t come as a surprise to us as we are quite aware of the situation of our economy which is really at its knees. Our hopes of a prosperous future are bleaker than ever.

Being in the after math of a decade long civil war combined with growing political instability and insecurity, increasing impunity and corruption, power crisis and government intervention continue to torment our economy. The pathetic state of our economy is related to the low degree of economic freedom in the country. Economic freedom which is described as the situation where the people of a country are free to trade with others, compete in the markets, buy what they want, earn a living in a job they choose, keep what they earn, own things privately and securely is considered the primary factor deciding whether a country gets prosperous or not.  Higher degree of economic freedom has been found to result in higher level of economic growth, lower corruption, higher life expectancy, higher living standard and higher income of the poorest 10 percent. This year’s report also includes a study relating higher degree of economic freedom to lower unemployment and homicide rates.

Though Nepalese enjoy a considerable amount of civil and political freedom, our economic freedom continues to be severely curtailed due to defunct policies. The situation is the outcome of the fact that though countless fights of freedom were fought in the past 60 years with new agendas every time, economic freedom was never an agenda of those movements and until and unless the fight for economic freedom is fought, our dreams of prosperity will remain as elusive as ever.

Among the five major components of economic freedom , Nepal scores 6.20 out of 10 in size of the government, 3.51 in legal structures and property rights, 6.36 in the access to sound money, 5 in freedom to trade internationally and 6.16 in regulation of credit, labor and business.

Size of the government refers to the portion of the economy that’s covered by government spending. When government role in the economy increases relative to the role of individuals, households and businesses, government decision-making is substituted for personal choice and the economic freedom is curtailed. Nepal could improve its score by privatizing or shutting down the state run enterprises like Janakpur Cigarette Industry, Dairy Development Corporation, Nepal Airlines, Nepal Oil Corporation which are doing more harm than good. As private sector is fully capable of handling these sectors, there is no sense in continuing these enterprises incurring ever increasing losses every year. The government should also work towards decreasing tax rates as high tax rates prevent people from keeping what they earn.

Legal structures and property rights, is the sector Nepal has been performing worst in. Nepal could improve its situation by making court procedures faster and more efficient, removing political influence during appointment of judges and setting up separate commercial courts for business related cases. Scrapping anti-property rights laws like land ceiling laws, eminent domain without compensation that promoted insecurity among people and discourages them to own properties legally should also be scrapped. State shouldn’t continue to tolerate criminal activities like extortion, theft and kidnappings.

Controlling inflation is a primary factor in increasing access to sound money. The government should also adhere to fiscal discipline by controlling the high rates of monetary growth which stands at 9.32 percent currently. Nepal still remains among the few countries whose citizens can’t own foreign currencies. Freeing the central bank from political influence can be a major step towards promoting fiscal discipline.

Nepal’s average tariff rate for international trade stands at a whooping 12.7 percent which has to be reduced to promote free trade. As free trade is now universally considered to promote economic growth and raise living standards of people across the globe, there is no reason on why Nepal should keep following protectionist policies and impoverishing the populace.  Another factor that’s severely curtailing Nepal’s economic freedom is the policies that are hostile to foreign investment. Nepal’s score in allowing foreign investment is 3.87 out of 10 which is very unfortunate when our neighboring countries are clamoring for more foreign investment. Foreign ownership and investment should be allowed and encouraged as it promotes technological innovation and capital accumulation which are critical for economic growth.

According to World Bank’s “Doing Business Report”,  an entrepreneur in Nepal, on an average, should go through 7 steps, spend 31 days and 53.6 percent of per capita income to start a business which is incredibly costly as in economically free countries the same job can be done within a couple of days with lesser cost. There are even examples of countries like Rwanda which in an effort to create business friendly environment have brought down the time needed to register a business to a single day.

Besides these, Nepal could reduce the hiring and minimum wage regulations. Nepal remains among the few countries where firing an employee is next to impossible. Such trends drive up the cost of doing business and make enterprises inefficient. Reducing the regulations for hiring and firing the employees can help to make Nepalese enterprises more efficient.

These small steps could embark Nepal on the path of economic freedom along which various countries like Hong Kong, Singapore, Estonia, Botswana, New Zealand, and India have travelled to achieve prosperity. At a time as this when every Nepalese is wondering if a miracle is the only thing that could save us now, economic freedom could be the answer to our prayers. Economic Freedom of the World 2010 Annual Report can be a reality check for us and the small steps mentioned here in the article can gradually lead Nepal into being an economically free nation.

(Published on The Himalayan Times)
By: Surath Giri

Sep 22, 2010

सरकारको स्वरुप (Ayn Rand's Nature of government को नेपाली अनुवाद )-भाग २

किनकी केवल व्यक्तिगत अधिकारहरुको रक्षा गर्नुनै  सरकारको सही उद्देश्य हो कानूनको उचित विषय पनि यहि हो ।यसैले सबै कानून व्यक्तिका अधिकार र तीनको रक्षा गर्ने उद्देश्य राखेर बनाइनु पर्छ  ।सबै कानून अनिवार्य रुपमा निस्पक्ष -वस्तुगत  रुपमा सही ठहराउन योग्य हुनुपर्छ  ।कुनै  कारवाही गर्नुभन्दा  पहिले नै व्यक्तिलाई यस कुरामा  स्पष्ट रुपमा जानकारी हुनुपर्छ  कि कानूनले उनीहरुलाई के गर्नबाट रोक्छ र उक्त कार्य गरेमा उनीहरुलाई  के सजाय हुन सक्छ भनेर ।

सरकारको कानूनी  अधिकारहरुको श्रोत हो -शासित हुनेहरुको  अनुमती  यसको अर्थ यो हो की सरकार शासक हैन बरु नागरिकहरुको रक्षक वा अभिकर्ता हो ।यसको अर्थ यो हो कि सरकारलाई एउटा विशेष  उद्देश्यका लागि नागरिकहरले  दिएको अधिकार बाहेक अन्य कुनै  अधिकार हुदैन ।

यदि व्यक्ति स्वतन्त्र एवं सभ्य समाजमा रहन चाहन्छ भने एउटै आधारभूत सिध्दान्त छ जसमा उसको सहमती हुन अनिवार्य छ -शारिरीक बलको प्रयोग समाप्त गर्ने र आफ्नो शारीरिक आत्मारक्षाका लागि सरकारलाई  अधिकृत बनाउने सिध्दान्त ताकि उसले यसलाई सुव्यवस्थित निस्पक्ष एवं कानूनी तरीकाबाट परिभाषित रुपमा लागु  गर्न सकोस् ।यसलाई अर्को तरिकाबाट यसो पनि भन्न सकिन्छ कि उक्त बल प्रयोग एवं मनोमानीमाथि रोक अवश्य स्वीकार गर्नुपर्छ--कुनै पनि तरिकाको मनोमाजी जसमा उसको स्वयं को मनोमानी पनि शामिल छ ।अब यदि दुई  व्यक्तिहरुको बीचमा कुनै कारोबार हुन्छ  जसमा दुवै संलग्न छन् फेरी यदि यसमा असहमति सृजना भएमा के हुन्छ त ?

एउटा स्वतन्त्र समाजकम दुवैलाई एक -अर्कासँग सम्झौता गर्नको लागि वाध्य  पारिदैन ।सम्झौताहरु स्वेच्छीक सहमति को आधारमा  वा अनुबन्ध मार्फत गर्छन । यदि एउटा व्यक्ति मनोमानी तरिकाले अनुबन्ध तोड्छ भने यसबाट अर्का व्यक्तिलाई  वित्तिय हानी हुन सक्छ र क्षतिपुर्ती  स्वरुप दोषी पक्षको सम्पत्ति जफत गर्नुको  अलावा अरु कुनै विकल्प हुदैन तर फेरि पनि यहा पनि बल प्रयोगको निर्णय कुनै ब्यक्तिको   भरमा छोड्न मिल्दैन । र यहा सरकार को अत्यन्त महत्वपुर्ण  एवं जटिल काम आउँछ - एउटा मध्यस्तकर्ताको भूमिका जसले निस्पक्ष कानून अनुसार दुवै  व्यक्तिहरुको झगडाको समाधान गरोस् ।

कुनै पनि सभ्य समाजमा अपराधि अत्यन्त कम सख्यामा हुन्छन् तर शांतिपूर्ण समाजका लागि कानूनको अदालतद्धारा अनुबंधको संरक्षण र प्रवर्तन सबैभन्दा महत्वपूर्ण आवश्यकता हो ।यस तरिकाको संरक्षणबिना कुनै पनि सभ्यतालाई विकसित हुन वा रहिरहन संभव हुँदैन ।

मानिस पशुसरह आफ्ना तत्कालका आवश्यकताका लागि काम गरेर मात्र जीवित रहन सक्दैन उसलाई विभिन्न समायवधिमा आफ्नो उद्देश्यलाई निर्धारित गर्न र तिनलाई प्राप्त गर्नका लागि काम गर्नुपर्छ ।व्यक्तीलाई आफ्नो पुरै  जीवनको लागि आफ्ना कार्य र योजनाहरुको लेखा-जोखा तैयार गर्नुपर्छ ।व्यक्तीको मस्तिष्क जति असल र उसको ज्ञान जति उतकृष्ट छ उसका  योजनाहरुको श्रृंखला त्यती नै लामो ह्न्छ ।कुनै सभ्यता जति कुलिन र जति जटील छ  उसलाई त्यतिनै लामो गतिविधीको श्रृंखला हुनजरुरी छ र यसै प्रकारले व्यक्तिहरुबीच अनुबन्धका सम्झौताहरु जति  धेरै हुन्छन् त्यस्ता अनुबन्धका सुरक्षाका लागि संरक्षणको आवशयकता पनि त्यती नै हुन्छ ।

यहाँसम्म कि कुनै अपरिष्कृत समाज पनि यसरी काम गर्न सक्दैन-मानैा कुनै व्यक्ति केही अण्डाको सट्टामा  आलु  दिने व्यापार गर्न सहमत  हुन्छ ।ऊ अण्डा लिन्छ र आलु  दिन अस्वीकार गरिदिन्छ । कल्पना गर्नुस्  यसै तरिकाको मनोमानी यदि कुनै औध्योगिक  समाजमा हुन्छ भने यसको अर्थ के रहला जहाँ व्यक्तिहरु खरबौं डलरको समान उधारोमा या अनुबन्धका आधारमा दिन्छन्-करोडौ  डलर पर्ने संरचना खडा  गर्नका लागि या ९९वर्षका लागि लिजमा सम्पत्ति दिन्छन् ।

यि अनुबन्धहरुको एकतर्फी उल्लङ्घनमा शारीरिक बलको अप्रत्यक्ष प्रयोग भइराखेको हुन्छ।यदि कुनै व्यक्तिबाट सामान लिन्छ र त्यसको सट्टामा  पैसा दिन अस्वीकार गर्छ र त्यस सामानमाथि दबाब -शारीरिक दबाब बनाई राख्छ जसमा उसको मालिकको  सहमति छैन् ।धोखादारीमा यसै प्रकारको बलको अप्रत्यक्ष प्रयोग हुन्छ ।यसमा मालिको सहमतीबिना व्यक्तिले सामान लिन्छ -झुठो  आश्वासन दिएर, धम्कीमा पनि बलको अप्रत्यक्ष प्रयोग हुन्छ ।यसमा सामाजको बदलामा केही पनि दिइदैन बरु धम्की र जबरजस्ती गरेर लिइन्छ ।

यस  प्रकारका कुनै पनि कार्य निश्चित रुपमा अपराधिक हुन ।अनुबन्धको एकतर्फी उल्लंधन अपराधबाट प्रेरित पनि हुन सक्छन् तर ती गैरजिम्मेदारीपूर्ण  वा अविवेकी व्यवहारका कारणले पनि हुन सक्छन् ।केही  यस्ता मामला पनि हुन्छन् जहाँ दुवै  पक्ष न्यायको गुहार  मागी राखेका ह्न्छन् चाहे कुरा  जे नै होस् ।यस तरीकाका सबै मुद्दा निष्पक्ष रुपमा परिभाषित कानूनका  विषय हुनुपर्छ  र यिनको समाधान निस्पक्ष मध्यस्तकर्ता  र कानूनी  प्रशासकहर वा  न्यायधीशहरु जोबाट  उचित हुन्छ उसैद्धारा हुनुपर्छ ।

यी सबै मामलामा न्यायलाई निर्देशित गर्ने आधारभूत  सिध्दान्त माथि नजर गर्ने हो भने यो सिध्दान्त हो कूनै पनि व्यक्ति अर्को व्यक्तिबाट कूनै पनि मुल्य  उस्को सहमतिविना प्राप्त गर्न सक्दैन र एउटा व्यक्तिको अधिकारलाई एक व्यक्तिको एकतर्फी निर्णय अविवेक या मनमानी स्वेच्छाचारिताको भरमा छोड्न सकिदैंन । 

सार रुपमा  सरकारको यही नै उपयुक्त  उद्देश्य हुन्छ  कि उसले व्यक्तिको सामाजिक अस्तित्वलाई सम्भव  बनाओस् उसको हितको रक्षा गरोस् र ती गलतीहरुलाई नियन्त्रण गरोस् जसद्धारा एक व्यक्तिले अर्कोलाई हानी पुर्याउन  सक्छ ।सरकारका महत्वपूर्ण  कार्यलाई तीन श्रेणीमा बाँडन  सकिन्छ जुन सबैमा शारीरिक बल र व्यक्तिका अधिकारहरुको रक्षाका मामिला शामिल छन् ।

पहिलो हो-प्रहरी अपराधीहरुबाट व्यक्तिहरुलाई रक्षा गर्नका लागि हुन्छ , दोस्रो-सशस्त्र सेवाहरु विदेशी आक्रमणकारीहरुबाट रक्षा  गर्नका लागि, तेस्रो-कानूनी अदालतहरु जसले व्यक्तिहरुको आपसी  झगडालाई निरपेक्ष कानूनद्धारा सुल्झाउन ।यी तीन श्रेणीहरुमा अरु पनि केही चीजहरु जोडिएका  हुन्छन् जुन  लागु गर्ने समयमा हुने  व्यवहारिक समस्याहरु र कुनै  विशेष कानून  लागु गर्दाका जटिलतासँग सम्बधित हुन्छन् ।यो विशेष विज्ञानको क्षेत्रसँग संबन्धित हुन्छ जसलाई कानूनको दर्शन भन्दछन् । कानूनलाई लागु गर्ने समयमा थुप्रै  गलती र असहमतीको सम्भावना हुन्छ ।तर लागु गर्नेपर्ने अनिवार्य सिध्दान्त हो कानून एवं सरकारको उद्देश्य व्यक्ति को अधिकारहरुको रक्षा गर्ने हो ।

आजकल  यो सिध्दान्तलाई बिसिईएको छ ,यसको अवहेलना भइरहेको छ यसबाट बच्ने कोशिश गरिन्छ यसकै नतिजा हो - विश्वको वर्तमान अवस्था ।क्रूर शक्तिहरुद्धारा बर्बरतापूर्ण  तरिकासँग कानूनहरु लागु गरिदैछ।मानवताको अवनति यस हदसम्म भईसकेको छ कि कानूनको शासन समाप्त भएको छ तानाशाहीको अवस्था  उत्पन्न भएको छ।

Author: Ayn Rand
Translation: Surath Giri

Sep 18, 2010

Liberalization for Progress

(Published in Republica of 18th September 2010)

Read this article published in Republica . I whole-heartedly agree to the author's views that liberalization is the only way forward if we really want progress. Nepali Congress being the party responsible for limited liberalization during the 1990s could spearhead the process of liberalization in other sectors of the economy as well. Unfortunately, the opposite is happening. It’s ominous to see that instead of capitalizing on the benefits brought on by the liberalization, NC’s cadres and leaders are clamoring for socialism. All around the world, economic liberalization is lifting millions of people out of dire poverty. Post 1990’s India and China after 1980 are prime examples of how economic liberalization benefits the nation as a whole.  Even Cuba is reforming its policies to allow more private sector involvement in economy.

The limited economic liberalization of early 1990s has brought many positive changes in our country. Our thriving media sector, banking and finance, educational institutions and the recent surge in telecommunications sector stand as an outcome of liberalization. Contrary to what our left oriented politicians and intellectuals like to think, poverty and inequality aren’t outcomes of liberalization but of lack of liberalization.

Had the government privatized Nepal Airlines we wouldn’t be facing so much corruption and plunder of resources. Had electricity sector been liberalized we wouldn’t be facing world’s worst power crisis. Had the education sector not been opened up, we would still be getting pathetic, if any education from state run colleges and universities where the only thing that a student gets to learn is politics.

Critics of liberalization tend to look at the thriving sectors of the economy and conclude that it causes inequality but they forget the fact that it’s the lack of liberalization that’s causing the inequality. I can’t understand how left-oriented individuals could criticize liberalization when right before their face they can see the failure of state run enterprises such as Nepal Oil Corporation, Nepal electricity authority and even Janakpur cigarette factory.

Poor governance and corruption, the major causes of Nepali Congress’s fall from grace could have been lessened if it had extended the economic liberalization to remaining sectors of the economy and focused more on better administration of rule of law and justice. NC should realize this before it’s too late. A country where almost all political parties are left oriented, it could provide the country with a pragmatic party that learns from examples of other countries and promotes sound economic policies rather than ideology driven defunct policies.

Sep 16, 2010

सरकारको स्वरुप (Ayn Rand's Nature of government को नेपाली अनुवाद )-भाग १

सरकार एउटा संस्था हो, जोसँग निश्चित भौगोलिक क्षेत्रमा सामाजिक आचरणका नितिनियमहरु लागु गर्ने शक्ति हुन्छ । के व्यक्तिलाई यस्तो संस्था आवश्यकता पर्छ? पर्छ भने किन?

व्यक्तिको मस्तिष्क उसको जीवित रहन चाहिने आधार भूत साधन हो ।यसको माध्यमबाट उसले ज्ञान प्राप्त गर्छ जसद्धारा उसका सबै कार्य निर्देशित हुन्छन् ।तर यसका लागि आधारभूत शर्त यो हो कि ऊ स्वतन्त्र रुपमा सोच्न सकोस् र आफ्नो विवेकपुर्ण निर्णयशक्ती  अनुसार  काम गर्न सकोस् । यसको अर्थ यो होइन् कि व्यक्ति एकदम  एक्लो रहनूपर्छ र उसका आवश्यकताका लागि एकान्त ठाँउ नै सर्वोत्तम स्थान हो ।मानिसले एक अर्कासँगबाट थूप्रै लाभ लिन सक्छन ।उसले असल प्रकारले जीउनका लागि सामाजिक वातावरण सबैभन्दा उत्तम हो तर केही शर्तहरु सहित…।

समाजमा रहेर मानिसले दूई महत्वपूर्ण  मूल्यहरु सिक्छ ती हुन  -ज्ञान र यसको आदान-प्रदान ।मानिस एक्लो यस्तो प्राणी हो  जो पूस्ता -दर-पूस्ता मा आफ्नो ज्ञानको खजाना आदान -प्रदान गरेर यसमा वृध्दि गर्न सक्छ ।प्रत्येक मानिस अरुद्धारा अनूसन्धान गरिएको ज्ञानबाट असिमित लाभ लिन सक्छ ।कुनै  पनि व्यक्ति आफ्नो पूरा जीवन अवधिको दौरानमा जति पनि कूरा शूरुदेखि सिक्न कोसिस गर्छ त्यसभन्दा धेरै उसको लागि पहिलेदेखि नै उपलब्ध हुन्छ ।द्रोस्रो महत्वपूर्ण लाभ हो -श्रमको विभाजन ।यसले गर्दा प्रत्येक व्यक्ति कुनै  निर्धारित क्षेत्रका मानिसहरुसँग यसको आदान-प्रदान गर्दछ ।यस तरिकाको सहयोगबाट व्यक्ति आफ्ना प्रत्येक आवश्यकताका लागि आफू  एक्लै सबै काम  गरेर एकान्त स्थानमा रहेर प्राप्त गर्नेभन्दा अत्यन्त धेरै ज्ञान र कौशल आर्जन गर्छ । तर यसबाट यो कुरा पनि  पत्ता लाग्छ कि यस्तो किसिमको सहयोग  मुल्यवान ब्यक्ति र समाजबिच कसरी हुन सक्छ -त्यो हो केवल विवेकपुर्ण क्रियाशील  एवं स्वतन्त्र समाजका विवेकपुर्ण क्रियाशील  एवं स्वतन्त्र व्यक्तिहरुको बीचमा । (The Objective Ethics )

त्यो समाज जस्ले व्यक्तिको आफ्नो प्रयासबाट आर्जिएको सबै कुरा  लिन्छ ,उसलाई दास बनाएर राख्छ,उस्को मस्तिष्कको स्वतन्त्रतामा प्रतिबन्ध लगाउँछ र व्यक्तिलाई उसको विवेकपूर्ण निर्णय शक्तिको विरुध्द काम गर्नको लागि बाध्य गराउँछ र जस्ले व्यक्तिका आवश्यक्ता र आफ्नो आदेशबिच संघर्स पैदा  गर्छ, निश्चित तौरमा त्यो समाज नभएर  अव्यवस्थित जनसमुह-भीड हो जो अपराधिक नियमद्धारा संस्थापित हुन्छ  ।यस्तो समाजले मानिसको सह अस्तित्वको सबै मुल्यमान्यतालाई  नष्ट गरिदिन्छ ।योसँग न त क्नै औचित्य ह्न्छ न प्रतिवेदन र ननै भलाईको कुनै  साधन ।यीनीहरु मनुस्यका  ठुला दुश्मन हुन्छन् । सोभियत रुस वा नाजी जर्मनीमा भन्दा त वीरानो ठाउँमा नै जिन्दगी ज्यादा सुरक्षित  हुन्छ  ।

व्यक्तिगत अधिकारको सिध्दान्त

यदि व्यक्ति शन्तिपुर्ण , क्रियाशील  र विवेकपुर्ण   समाजमा आपसी हितका लागि साथ रहन चाहन्छ भने उसले केही आधारभूत  सामाजीक नियमहरु अवश्य मान्नु  पर्छ । यस विना क्नै नैतिक वा सभ्य समाज को कल्पना पनि गर्न सकिदैन ।

व्यक्तिगत अधिकारलाई मान्यता दिनुको  अर्थ यो हो कि व्यक्तिलाई जीवित रहनका लागि चाहिने समाजिक आवश्यकताहरुलाई मान्यता दिनु  र स्वीकार गर्नु  व्यक्तिका अधिकारहरुको उल्लंघन केवल शरीरिक बल प्रयोगद्धारा मात्रै गर्न सकिन्छ ।शरीरिक बलको प्रयोगले नै एउटा व्यक्तिले अर्को व्यक्तिको जीवन समाप्त गर्न सक्छ वा उसलाई दास बनाउन सक्छ वम वा लुट्न  सक्छ वा उसलाई आफ्नो लक्ष्य सम्म पुग्न बाट रोक्न सक्छ  वा उसको विवेकपुर्ण  निर्णय शक्तिको विरुध्दमा  काम गर्न वाध्य तुल्याउन सक्छ ।

एउटा  सभ्य समाजको अनिवार्य शर्त यो हो की  समाजिक संबधहरुमा शारीरिक बल प्रयोग नहोस् ताकि व्यक्ति यदि एक- अर्कासँग संबध राख्न चाहन्छन् भने उनीहरु यस्तो गर्न सकून  तर विचार-विमर्श स्वेच्छ राजीखुशी  र इच्छार्पुर्ण  सहमतिबाट मात्रै ।

व्यक्तिलाई जीवनको अधिकार  मार्फत मिल्ने सबैभन्दा महत्वपुर्ण  अधिकार आत्मरक्षाको अधिकार हो । सभ्य समाजमा बल प्रयोग केवल जवाफी कारवाही का लागि वा उनीहरुको विरुध्द गर्न सीकन्छ जसले यस्को शुरुवात गर्छन । ती सबैकारण जस्का आधारमा शारीरिक बलको प्रयोगको शुरुवात  हुन्छ  गलत हुन्छन् ।यहाँ शारीरिक बलको प्रयोग नैतिक अनिवार्यता बन्न जान्छ ।

यदि कुनै शान्तिप्रिय  समाज  कसैद्वारा  बलको प्रयोग हृदाँ पनि उस्को विरुध्दमा कारवाही गर्दैन भने उक्त समाज अनैतिक कार्य गर्नेहरको दयामा र असहाय हुन्छ । यस तरिकाको समाजले खराब कुराहरुलाई अन्त्य गर्नुको साटो यसको विपरित हासिल गर्छ ।यसो गरेर उसले खराबलाई बढावा दिराखेको हुन्छ खराबलाई समर्थन गरिराखेको हुन्छ ।यदि कुनै समाज कुनै बलको विरुध्दमा नागरिकहरुलाई संगठित  सुरक्षा प्रदान गरिराखेको छैन भने यसको अर्थ यो हो की उसले प्रत्येक नागरिकलाई शस्त्र उठाउन र आफ्नो घरलाई मोर्चाबन्द गर्न वा कुनै अजनबी उसको ढोकामा आइपुग्छ  भने मारिदिनको लागि वा  बदला लिनका  लागि बनेका नागरिकहरुको संरक्षक समुहमा शामिल वाध्य तुल्याइरहेको हुन्छ  । यसको नतिजा  स्वरुप समाज को पतन हुन्छ रअपराधिहरुको शासन हुन जान्छ र अपराधि समृहको बीचमा युद्धको स्थिति बन्न पुग्छ  ।

शारिरिक  बलको प्रयोगलाई पनि व्यक्ति विशेषको विवेकको भरमा छोड्न सकिन्न । यदि व्यक्ति लगातार बल प्रयोगको भयको बीचमा बसीरहेको हुन्छ की  उसको विरध्द कुनै पनि छिमेकीले कुनै पनि समयमा प्रयोग गर्न सक्छ भने यस्तोमा शान्तिपुर्ण सहयोग असंभव हुन्छ । चाहे छिमेकीको उद्देश्य असल होस् या खराब चाहे  उसको निर्णय विवेकपुर्ण होस् या अविवेकपुर्ण चाहे उ न्यायले प्रेरित होस् या अज्ञानताबाट चाहे उ पूर्वाग्रहबाट ग्रसित होस्, कुनै व्यक्तिको विरुध्दमा बलको प्रयोग अर्को व्यक्तिको इच्छाको भरमा छोड्न मिल्दैन ।

कल्पना गर्नुस्  त्यस स्थितिको ,यदि कुनै व्यक्तिको पर्स हरायो र उ यस निस्कर्समा पुग्यो  कि उसको पर्स चोरी भएको हो । उ एक-एक गर्दै छिमेकीहरुको घरमा पसेर आफ्नो पर्स खोज्छ र बेइमान देखिने पहिलो ब्यक्तिलाई  गोली ठोकि दिन्छ किन कि उसलाइ त्यो व्यक्ति दोषी लाग्छ ।जवाफि कारवाहीका लागि बलको प्रयोगमा पनि पहिले वस्तुगत मानानंकको अनुरुप साक्षीहरबाट अपराधको पृष्टि हुनुपर्छ  साथमा यो पनि साबित हुनुपर्छ  कि अपराध कसले गरेको हो । यसको अलावा  सजायलाई  परिभाषित गर्नुको साथै यसको प्रवर्तनका नियमहररु पनि जरुरी हुन्छन् ।यदि व्यक्ति यस तरिकाका नियमहरु विना  अपराध निर्धारित गर्ने प्रयास गर्छ  भने यसको मतलब साबित नभइकनै अपराध मान्ने काम  भयो । यदि कुनै समाज बदला लिनका लागि बलको प्रयोग गर्ने छुट  एक्लो व्यक्तिकोहातमा दिन्छ भने उक्त समाज अपराधिक शासन तथा रक्तपातपुर्ण  दुश्मनी -झगडमा अवनति हुन्छ  ।

यदि सामाजिक संबधहरुमा शारिरिक बल प्रयोगलाई समाप्त गर्नुछ  भने व्यक्तिलाई एउटा यस्तो संस्थाको आवश्यकता पर्छ जो सँग वस्तुगत मानानंक एवं नियमहरुको आधारमा व्यक्तिहरको अधिकारको रक्षा गर्ने जिम्मेदारी होस् । एउटा सरकार-एउटा उचित सरकारको यो उसको न्युनतम कर्तव्य हो।व्यक्तिलाई सरकारको आवश्यकता किन छ -यहि त्यो कारण हो र नैतिक औचित्य पनि ।

निष्पक्ष नियंत्रणमा आधारित शारीरिक बल बदलाको कारवाही गर्ने साधन हो । यो कार्य उसले वस्तुगत तरिकाबाट परिभाषित नियमहरुको आधारमा गर्दछ ।

निजी कारवाही र सरकारी कारवाही बीचको प्रमूख  भिन्नता-जसलाई आजकल वेवास्ता र पन्छाउने गरिन्छ-के हो भने शारीरिक बलप्रयोग गर्नमा सरकारको एकाधिकार हुन्छ ।सरकारको लागि यस प्रकारको एकाधिकार अनिवार्य पनि छ किनकी बलको प्रयोग रोक्न र यसको विरुध्द कारवाही गर्नको लागि उ नै अधिकृत हो ।र यिनै कारणहरु गर्दा सरकारी कारवाही पूर्ण  तरिकासँग परिभाषित सीमाबध्द एवं नियन्त्रित हुनुपर्छ  ।उसलाई आफ्नो काममा मनमानी गर्ने छुट हुनुहुदैन ।उ शक्तिले भरिपुर्ण यंत्रमानव सरह हुनुपर्छ । यदि स्वतन्त्र  समाज चाहिन्छ भने यसको लागि सरकारलाई नियंत्रित गर्नु आवश्यक छ ।

उचित सामाजिक व्यवस्थामा, एउटा व्यक्ति आफ्नो इच्छाको अनुसार जे पनि गर्नको लागि कानूनी तौरमा स्वतन्त्र हुन्छ जबसम्म ऊ अर्काको अधिकारहरु हनन् गर्दैन जबकि सरकारी अधिकारीले गर्ने प्रत्येक काम कानूनी दायरा भित्र हुनुपर्छ । एउटा व्यक्ति ती सबै कुरा गर्न सक्छ जुन कानूनी रुपमा प्रतिबन्धित छैनन्  र एउटा सरकारी अधिकारी त्यो बाहेक अरु केही पनि गर्न सक्दैन जसका लागि कानूनी रुपमा अनुमती छ ।

यो अधिकार लाई सामर्थ्यको दाजोमा बढी महत्वपुर्ण बनाउने  तरिका हो ।यो अमेरिकी अवधारणा हो-"कानूनको सरकार , ब्यक्तिको होईन "

स्वतन्त्र सामाजका लागि उपयुक्त कानूनको स्वरूप  र सरकारलाई यी कानूनहरुले  दिएको अधिकारको श्रोत -दुबै  को उत्पत्ति उपयुक्त सरकारको प्रकृति र उसको उद्देश्यबाट हुन्छ ।दुबैको आधार्भूत सिध्दान्तलाई स्वतन्त्रताको घाषणापत्रमा निर्देशित  गरिएको छ ।यी नै अधिकारहरुको रक्षाका लागि ब्यक्तिहरुबिच सरकारको गठन गरिन्छ र सरकारको अधिकार शासित हुनेहरुको अनुमतीबाट आउँछ ।

Author: Ayn Rand
Translation: Surath Giri

Sep 15, 2010

Banning internet porn!

(Published in Republica of 22 November 2010)
The intensity with which Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) is persecuting internet pornography in Nepal is pretty surprising. It is hard to believe that the government finds internet porn so objectionable that it’s been given utmost priority when its hands are already full with all the kidnappings, murders and other criminal activities going on. The reason given by the government for the ban is national insecurity and increasing amount of vulgarism in society. It’s so ridiculous and outrageous that the government is lackadaisical about all the criminal activities prevailing in our society but is hell bent on blocking online porn. It another example of how common sense is at odds with governments (our government at least).

How is that if I or any general Nepalese for that matter watch porn it’s going to pose a threat to our national security? And how is that watching porn increases sexual violence in the society when no  concluding evidence has yet been found that suggests a positive correlation between internet porn and sexual crimes? Besides sexual crimes are least of the government’s worry presently. Why should what we watch online be of any business to the government? Who determines whether a society is excessively vulgar or not?

Since 30 to 40 percent of the total internet users visit websites for pornographic contents globally, it cannot be ignored that online pornography is catering to the sexual needs of certain people. United States alone has a staggering 244 million Web pages featuring erotic fare. I am yet to find a youngster (male) of my age who has never watched porn online. Does that mean every one of us is vulgar or morally corrupt? Is NTA morally superior to us so that it can dictate on us what is moral and what is immoral?

Internet service providers are saying that blocking all the porn sites is a job next to impossible and whatever can be done is going to be quite costly as site blocking will need extra manpower and additional hardware increasing the cost of internet. In other words, our government’s role-play of a parent is going to cost the ISPs heavily which in turn will surely have to be borne by the general customers. Not only government encroaching on our liberties but it’s also forcing us to pay for not watching porn. What an irony!

This Arabian country like Puritanism of government is not going to achieve anything else except  increased cost of internet surfing and curbed civil liberties along with more avenues for corruption, as the so called objective of preventing access to porn is going to be seriously undermined by the ubiquitous access of porn movies and DVDs in the market. If denied access to porn online, youth will vent their sexual frustrations out of the house and it will lead to an increase in sexual assaults on women. So much for the national security!

And by the way our temples and shrines tend to have a spectacular display of sexual acts and sexual positions to which even internet pornography falls short. Tudals and woodworks of temples and other religious structures are rife with images of men and women in various sexual activities. So what’s the government going to do about it? Ban the access to religious sites and temples as well?

Isn’t it time that our government started having some common sense and focus on providing security to our lives and properties instead of deciding for us whether it’s a good thing to watch porn or not, whether we are too vulgar or not?

Surath Giri

Sep 12, 2010

Are Nepalese youth patriot enough??

(Published in Republica of 11th September 2010 as "Youths head abroad in pursuit of better lives")

Photo Taken From:ktm2day.com
Nepalese youth can be categorized in two groups these days, those who left already and those who are left behind. It’s the prejudice against the first group and the desperation of the latter one that bothers me the most. Every other day, the world is shrinking more and more into a global village and along with it the barriers of division such as nationality, culture, and religion are crumbling. Younger generation is getting more aware of the global achievements and trends. In this context, it is not surprising to see that most of our younger generation is leaving the country for one or another reason and most of them will probably never return. I find it very outrageous when youth leaving the country are considered fleeing when in fact all they are doing is using their common sense for the pursuit of better lives and their dreams. The air of moral superiority that we feel while talking and judging about youth, who have left the country, is nothing more than our frustration in disguise.

When we are discussing the reasons for their leaving we need to analyze what the country has been able to offer them till date. The state till date has been promising to act like a parent promising to provide for from cradle to grave. Free food, free education, free health services, employment opportunities as if the citizens were not capable of doing anything on their own. Despite the lofty promises, the state has so far failed miserably to provide even the real necessities for youth to flourish i.e. peace and security, rule of law, freedom to pursue their entrepreneurial visions and generate wealth, safeguard of their lives and properties. Unemployment, lack of quality education, lack of basic necessities like electricity and water, lack of security are among the primary reasons compelling youth to leave. But if we dig deeper we’ll find that our policies are the main reason behind them.

We gasp with horror to know our youth are working as waiters in McDonalds and Starbucks and yet we fail to ask why is it that companies like them don’t open up their business in Nepal and provide us with employment opportunities here at our home. 

Our intellectuals find is shameful that thousands of youth stand in line for hours to fill up forms for employment in Korea and yet they never find it shameful that it is easier to commit a crime here than set up a business and run it freely.  

We find it shocking that millions of rupees are spent by our youth for their higher education abroad and yet when private universities or private educational institutions try to provide quality education here we accuse them of commercializing education, making profit out of education and brandish them as evil. 

We complain that some of our youth spend their productive years in developing foreign countries and return back here in their old age and yet we never question state’s plundering of our resources and our hard earned tax money. 

We cringe to know that our youth work in the so called “demeaning jobs” like security guards and domestic helpers and yet we forget if they were here all they would be doing was saluting political leaders and serving the rulers.

Rather than questioning their morality, we should be grateful to them for the reason that instead of venting out their frustration by resorting to violence they are working hard away from home and have been supporting our economy to some extent. Rather than judging them on the grounds of patriotism, we should understand that patriotism in the given context is nothing more than valuing an area of land, mountains, rivers, and woods more than the human beings born into them. Patriotism is just another tool in our rulers’ inventory of deluding us and toying with our emotions to neutralize our reasoning powers. As Leo Tolstoy once said, “Patriotism in its simplest, clearest, and most indubitable signification is nothing else but a means of obtaining for the rulers their ambitions and covetous desires, and for the ruled the abdication of human dignity, reason, and conscience, and a slavish enthrallment to those in power.”

If patriotism is more than just the tool used by politicians to fool us or more than just the area of land, mountain and rivers, we should be proud of our youth working or studying abroad. The state, rulers and intellectuals should encourage youth to be global citizens instead of being ashamed of them. If there is one thing to be ashamed of then it’s that while the world citizen’s are aspiring for self actualization, we are looking up at the rulers to provide us with food, employment and education. No wonder we lag so far behind the world.

Sep 9, 2010

Good news from Cuba!

Couple of weeks ago, some good news had arrived from Cuba,one of the last remaining frontiers of communism. The Cuban government decided to stop subsidizing cigarettes in order to cut down the state's spending. Earlier it had decided to stop subsidizing  peas and potatoes. The communist government plans to eliminate all subsidies and allow workers to be self-employed or to set up small businesses. 

Recent addition to this series of good news is the Fidel Castro's confession that  "Cuba´s communist economic model doesn´t work." So, finally Castro brothers and their hoodlums are compelled to accept the truth. They had to accept that entrepreneurship matters after all. Communism isn't a good concept gone bad but it's a bad concept in itself for the reason that it completely ignores the aspect of human nature that covets private property and the self-interest that drives the civilization forward. However, the dog-headed Castros are still unwilling to depart from the socialist system. Their reluctance is understandable as no dictator has even been willing to give up his/her power too easily. But we can be hopeful that these small reforms in their system will attract more reforms and gradually transform the economy.

This news should serve as a lessons to almost ALL the political parties of Nepal whose political principles range from social democratic to hard core communist. It's ludicrous that when countries like Cuba are realizing their mistake and reforming their system our political parties and intellectuals are clamoring for the opposite. Despite compelling evidences from our neighbors and our own experience that economic liberalization can raise millions of people out of poverty and embark them in the path of prosperity, the process has come to a halt in Nepal and there have been attempts at reversing the process. Most of the so called intellectuals are fond of criticizing the little liberalization that happened in the early to mid nineties. Only thing their criticisms lack  is a small portion of common sense and learning from other countries.

A left inclined friend of mine is very fond of Cuba and thinks it's a paradise. Maybe I should tell him, his paradise of communism is crumbling down as common sense is advancing.

Sep 6, 2010

गल्ती भयो कल्यानी मालिक्नी । माफ गरिदिनुस्!

बागबजारस्थित श्री पशुपति कुर्ता पसलका शम्भु श्रीवास्तव सारै सोझा र अज्ञानी रहेछन ।  आजको पत्रीकामा यो समाचार पढ्दा पो थाहा पाएँ । बिचरा उनले सोचेका रहेछन देशमा साँच्चै जनताको शासन आयो,जनताका प्रतिनिधिहरुले संबिधान बनाउदैछन भनेर । जनताको प्रतिनिधी जनता भन्दा माथि हुन सक्दैन भन्ने सोझो बुझाईले गर्दा नै होला उनले "कल्यानी मालिक्नी"लाई "सभासद भएर के भो त ?" भन्ने प्रश्न गर्ने दुस्साहस गरेछन । ६ घन्टा जेल्मा बसेपछी शायद उनको बुद्धी आयो होला। शायद उनले अब बुझे होला "कल्यानी " हाम्री प्रतिनिधि होइनन हाम्री मलिक्नी हुन । मालिक्नीको बचन काट्नु हुदैन । 

तपाईं पनि यस्तै भ्रम बाट ग्रसित हुनुहुन्थ्यो भने समयमै आफ्नो सोच बदलिहाल्नुस् । जनताका प्रतिनिधि हुन भनेर सोचिराख्नु होला र कुन दिन कुटाइ खाएपछी चाल पाउनु होला। ती ६०१ जना भनेका हाम्रा मालिक र मालिक्नीहरु हुन । हामी त केबल उनिहरुका दास हौ । पत्त्यार लागेन ? रामशरन मालिकको सवारी हुँदा सडक खाली गरेर घन्टौ  सडक छेउ उभिनु भएको बिर्सनु भयो ? एकजना मालिकलाई नमस्ते गर्न बिर्सदा बानेश्वरमा एक्जना प्रहरीले पिटाई खाको बिर्सनु भयो? मालिक्नीले भनेअनुसारको गाडी नपठाउदा एक्जना जिल्ला अधिक्रितले रामधुलाई खाको बिर्सनु भयो । सकी नसकी कमाएको पैसाले कर तिरेर तीन बर्ष उहाँहरुलाई पालिराखेको कुरा बिर्सनु भयो ? 

मेरो बिदेशी साथी पौल भन्छ दुई थरी शासन हुन्छन् रे । एउटा कानूनको शासन अर्को कानूनद्वारा शासन । हाम्रो शासन चै दोस्रो किसिमको हो रे । तर म उसलाई प्रतिक्रिया दिन्न । कारण ? बेकारमा अहिले मालिकहरु रिसाउनु भयो भने कुटाइ खाइन्छ । अरु मालिकहरु सँग निहुँ खोजे पनि  झुक्केर पनि बाल कृष्ण मालिक सँग चाँही निहु नखोज्नु होला । उहाँ त मान्छे मार्न खप्पिस हुनुहुन्छ नी ।

Sep 5, 2010

Animal Farm, Windmill and the Republic Memorial

Our windmill is supposed to look like this
The recent news about the Republic Memorial reminded me of the windmill in George Orwell’s classic novel Animal Farm. The pigs decide to build a windmill which is more of a display of the grandeur of their rule rather than an object of utility. The mill construction gets costlier and costlier over the time forcing the animals to work even harder and give up their luxuries to bear the cost.

It isn’t a surprise that throughout human history, rulers have always been eager to create something to represent the grandeur of their rule mostly at the cost of their citizens. Grand structures and how others perceive their might is more important to them than the welfare of their citizens. No matter how much we are awed by the grandeur of infrastructures like Taj Mahal, Great Wall or Singadurbar, the sad reality is that they represent a ruler’s dream of grandiose more than anything else.  Republic Memorial is for me just another addition to this list of rulers’ fantasies.

The grand republic tower is said to cost about Rs. 500 million and take 2 years to be constructed. As is the usual case, the cost is very likely to increase for countless reasons. It is supposed to signify “our” victory over the monarchy. My question is, do we have so much money to spare for a tower when poor taxpayers are dying because they can’t afford a medicine of mere Rs. 5? How could anyone spend 2.3 million on designing something when millions of children are deprived of education for lack of money? Would anyone of sense that cared for others spend so much money for a monument? It is not only ludicrous but it is an injustice that our money is being spent on building a monument when we have so many urgent needs to be fulfilled. But again, it’s the way the rulers are! For a common Nepali, the new republic isn’t any better than a nightmare, the transition from being a subject to a king to slaves of 600 plus kings isn’t something to feel victorious about let alone spend millions on erecting a monument.

The fact that Mr. Dahal who calls himself the savior of the poor was eager to spend so much on something to symbolize his rule over us and Mr. Nepal was so eager about the monument that his cabinet decided on the day of the oath about the tower, signifies that their thinking is no different from the ancient emperors who built monuments by exploiting their citizens. Had it been their personal money or even their party’s money, I am sure they would have never even dreamt of such extravagance. But it’s not their money after all! It’s ours!  And guess what’s worse than this?? We are overjoyed that we are going to have a grand tower , something to take photographs against or maybe something to mention except Mount Everest or Buddha when in need to show off.

(Published on the Republica of 6th September 2010)