Mar 29, 2010

स्वतन्त्र मानिस समान हुँदैनन् , समान मानिस स्वतन्त्र हुँदैनन् ।

सार्वजनिक नीति भन्नाले सरकार वा सरकारी निकायले कुनै एक मुद्धा वा मुद्धाको समूह माथि अबलम्बन गरेको नीतिलाई बुझिन्छ । सार्वजनिक नीतिले लाखौं जनताको आर्थिक तथा सामाजिक कार्यमा प्रभाव पार्छ । त्यसैकारणले कुनै देशको सार्वजनिक नीति कस्तो छ भन्ने कुराले उक्त देशको सामाजिक र आर्थिक उन्नति हुन्छ कि हुँदैन भन्ने कुरा निर्धारण गर्दछ । सार्वजनिक नीतिहरु संविधान  ऐनकानून अदालती फैसलाहरुमा निहित हुन्छन् । संविधान देशको सर्वोच्च कानून भएकाले अन्य सबै नीतिहरु यसैबाट निर्देशित हुन्छन् । र हाल हाम्रो देश संविधान निर्माणको प्रकि्रयाबाट गुजि्ररहेको हुनाले अहिलेको समयमा असल सार्वजनिक नीतिका गुणहरुका बारेमा छलफल गर्नु अत्यन्त सान्दर्भिक होला किनकी अब बन्ने संविधान र यसले निदेर्शित गर्ने सार्वजनिक नीतिहरुले लामो समयसम्म नेपाली समाज र जीवनस्तरलाई  डोर्याउने निश्चित छ ।
 
यसै सन्दर्भमा म्याकिनक सार्वजनिक नीति केन्द्रका   संस्थापक अध्यक्ष तथा हाल फाउण्डेशन फर इकनमिक एजुकेशनका अध्यक्ष लरेन्स रीडको "असल सार्वजनिक नीतिका सात सिद्धान्त " नामक वक्तव्यलाई श्रृङखलाबद्ध रुपमा प्रस्तुत गर्ने प्रयास गरेको छु । पढेर प्रतिकि्रया दिनुहोला ।

रीडले यो वक्तव्य सबैभन्दा पहिले डेट्रोइट इकनमिक क्लबका लागि दिएका थिए । यो वक्तव्य निकै चर्चित र लोकपि्रय भयो । हालसम्म रीडले यो वक्तव्य १०० भन्दा बढी स्थानमा दिइसके र चिनियाँ स्पेनिश कॊरियन भाषासमेत  १२ वटा भन्दा बढी भाषामा यसको अनुवाद भइसकेको छ । अचम्मको कुरा त  के छ भने विश्वको सबैभन्दा ठूलो साम्यवादी राष्ट्र चीनमा समेत रीड यसै वक्तव्य दिनका लागि आमन्त्रित भएका थिए ।

रीड भन्छन् यी सिद्धान्तहरु साधारण रुपमा व्यक्त भएका भए पनि यी आफैंमा साधारण भने होइनन् । कुनै पनि विषयमा विचार गर्दा खुला दिमागले सोच्नुपर्छ तर यसको अर्थ यो होइन कि खाली दिमागले सोच्नुपर्छ । गएका शताब्दीहरुमा हामीले कम्तीमा पनि केही कुराहरु सिकेका छौ । सूर्य पूर्वमा उदाउँछ भनेर विना कुनै विवाद मान्नु भनेको कुनै अज्ञानता वा पक्षपाती सोचको उपज होइन । त्यसैगरि कुनै अधिनायकवाद वा राजतन्त्रभन्दा प्रतिनिधिमूलक गणतन्त्र असल हो भन्ने कुरा कुनै विचारधारा माथिको अन्धविश्वासको उपज होइन् । निजी स्वामित्वको सम्पत्ति र स्वतन्त्र बजारिया अर्थतन्त्र राष्ट्रिय स्वामित्वको सम्पत्ति र केन्द्रिय  योजनाभन्दा राम्रो हो भन्ने कुरा कसैको मत नभएर प्रमाणित तथ्य भइसकेको छ त्यस्ता व्यक्तिहरुका लागि जो कारण तर्क तथ्य प्रमाण अर्थशास्त्र तथा अनुभवमा विश्वास गर्छन नकि कुनै  विचारधारा माथि अन्धविश्वास गर्छन ।

सिद्धान्त एक
स्वतन्त्र मानिस समान हुँदैनन् र समान मानिस स्वतन्त्र हुँदैनन् ।

सर्वप्रथम त मैले कुन प्रकारको "समानता"को कुरा गर्दैछु भनेर स्पष्ट गर्नुपर्छ । म कानूनको अगाडि सबै व्यक्तिको समानताको कुरा गरिरहेको छैन । जाति लिङ धन आस्था वा धर्मका आधारमा कानूनको अगाडि कसैलाई पक्षपात गर्नु हुँदैन भन्ने सिद्धान्त त पश्चिमी सभ्यताको आधार नै हो र भलै कतिपय अवस्थामा हामी यस सिद्धान्तमा खरो नउत्रिउला तर यस सिद्धान्तमाथि कसैको पनि मतभेद आउला जस्तो मलाई लाग्दैन ।

मैले कुरा गरिरहेको समानता आम्दानी तथा भौतिक सम्पत्तिको समानताका बारेमा हो । हामीले उद्योग  वाणिज्य बजार काम र विनिमयमार्फत गर्ने कमाइको बारेमा हो । म आर्थिक समानताका बारेमा गफ गदैछु । यस पहिलो सिद्धान्तलाई दुई भागमा विभाजन गरिहेरौं ।

स्वतन्त्र मानिस समान हुदैनन् । जब मानिसहरु आफैमा स्वतन्त्र हुन्छन  आफ्नो  भाग्यको मालिक आफै हुन्छन्  आफ्नो  तथा परिवारको उन्नतिका लागि प्रयास गर्न स्वतन्त्र हुन्छन्  ,बजारमा आउने परिणामहरु एकैनासका हुँदैनन् । मानिसहरुले अत्यन्त फरकफरक स्तरमा कमाइ गर्छन र फरकफरक मात्रामा धन उपार्जन गर्छन । केही मानिसहरु यस तथ्य माथि खेद प्रकट गरिरहेका हुन्छन् र धनी र गरिबबीचको खाडल बढ्यो भनेर दुःखमनाऊ गरिरहेका हुन्छन् । तर मलाई के लाग्छ भने एउटा स्वतन्त्र समाजमा मान्छेहरु फरकफरक हुनु एउटा गजबको कुरा हो । हामी सबैजना अट्टितीय छौं एकअर्का भन्दा वा कुनै जीवित वा मृत व्यक्तिभन्दा अनगिन्ती रुपमा फरक छौं । हामीले बजारमा गरेको अन्तर्रकि्रयाबाट समान परिणाम आओस भनेर चै किन आशा गर्छौ हामी ?

हामी हाम्रो प्रतिभाको स्तरमा फरक छौं । केहीसँग अन्य भन्दा बढी वा अन्यको भन्दा बढी मूल्यवान प्रतिभा हुन्छ । केही मानिसले आफ्नो सर्वोच्च प्रतिभा जीवनको उत्तराद्र्धसम्म पनि थाहा पाउँदैनन् र कतिले त थाहा नै पाउँदैनन पनि । टाइगर  वुड्स एक प्रतिभावान गल्फ खेलाडि हुन् । उनले गल्फ खेलेर मैले खेल्दा भन्दा अत्यन्त धेरै पैसा कमाउँछन भन्ने कुरामा कसैलाई केही आपत्ति हुन जरुरी छ र ? विल केलगले आफू ४६ वर्ष हुँदासम्म  पनि आफूमा भएको अद्भूत उद्यमशिलता तथा विज्ञापन गर्नसक्ने प्रतिभा बारे पत्ता लगाएका थिएनन् । आफ्नो केलग कम्पनी शुरु गरेर नास्ताको उत्पादन बेच्नुभन्दा अगाडिसम्म उनी आफ्नो दाजूको ब्याटल क्रीक स्यानिटरियममा हप्ताको २५ डलरका लागि सानो तिनो काम गरेर गुजारा  गरिरहेका थिए ।

हामी हाम्रो मिहेनतीपन  हाम्रो काम गर्ने इच्छा र लगनशिलता पनि फरक छौं । केही  मानिस अन्यले भन्दा बढी मिहेनतसाथ  बढी समयसम्म र बढी चलाखीपूर्ण तरिकाले काम गर्छन । यसले हामीले गर्ने कामलाई अरुले कतिको महत्व दिन्छन् र हाम्रो सेवालाई कति तिर्न तयार हुन्छन् भन्ने  कुरामा ठूलो फरक पार्दछ ।

हामी हाम्रो बचत गर्ने बानीमा पनि फरक छौं । यादि हाम्रा राष्ट्रपतिले जादुको छडी घुमाएर आजको रात हामी सबैलाई आम्दानी र सम्पत्तिका आधारमा बराबर बनाइदिए भने पनि भोलिको यसै समयसम्ममा हामी पून असमान भइसक्छौं किनकी हामीमध्ये कसैले आफ्नो पैसा बचत गरौंला भने केहीले खर्च गरौंला । यी तीन कारणहरु तर कारणहरु यतिमात्र छैनन्  ले गर्दा स्वतन्त्र मानिसहरु कहिल्यैपनि समान हुदैनन ।

समान मान्छे स्वतन्त्र हुँदैनन् मेरो पहिलो सिद्धान्तको दोस्रो भाग । मलाई संसारको कुनै पनि कुनामा भएका आर्थिक रुपले समान मानिसहर देखाइदिनुस म तपाईंलाई एकदम अस्वतन्त्र मानिसहरु देखाइदिन्छु किन ?

समाजभर सबैलाई समान आम्दानी र धन दिलाउने एउटै मात्र उपाय सबैको शिरमा बन्दुक तेस्र्याउनु हो । बल प्रयोग नगरी तपाईले मानिसहरुलाई समान बनाउन सक्नुहुन्न । तपाईले आदेश दिनुपर्ने हुन्छ र यसको समर्थनका लागि फाँसीको फन्दा, गोली,गीलोटिन वा विध्युतिय कुर्सी  राख्नुपर्ने हुन्छ । उपदेशहरु यसप्रकारको आवश्यक पर्छन "उन्नति नगर् । अरुभन्दा चलाख नबन् । अरुले भन्दा बढी बुद्धिमतापुर्वक   बचत नगर् । नवीन उत्पादन लिएर अगाडि नआइज् । ग्राहकले तेरो प्रतिस्पर्धीको भन्दा बढी रुचाउने गरिएको सामान वा सेवा उपलब्धनगर् ।"

मेरो विश्वास गर्नुस जुन समाजमा यस्ता उर्दीहरु हुन्छन्  त्यस्तो समाजमा तपाईले जीउन रुचाउनु हुने छैन  । साम्यवादी खमेर रुजको शासनका बेला सन् १९७०  को उत्तरार्धमा कम्बोडिया झन्डै झन्डै  यस्तै अवस्थाको नजिक आइपुगेको थियो । र यसको परिणामस्वरुप   चार वर्षको अन्तरालमा ८०  लाख जनता मध्ये २०  लाख जनता मारिए । प्रभुत्व वर्गमा भएका केही शक्तिशाली व्यक्तिहरुबाहेक  त्यस दुःखी भूमिमा भएका सबै जनता त्यस अन्तरालमा ढुङे  युगमा झैं जीवन व्यतित गरे । पहिलो सिद्धान्त सन्देश के हो त मानिसहरुको आफ्नै  कारणले गर्दा आउने आम्दानीको भिन्नतालाई लिएर धेरै नअल्झिऊ । यदि ती भिन्नताहरु कुनै कृत्रिम राजनैतिक बाधकहरुका कारणले भएका हुन् भने त्यस्ता बाधकबा६ छुट्कारा  पाऊ । तर असमान मान्छेलाई ल्याएर पेलेर एकनासको थुप्रो बनाउने प्रयास नगर । तिमी कहिल्यै सफल हुनेछैनौ र त्यस्तो प्रयास गर्दा बरु तिमीले थुप्रै हानी र क्षति गर्छौ  ।

जफ्तीपुर्ण  कर दरले  उदहरणका  लागि कहिल्यै मानिसहरुलाई समान बनाउँदैन केवल मिहेनती र उद्यमशीललाई अन्यत्रै सरी जान वा अन्य नै काम गर्न प्रेरित गर्छ  जसले गर्दा उनीहरुको स्रोतबाट  लाभान्वित हुने धेरै जना गरिबीमा पिल्सन बाध्य हुन्छन् । अब्राहम लिङ्कनले भनेका छन्  "कुनै अर्को व्यक्तिलाई तल तान्दैमा तपाईले कुनै व्यक्तिलाई माथि उठाउन  सक्नुहुन्न् ।"

The Choice: A Fable of Free Trade and Protection; A review

Economics as a subject makes an impression of being a tedious and dull subject to many which maybe, to some extent true. However, after reading a at least a dozen books about free market economics, what i can say for sure is that economics if expressed in simple terms and in a way so that readers can related them to their day to day lives is not only an interesting subject to learn but also an addictive realm of knowledge. After reading Russell Robert's articles and books however, one can confidently say, economics when written about by Mr. Roberts, is mesmerizing in the least.

The Choice: A Fable of Free Trade and Protection by Russell Roberts, is a book that deals with various aspects of free trade, international trade and protectionism. Written in the form of a novel and a very simple language, the book helps the readers grasp the complex concepts and issues of free trade and its benefits along with the harms of protectionist policies easily. The novel has brilliantly used a fictional story to make a strong case in favor of free trade and debunk the related myths. Plentiful of examples, help to reinforce the fact that free trade not protectionism is the way to prosperity. Protectionism not only helps to enrich a few people at the expense of many but also acts towards creating a stagnant and innovation-less, growth-less economy and thereby impoverishing people.

David Ricardo comes to life to discuss international trade theory and policy with Ed Johnson, a fictional American television manufacturer seeking trade protection from television manufacturers. Their dialogue is a sophisticated, rigorous discussion of virtually every major issue in trade theory and policy. Roberts paints the picture of American economy under free trade and under protectionism clearly.

Besides the brilliant use of fiction to make the book fun to read, what will impress you about the book is the way, Roberts has tried to answer to every objection imaginable raised against free trade. After completing the book, there will be very few, if any, questions or doubts with the reader about the benefits of free trade and the harms of protectionism.

Something that could have made the book even better , a little more elaboration on the "dumping" argument. Overall, a Must Read book , if you really want to know how free trade benefits all and how protectionist policies are encouraging impoverishment..something very relevant in the context of Nepal.

Mar 24, 2010

केही लिबर्टेरियन भनाइहरु - २

  • युद्ध सरकारको अरको एउटा कार्यक्रम भन्दा अरु केही होईन ।  -Joseph Sobran
  • मलाई स्वतन्त्रता देउ नत्र मृत्‍यु देउ । -Patrick Henry
  • स्वतन्त्र बजार प्रनालीको एउटा प्रमुख बिशेषता भनेकै के हो भने येसले कुनै मान्छे कुन रङ को छ भनेर मत्लब गर्दैन ; न त उसको धर्म को आधारमा नै भेदभाव गर्छ । येसले त केवल कुनै मान्छेले तपाईंले किन्न खोजेको कुरा उत्पादन गर्न सक्छ की सक्दैन भन्ने कुरा मात्र मत्लब राख्छ ।   एक अर्कालाई घ्रीना गर्ने ब्यक्तिहरु बीचमा करोबार गराउन र एक अर्कालाई मद्द्त गर्ने बनाउनमा यो प्रनाली आज सम्म हामीले पत्ता लगाएका प्रनाली मध्ये सबैभन्दा बढी प्रभावकारी छ ।   -Milton Friedman
  • सरकारी अस्थाइ कार्यक्रम जस्तो स्थाइ चिज अरु केही हुदैन । -Milton Friedman
  • मानबजातीलाई राजनैतीक आधारमा दुई प्रकारमा बिभाजन गर्न मिल्छ ; एक थरी जो मानिस हरुलाई नियन्त्रन गरेर राख्न चहन्छन , अरको थरी जो यस्तो इच्छा रख्दैनन । -Robert A. Heinlien
  • स्वतन्त्रता मात्रै एउटा एस्तो चिज हो जुन अरुलाई दिन तयार नभए सम्म तपाईंले पनि पाउनु हुन्न ।  -William Allen White
  • जो ब्यक्ति मृत्‍यु भन्दा जीवन रुचाउछ , दु:ख भन्दा सुख रुचाउछ , अभाव भन्दा सम्पन्नता रुचाउछ , उसले विना कुनै सम्झौता उत्पादनका साधन को नीजी स्वमित्वको समर्थन र रक्षा गर्नु पर्छ ।  -Ludwig Von Mises
  • लिबर्टेरिअनिज्म र समाजवादविचको भिन्नता क हो भने समाजवादी समुदायको अस्तित्वलाई लिबर्टेरिअनहरु सजीलै स्विकार्छन भने समाजवादीहरु लिबर्टेरिअन समुदायको अस्तित्व लाई सहनै सक्दैनन । -David D. Boaz
  • असल युद्ध र खराब शान्ति आज सम्म नदेखिएका कुराहरु हुन ।  -Benjamin Franklin

Mar 22, 2010

Renee Marlin-Bennett's Knowledge Power : A review

Looks like I am turning my blog into a collection book reviews as this is the third book review in a single row. Anyway, since i am halfway through translating an article about public policy principles, and have not yet completed writing my viewpoint on the position of Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) on our new constitution, and as I just finished reading this wonderful book on Intellectual Property Rights, it's all I have to post in my blog.
 
I got interested into intellectual property rights after learning about piracy of music, movies, software and other stuffs. I had always wanted to delve deeper into the realm of intellectual property rights and after reading Knowledge Power, I think I couldn't have had a better guide than this for an unknown territory. Knowledge Power is a comprehensive and entertaining introduction to three important and interrelated and yet different aspects of intellectual property rights, i.e. intellectual property, information and privacy. The excellent feature of the book is it's very comprehensive. In it's 273 pages volume, it has all the issues and controversies surrounding intellectual property rights along with the short history of development of these rights, the ongoing policy debates about such rights. Ranging from patents and copyrights to issues of information flow control, the book is a product of an excellent research and knowledge of the subject matter.

Another nice aspect of the book is that it is neither too technical nor too simple. But it surely demands a little bit of knowledge and interest about intellectual property rights from the readers.

The author has done their best to take a neutral stand in the debates that surround the intellectual property rights, information ownership and privacy controls but I noticed a bit biased viewpoints towards the conclusion of the book. The author has tried to present a bit pro-public (anti-IPR) views but with the overshadow of the neutral viewpoints throughout the whole book, it is hardly noticeable.

Overall, a very comprehensive and interesting introductory book on intellectual property rights, information and privacy, issues that are going to be of utmost importance in this information age.

Nepal happens to have one of the poorest records of protecting intellectual property rights, mostly in case of music, movies and software. But being a least developed country, implementing these rights maybe like opening Pandora's Box for us. After reading the book, the reader will be more able to identify and analyze both the pros and cons of having strong intellectual property rights.

Mar 8, 2010

Ludwing Von Mises's Bureaucracy : A review

“Progress is precisely that which the [bureaucratic] rules and regulations did not foresee.”

As it is with every centrally planned or socialist economy, bureaucracy has been one of the major impediments to progress in Nepal. Excessive corruption and shameless inefficiency characterizes Nepalese bureaucracy. Though in many cases the very inefficiency has saved us the troubles of bureaucratic whim and regulation, it is among the primary hindrances to economic progress. No wonder the picture of bureaucracy drawn by Ludwig Von Mises in his book “Bureaucracy” bears uncanny resemblance to our bureaucracy.

First published in 1944 Bureaucracy is a classic economic treatise. It contrasts the two forms of economic management - that of a free market economy and that of a bureaucracy. In the market economy entrepreneurs are driven to serve consumers by their desire to earn profits and to avoid losses. In a bureaucracy, the managers must comply with orders issued by the legislative body under which they operate; they may not spend without authorization and they may not deviate from the path prescribed by law.

Mises has tried to explain why the private ownership and management of public goods easily triumphs over the public administration which is full of rules, regulations, authorizations and official codes and yet devoid of any real incentives for the managers to act in the client’s benefit.

Free Market economy being dependent on the wish of its customers has strong incentives to work efficiently and effectively, use its resources properly so that profit is maximized whereas in the bureaucratic management the managers have less incentives to use the resources effectively because since the resource doesn’t belong to them and efficient use isn’t going to bring them any reward.

As Mises points out, the inability to measure the outcome of publicly administered management economically is another reason for the inefficient operations of bureaucratic management. Bureaucratic management due to its inability or unwillingness to act beyond the official codes and plans fails to recognize and even works to hamper progress and innovations which is why he says progress is precisely that which the [bureaucratic] rules and regulations did not foresee.” He goes on to explain due to the very nature of these approaches to management, bureaucratic management works only for some services such as police, justice administration but fails every place else. “Bureaucracy” comes as a blow to big government fans who tend to believe government to be the panacea for all problems.

Overall, Bureaucracy is a perceptive and concise (around 100 pages) book to understand the dangers of socialism and bureaucratic management. If you have never read Mises, you are in for a treat.

Mar 4, 2010

Lawrence Reed's Striking the Root: A review

My latest read as a dose of liberty was Lawrence W. Reed's "Striking the root", a collection of short essays on liberty. Previously I had read Reed's article "Seven Principles of Sound Public Policy". It had been a rewarding read . So was this one as well.
Lawrence W. (Larry) Reed, 56, is president of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), headquartered in Irvington-on-Hudson, New York, a position he has held since September 1, 2008. Before joining FEE, Reed served as president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a Midland, Michigan based free-market think tank. To date, he remains Mackinac’s president emeritus. ( Wikipedia )

As per the author, the title of the volume was derived from the quote by Henry David Thoreau "There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root." And indeed the volume is a huge blow at the root of evils of present day societies i.e. collectivist thinking and growing clutches of state intervention. The attitude of people to benefit at the expense of others. The author has been well able to strike at the roots with the club of liberty. Striking the Root is an excellent and quick read on the ideals of liberty. Reed's examples drive home the fact that a government who intervenes makes a bigger mess rather than fixing the initial problem.

The volume is easy to read and yet very rewarding. The essays are short and precise. Anyone interested in understanding the functioning of a free society and the way state intervention and collectivist approaches are causing evils in the society will highly benefit from the book.

I especially enjoyed reading the essays "Government Education reinvents government", "To own or be owned: That is the Question", "An open letter to Statists everywhere", "The true meaning of Patriotism", "Who owes what to whom?" , "What is real compassion?" and "Reviving a Civil Society".

Mar 1, 2010

Paths to Property: a Review

My recent read was "Paths to Property: Approaches to Institutional Change in International Development" by Karol Boudreaux & Paul Dragos Aligica, an iea publication. As every iea publication, the book is concise, well researched and written. And it is a rewarding read especially to those concerned with the development of property rights in African continent and the overall economic growth of the continent.

About the book (taken from its back cover):

Sub-Saharan Africa has received tens of billions of dollars in foreign aid over the last fifty years yet economic development has remained elusive. In many countries absolute poverty has increased and life expectancy has declined.

Karol Boudreaux and Paul Aligica argue that the results of traditional approaches to development policy have been disappointing. Instead, the focus needs to be on the adoption of sound political and legal institutions. In particular, clearly defined and enforced private property rights are needed to encourage entrepreneurship and economic growth. However, institutional environments in Africa are both complex and challenging, and the creation of secure property rights is far from a straightforward process.

The authors examine several case studies of property rights reform in the developing world and suggest that universal policies applied regardless of local culture and tradition tend to fail. Reforms are more likely to succeed when they evolve gradually and are tailored to local norms and values rather than imposed from above by governments, aid agencies and supranational institutions.
I found the book very useful in understanding the ways property rights can be established, the various approaches, their advantages and their pitfalls. Various case studies provided in the book help the reader to fully grasp the complexities of establishing property rights. The authors have tried to highlight the fact that there is no universally applicable policies regarding the property rights. Neither the fiat/ legislative approach nor the evolutionary approach are flawless. A combination of both approaches is necessary for achieving the results.