Another Perspective on India
I received a thoughtful email from a gentleman in India on my Forbes.com column on India and its problems/opportunities. I thought he made some good points, so I'm taking the liberty of excerpting it below:
"I wish your criticism was aimed at some of the Multinationals (particularly the American ones) in India instead, who produce lousy cars (which make your/your wife's lungs go bad); these same smoking (industrial) companies don't even bother to develop the infrastructure around their own workplaces, let alone making it a better society to live in, so why would you not find the infrastructure choking?
"Have you ever questioned the fact that for cheap English speaking and technologically educated labor, every damn organization on planet earth is rushing to India in the interest of your Wall Street? Yet in your own country, there is a hue and cry about the b****y Indians. It just follows the old law of Economics - every country will create / produce what it is best at doing.
"Unfortunately, for your own country, all you do is consume gas and pollute the rest of the world and live on the cheap wares from China. I think \n you should know where to draw the line to this hypocrisy."
He's right. The multinationals that come to India certainly deserve a large measure of the blame, to the extent that they contribute to the worsening environment of India.
True, the godawful conditions in India are largely a result of home-grown development, and the Indian government has a responsibility to protect itsr people from rampaging industry, be it foreign or domestic.
But when a government is too indifferent or corrupt to do anything about a smoke-belching factory or a environmentally atrocious land development, what is the moral responsibility of the developer?
The answer in India is "none," and it is not the right answer.
© 2006 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.
Wall Street Versus America was published by Penguin USA on April 6.
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