September 8, 2006EconomyPublic Policy

Hearty monopoly

Experts without new solutions end up as part of the problem

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

On the agrarian crisis again. In a column titled What the heart does not feel, the eye cannot see P Sainath lashes out against the criticism directed against him here (and here):

Then there are the ideologically insane. The members of the sect have no interest in either farmers or agriculture. Only in upholding their Gospel. For them, farmers are dying because they have not been reached by free market reforms. If more of them keep dying after they are reached, it’s because the reforms have not gone far enough.” It hangs a halo of righteousness around wanton ignorance.

The same `commitment’ also leads to a spirited defence of large corporations wreaking havoc in agriculture. The stout defence of technologies about which the defender knows nothing. Some of this is, of course, ideological. Some of it is also self-serving. Corporations involved in agriculture have organised foreign freebies for their ideological advocates. [The Hindu]Look closely and you will notice that he offers no explanation why the advocates for a greater role for markets are ideologically insane”. They are insane because Sainath says they are. And as anticipated, their qualifications and motives are dismissed because, unlike journalists like Sainath, they’ve not been there. He also chooses to bracket advocates of reform with the ignorant and the condescending sorts—arguments that would do Schopenhauer proud.

Experts like Sainath are not insane. Nor do they lack interest and empathy for those hard done by. They do not lack integrity. But it is hard to shake off the impression that it is because of their dogmatic inability to see a solution that they are, ironically and unfortunately, responsible for the persistence of the problem. What the mind does not know, the eye cannot observe.”

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