Bloody shovel

Don't call it a spade

Crony Capitalism and Nirvana

There’s several scenarios out there on how a Fall-of-Rome redux collapse of modern Civilisation would pan out. Mad Max, Blade Runner, you name it. All quite surreal. Still reality still surpasses fiction.

The Rothschild’s own paper, the Cathedral’s weekly has an awesome post on infrastructure in Mumbai. The writing is surprisingly good, if only because the subject matter pretty much writes itself.

Just some quotes:

Rush-hour trains get so crushed that a phone or pair of glasses carried in a breast pocket will smash under the pressure of bodies. Every year perhaps 500 people perish after falling off trains in the city and 6,000 die on the tracks.

.

A ragged family are smashing reinforced concrete rubble. They say they get about a dollar for every two kilos of steel inside—roughly the cost of a one-way Sea Link ticket. Nearby, dogs and feral pigs sniff around abandoned machinery as Girish, aged 52, hits the bottle with his colleagues. The pals work nights in a call centre selling Americans an erectile-dysfunction drug. “You get a quick recharge,” is the sales pitch; the most common response, they all agree, is “Fuck you”.

.

The bridge was commissioned in 1999 but took ten years to finish, instead of the planned two and a half. Ajit Gulabchand, the boss of HCC, the construction firm that won the contract to build it, says the project was “a Kafkaesque struggle”. He describes himself as a “south Bombay boy” and drives a Bentley through the city to his office in the north-east (he does not use the Sea Link because there are no good connections between the west and the east).

.

other hurdles were peculiarly Indian. In a 107-year-old house in the fishing village the bridge passes over at its southern end sits Vijay Worlikar, one of the “nine Patils”, or clan chiefs, who in effect run the area. He is a Koli, an aboriginal people who have been there for centuries; he has childhood memories of Iranian boats sailing to the village to trade pistachios for dried fish. “This land is our land,” he says.

.

To grow fast India needs lots more infrastructure. But lately spending has been falling. The central bank thinks that the value of envisioned projects dropped by 52% in 2011-12.

.

the toll-booth system has become a slapstick affair, with a maze of concrete chicanes prone to collapse, complex cash fares and overstaffed booths. Usually receipts are printed, but occasionally they are hand-stamped on the kind of paper used for bingo tickets. Accusations of graft swirl. An electronic swipe system has apparently been introduced but seems to be available only to VIPs. After a suicide jump in August it emerged that the CCTV system to help stop terrorist attacks was not working properly.

That’s diversity + democracy for ya.

Advertisements

10 responses to “Crony Capitalism and Nirvana

  1. SDL December 24, 2012 at 03:56

    America and Europe have had 500 years to prepare themselves for the 21st century. India and other developing nations have had a few decades. Actually, I think we’re witnessing social Darwinism in action across the globe. In 50 years, we’ll see developing nations either overcoming their technological adolescence or collapsing under the weight and pressure of their own development.

    • spandrell December 24, 2012 at 08:35

      I think that’s a best case scenario. Most likely they will continue in their comic dysfunction.

    • rightsaidfred December 28, 2012 at 15:24

      …or collapsing under the weight and pressure of their own development.

      What does this look like, counter to what is already going on? Seems to me they are living the collapse, all things considered in this day and age.

  2. Handle December 24, 2012 at 14:02

    You’d probably still choose “diverse and democratic” over “homogenous and Islamist.” In my experience, things don’t work any better than as described above, and tend to be much less comical.

  3. Erudite Knight December 24, 2012 at 23:29

    Funny this is your topic, I think about this a lot. I think a mad max scenario would be much preferred to what we have. In a lot of ways, this is as dystopic as it can get. Everyone thinking it is great, meanwhile it utterly blows. Talk about doubletalk.

  4. John December 24, 2012 at 23:46

    Across the globe, countries are separated into different clusters, the developed world, the up and comers (Mostly East Asian entities like South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong), the middle income (much of South America, South Africa, SE Asia) and the hell holes (Africa, South Asia). There are some middle East countries lucky enough to have oil and escape the fate of being hell holes. Given that so much time has past since the industrial revolution, and that technology and capital flows across boarder with ease, there is no reason for countries to be in even middle income trap, let alone hell holes. the reason they are still this way is due to the genetic/cultural deficit, some of which are very difficult to shed. China may overcome this in time, but there is no guarantees. For some countries, like Indonesia, they may have arrived at their potential and if anything they will go down relative to others. India is still unleashing its potential, but the limit may come sooner than you think. I think their ultimate potential maybe less than Indonesia. I would not be surprised if they reach their potential in a decade or two and stop growing much beyond 4-6%. In this down turn, the Prime Minister Singh boast that they would see a period of double digit growth for the next few years, right before they sink to 5.3-5.5%. This is even less impressive given that they have a growing population. Indeed, they may not recover from this and go down hill from here. I was watching a show about the Mumbai massacre by Fareed Zakaria from CNN the other day, it struck me just how incompetent the whole system were even in a city like Mumbai. In face of mortal danger, everyone ducks responsibility while the killers were doing their thing for days. In the U.S., in any decent size city, the SWAT team would engage them in under an hour and contain them.

  5. RS' January 1, 2013 at 10:36

    I guess this is why they aren’t allowing those ~$3,000 Indian cars over here. I figured it was something like that. Fucking sucks. I bet if you (and all other drivers) wear a helmet there’s about no net loss of safety.

Please comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s