Plausible Deniability

Dilip D’Souza does not read The Examined Life.  In the course of not reading my blog, he runs across a comment by me on my blog saying that I cheered the demolition of the Babri Masjid.

The Babri Masjid, if you recollect, was demolished in 1992. At the risk  certainty of giving away my age, I was 17 years old at that time. The comment itself makes it clear that I have reconsidered my view since. A person who, at the age of 40, admired a psycopathic mass-murderer should not be throwing stones at people aged 17, especially since stones can’t do time travel yet. A sane man would have, on reflection, passed by the chance to pick up the stone. But we are talking of Dilip D’Souza. So out comes a post. I am apparently an “economist” and a libertarian who was “delighted” by the demolition of the Masjid. The characterization delights me, as I am not really a trained economist. I just did a couple of courses as part of my MBA. And I had written “cheered”, not “delighted”, but it is close enough.

Having done this  of course, the problem is to get back plausible deniability.  Dilip needs to get back to not reading my blog. The SOP so far is to claim that though he does not read the blog, one of my posse of admirers (or detractors) sent the link to him. But this time, it is a slightly different. This time, he adds a postscript.  Apparently, the economist/libertarian has written to him and remains delighted that the Babri Masjid was demolished. Ingenious, isn’t it?  If I protest that I did not in fact write to him, it will turn out that it was someone else, not me.  In March 2009, an epidemic broke out among economist libertarians wherein they all confessed their teenage delight when the Babri Masjid was demolished to whoever was within reach.  If I don’t protest, the insinuation that I remain delighted with the demolition of the Masjid stays. If only Dilip D’Souza were smarter, he would have been a valuable asset in India’s psychops.

The Amazing Dilip D’Souza

I understand that one faction of my readership wants me to stop baiting Dilip D’Souza. I have never understood their point of view. Dilip’s views are invariably interesting, not because of their content, but for the insight into the mind of the holders of these views.  As an example, let us take this sentence:

All right, let’s see. Iceland, Singapore, Korea, Norway, Taiwan, Japan and Germany after being devastated in WW2, arguably even Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, Botswana until it was hit by AIDS a decade ago: all these countries managed to “improve the lot” of their citizens, all somehow created the “conditions for human development.” (More than three seconds)

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Look! I Can Do Economics Too!

My heartfelt commiseration to the unfortunate soul who complimented Dilip D’Souza on his “sound economic training”. It has been said in the Mahabharata that a lie that achieves a good purpose will save you from hell. But this false compliment not only did not do any good to society, it has also not made the recipient happy.  The unfortunate soul has now been blamed for not keeping track of and complimenting Dilip for every instance in which he allegedly displayed his sound economic training.

Incidentally, if you wish to know the right answer to the problem in Dilip’s post, here it is:

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On the Eggs

Jai Choorakkot wants to know whether my attack on Dilip D’Souza amounts to a defence of reforms. That is a fair question to ask.  One of my pet peeves is that people believe that a successful counter-attack amounts to a defence of their own position. I’ve myself come down quite sharply on people whose defence of Mao amounted to saying that I am a hypocrite because I supposedly support Kissinger (or Pinochet – it was not clear who) So let’s accept that my attack on Dilip was an attack on Dilip, and move on to the question of reforms.

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The Only Workable Way

Dilip D’Souza, 29 January 2008:

Among other interesting jobs he held in the Indian bureaucracy, my late father was Mumbai’s municipal commissioner – the equivalent of a mayor – from 1969 to 1970. Low-cost housing was always his great interest, and for the last 14 years of his life, he ran a low-cost project in Mumbai’s northern suburbs founded on the cross-subsidy principle. It has about 5,000 subsidized flats, plus about 1,100 others and commercial space for sale at market rates.

My father died last September, but the project goes on. Why does it work? Because the subsidy is small, so residents pay close to market rates for their little flats, and because it has taken so long to complete – nearly 25 years. The slow progress troubled my father and his colleagues greatly. But they understood that in the convoluted world of Mumbai, this remains the only workable way to provide livable, sustainable housing for the poor.

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