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Submitted by Nachiket Mor on
Dear Shanta, I wonder if we are not mixing up what we observe expost with what we should expect exante if we were to start now. The argument has picked two countries which seem to have done well on some of these aspects but it would perhaps not be hard to pick two countries that have had a poor track record on human rights and have not done well on these services either. I think the problem is that one cannot choose one's dictator and ascribe some benign motive to him. You refer to India, a relatively young democracy, as a country that has failed to deliver the goods but do not mention that Sri Lanka has, despite being one. Towards the end of your last comment, you say that the political elite have captured much of the gains in democracies -- I would imagine that dictators would come from this elite group as well and could perhaps be as uninterested in the broader delivery of these services as the political elite are currently. I personally feel that we should not judge too quickly which systems will eventually deliver. In India the political elite are very much at the mercy of the electorate and currently it appears that the electorate are not "demanding" as vociferously the essential services as they appear to be immeidate handouts and a sense of identity. But as education levels gradually head towards a tipping point this could change and that change would perhaps be much more stable than a direction set by a dictatorship. If one feel that the process needs to be accelarated a more fruitful direction may perhaps be tools such as community radio or the mobile phone that can be used to more accurately inform the voters and not moving clearly backwards towards a more dictatorial government. Within India we already see this happening states such as Tamil Nadu and Kerala -- these states are larger than several countries and perhaps in the argument should be counted as such. Regards, Nachiket Mor