Sunday, May 24, 2009

British Expense Scandal

Indian parliamentarians will find the British expense scandal amounts amusing. British is making lot of fuss about such low amounts.

My conspiracy theory tells me that this is the way Business leaders get back at Political leaders. Politicians were acting like angels when they attacked business leaders on their bonuses, which is also legal. Now business leaders are getting back at political leaders on their expenses, which is also legal. Soon they will have a truce and continue to swindle money.

I think the law is to be blamed for expense scandal and bonus scam. If the law allows expenses without setting a limit, then you cannot blame someone for milking it to extreme.

This fight also shows evils of Communism (state control, more political power) and Capitalism (less state control, more business power with business leaders). 

Privatization of Public transport

Middle class points out that better service is advantage of privatization. I cannot disagree. Privatization comes with a cost, a cost that affects the poor more than the middle class.

Privatization can discontinue non-viable services to improve efficiency and be more profitable. This affects the poor as they do not have any other means for travel, unlike the middle class (and rich).

Privatization can increase cost of travel, those who can afford this cost justify it with increase in service quality. Now this cost is something middle class might consider value for money. But value for money for poor is not same as that of middle class; poor does not care about this service quality on an empty stomach.

Middle class is hypocritical in their views. Rich is not very amused when the air travel costs were reduced, they complained about lack of service quality in low cost airlines. They even complained that cost reduction increased number of flights and this is causing pollution. The same way middle class is complaining about poor.

A country which cares for its people should make sure that the services are directed towards the poor and not to the middle class and rich. Why are roads made only for cars and other motorized vehicles? Roads should be made more friendly to pedestrians and bicycle travel. Roads should be made friendly for handicapped, especially who cannot afford cars.

A country or government that focus on projecting the rich and middle class, without a focus on poor and their needs is inhumane. Chief ministers in some Indian states (example Naidu of Hyderabad) are celebrated by media (again middle class and rich) for development. What is development that is targeted towards middle class and rich, ignoring the poor.

In a developed country (read west), I advocate making public transport virtually free. Current high public transport costs are encouraging people to use private transport – adding to traffic woes, pollution and costly resources. Let private transport be enjoyed by the rich, and let them pay a very high cost of unequal-resource-usage. Till the time world cannot afford to have every citizen driving a car (reality – if everyone drives, there are no enough roads and no enough petrol and pollution will be too high) cars should be discouraged.

The story is same about all privatization steps. When you think about service quality, think about the people who cannot afford this increase in service quality.