The Kerala Model

From the NY Times:

With leftist governments here in the state capital spending heavily on health and schools, a generation of scholars has celebrated the "Kerala model" as a humane alternative to market-driven development, a vision of social equality in an unequal capitalist world. But the Kerala model is under attack, one outbound worker at a time.

Plagued by chronic unemployment, more Keralites than ever work abroad, often at sun-scorched jobs in the Persian Gulf that pay about $1 an hour and keep them from their families for years. The cash flowing home now helps support nearly one Kerala resident in three. That has some local scholars rewriting the Kerala story: far from escaping capitalism, they say, this celebrated corner of the developing world is painfully dependent on it.

"Remittances from global capitalism are carrying the whole Kerala economy," said S. Irudaya Rajan, a demographer at the Center for Development Studies, a local research group. "There would have been starvation deaths in Kerala if there had been no migration. The Kerala model is good to read about but not practically applicable to any part of the world, including Kerala."

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Morally Superior Parasites

Kerala and similar entities, like most parasites living off
the capitalist juggernaut turn out to be like fleas living on a dog except that as
far as I know the fleas don’t hate the dog or feel morally superior to it.


What is this about??

Where's the link? What state capital? What is a "Kerala"? What is the "Kerala model"? Leftist governments where?

I have no doubt the Center for Development Studies is, as the excerpt says "local" to somewhere. But where?

I bet the original New York Times article told the readers the answrs to the above questions (except the one about wher the link is).

I wish, before bloggers post things, they would take a few moments to read exactly what they're posting, and think about whether they have supplied enough information to alow the readers to get the point. Otherwise, what's the use?

The link is there

Where's the link?

I take it you did not see the link. That is partly your fault. The link is there. It is not all that hard to see it.

But it is also partly the fault of the site design. Links should look like links. They should not be disguised as boldface type. There is a standard for representing links: links are underlined. This, by the way, works both ways. Website designers who underline text that is not a link are confusing their visitors.

Now, it might be that I am an old fogey and my views on website style are no longer true. But I bet that they are. Enough websites follow the "underline links, don't underline non-links" style element that any careful website designer should think very, very carefully before deciding to depart from it for aesthetic or whatever reasons.



Kerala is in southwestern India and has been a voraciously seized-upon darling of those particular leftists, however reluctantly, possessing enough familiarity with history to recognize that their preferred socio-economic arrangements applied at the state level tend overwhelmingly, one might say without exception, to end in bloodshed, famine, and other entrenched sanguine coercions.

"Look!," they point and shout, "a socialist success story!", if your sole criterion for success is a stunning lack of blunt or propulsive force deaths at the hands of government goons.

Sadly, for these cheerleaders there still exists the itinerance, lack of basic consumer goods, and general nuisance stifling of entrepreneurship and innovation. The best and brightest, as the NYT article surprisingly alludes, tend overwhelmingly to leave. You'll have to forgive the author of this blog, who no doubt is so familiar with the internal workings of the subcontinent that he might forget himself from time to time. Or, as already pointed out, you could've clicked the link.

A deeper look

I see a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding here about Kerala.
As a frequent Kerala visitor I can assure you that it is probably the state with the best quality of life in India. The pro-capita income is misleading since you have to take in account also migrants' remittances and, moreover, since Keralites are in general well-educated, the jobs they get in the Gulf are not the "sun-scorched" ones.
It is true that the unions are very strong and that this fact has made the development of a domestic industry difficult, but, on the other side, the tourist sector is faring well and the IT sector is growing fast.
Emigration to the Gulf is, of course, a necessity for the Kerala economy, but this is more the byproduct of a well educated working force in a land wirh short supply of capital than the result of the policies of leftist local governments.
The true story is that Kerala is just a state of the Indian Union, and any political party would have done more or less the same things in a country where socialism was endorsed from the center. Other choices were not possible.
Of course this means that the "Kerala way" is rather peculiar, and that the leftist's pretense that it is the result of good leftist policies is just bullshit.