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Time for West to look East. Really?

'India's methods are not perfect and may not necessarily work in other parts of the world, but we must become open-minded and view countries such as India as a source of knowledge instead of just a market to sell our products. India is managing to grow despite its deficiencies because the country is willing to operate outside its comfort zone and is open to changes. We as Westerners have become too comfortable. Our systems may have taken us to the top--but they will not keep us there. We must be proactive and experiment with solutions from other parts of the world in order to stay competitive.'

That's Vijay Ramanavarupu advocating that the US learn from countries like India. The prescription he dishes out favours fostering a regulatory environment that he believes would insulate an economy from meltdowns. Of course, such a view must mean Vijay hasn't read, or chooses not to believe any of what George Mason economist Walter Williams has stated (with help from Professor George Reisman) about the US economy; (quote);

'Professor George Reisman has written a very insightful article on his blog titled "The Myth that Laissez Faire Is Responsible for Our Financial Crisis." You can decide whether we have in an unregulated laissez-faire economy. There are 15 cabinet departments, nine of which control various aspects of the U.S. economy. They are the Departments of: Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Education, Energy, Labor, Agriculture, Commerce, and Interior. In addition, there is the alphabet soup cluster of federal agencies such as: the IRS, the FRB and FDIC, the EPA, FDA, SEC, CFTC, NLRB, FTC, FCC, FERC, FEMA, FAA, CAA, INS, OHSA, CPSC, NHTSA, EEOC, BATF, DEA, NIH, and NASA.

Here's my question to you: Can one be sane and at the same time hold that ours is an unregulated laissez-faire economy? Better yet, tell me what a businessman, or for that matter you, can do that does not involve some kind of government regulation. A businessman must seek government approval for the minutest detail of his operation or face the wrath of some government agency, whether it's at the federal, state or local level. Just about everything we buy or use has some kind of government dictate involved whether it's package labeling, how many gallons of water to flush toilets or what pharmaceuticals can be prescribed. You say, "Williams, there's a reason for this government control." Yes, there's a reason for everything but that does not change the fact that there is massive government control over our economy.'

Addressing issue of 'change' that Vijay has raised, requires me to ask a counter question. Change to what? Something better? Are you sure? You mean, change to greater regulation?

Change doesn't come easy for a nation that's carved out prosperity way beyond what others have. And so in changing they have to be extremely careful. Not so for nations that have wallowed in misery. They have nothing to lose. Change therefore is easier accepted. After all if there's one way to go for the ones in misery, I can only see 'up'. But for somebody like the United States, at a peak, change can also mean nosediving into an abyss.

The kind Barack Obama's heralding. So I'd say, unlike what Vijay advocates, its not time to look East. Its time to look within and better what's already good. Oh, and never mind the meltdown. Its only turned you wiser, in terms of backing off a life lived in a mountain of debt. Just maybe frugal behaviour will make a come back. And that's welcome.

Or maybe not.


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