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About Amit Varma

Amit Varma is a writer based in Mumbai. He worked in journalism for over a decade, and won the Bastiat Prize for Journalism in 2007. His bestselling novel, My Friend Sancho, was published in 2009. He is best known for his blog, India Uncut. His current project is a non-fiction book about the lack of personal and economic freedoms in post-Independence India.




Bastiat Prize 2007 Winner

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13 October, 2007

Loyal to Their Masters?

The WTF quote of the day comes from Chandra Bhan Prasad, trying to justify reservations in the private sector by arguing that it will help companies:

It is in the culture of dalits that they are least likely to change their employment because they are so loyal to their masters.

If I was a dalit, I’d be immensely offended by this statement. Leave that aside—Even if Prasad’s strange generalization is somehow accurate, his argument is all wrong. If a quota for dalits would help companies, then they would have such a quota without being forced to. In a competitive market, any company can only survive by maximising efficiencies. In this game of survival, companies don’t need to be told what is good for them—they find out by doing it and surviving, or not doing it and getting screwed.

But then, this meme of “we know what’s good for you and we’ll force you to do it” is a common justification for much government action of the last 60 years. It’s okay when parents say that to a child, but we are all adults here, and can decide for ourselves what’s good for us. Sadly, the state doesn’t agree.

By the by, the Economist piece that Prasad’s quote is from is worth a read. Check it out.

(Link via email from Ravikiran.)

Posted by Amit Varma in India | Politics

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