Demonetization? Yes, Prime Minister

Demonetization is taking too much time and the news about it a little too serious, so I decided to have a little fun. If you’ve ever seen Yes Minister / Yes Prime Minister, you’ll enjoy this much more than if you haven’t.

L to R: Sir Humphrey Appleby, Prime Minister Jim Hacker, Sec. Bernard Woolley

Prime Minister Jim Hacker: “Humphrey, I have an idea.”

Sir Humphrey Appleby, whispering: “Not again!”

Prime Minister: “Did you say something, Humphrey?”

Humphrey: “Not a word, Mr. Prime Minister! I’m all ears.”

Prime Minister: “Last night, when I was in the loo, I got an idea with which to destroy all our political opponents: Rahul Gandhi, Akhilesh Yadav, Mamata Bannerjee, and what’s his name?”

Humphrey: “Arvind Kejriwal, Mr. Prime Minister”

Prime Minister: “Yes, him. Can you close the door, Bernard?”

Bernard: “Westminster is a safe place for Prime Ministers, Mr. Prime Minister.”

Prime Minister: “What was I saying, Humphrey?”

Humphrey: “You were in the loo last night, Mr. Prime Minister.”

Prime Minister: “Ah yes. Did you miss the point about destroying our political opponents?”

Humphrey: “No, Mr. Prime Minister, In fact, I….”

Prime Minister: “Okay, okay, let’s get to the crux of the matter. We pull the carpet under their feet so that we’re the only ones with carpets under us. Do you get the point, Humphrey?”

Humphrey: “I do, Mr. Prime Minister. You want to demonetize 500 and 1000 rupee notes.”

Prime Minister: “Did you peep into my scratchpad when I was in the loo, Humphrey?”

Humphrey: “No, Mr. Prime Minister! I respect individual liberty and I consider it a serious transgression to peep into scratchpads in loos.”

Prime Minister: “No no, I meant… never mind… what do you think of the idea?”

Humphrey: “It’s brilliant except for one small glitch, Mr. Prime Minister.”

Prime Minister: “No, I’m absolutely certain we’ll pull the carpet under every one of those rascals and you know we’ll cover our own arses in time for the grand announcement, don’t you?”

Humphrey: “That’s very thoughtful of you for a change, Mr. Prime Minister, but you’ve forgotten someone.”

Prime Minister: “I insist I haven’t, Humphrey!”

Humphrey: “With respect, I insist you have, Mr. Prime Minister!”

Prime Minister: “Okay, are you going to tell me who?”

Humphrey: “The people, Mr. Prime Minister.”

*Curtains and closing musical score*

Bernard: “I’m afraid there are a few of them.”

Modi’s New 500 and 2000 Rupee Notes Solve the Smaller Problem Temporarily

By smaller problem, I mean the problem of operational corruption. In case you don’t understand this terminology from my book, it’s the corruption in the operations: black money, hidden money, whatever you want to call it. Essentially, it’s shady financial activity which governments acknowledge as illegal.

Realize that Modi’s new notes provide only temporary relief from operational corruption. Although the new notes are stone-gray and magenta, there are experts who can turn them into black. It’s just a matter of time before fake-note printing presses and tax evaders catch up. In other words, the new 500 and 2000 rupee notes will eventually be abused in the same way as the old notes.

But forget operational corruption; efficient administrators like Modi can handle it from time to time.

I want to talk about the bigger problem which nobody wants to talk about: primitive corruption. This is the corruption built into the system. It’s the abuse of public power for private gain that happens even when there is no black money, no hidden money, no illegal financial activity whatsoever.

One example of this is the idea that a government sitting in New Delhi, made up of people 95 out of 100 of whom don’t speak our language (Kannada) can legally take away our money by taxing us, write laws for us, and so on and so forth.

Why is this corruption? Well, refer to the definition of corruption and open your eyes and see India’s diversity.

Corruption is defined as abuse of public power for private gain. While most people think of individuals when they hear this, I like to use this definition to talk about groups.

One specific group walks away with private gain by abusing the government of India’s power: Upper-caste Hindi speaking North Indians.

This group controls the government of India and most of the nation’s commerce after having rendered every other group powerless at a time when nobody was looking: during this nation’s inception. It has the audacity to reduce every Indian language other than Hindi to worse than footnotes on banknotes – an audacity which has been amplified in the new notes released by RBI yesterday.

If this group has its way, India’s diversity will be wiped out with the same efficiency with which the old 500 and 1000 rupee notes were wiped off in a nation with 1.3 billion people. Overnight. They have the legal sanction to do this.

The Modis of India can’t solve this, the bigger problem. They don’t want to. It’s the solution they are aiming at by removing stumbling blocks such as black money.

On The Ease of Doing Business

The ease of doing business with someone is directly proportional to how easily he or she can be duped.

It’s easy for me to do business with a child who can’t tell how many rupees I’m giving him/her as change. It’s easy for me to do business with a person who can’t tell if the vegetables I sell him are rotten.

So go ahead, people, celebrate the ease of doing business. Make it the No. 1. factor to measure the worth of nations, states, cities, whatever. The ease of doing business. Yay!

(Psst: Does someone have the numbers for British India? I have a feeling it must have been easy to do business with it. If piece-of-cake were a level of ease, British India was probably right there. Just kick the dogs; they’ll whine but in their heart of hearts, they’re willing to pay a fortune for your stuff – as the numbers show.)