Why Subramanian Swamy is wrong

Subramanian Swamy has written a well received article in The Hindu. It is aimed at utilizing the demographic dividend of India by investing in education, uniform national educational policy and the like. The article is in the right direction but for a reference to the late Mr.Lee Kuan Yew.

Swamy says ,”The view of the late Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew on the one hand, and Communists on the other, that economic development must be first achieved before democracy is possible, has been decisively rejected.”

In the next sentence he says,”But democracy cannot be sustained unless the electorate is well informed, chooses its leadership wisely, and this leadership is intellectually empowered by a multi-dimensional intelligence.”.

This is precisely what Lee Kuan Yew had said many a time. For a democracy to succeed and be sustained, the electorate should be well informed and then should choose their leaders. Especially for a country like Singapore which has nil natural resources, the choice of leadership is a matter of immense importance. And the electorate cannot err in this at all. And that is exactly why LKY had insisted on education for all, free of cost and succeeded in creating a smart nation that Singapore today is.

What good is a democracy if it cannot provide for its people ? Of what use is a liberal democracy if people have to grease the bureaucrat’s palms for every sanction and approval ? What is the use of a chaotic democracy if it fails to provide a roof over every one of its population ? Left liberal democracy is of no use in the USA where President Obama has to plead with the Congress every time a bill needs to be passed. Obama-care is a case in point.

On Intellectually empowered leaders – Yes, either the leadership should be intellectually empowered or we should make intellectually empowered people as leaders. And that is possible only when you have an economically vibrant country. Being economically vibrant needs intellectually empowered leadership. And having that kind of leadership is an expensive affair which needs, again, sound economics on the ground. So, good economics and great leadership go hand in hand.

Coming back to Swamy’s assertion that communists had believed that economic development should be achieved before democracy were even possible. The communists have, all over the world, never accepted democracy in any form. They have only espoused power to the proletariat and that the workers would need to capture power after a revolution – an utopian concept that has been completely falsified by the failure of successive communist governments all over the world. China stopped being a communist country during Deng Xiaopping’s time. It has state capitalism and she is proud of it.

So, where is the question of communists accepting democracy ?

And to equate Lee Kuan Yew and the communists, even by a kilometre, is as good as equating Ronald Reagan and Berlin Wall.

Sorry Mr.Swamy. I think you have erred, for the first time.

Swamy’s Article

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