Cuncator


The delayer. That’s what it means in Latin. Nehru was a bit fan of Fabian Socialism, which was a philosophy that aimed at a gradual move towards total communism, or total state control of the economy. Have I digressed, already? The idea of the gradual movement instead of a giant leap, as a strategy, comes from a Roman politician and dictator Fabius Cuncator, i.e. Fabius the Delayer. His strategy of moving forward in small bites is where Fabian Socialism got it’s name. I guess some of the founders thought of it as an war on capitalism.

Frankly, the move towards total state control of the economy sounds horrific. And most modern economists (at least on the econtalk podcast) seem to think that state intervention should be a considered move. In one episode the host spoke with an economist regarding the informal financial sector (money lenders) and micro finance in Thailand and India. More government control led to worsening of the situation. Of course, there may be some bias towards a free capitalist ideal, however, it brings to mind the idea that life is self organizing and as in nature there is an equilibrium that asserts itself in our interactions. Intervention can and does have unintended consequences which, in most cases, appear to worsen the situation, or so say the doomsayers.

The same idea is voiced by Rachel Carson in her book, Silent Spring; her book deals with manmade or man-influenced ecological disasters. And by Stephen Covey with his habit: “seek first to understand.” And despite many examples and warnings, the gyre keeps widening. The challenge is responsible decision making and ideologies. Of course, mistakes will occur, but the dismal challenge in India is that mistakes may be made by politicians who have little idea whether it’s a Pandora’s box they’re opening. Does this indicate a failure of the democratic system, Fabian Socialism, or is this Einstein’s maxim come true yet again. Perhaps Fabius’ moves should be borne in mind so we move forward, but in small increments, fine tuning our actions in line with the feedback. But, do we have the time? And what is the cost of delay?

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