About – Institute for Democratic & Economic Affairz (IDEAz)
Aims & Objectives
The “Institute of Democratic & Economic Affairz” (IDEAz) is set up as a ‘Not for Profit’ Trust, to function as a ‘Think Tank’, in the private sector to research and then recommend actions for resolving India’s problems, for the benefit of ALL.
Quotations for Consideration :
- “This Country will not be a permanently good place for any of us to live in, unless we make it reasonably good place for all of us to live in”. – Theodore Roosevelt
- “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people (gossip)” – T. T. Rangarajan (Ra)
- “We have it in our power to begin the world over again” – Thomas Paine
- “Think Big, Think Fast, Think Ahead. Ideas are no one’s monopoly” – Dhirubhai Ambani
- Democracy is a method of Government “OF the PEOPLE” for “ALL the
PEOPLE” (Not a dictatorship of the majority nor appeasement of any minority or group, but with an understanding of the interests of all).
- Democracy is a method of Government “OF the PEOPLE” for “ALL the
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” – Mark Twain
- Democracy may not be the ideal method of Government, but it is definitely far superior to any of the alternatives.
- “Democracy does not guarantee equality of condition… it only guarantees equality (of consideration and) of opportunity.” – John Dryden
- Economic reasons underlie all choices, excluding emotional ones, that one makes in life, and one needs to live in a Democracy to be able to exercise and implement one’s choices freely.
- Hence, understanding true Democracy and practical Economics is essential to arrive at the optimum solution to any problem…
“In this information age… correct information is a key resource… the first step… is filtering. Filter the information; extract the knowledge. Filter 1 st for substance, then for significance, to protect against (propaganda) advertising. Filter 3 rd for reliability – this protects against (the populism of ) Politicians & (the exaggeration and sensationalism of the) Media.” – Marc Stiegler
Though deemed the best at that time, rulers / politicians will always be flawed (never perfect) and problems in their functioning are inevitable. Hence, as David Deutsch recommends in his ‘The Beginning of Infinity’, it is necessary that they should not only allow, but even encourage, criticism and issue based opposition of themselves and of their policies and of everything else.
“Instead of looking upon discussion as a stumbling block on the way of action, we think it an indispensable preliminary to any wise action at all” – Pericles
Good Democratic Governments, Institutions, and their officials and policies, should also, embody traditions that, when necessary, in view of the increasing capabilities and understanding arising from ever growing knowledge and also, due to ever increasing and newer resources (Wealth), enable the removal of bad rulers / politicians and restructuring or elimination of bad policies, without violence – through well thought out electoral policies, fair and effective elections, and ways to disqualify and even recall those unfit.
“Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.”– Arthur Schopenhauer
Hence, the necessity of looking at a problem from a new mental perspective to loft you past your perceived limits.
Democracy, to be successful and vibrant, must encourage many forums for dialogue where in, as Arun Maira writes in ‘Discordant Democracy’, different views and aims of an issue or action can be discussed (not debated) to arrive at workable and acceptable resolutions to the issues thus leading to a harmonious understanding or consensus amongst the people. The intention being to identify methods that result in at least a ‘win/ not lose’ solution, if not an ideal ‘win/ win’ solution and which definitely avoid a ‘win/ lose’ solution (such as in debates where a result will not lead to harmony).
“Diversity is not about how we differ. Diversity is about embracing one another’s uniqueness.” – Ola Joseph
The “Institute of Democratic & Economic Affairz” (IDEAz) has been set up at Hyderabad in recognition of the fact that Hyderabad is practically the Centre of India, and is a fast growing, Dynamic and Cosmopolitan City, that can do justice to such a forum and also, as most of the other such forums seem to be located only at Delhi and seem to often suffer from a commonality in their viewpoint.
IDEAz recognizes that – Ideas have consequences! – and therefore, must be continuously reviewed, reassessed, and improved upon, and then properly propagated, to avoid bad consequences and to ensure better systems and policies.
IDEAz also, strives to – encourage a rational, pragmatic and genuinely egalitarian viewpoint to arrive at a harmonious understanding about many issues that may otherwise give scope to cause discord amongst people with the aim to build a Consensus and NOT encourage Controversies.
IDEAz recognizes that – “The TIME (for such discussions) is NOW, when;
“A sense of possibility and the rising aspirations – are the unifying themes across the Country. New India is united not just by a respect for achievement and a yearning for a better life, but Also, by an unprecedented belief that such a life is possible, regardless of one’s social and economic status”. – Nandan Nilekani, in ‘Imagining India’
Also, echoing Barrack Obama, we too must approach problems with the attitude – “Yes! We can!”
IDEAz seeks to encourage you to
- Be rationally optimistic about the future. To expect things to remain the same, is the view of a pessimist who assumes that knowledge will not grow and that any change will always be for the worse. Problems are inevitable but growing knowledge and increasing resources (wealth) will find new and more effective solutions. Rational optimism sees all problems as arising out of insufficient knowledge and lack of enough time or resources (wealth) at that time to eliminate them, and hence, sees progress as continuous even if it is not exactly clear at that moment, how or in which manner.
- Avoid cynicism, mistrust and pessimism. However, even as you hopefully trust that Governments /Officials have good intentions, insist that the systems be transparent and actions and decisions are subject to due verification and oversight. As an ancient Indian proverb so succinctly puts it – ‘Trust but Verify!’
- Depend not on ‘Predictions’, even of alleged experts, which are really only extrapolations of their present knowledge and are thus only prophecies about what they claim to see as the future and which can never be really valid, because the true future will emerge from newer, unknowable and unpredictable knowledge.Optimism is a way of explaining failure to solve a problem (recognizing the lack of appropriate knowledge, or necessary technology / resources at that time and yet seeking confidently for a solution) and not of just hopefully prophesying success.” – David Deutsch.
- First understand the problem, and only then seek to come up with a proper solution. View everything in its proper Context and always be willing to “Think Differently!”“The more complicated the situation seems to be, the simpler the solution must be… and if the situation is based on human interaction, you probably have enough knowledge to begin with” – Eliyahu M. Goldratt
People look for complicated solutions to what they persist in seeing as complex problems and give up too easily. Unprepared to identify the real problem, they justify their situation as being impossible to deal with and channel their energies into dealing with less important things seeking to boost their morale by small achievements.
Goldratt writes in ‘Choice’ that even Issac Newton recognized ‘Inherent simplicity’ as existing in all parts of reality, as being the foundation of all Science, saying – “Nature is exceedingly simple and harmonious with itself ”. Of course that does not mean that reality is not complex. It only means that all complexity arises from just a few elements and their cause and effect relationships. So the best way to resolve a problem is to understand the root or core conflict, to stop seeing such a conflict as being capable of resolution only by a compromise, which will always be a win-lose approach and to strive to find ways to increase the size of the cake instead of arguing as to how the other is getting a larger share. To get a bigger ‘Win’ for yourself, find a way to offer a DIFFERENT ‘Big’ or even ‘Bigger Win’ for the other Party, a Non-Zero sum solution.
IDEAz therefore aims to:-
- Educate and inform the public about the many aspects of each of the many contentious issues that await resolution even today and of the many more such issues as they arise in the future.
- Encourage rational and meaningful discussion, with an optimistic mind set, of each of such issues to arrive at an equitable and practical resolution or consensus.
- Educate and inform the various stakeholders and decision makers of all the aspects of such issues and recommend actions to be taken to resolve them.
- Encourage and educate individuals or groups on the many aspects of negotiation, reconciliation and equitable distribution so as to enable them to in turn educate the public and also, if in public service, to execute their responsibilities in an equitable and just manner.
IDEAz now presents: different viewpoints about a few topical issues under broad categories in this book for your perusal and consideration, with the hope that it will – “Encourage You to See and Think Differently” and act appropriately when the occasion arises.
Since context, (scale, size, circumstances, options and values etc.), is very important in understanding a problem, each essay carries Key Concepts / Metrics and also, appropriate Quotations from famous Thinkers from the past to offer a more comprehensive perspective.
JAI BHARAT! – JAI HIND!