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Sep 062007
 



Kerala is that odd state in India with a high rate of literacy and life expectancy, higher quality of life compared to other Indian states and possibly the highest rate of migration of its people in search of better prospects.

The Kerala model of high investment by the state in education and healthcare for its population has been touted as a humane alternative to market-driven development where people become mere commodities in the rush for profits.

But with few industries or service sector opportunities in Kerala unlike neighboring states like Karnataka or Tamil Nadu, the leftist-oriented state has several million migrants working in other Indian states or abroad, mostly in the Middle East. We’ve personally encountered natives from Kerala working in Cologne (Germany), Chicago, New York and elsewhere.

The Kerala model and the migration of its people is the subject of an interesting New York Times article in its Friday edition:

“Remittances from global capitalism are carrying the whole Kerala economy,” said S. Irudaya Rajan, a demographer at the Center for Development Studies, a local research group. “There would have been starvation deaths in Kerala if there had been no migration. The Kerala model is good to read about but not practically applicable to any part of the world, including Kerala.”

Can the Kerala model resonate well without the $5 billion that its workers send into the state every year. Probably not.

And what about the social cost of migration on those left behind. Suicides are apparently very high in the state, according to the NYT piece.

Sep 062007
 

China will continue to remain the preferred investment destination for businesses – not India – over the next five years, according to a new report.

China will continue to significantly outpace India in attracting foreign direct investment between now and 2011, according to the report from the Economist‘s Economist Intelligence Unit.

FDI inflows into India are set to grow further over the medium term, but will remain well below potential because of continuing political resistance to privatisations, inflexible labour laws and poor infrastructure.

In contrast, China will have projected inflows of $87 billion in FDI per year in 2007-11, according to the report.

India is attracting greater FDI in the services sector but apparently seeing declining FDI in manufacturing.

The new report is titled World Investment Prospects to 2011: Foreign direct investment and the challenge of political risk and produced jointly by the Economist Intelligence Unit and Columbia Program on International Investment.

Sep 062007
 

Oh, what an irony!

Recent disclosures by UK’s National Archives that author extraordinaire George Orwell, who wrote about Big Brother (the State) watching its citizens in his anti-totalitarian classic 1984, was himself monitored by the British domestic security service MI5 for over two decades is perhaps one of the greatest ironies ever.

British security agents suspected Orwell of being a Communist.

According to documents from the UK National Archives, although Orwell’s left-wing views attracted the attention of the security services no action was apparently taken against him.

According to one report by police Sergeant Ewing (from January 1942 (serial 7a):

This man has advanced Communist views, and several of his Indian friends say that they have often seen him at Communist meetings. He dresses in a bohemian fashion both at his office and in his leisure hours.

Orwell was born in the town of Motihari in the North Indian state of Bihar as Eric Arthur Blair.

George Orwell was the pseudonym of the author, who wrote such fine works as Animal Farm, 1984, Burmese Days, Road to Wigan Pier and Homage to Catalonia.