Poverty Consciousness, Stinginess and No Payments in India

India may have a 5000 year old culture, deep religious understanding and a depth of philosophical breath that may make many countries and cultures around the world feel highly superficial in emotional and cultural terms, but India continues to be a country with significant poverty and all the related health, wealth, mental and social issues that come with poverty. Given that the Indian economy has taken off over the last 10 years and that liberalization has been in place since 1991, this further confounds the paradox; since significant strides should have already been made.

Economists and governments have tried to address it from several angles and in many ways – socially, distribution wise, financially, subsidies, better policies, loans, grants, schemes etc. you name it and we have tried it. But in my eyes most of these measures miss the mark. The reason is deeper and psychological. It stems from an inherent subconscious manner of functioning most Indians have. And that is a framework of thinking that they can get away with either fooling the system, or fooling people (their own and others) or fooling themselves. In the long run, none of these work. And as the old adage says “cheaters, simply do not prosper”. Continue reading