Friday, March 17, 2017

Facebook friends

Some Facebook friend seem frustrated with me. They probably consider me as elite material and not doing my bit. But the problem is that I felt most people I met were better than me in some respect or other and I really do not have much to say to them. Secondly, I find things do not come naturally to me. I have to learn, think and work hard to make any 'progress'. How do I know that I make progress in a topic? Most of my time is spent in mathematics where there are accepted norms of proof if you ignore some fundamental contradictions. Generally afte some thing is written, a consensus whether it is correct or not is reached. Since I have a track record with papers written as far back as seventies still being referred to, I assume that I made some progress there.

But in outside areas like social sciences; where I spend a lot of time these days thinking about development issues, it is much more problematic. As words get farther from concrete things, they seem to have a band width, and we seem to mean slightly different things by the same word. I think that this is what makes communication possible and also considerable confusion. So, a conclusion may be that universal models may not be possible and if one is close to real things, some understanding may be possible in specific contexts. I think that mutually understandable language is needed here. Here I tend towards language understandable to common people due to my interest in poverty and development. A case study may be the relative influences of Vemana and Srinadha on the Telugu populace.

Going back to development, I will consider just one aspect of elites. As Brad DeLong said (quoted in the previous post) about moderns "...they engage in complicated symbolic interactions that have the emergent effect of distributing status and power...". It seems to me that this is where the problem is. According to Gabriel Palma in as many as 140 countries, the top ten percent and bottom forty percent together share half the income. As the share of the top ten percent increases which seems to be currently the case, it is at the expense of the bottom forty percent. And the majority of the elites are in the top percent and they like others look after their self interests. I consider this a problem. And that is why I prefer to among the non-elites.

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