Wednesday, July 17, 2013

5 Things America Can Learn from India

**There is a LOT of generalization in this post. It is a common understanding that not every person is going to be like this and there are always exceptions to the rule. It would be ineffective and ridiculous for me to try to nit-pick all the way down to specific numbers of who does what. Generally, this is what I see/know about India. If this does not fit you, then great! You're well on your way to a better life for yourself and those around you.

1. Insourcing. America gives far too many advantages to not housing your business and workers in the US if you're a large corporation. Hello? What part of this sounds intelligent? You want to sell to Americans and build up American pride while underpaying workers in some other country? It's sick. You can't expect other countries to just adhere to what the American consumer demands when it comes to work practices and it's simply unethical to sweep things under the rug or turn a blind eye to slave labor practices in favor of making more money. Keep your businesses at home where they belong or only outsource them to ethical businesses around the world.

2. Tolerance. Americans are pretty tolerant of a lot of things on paper but in reality they don't act like it. We have Coexist initiatives for religious tolerance, gay rights movements, etc. and everyone is very quick to publicly agree but then as soon as no one is listening they talk quite differently.Yes, this happens in India as well but not to the same extent nor with the same hard feelings behind it. There is tolerance in the US, it's just not nearly the same as in India. In the US if we don't like you, we're vocal about it and aggressive in our body language. In India there are a lot more religions, sects, etc. and they coexist much more peacefully than people do in the US.

3. Care for the mother. If you're lucky, after having a baby in the US you will get 6 weeks of maternity leave. *sarcasm* Yay, 6 whole weeks! Then it's right back to the daily grind for you because otherwise you're family is going to fall apart financially. Good luck finding a good sitter who won't cause you more problems without spending your whole paycheck. India is light years ahead of the US in this aspect. It's not perfect, but doing much better. Mothers are revered in India and that is why they have us beat. A woman gets 6-12 months off to recover and care for the baby. Family steps in and help and the mother is honored as a bringer of new life and happiness into the household. (I'm not touching gender issues, let's just leave that out for now.) In the US you will suffer, struggle, starve and collapse unless you've planned this out carefully or you go on some pretty hefty government assistance. It's insane. Everyone wants kids, no one wants to be bothered with giving them a good start in life.

4. Credit. I don't really want to go down the long, dark, spiraling tunnel with this one but I can't help it. The US credit system plays a major role in the horrific state of the economy we've been suffering. Americans need it now (instant gratification) and they need it all. It doesn't matter if they can pay for it or not. Life (at least commercially) is all about who markets themselves better and the credit card companies are winning hands down. They have America completely convinced we can't live without credit and they've become so powerful that we almost cant. You're only as good as your plastic in America and it's very sad. A system that used to thrive on local economies and the 'little man' with the business down the street (think kirana shops) is now just a mass-market economy without concern for how to pay the bills later. Our government is constantly in increasing debt and so are our citizens. Very few still have dedication to savings and paying for things up front. People don't plan for known life expenses and it shows. We live on credit, we're maxed out on borrowing and we have to bind ourselves to our jobs and live like slaves to pay for it all. So sad.

5. Recycling. Yes, we recycle here but overall we're a very wasteful economy. Our landfills show it. We don't reuse and we constantly consume. It's not good for us or our environment. It's as if we've learned nothing from otehr countries on the issues we will face if we continue on like this. There are already cities where people have water shortages from time to time and yet they learn nothing. They go right back to mass consumption as if it never happened. India may even recycle too much but at least it's better than the limited amount we recycle. We don't fix things, we throw them out and buy new (which ties in with point 4 above). We could create jobs having people sort through garbage and pick out recyclables the way India does. It's not a glamorous job but it would keep a family fed at standard American wages and it would greatly benefit our country and the Earth.


  1. Tolerance is a funny word. Tolerance has a negative tone, acceptance is more positive. Not many of us anywhere fully accept others.

  2. Well India's a pretty intolerant society......As far as I recall, the US has not had any mass scale riots where 1000s of people were killed just because they belonged to a particular religion. india's had this so many times..the best known ones that got ample national coverage were 1984 sikh riots and 2002 gujarat violence. Infact in 1992 as well, muslim gangsters bombed Mumbai in 1992 after the fall of Babri masjid and Hindus retaliated with mass scale riots in muslim areas. People could have started attacks on muslim-populated-Dearborn for all you know, after boston attacks or 9/11....but things have been cool, relatively. I guess, that's probably coz hindu-muslim tensions are almost a millinea old. Maybe things are changing in the US as well.......the white supremacist who gunned down about 10 people in Wisconsin Sikh temple thinking there were Muslims praying inside.
    As for in/out sourcing, this is another advantage and disadvantage, depending on how you wish to see it, of globalisation. Most companies anywhere in the world have nothing to do with national pride or anything....they'd rather save and make profits. I don't think they're underpaying workers....maybe according to US wage laws, but in the developing world, the wage is much much higher than the average workers age. For instance, my mom was a teacher with a masters in her subject and spent about 5-6 years after high school to study, w/ and experience of 20-25 years and retired 3 years back with a salary of Rs.22,000 pm. Most call centers employ people even WITHOUT a degree, right from high school and pay you anywhere bw 10k to 25k depending on your qualifications.....and 20-25k is about 300 dollars pm, which is about 10 dollars per day...Min wage is about 7/8 dollars an hour in the US. If I were a businessman, I'd be stupid enough to not get menial work done elsewhere, even if it means half-way across the world....who cares if people sound like Apu from Simpsons, when I can drown myself in cheap profits ;p.

  3. The US could very well be headed toward the anti-race type riots you mention. There is a anger brewing here over race and no skin tone is safe. Considering so many of us here are mixed with various races (sometimes 5 or more) it could get very ugly, very fast. We're still a baby nation though, only 400 years old compared to India's 5000+ years. I think American society is becoming more hostile as more and more seems to be taken from us when we've always been raised to fight to keep these things.

  4. elevatorescalatorJuly 17, 2013 at 9:09 AM

    Great post nice to read a blog.
    Lift India

  5. 1. seems like an emotional point to me so arguments may be futile. but for whatever its worth, outsourcing has a lot of benefit when it is feasible. in is simply not feasible in many services like restaurants, movie theaters, airlines, etc ... but in a free market (and if you think about it, the international market is moving towards a free market) things would find its own price and supply and that includes labor too. indian private businesses also do not waste time trying to reinvent the wheel when they outsourcing is feasible. much of India's mobile network is outsourced to many US/EU/China firms. (in fact it is a surprisingly counter-intuitive and innovative business model sometimes called the Airtel Model) so rather than "insourcing", the thing to learn from India is "outsourcing".

    4. is a result of cheap fiat dictated credit sloshing around the system and is not consumer's fault. someone would be foolish if they do no avail of cheap credit while it lasts. please ask your govt to live within it's means and not go for stupid things like QE/devaluation/bailouts/largesse/etc. needless to say, nothing to learn here from India ... that is actually a joke ... Indian govt is THE world's most profligate govt. it wastes much much more resources (as % of GDP) than any other govt. it lives way beyond it's means and knows no way to stop. oh sorry ! china beats India in this respect, but at least they build roads ... we just fill swiss bank coffers.

    the other points are genuinely "learnable".

  6. We must have been thinking along the same lines for our posts! I feel the same way about recycling its quite sad how much we waste and throw away...and I never see people use credit cards here in India ...

  7. Interesting perspective. Maybe it's human nature to not live within our means. The American public as a whole truly needs to get off of the credit roller coaster though. I know Indians have credit and governments waste money but that doesn't mean individuals should do the same. Indians are much better at saving money (generally) and not living frivolously than Americans (collectively).

    As for outsourcing, you're right, I could be more emotional than I realize. I've watched cities falling apart since their industries moved to Mexico. It's disheartening. It's gloomy.

  8. Great minds think alike. :) Thanks for mentioning me on your blog.

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  11. On recyling and credit..I also always wondered...I could nevr understnad the way people spend there...every season change of clothes, furnishing, crockery etc..but what to say..our youth is following them blindly..we used to save first then spend, now they spend first, earn letter..a sure way to backfire..

  12. They spend this way because the culture demands it. It's hard to explain to be honest. I stay away from mainstream tv and such because our media promotes and pushes you to purchase more and own more than you could ever need. There's a lot of marketing tricks in use here that put impressions in your mind that you can't live without products. We buy them, we don't use them, we donate them. It's insanity! I used to be the same way but then I realized I was the one having to clean up all that mess and how much better my life could be without it and I switched off all the advertisements. My life has been significantly better and happier since. It takes a strong mind to resist our constant pressure atmosphere here. Many don't even know it's happening to them.