About 3 weeks ago I wrote about a working paper written by India’s chief economic adviser: Kaushik Basu in which he suggested that for a certain class of bribes which he termed harassment bribes – the bribe giver should be given immunity so that he can later on take action against the person who took the bribe without the fear or getting punished himself.
A lot of you had interesting comments on it, and there was quite a bit of skepticism as well, which is understandable given the nature of this idea.
I had forgotten about it but this week I see the paper getting a lot more attention because other people are discovering it and writing about it, Tweeting about it and generally talking about the idea.
As you’d expect – there is a lot of criticism, but what I find disturbing is that people say this plan will not work to remove all sorts of corruption, or a particular kind of corruption, or it is too hard to implement, or there will be roadblocks by corrupt politicians, or it is not big enough to solve problems and that somehow makes this idea bad.
Not many people (if any at all) are actually asking if this will make the situation better than what it is today? And of course, no one is offering any alternatives that are better than this option.
They’re just there to criticize, and they will leave after criticizing.
There object is not to debate an idea, refine it, come up with alternatives, but somehow prove their intellectual superiority by dissing it and poking holes in it.
I’m sure you know several people who will start telling you why something won’t work as soon as you open your mouth. The next time you meet such a guy ask him for alternatives. Ask them what they would do. It’s very likely that they won’t have a clue – I’m amazed at how people who have so many ideas on why something won’t work have not one idea on how to make something work.
This mindset holds a lot of us back.
I didn’t start blogging for a long time because I was worried I wouldn’t do well, and the blog will not become popular and big.
Then one day I was playing a video game on my Wii, and it hit me that maybe the blog won’t do too well, but it will at least be better use of my time than playing this silly video game.
That was the first time I realized that even if it didn’t become popular I will at least learn to use a comma, and who knows – with a little luck I might learn to use a semi colon as well!
Wouldn’t that be better than where I am today?
If life is a journey then don’t you want to have as many experiences as you can? Shouldn’t you try to do as many things as you can without worrying about how you might fail?
Who knows what will fail and what will work – could you have predicted Twitter’s or Facebook’s rise? Could you have even predicted that a successful company like Google will have as many failures as it does?
With anything you do – you don’t have to solve all the world’s problems; if it has the potential to improve your life then it’s worth trying out.
Do you want to be the smug guy who disses ideas, or the one who takes risks and tries out things in the hope of bettering lives?