Thursday, November 29, 2007

Green Revolution in India: What's Reality And How Real

In India the World Bank joined forces with the U.S. Agency for International Development starting in the 1960s to promote the "green revolution" and import fertilizer, seeds, pesticides and farm machinery.

In 1969, the Terai Seed Corporation was started with a US$13 million World Bank loan. This was followed by two National Seeds Project (NSP) loans.

This program led to the homogenization and corporatization of India's agricultural system. The Bank provided NSP with US$41 million between 1974 and 1978. The projects were intended to develop state institutions and to create a new infrastructure for increasing the production of green revolution seed varieties.

In 1988, the World Bank gave India's seed sector a fourth loan to make it more "market responsive." The US$150 million loan aimed to privatize the seed industry and open India to multinational seed corporations.

Yet a study by the World Resources Institute, published in 1994, showed that the Green Revolution only increased Indian food production by 5.4% while the environmental degradation it has caused has raised serious worries.

Thus although the cultivated area increased by seven percent because of double cropping on irrigated farms, some 8.5 million hectares or six percent of the crop base was lost to waterlogging, salinity or excess alkalinity.

Although the amount of wheat doubled over the period of 20 years, rice production went up 50% and production of commercial crops like sugarcane and cotton went up, this increase in cultivation of these crops came at the expense of crops like chickpeas and millet, crops grown by the poor for themselves.

Learning the Art of Critical Thinking

There is nothing more practical than sound thinking. No matter what your circumstance or goals, no matter where you are, or what problems you face, you are better off if your thinking is skilled. As a manager, leader, employee, citizen, lover, friend, parent — in every realm and situation of your life — good thinking pays off. Poor thinking, in turn, inevitably causes problems, wastes time and energy, engenders frustration and pain.

Critical thinking is the disciplined art of ensuring that you use the best thinking you are capable of in any set of circumstances. The general goal of thinking is to “figure out the lay of the land” in any situation we are in. We all have multiple choices to make. We need the best information to make the best choices.

What is really going on in this or that situation? Are they trying to take advantage of me? Does so-and-so really care about me? Am I deceiving myself when I believe that . . .? What are the likely consequences of failing to . . .? If I want to do . . . , what is the best way to prepare for it? How can I be more successful in doing . . .? Is this my biggest problem, or do I need to focus my attention on something else?

Successfully responding to such questions is the daily work of thinking. However, to maximize the quality of your thinking, you must learn how to become an effective "critic" of your thinking. And to become an effective critic of your thinking, you have to make learning about thinking a priority.

Ask yourself these — rather unusual — questions: What have you learned about how you think? Did you ever study your thinking? What do you know about how the mind processes information? What do you really know about how to analyze, evaluate, or reconstruct your thinking? Where does your thinking come from? How much of it is of “good” quality? How much of it is of “poor” quality? How much of your thinking is vague, muddled, inconsistent, inaccurate, illogical, or superficial? Are you, in any real sense, in control of your thinking? Do you know how to test it? Do you have any conscious standards for determining when you are thinking well and when you are thinking poorly? Have you ever discovered a significant problem in your thinking and then changed it by a conscious act of will? If anyone asked you to teach them what you have learned, thus far in your life, about thinking, would you really have any idea what that was or how you learned it?

If you are like most, the only honest answers to these questions run along the lines of, “Well, I suppose I really don’t know much about my thinking or about thinking in general. I suppose in my life I have more or less taken my thinking for granted. I don’t really know how it works. I have never really studied it. I don’t know how I test it, or even if I do test it. It just happens in my mind automatically.“

It is important to realize that serious study of thinking, serious thinking about thinking, is rare. It is not a subject in most colleges. It is seldom found in the thinking of our culture. But if you focus your attention for a moment on the role that thinking is playing in your life, you may come to recognize that, in fact, everything you do, or want, or feel is influenced by your thinking. And if you become persuaded of that, you will be surprised that humans show so little interest in thinking.

To make significant gains in the quality of your thinking you will have to engage in a kind of work that most humans find unpleasant, if not painful — intellectual work. Yet once this thinking is done and we move our thinking to a higher level of quality, it is not hard to keep iat that level. Still, there is the price you have to pay to step up to the next level. One doesn’t become a skillful critic of thinking over night, any more than one becomes a skillful basketball player or musician over night. To become better at thinking, you must be willing to put the work into thinking that skilled improvement always requires.

This means you must be willing to practice special “acts” of thinking that are initially at least uncomfortable, and sometimes challenging and difficult. You have to learn to do with your mind “moves” analogous to what accomplished athletes learn to do (through practice and feedback) with their bodies. Improvement in thinking, in other words, is similar to improvement in other domains of performance where progress is a product of sound theory, commitment, hard work, and practice.

Consider the following key ideas, which, when applied, result in a mind practicing skilled thinking. These ideas represent just a few of the many ways in which disciplined thinkers actively apply theory of mind to the mind by the mind in order to think better. In these examples, we focus on the significance of thinking clearly, sticking to the point (thinking with relevance), questioning deeply, and striving to be more reasonable. For each example, we provide a brief overview of the idea and its importance in thinking, along with strategies for applying it in life. Realize that the following ideas are immersed in a cluster of ideas within critical thinking. Though we chose these particular ideas, many others could have instead been chosen. There is no magic in these specific ideas. In short, it is important that you understand these as a sampling of all the possible ways in which the mind can work to discipline itself, to think at a higher level of quality, to function better in the world.
1. Clarify Your Thinking

Be on the look-out for vague, fuzzy, formless, blurred thinking. Try to figure out the real meaning of what people are saying. Look on the surface. Look beneath the surface. Try to figure out the real meaning of important news stories. Explain your understanding of an issue to someone else to help clarify it in your own mind. Practice summarizing in your own words what others say. Then ask them if you understood them correctly. You should neither agree nor disagree with what anyone says until you (clearly) understand them.

Our own thinking usually seems clear to us, even when it is not. But vague, ambiguous, muddled, deceptive, or misleading thinking are significant problems in human life. If we are to develop as thinkers, we must learn the art of clarifying thinking, of pinning it down, spelling it out, and giving it a specific meaning. Here’s what you can do to begin. When people explain things to you, summarize in your own words what you think they said. When you cannot do this to their satisfaction, you don’t really understand what they said. When they cannot summarize what you have said to your satisfaction, they don’t really understand what you said. Try it. See what happens.

Strategies for Clarifying Your Thinking

  • State one point at a time

  • Elaborate on what you mean

  • Give examples that connect your thoughts to life experiences

  • Use analogies and metaphors to help people connect your ideas to a variety of things they already understand (for example, critical thinking is like an onion. There are many layers to it. Just when you think you have it basically figured out, you realize there is another layer, and then another, and another and another and on and on)

Here is One Format You Can Use

  • I think . . . (state your main point)

  • In other words . . . (elaborate your main point)

  • For example . . . (give an example of your main point)

  • To give you an analogy . . . (give an illustration of your main point)

To Clarify Other People’s Thinking,
Consider Asking the Following

  • Can you restate your point in other words? I didn’t understand you.

  • Can you give an example?

  • Let me tell you what I understand you to be saying. Did I understand you correctly?

2. Stick to the Point

Be on the look out for fragmented thinking, thinking that leaps about with no logical connections. Start noticing when you or others fail to stay focused on what is relevant. Focus on finding what will aid you in truly solving a problem. When someone brings up a point (however true) that doesn’t seem pertinent to the issue at hand, ask, “How is what you are saying relevant to the issue?” When you are working through a problem, make sure you stay focused on what sheds light on and, thus, helps address the problem. Don’t allow your mind to wander to unrelated matters. Don’t allow others to stray from the main issue. Frequently ask: “What is the central question? Is this or that relevant to it? How?”

When thinking is relevant, it is focused on the main task at hand. It selects what is germane, pertinent, and related. It is on the alert for everything that connects to the issue. It sets aside what is immaterial, inappropriate, extraneous, and beside the point. What is relevant directly bears upon (helps solve) the problem you are trying to solve. When thinking drifts away from what is relevant, it needs to be brought back to what truly makes a difference. Undisciplined thinking is often guided by associations (this reminds me of that, that reminds me of this other thing) rather than what is logically connected (“If a and b are true, then c must also be true”). Disciplined thinking intervenes when thoughts wander from what is pertinent and germane concentrating the mind on only those things that help it figure out what it needs to figure out.

Ask These Questions to Make Sure
Thinking is Focused on What is Relevant

  • Am I focused on the main problem or task?

  • How is this connected? How is that?

  • Does my information directly relate to the problem or task?

  • Where do I need to focus my attention?

  • Are we being diverted to unrelated matters?

  • Am I failing to consider relevant viewpoints?

  • How is your point relevant to the issue we are addressing?

  • What facts are actually going to help us answer the question? What considerations should be set aside?

  • Does this truly bear on the question? How does it connect?

3. Question Questions

Be on the look out for questions. The ones we ask. The ones we fail to ask. Look on the surface. Look beneath the surface. Listen to how people question, when they question, when they fail to question. Look closely at the questions asked. What questions do you ask, should you ask? Examine the extent to which you are a questioner, or simply one who accepts the definitions of situations given by others.

Most people are not skilled questioners. Most accept the world as it is presented to them. And when they do question, their questions are often superficial or “loaded.” Their questions do not help them solve their problems or make better decisions. Good thinkers routinely ask questions in order to understand and effectively deal with the world around them. They question the status quo. They know that things are often different from the way they are presented. Their questions penetrate images, masks, fronts, and propaganda. Their questions make real problems explicit and discipline their thinking through those problems. If you become a student of questions, you can learn to ask powerful questions that lead to a deeper and more fulfilling life. Your questions become more basic, essential, and deep.

Strategies for Formulating More Powerful Questions

  • Whenever you don’t understand something, ask a question of clarification.

  • Whenever you are dealing with a complex problem, formulate the question you are trying to answer in several different ways (being as precise as you can) until you hit upon the way that best addresses the problem at hand.

  • Whenever you plan to discuss an important issue or problem, write out in advance the most significant questions you think need to be addressed in the discussion. Be ready to change the main question, but once made clear, help those in the discussion stick to the question, making sure the dialogue builds toward an answer that makes sense.

Questions You Can Ask to Discipline Your Thinking

  • What precise question are we trying to answer?

  • Is that the best question to ask in this situation?

  • Is there a more important question we should be addressing?

  • Does this question capture the real issue we are facing?

  • Is there a question we should answer before we attempt to answer this question?

  • What information do we need to answer the question?

  • What conclusions seem justified in light of the facts?

  • What is our point of view? Do we need to consider another?

  • Is there another way to look at the question?

  • What are some related questions we need to consider?

  • What type of question is this: an economic question, a political question, a legal question, etc.?

4. Be Reasonable

Be on the lookout for reasonable and unreasonable behaviors — yours and others. Look on the surface. Look beneath the surface. Listen to what people say. Look closely at what they do. Notice when you are unwilling to listen to the views of others, when you simply see yourself as right and others as wrong. Ask yourself at those moments whether their views might have any merit. See if you can break through your defensiveness to hear what they are saying. Notice unreasonableness in others. Identify times when people use language that makes them appear reasonable, though their behavior proves them to be otherwise. Try to figure out why you, or others, are being unreasonable. Might you have a vested interested in not being open-minded? Might they?

One of the hallmarks of a critical thinker is the disposition to change one’s mind when given good reason to change. Good thinkers want to change their thinking when they discover better thinking. They can be moved by reason. Yet, comparatively few people are reasonable. Few are willing to change their minds once set. Few are willing to suspend their beliefs to fully hear the views of those with which they disagree. How would you rate yourself?

Strategies for Becoming More Reasonable

Say aloud, “I’m not perfect. I make mistakes. I’m often wrong.” See if you have the courage to admit this during a disagreement: “Of course, I may be wrong. You may be right.”

Practice saying in your own mind, “I may be wrong. I often am. I’m willing to change my mind when given good reasons.” Then look for opportunities to make changes in your thinking.

Ask yourself, “When was the last time I changed my mind because someone gave me better reasons for his (her) views than I had for mine?” (To what extent are you open to new ways of looking at things? To what extent can you objectively judge information that refutes what you already think?)

Realize That You are Being Close-Minded If You

a. are unwilling to listen to someone’s reasons

b. are irritated by the reasons people give you

c. become defensive during a discussion

After you catch yourself being close-minded, analyze what was going on in your mind by completing these statements:

a. I realize I was being close-minded in this situation because . . .

b. The thinking I was trying to hold onto is . . .

c. Thinking that is potentially better is . . .

d. This thinking is better because . . .

In closing, let me remind you that the ideas in this article are a very few of the many ways in which critical thinkers bring intellectual discipline to bear upon their thinking. The best thinkers are those who understand the development of thinking as a process occurring throughout many years of practice in thinking. They recognize the importance of learning about the mind, about thoughts, feelings and desires and how these functions of the mind interrelate. They are adept at taking thinking apart, and then assessing the parts when analyzed. In short, they study the mind, and they apply what they learn about the mind to their own thinking in their own lives.

The extent to which any of us develops as a thinker is directly determined by the amount of time we dedicate to our development, the quality of the intellectual practice we engage in, and the depth, or lack thereof, of our commitment to becoming more reasonable, rational, successful persons.


Thursday, November 15, 2007


Increased concern over energy security and global climate change has led many people to take a fresh look at the benefits and risks of nuclear power.The rapid rate of nuclear reactor expansion required to make even a modest reduction in global warming would drive up construction costs and create shortages in building materials, trained personnel, and safety controls. There are also lingering questions over nuclear waste, as well as continued political opposition to siting new plants.
According to a prevailing belief, humanity confronts two stark risks: catastrophes caused by climate change and annihilation by nuclear war. The conventional wisdom also believes that the former danger appears far more certain than the latter. This assessment has recently led an increasing number of policymakers, pundits, businesspeople, and environmentalists to advocate a major expansion of nuclear energy, which emits very few greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.1 While acknowledging the connection between nuclear fuel making and nuclear bomb building, nuclear power proponents suggest that nuclear proliferation and terrorism risks are readily manageable. Consequently, some of these advocates favor the use of subsidies to stimulate substantial growth of nuclear power.

This conventional wisdom possesses some truth, but it oversells the contribution nuclear energy can make to reduce global warming and strengthen energy security while downplaying the dangers associated with this energy source. To realistically address global warming, the nuclear industry would have to expand at such a rapid rate as to pose serious concerns for how the industry would ensure an adequate supply of reasonably inexpensive reactor-grade construction materials, well-trained technicians, and rigorous safety and security measures.
Furthermore, some argue that a significant growth of nuclear reactors and fuel making in politically unstable regions would substantially increase the risks of nuclear terrorism and proliferation. Conversely, others decry the hypocrisy of this double standard in which only certain countries are allowed access to the full suite of nuclear technologies. Thus, the United States faces a fundamental policy dilemma: Is it possible to encourage growth of nu promote far greater use of energy efficiencies. Nuclear will undoubtedly be part of this mix, but the policy question is: How much can and should it contribute to energy needs?
This benefit needs to be weighed against the entire costs and risks of nuclear power production. In addition to substantial capital costs for construction of power plants, nuclear energy includes significant external costs: applying safeguards to sensitive activities such as fuel making, securing nuclear facilities against terrorist attacks, decommissioning reactors, storing highly radioactive waste, and paying for insurance to cover the costs of an accident. Another important policy question is: How much of these external costs should be paid for by the industry versus governments? A related question is: If all energy sectors identified and paid for most, if not all, of their external costs, including greenhouse gas emissions, how would the nuclear sector fare on this level playing field that refrained from further government subsidies?clear energy and fuel making in some regions and countries while denying or significantly limiting it in other places?
To reduce the deleterious effects of climate change, the world will need to dramatically increase the use of low- and no-carbon emission energy sources as well as promote far greater use of energy efficiencies. Nuclear will undoubtedly be part of this mix, but the policy question is: How much can and should it contribute to energy needs?
This benefit needs to be weighed against the entire costs and risks of nuclear power production.
In addition to substantial capital costs for construction of power plants, nuclear energy includes significant external costs: applying safeguards to sensitive activities such as fuel making, securing nuclear facilities against terrorist attacks, decommissioning reactors, storing highly radioactive waste, and paying for insurance to cover the costs of an accident. Another important policy question is: How much of these external costs should be paid for by the industry versus governments? A related question is: If all energy sectors identified and paid for most, if not all, of their external costs, including greenhouse gas emissions, how would the nuclear sector fare on this level playing field that refrained from further government subsidies?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Developing Countries and their info devlopment

The process of globalization may very well entail both a reduction of income disparities among countries, and increasing income inequalities within countries. If this is so, for many countries, addressing the Digital Divide issue will be as much an external as an internal battle. On both fronts, e-government will be a powerful tool to help all types of economies (developed, developing and in transition) to bring the benefits of the emerging global information society to the largest possible part of their respective populations.

Direct effects of e-government include cost effectiveness in government and public operations, significant savings in areas such as public procurement, tax collection and customs operations, with better and continuous contacts with citizens, especially those living in remote or less densely populated areas.

Indirect effects are no less important, and include greater transparency and accountability in public decisions, powerful ways to fight corruption, the ability to stimulate the emergence of local e-cultures, and the strengthening of democracy.

These are among the reasons why e-government, after spreading through developed market economies, has now become a priority in an increasing number of developing countries. Around the world, significant resources are being mobilized, as well as additional human resources and energies, to develop, implement and promote the use of e-government. However, since such resources remain scarce in regard to the immense tasks of socioeconomic development and poverty alleviation, it is essential that they be used wisely and with a maximum chance of success. Benefiting from other countries’ experiences, understanding their successes and failures, and adapting that knowledge to the characteristics of one’s socio-economic environment will be vital to the future of e-government in many parts of the world.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

United States can make a dent on global poverty – if it wants

THE United States can make a dent on global poverty – if it wants to. For one, it can help to bring to a successful conclusion the current Doha Round of trade liberalization talks in 2006 under the World Trade Organisation. This is a sure way to show seriousness in bridging the gap between its foreign policy rhetoric and foreign policy follow-through. Indeed, this gap has characterized US commitments in global poverty reduction. In the upcoming WTO Ministerial Meeting on the Doha Round in Hong Kong on December 13-18, 2005, the US can lead the rich countries, particularly the European Union, to liberalize their trade and agricultural policy regimes. This can help poor countries take advantage of the substantial cuts in tariffs and export subsidies in agriculture and help make progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Why Human Mind Thinks ?

To live well is to live as a reasonable and ethical person. Yet humans are not by nature rational or ethical. Humans are predisposed to operate in the world in narrow terms of how it can serve them. Their brains are directly wired into their own pleasure and pain, not that of others. They do not inherently consider the rights and needs of others

Yet humans have the raw capacity to become reasonable and ethical persons, to develop as fair-minded skilled thinkers. But to do so requires:

1. Understanding how the mind works.

2. Using this understanding to develop skills and insights.

Everyone thinks. It is our nature to do so. But much of our thinking left to itself is biased, distorted, ill-founded, or prejudiced. Much of our thinking leads to problems in our lives. Much of our thinking leads to cruelty and injustice. Of course, the mind doesn’t just think, it also feels and wants. What is the connection? Our thinking shapes and determines how we feel and what we want. When we think well, we are motivated to do things that make sense and motivated to act in ways that help rather than harm ourselves and others.

At the same time, powerful emotions or desires influence our thinking, help or hinder how well we think in a situation. At any given moment, our minds (that complex of inner thoughts, feelings and desires) can be under the sway of our native egocentrism or our potential reasonability.

When we are ruled by our egocentric tendencies, we see the world from a narrow self-serving perspective. We are not truly concerned with how our behavior affects others. We are fundamentally concerned with getting what we want and/or with validating our beliefs and views.

The key to understanding human thought then, is, to understand its essential duality: its capacity for egocentrism (being trapped in self-delusion, myth, and illusion) and its capacity for reasonability (freeing itself from self-delusion, myth, and illusion). Though thinking, feeling and wanting are, in principle, equally important, it is only through thinking that we take command of our minds.

It is through thinking that we figure out what is going wrong with our thinking. It is through thinking that we figure out how to deal with destructive emotions.

It is through thinking that we change unproductive desires to productive ones. It is fair-minded reasonability that frees us from intellectual slavery. If we understand our mind and its functions, if we face the barriers to our development that egocentrism represents, if we work upon our mind in a daily regimen, we can take the steps that lead to our empowerment as thinkers.

The mind is it’s own place and in itself can make a hell of heaven or a heaven of hell

The global environment And Enterprise Culture in Developing Economies

The global environment has been susceptible to changes for centuries. In recent years, the process which have moved the world towards “global interdependence and exchange’ have been known as globalisation (Mazuri, 2002). Globalisation led to changes in the social and economic environment, and in both developed and developing countries experienced opportunities for economic growth.

This was an uneven process but provided opportunities for new entrepreneurial activities.
According to Schumpeter (1934), entrepreneurial activities are the result of combinations from discovering new markets, new raw materials, new suppliers and new production methods. These entrepreneurial activities would enable opportunities to be exploited and also contribute to economic growth.

This encouraged developed and developing countries to acknowledge the relevance of entrepreneurial activity and its role in developing a economy effective enough to compete in a global environment.

In the past, entrepreneurial activities developed naturally within the existing market environment. With the opportunities and threats presented by globalisation, governments realised the need to stimulate an increased level of entrepreneurial activity to counteract the impact of global competition in their own markets and encourage their own local entrepreneurs to exploit opportunities in other markets.

Through changes in public policies, governments strove to form an environment conducive to entrepreneurial activities and thus develop an enterprise culture which encouraged self employment activities among citizens. However, the concept of enterprise culture is different when the analysis is concentrated on developing countries. We should explore the relevance of enterprise culture and its impact on developing countries. we Should sketch out the contours of the evolution of the concept and drawing on the Indian experience, suggests that the concept is too narrow it fails to incorporate critical social and cultural factors in its permutation, characteristics which are critical idioms in developing countries.

The Relationship Between Fertility and Socio Economic Development in India

For many years it has been known that in virtually no human population has the level of fertility ever approached the potential biological maximum. Scholar have long been aware that such factors as constrains on marriage, prolonged breastfeeding, periods of separation or abstinence, abortion and disease have exerted a restraining influence on fertility.

India has been made progress in economic, social, demographic and health fields. But there exist a very wide regional disparity is the achievement of various stages of demographic transition. The recent population projection y the Registrar General revealed that India would reach the replacement level of fertility only in the year 2026.But many states namely Kerala, Goa, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh had already reached replacement level of fertility. The southern state Karnataka will reach the same only in the year 2009.The large Hindi speaking states namely Bihar, Utter Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan will reach the replacement level only by the year 2038(RGI, 1996). The divergence gives opportunities to researchers for examine the inter-regional variation in the demographic outcomes in India.

India is in the midst of a demographic transition that exhibits striking spatial differences. From the intrinsic importance of understanding this pattern of decline, the diversity of the Indian experience provides an opportunity to reexamine various interpretations of the fertility transition. India, it may be recalled, was one of the first countries in he world to introduce a national family planning programmatic the 1950,to reduce population growth is at long last appears to be undergoing fertility declines of notable proportions. However, neither the speed of
decline, nor the areas contributing to the fall are a matter of complete unanimity.

In the early days ‘Population Control’ appeared as a emerging issue. Then came more gentle approach, “development is the best Contraceptive”. The notion of development it self evolved as awareness grew that economic growth. But over time the focus shifted from economic growth to social development had gained a great place in both to better living condition and to reducing population growth.

Many researchers are argued that India is not a model of social development but many states, in India, are showing progressive picture in terms of fertility decline. Its progress owes to the improvement of female literacy and decline infant mortality and as well as other socio-economic indicators are not neglected so far.
Debarati Sarkar