The great Indian Tamasha

The IMF calls india, a rising economy and star of Asia. A billionaire MP files on his personal jet to the UK after £1bn loan defaults . Crony capitalism has enabled another defaulter to stay in the UK forever, circumventing the judicial system.The fourth largest army in the world is used to build a stage for a Godman close to the PM. The national airline is so much in debt that we’ve stopped counting losses.The Tax dept sends a £1.4 bn Tax bill to Vodafone. India jumps 12 places in the doing business ranks.India creates 27 new billionaires while 410 farmers committed suicides unable to pay bank loans. Yet this great state will continue to progress fuelled by the perseverance of a 250 Mn middle class segment determined to transform their lives. Social inequality and racism will live amid low cost technology innovation and its export of world class HR assets. The largest democracy on the planet will continue to suffer from misguided policies of the ruling elite including its unelected political actors.

The business of global Internet access – Violation of a fundamental human right?

I have just been struck by connecting three pieces of data that promise a total disruption of how we perceive access to the Internet connectivity.

The first is a statistic[1] by the world economic Forum: 4 billion people mostly living in the developing world, do not have access to the Internet and by extension are not connected to engaging with business as we know it in the rest of the world. 75% of those who have access to the Internet live in a mere 23 countries.

The second is the declaration[2] by the United Nations that access to the Internet is a fundamental human right, or in other words, these 4 billion people are denied a fundamental human right.

The last piece of data comes from news reports providing us with tantalising visions of global Internet access using thousands of satellites (both mega and nano). Companies like SPACEx, Outernet, Google and Facebook are leading in the race to provide and in the process, gain first mover advantage in the industry. Governments like the European Union have similar initiatives. The EU is promising that the Galileo[3] GPS replacement system will offer free navigation for anyone globally amongst other features.

Linking all of this together, one gets the impression that the business of providing global broadband (free or paid for) is ripe for disruption. Moving from a business model where we pay for trickle-down cable or fibre based Internet provision which in turn is based on dated telecommunication business models, to one that promises unlimited, unrestricted, untethered Internet access is fascinating.

The ability to connect untapped segments of the global population to the outposts of the fourth Industrial Revolution will disrupt the economics of geography. Imagine the potential of having distributed global manufacturing points across low-cost countries? What about unleashing an additional 8 billion (a very conservative figure of mine) IoT devices using global Internet access?

Moving on, if we were to allow existing business models to operate, huge transnational entities would control access to data by virtue of their market dominance and therefore exert a more dangerous form of control over this human right? Do we want faceless, nameless entities shrouded in tax havens to control data?

If you think governments are better suited to the provision of global Internet access, then what about the abuse of privacy? In an age where cyber-attacks using both state sponsored cyber warfare strategies and state condoned cyber-actors are becoming the new normal, will we have ‘Big Brother’ watching every piece of data? Will this lead to a new form of colonisation of states using access to the Internet?

Will you therefore agree with me that regardless of how this disruption takes place, there will still be a violation of human rights in some form or the other?

[1] https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/05/4-billion-people-still-don-t-have-internet-access-here-s-how-to-connect-them/

[2] https://www.article19.org/data/files/Internet_Statement_Adopted.pdf

[3] http://dailycaller.com/2016/12/14/europe-set-to-turn-on-free-global-internet-but-theres-a-catch/

State capture and rise of the unelected in a democracy

As a firm supporter of democracy, democratic institutional norms and values, I am also a believer in the ability of democratic governance structures to manage the relationship between the ruler and the ruled.

Cynically, I also believe that democratic governance systems are a part of the global business system. Therefore, unable to change the status quo of democratic governance, I accept business-government linkages, institutional varieties of corruption as well as the need for elected officials to manage business interests of the key financial supporters. But I do not at any point accept the capture of legitimate governance systems by any non-elected actors.

Last week (Feb 2017) as we alternated between the rants, tweets and retreat of the leader of the free world (President Trump, the southern Indian state of the Tamil Nadu played host to a political crisis of its own. An elected public official and head of government (OP Paneerselvan) was forced to resign due to a combination of threats, mass hysteria, and manipulation of state resources and the blatant use of criminal non-state actors by an unelected non-state actor (Ms Sasikala). Elected members of the legislative assembly were placed under house arrest and cajoled into supporting Sasikala as the new head of government.

The thought of this happening in a mature democracy like India has forced me to go back to the literature around the capture of the state.

The theoretical background behind the capture of the state has revolved around relationship with the firms, the rent generating advantages provided by public officials and the whole business of lobbying generated in the captured economy. In their paper, Hellman, Jones and Kaufmann (2000)[i] have sought to distinguish state capture with the other types of relationship between the firm and the state; lobbying or influence and administrative corruption.

State capture has been described as the ability of a firm to manage the transactions of governance either by paying elected officials and bureaucrats or by manipulating the rules of the game. Influence on the other hand has been the softer part of the corruption of governance with its linkage to the past, political dynasties, family ties and legacies of both present and past business networks.

In the present context, the capture of the state of Tamil Nadu by an individual who holds no public office and stands accused of corruption, is a serious threat to the legitimacy of the Indian state and its governance attributes. Should Sasikala be invited to form the next government, the moral high ground of democracy and its ability to manage a balance of power between those in power and those who allow them to remain in power will be destroyed. We have already witnessed some erosion of this high ground in recent times across several geographies.

For the central government in India, managing this crisis will be the litmus test for the whole nation as it projects its democratic credentials in other emerging and transition economies.

[i] Hellman, J.S., Jones, G. and Kaufmann, D., 2000. Seize the state, seize the day: State capture, corruption and influence in transition.

The blog@globestrategy

A collection of writing and thoughts on global issues by sureshgeorge
The Indian Avatar of Democracy  
Oman’s Transition and the legitimacy of autocratic rule . 
Putin, the EU and the return of the Black Sea spring 
To GDP or not to GDP  
The Global Business of keeping America solvent
  

National Champions and the Rise of protectionism from the East    
Will the Egyptian sphinx smile or cry?   
The Economic implications of a Royal wedding     
On why Dubai wants a piece of India’s real estate     
The Obama Encirclement of China    
The Emergence of a Powerful State within a Neo-liberal conversation     
The Elephant trumpeting at the Dragon: Stealth diplomacy in South Asia     
From raising chickens in India to running an english club   
 In the name of a just God  
Why ‘revolution’ is the new buzz word in the MENA region.   
When flying machines refuse to fly 
Still on the aircrafts

GLOBESTRATEGY CURATOR

Globestrategy is curated by Suresh George, a Principal Lecturer in the Faculty of Business and Law at Coventry University where he manages the MSc in International Business Management. A selection of his writings can be seen on the BLOG@globestrategy and you can follow suresh on twitter @sureshgeorge

He has a PhD in Strategy from Coventry University along with Post Graduate Qualifications in International Business, Higher Education and Zoology. Having been educated in institutions across Kenya, Nigeria, India and the UK, Suresh brings a multi faceted, multi cultural perspective to his teaching.

Teaching interests, current and in the past have revolved around Global Strategy, Emerging Markets, International Business, Strategic management, Organisations and Strategy of firms.
Research Interests include his latest contribution on the role of the state in seeking resources- the RBV of the ‘state’ or RBS Framework. Whilst the role and operations of the firm has long been a primary focus of research in Strategic Management, analysis of the role and influence of the state with respect to firms has been relatively under-researched. Suresh developed the RBS Framework to explain the interdisciplinary interactions of the State, non- market resources, capabilities and institutional actors in furthering strategic intent and national interest.

A nascent interest in the third sector and the business of not- for-profit firms is also being developed as an interest.

He also maintains a very strong interest in Open access tools, digital literacy techniques for International Business and the reuse of OERs. His latest project has been creating a new post graduate course in less than 6 weeks from conception to approval and marketing. Other HE projects include development of a open learning resource for International Business (the GLOBESTRATEGY project).

Suresh is interested in colloborative research projects, Business Consultancy projects , External Examining, PhD Supervision and social interest projects

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Content is categorised into categories and linked to geographies and key information tags that are used in the international business environment.Common OERs are curated with tags of commonly used themes.Each resource is also categorised into groups and keywords. You can find a current list of categories and keywords at the bottom of the page

Currently topics of interest are curated as tweets

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Using GLOBESTRATEGY

All content is reused from open educational resources (OER) . Additional information on each topic is indicated by the  icon.You can also use the language function  to access this content on the site in  over 60 languages.

Each resource is also categorised into groups and keywords. You can find a current list of categories and keywords at the bottom of the page

Content is categorised into categories and linked to geographies and key information tags that are used in the international business environment.Common OERs are curated with tags of commonly used themes.

Currently topics of interest are curated as tweets