At 09:30 AM 01/30/2001Chris Russo wrote:
>Don't completely trust people who live in a country to give you an
>objective opinion. I spent several months working in India about 6 years
>back, and I have a completely opposite opinion of the work ethic there.
This was really interesting, Chris. Thanks for posting it. The way I
happened to get to know several Indians fairly well was through having an
Indian nanny to look after my daughter while I was at work. R was a medical
doctor in India but couldn't practice in the US until she passed the board
exams. She was hooked in with a whole community of Indians, most of whom
were students or spouses of students at the university. R's husband was
studying there--he had been from one of the lower classes and she was from
one of the upper classes and violated social rules by marrying him. The
people I got to know well were all women from various socio-economic
classes. Maybe the tales I heard of India would have been different if I'd
known men rather than women. The women always seemed to be busy doing
something--cooking or making clothes or crafts. But, like women I've known
in Mexican villages, they'd make their work fun by doing it together and
talking or singing while they worked.
>They couldn't have cared less. For the most part, they came in, worked
>their hours, then went home.
The Indian computer programmers I've met via the Internet seem to enjoy
their work and be dedicated to it. But of course I have no way of knowing
what sort of hours they work. Maybe they lead more balanced lives than
typical Americans by working their hours and going home. Family life seemed
to be important to the Indian people I knew.
>The only time we noticed any kind of dedication to work was with the women.
This seems consistent with what I've read in the anthropology literature.
If you look at all known human societies, it appears that women are most
often responsible for basic food, cooking utensils, shelter, and clothing,
while men are more likely to engage in hunting and warfare which involve
short periods of intense effort divided by longer periods of relative
>The response was, "Well, laying the bricks is 'skilled' labor." It's
>really hard to keep a straight face in that country. The real reason was
>that they have a comfortable little male-dominated society, and they
>weren't interested in rocking their lazy-ass boat.
I think things are changing as more women go to school, especially
universities. One educated woman can have a lot of influence among other
>I could spend days detailing my experiences there and those of my
>coworkers, but suffice it to say that India's problems aren't some big
>magical mystery. They're not just the fault of their government or their
>large population or the evil Western World. It's a failure of the
>individuals of their society who embrace a culture of ignorance,
>corruption, and getting the "other guy" to do their work for them.
Based on what you saw of life in India, Chris, what effect do you think a
guraranteed income would have on individuals (assuming that such a thing
were possible at no cost to anyone else, such as with nanotechnology)?
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:56:26 MDT