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Fri, 23rd June 2017

Anirudh Sethi Report

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Archives of “civil liberties” Tag

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s approval rating plunges amid lingering school scandal

Support for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government has dropped below 50% for the first time in more than a year as respondents expressed dissatisfaction with his response to allegations of preferential treatment toward a conservative educator.

The cabinet’s approval rating plunged to 49% in a weekend poll by Nikkei Inc. and TV Tokyo, down 7 percentage points from May and 11 points compared with April. The government’s disapproval rating climbed 6 points to 42% — the highest since October 2015.

 This marks the Abe cabinet’s most serious setback in public opinion since that year, when legislation expanding the armed forces’ remit ignited a public debate on Japan’s commitment to peace.

Now, the prime minister is facing allegations of favoritism over plans to establish a veterinary school in a government-designated special zone for deregulation. The prospective school operator, Kake Educational Institution, is headed by a friend of Abe’s.

The government insists that all of the proper procedures were followed in approving the new school. But a purported memo describing the project as in line with “the prime minister’s wishes” — a document whose credibility the government had questioned — has been found at the ministry of education after a second internal investigation.

The ruling coalition’s move to cut short the upper house debate on anti-conspiracy legislation also seems to have contributed to the drop in support. Among other things, the recently enacted law makes it a crime to plot terrorist attacks. Nearly half, or 47%, of respondents support the law, which has raised concerns among civil liberties groups, while 36% are opposed.

The cabinet’s approval rating fell among both men and women. Only 24% of respondents unaffiliated with any political party expressed support for the government, down 5 points from the previous survey.

Voters get right to reject

RIGHT TO REJECTToday while granting WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 161 OF 2004, moved by People’s Union for Civil Liberties & anothers, the Supreme Court of India has considered a dire need of negative voting in the present scenario of our Country and has confirmed a Right to Reject all the candidates while excercise his voting rights through its landmark Judgment. The Apex Court has concluded that ” Democracy being the basic feature of our constitutional set up, there can be no two opinions that free and fair elections would alone guarantee the growth of a healthy democracy in the country. The ‘Fair’ denotes equal opportunity to all people. Universal adult suffrage conferred on the citizens of India by the Constitution has made it possible for these millions of individual voters to go to the polls and thus participate in the governance of our country. For democracy to survive, it is essential that the best available men should be chosen as people’s representatives for proper governance of the country. This can be best achieved through men of high moral and ethical values, who win the elections on a positive vote. Thus in a vibrant democracy, the voter must be given an opportunity to choose none of the above (NOTA) button, which will indeed compel the political parties to nominate a sound candidate. This situation palpably tells us the dire need of negative voting. No doubt, the right to vote is a statutory right but it is equally vital to recollect that this statutory right is the essence of democracy. Without this, democracy will fail to thrive. Read More 

India ranked 38th in Index of Democracy; US 21st

Even as it acknowledges India as the world’s most populous democracy, the Economist magazine’s Index of Democracy 2012 ranks India 38th among 165 nations with an overall score of 7.52.

India also gets high scores for electoral process and pluralism (9.58) and civil liberties (9.41).

The top three positions go to Norway (9.93) Sweden (9.73) and Iceland 9.65, while the United States is ranked 21st with an overall score of 8.11 in the fifth edition of the Index prepapred by the London weekly focusing on international politics and business.

Noting the wide disparities in democratic development across Asia, the report says “although parts of the region – from North Korea and Laos, to Vietnam and China – are still entrenched authoritarian regimes, the past couple of decades have seen the spread of democracy in the region overall.” Read More 

Switzerland’s Seven Secrets for Success

In economic and political terms, Switzerland is doing better than almost any other nation in the world. What does it do better than others? What’s behind its competitive edge? And how can it stay on top? German economist and exponent of classical liberalism Gerd Habermann offers his take on a small but extraordinary country.

The verdict is in, and it is unequivocal. Whether we are comparing global business locations and the civil liberties they enjoy, considering the number of Nobel Laureates or the quality of academics, entrepreneurs, artists and authors, Switzerland has long occupied the topmost echelons. 

For the fourth time in a row, the World Economic Forum has declared Switzerland the most competitive country in the world – ahead of Singapore, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands – placing the country first in the categories of innovative capacity and labor market efficiency and lauding its business sector for its close collaboration with its universities. Its national institutions are among the world’s most effective and transparent. Though a small nation, Switzerland boasts a midsized economy. Internationally, it ranks 20th in gross domestic product, ninth in export statistics and fifth in export of services. Most importantly, it is one of the world’s wealthiest countries. 

Even in terms of the biggest economic policy challenges we face today – national debt and unemployment – Switzerland comes out on top. While once-stable countries teeter on the brink of insolvency, Switzerland has managed to reduce its national debt drastically over the past 10 years, from 55 percent to roughly 35 percent, measured against its gross domestic product. What’s more, the unemployment rate, at its highest point since the formation of the European Monetary Union in 1999, stagnates in Switzerland around the three percent mark. 

What are the reasons for this success? What does Switzerland know that no one else does? I see seven ways in which the country excels. 

1 – Small Size

Switzerland does not adhere to the economies of scale that other countries swear by. Quite the contrary: Its smallness makes it more successful relative to the size of its bigger neighbors. 

It is no accident that the first thinker after Aristotle to develop a theory about the ideal size for a political economy was Swiss, Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 – 1778). “In every body politic there is a maximum strength which it cannot exceed and which it only loses by increasing in size,” Rousseau wrote. Every extension of the social tie means its relaxation; and, generally speaking, a small state is stronger in proportion than a large one. He maintained that this is particularly true when the state is especially heterogeneous, such as Switzerland. 

Rousseau underpinned his statements with the reasoning that long distances make administration more difficult. Each level of government costs more the higher you go and the highest of all costs the most. Last of all comes the supreme administration, which eclipses all the rest. Not only is the government less vigorous and swift in ensuring the observance of laws, preventing nuisances, correcting abuses, and guarding against seditious undertakings, the same laws cannot suit so many diverse provinces with different customs, situated in the most various climates. 

2 – Genuine Democracy Read More