Analysis without facts

It would be better if some of the columnists in your esteemed daily were adequately informed and undertook factual analysis before submitting their pieces. The article “Redistribution: An evil” (August 8) begins with the premise that all redistribution is bad, uses misleading metaphors between a famous actor and the author, and ends with an assertion that “wealth

cannot be redistributed in Nepal because there is none”. Suffice it to say, even the most successful capitalist economies have provisions for redistribution in one way or the other.

Growth literature suggests that where high rates of economic growth exist alongside equitable distribution, higher levels of welfare can be achieved. Thus, growth strategies that do not address inequality grow slower and such a growth strategy is often the seed of social conflict. In Nepal, redistribution could pull many people out of poverty and help raise growth potential. However, redistribution depends on the state of production relations, which are highly unequal at present.

Furthermore, declaring that wealth does not exist in Nepal is to admit that five per cent of the population do not live ostentatiously (due to ‘rent-seeking’ and ‘free rider’ behaviour rather than effort) while a majority of the population scrape a living from a vast informal sector to meet their basic needs. The existence of acute horizontal inequality explains the current armed conflict in Nepal to a large extent. Had attempts to redistribute assets and economic opportunities (like land, education and administrative reforms) been sincerely implemented, Nepal would perhaps have been on the path of sustainable economic and social progress. I would like to request the author to kindly read the path breaking works of Nobel laureates like Amartya Sen and Ramon Magsaysay and also of Mahesh Chandra Regmi to gain a better

understanding of the issues and complete the story.

Shyamal Krishna Shrestha, South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment

Ironical

This is in reference to the article “Conflict in Nepal: The end of Shangri-La” published in THT on August 9. I do not quite agree with the statement “the end of Shangri-La,” as Nepal was, is and always will be Shangri-La no matter what. Nepal is a unique country not only because of its natural and cultural beauty but also because it has been the home of great spiritual leaders and peace lovers like Gautam Buddha. We are facing a very ironical situation right now. Powerful countries, while emphasising democracy, are supplying arms to Nepal. How will selling arms to a poor country like Nepal bring democracy? Or is this just another opportunity for the rich nations to mint money?

And those countries that have stopped development aid should know that this is going to cost Nepal dearly. I am sure a people-friendly approach would solve the problem and this has to come from our own experts.

Vimal Thapa, via e-mail

Great shot

The photograph of a woman activist of Nepal Women’s Association affiliated to the NC(D) protesting the arrest of her party leaders (THT, August 11) was a great shot. The readers expect THT to come up with more symbolic pictures like this one.

Samjana Singh, via e-mail