LETTERS: Neighbour rivalry

Apropos of the news story “Stop leaving us off the map, says Kiwi PM” (THT, May 5, Page 12), New Zealand has recently been taken off the world map.

Faraway New Zealand seems to have never-ending problems with not one but two neighbours: continental Australia next to her door and a distant island nation of their ancestors, England.

The Kiwis, as New Zealanders are called, are not amused at being left out recently of the world map which the comedian Rhys Darby attributes to conspiracy theory, a making of Australia and England. He suspects that Australia wants to poach their tourists, and England wants to get rid of their champions all blacks and the superior wine industry. Youthful female prime minister, who is just in her early thirties, has joined the online campaign to not ‘wipe’ her country off the map.

Terming it as a light-hearted attempt to get attention to promote the country’s tourism, an online news clip  reads: “Hopefully they (the North Korean) use the same map in the rocket launch command centre,” referring to a large clock at Pyongyang International Airport displaying time in Sydney at a location in New Zealand. Many other countries have problems with their neighbours but the classic one is between Mexico and the US which is working on a wall to stop the former’s impoverished citizens from infiltrating.

Our neighbours, in contrast, seem to be our  well-wishers trying to develop our country through infrastructure development.

Manohar Shrestha, Kathmandu

Welfare state

From May 5, 1818 to May 5, 2018 - yes, Karl Marx is now 200 years old! Can I use the verb “is” instead of “would have been”? Perhaps, I can because Marxism is very much alive and kicking in welfare states! A modern welfare state with mixed economy is now trying to amalgamate capitalist laissez - faire liberty into socialist endeavour to ensure equality. Such amalgamation is necessary to create a level playing field with the help of subsidy and positive discrimination in favour of the needy in order to climb up the ladder of human development index. Archaic capitalism has indeed been discarded by the welfare states. These countries have graduated from police states to welfare states by giving top priority to human development, welfare of the people and happiness.

Even the US cannot deny the contributions of Marxism in its policy of social security like subsidised/ free health care, education and handsome allowance for the unemployed. A welfare state which ensures freedom of an individual and at the same time guarantees his/her social security is a synthesis -- of the thesis of capitalism and antithesis of socialism. As a matter of fact, a truly welfare state is more inclined to a socialist state than a caged police state. It will indeed be a heaven on earth if we can translate the words of Karl Marx -- “each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” -- into action.

Sujit De, Kolkata