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Lars Martin Fosse l.m.fosse at
Tue Dec 3 22:49:31 UTC 1996

Peter Claus wrote:

>"South Asia - and particularly India - for a number of
>reasons (political, economical, military and cultural)
>will be much more important to the global community in
>the years to come than what has been the case so far." 
>While I, and I'm sure everyone on this list share Mr.
>Fosse's hopes that India will have a bright future, my
>mutual fund broker, far less optimistic, advises me not
>to put my money on it.  Yet.

He is not the only one with a similar conservative attitude. Norwegian
business is also mostly bypassing India.
>But, in any case, this was not the "pragmatic service"
>I had in mind. Nor was it Frank Conlon's, I think.  The
>lesson learned by government (Nixon, Reagan ... ) from
>the (irrational, paranoid defense) funding of the 50's
>and 60's was that academics are not the best group to
>fund even if America's interests DO lie in SA.  Clinton
>sent the Secretary of Commerce there with groups of US
>businessmen.  The language most important for these
>pragmatic concerns is C++.

Undoubtedly, at least to begin with. However, no one finds it particularly
strange that a business man or budding diplomate takes a course in French
language and culture. It may come in handy if you want to operate in France...

The problem with academics, seen from a political/buraucratic or business
point of view (I have worked both in bureaucracy and business), is that they
mostly speak a different language, even if they speak the same mother
tongue. People in politics or business want practical solutions, how-to's
and two-day courses. If you put 500 pages of brilliant detailed analysis on
their table, they run for cover. They have no time for that sort of thing.
Part of the new deal we in my opinion need with "practical life" is to
develop a rapport or common understanding - if you like: a common language -
between the theoretical and the practical guys. It takes a little getting
used to on both sides. If we don't succeed, I am quite convinced that
academia will suffer - and in the long term, also practical life.

And by the way: I believe that India has a potentially bright future, but
even if the future should turn out to be dismal, South Asia and India will
continue to be important. A weak and chaotic South Asia has always invited
some kind of invasion or intervention from the outside. An imploding South
Asia would create a whole new set of problems that would demand the
attention of American and European governments. They would still need expertise.

Best regards,

Lars Martin Fosse

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