The media always loves a fiasco, so for them the ongoing Commonwealth Games story is a gift that will just keep right on giving.
But they’re always better laughing at a fiasco than they are analysing their causes. And Stephen Franks reckons it’s “embarrassing to be a New Zealander, watching our media search for New Zealanders to include in the blame for India's shame.”
The usual media line on relationships with peoples who have been colonised deplores any hint of 'judgment' or being patronising. Officials who fail to "understand" the excuses for failure (including the cultural 'necessity' for bribery and nepotism) are held to be nasty relics of imperial arrogance. Yet what can be more arrogant than blaming sports officials for failing to supervise as for children, the performance of a government in one of the world's most powerful countries, a nuclear armed nation with a prickly pride and some of the world's leading businesses.
Of course in reality we know that India has been hobbling itself for generations with socialist governments …
What makes India's democracy so venal and its love of red tape such a drag on its hard working and intelligent business people? To what extent should businesses share the blame? Or does the blame rest with the Indian intelligentsia, which (like here) perpetuates hostility to the values that create wealth, through dead minds in the commanding heights of education … ? Is it simply that there is a tipping point of Chris Trotters and Matt McCartens and Finlay McDonalds, which no amount of business competence can outweigh?
Good questions all, and better than any I’ve seen asked so far about the Games fiasco. Are India’s Hank Reardens more encumbered by Bertram Scudders than ours? (Hard to believe, surely.) Or, with our own world sporting showcase now just months away, is it a case of there but for the sake of karma* go us?
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* Karma might be one answer, suggests Bernard Darnton: “3000 years of being soaked in the idea that you don't control your own destiny could lead to an ingrained cultural learned helplessness. But is it too cute to tag hundreds of millions of people with one word?”