|The Early Days of a Better Nation|
Friday, June 25, 2004
Free-Market Think-Tanks Out-sourced
Callers to the Intellect Foundation, the Caesar Institute and other libertarian think-tanks will from today be surprised to hear a pause, a click, and an answer in a flawless but distinctly Indian-accented English. The free-market foundations' entire staffs have been sacked and replaced by eager graduates in the Bombay-based Kali Call-Centre, dedicated to the Hindu goddess of creative destruction.
'If you really want passionate denunciation of an over-regulated economy, and paens to the glory of the free market, there's no better place to come than India,' explains its owner, self-styled 'intellectual entrepreneur' Saresh Ramakrishnan (19), as he proudly oversees a small back room full of two hundred fast-talking, keyboard-tapping, headset-wearing men, women, hijras and children. 'Here we know what strangling red tape and mass poverty are really like. As for religious interference in politics and private morals, we're up against the world's worst serial offenders outside of Iran. We can undercut American ideologues any day. We're English-literate, hip, and nobody can accuse us of being a bunch of fat white men.'
Jonathan Wilde, eminence grise of the Deforestation Alliance, England's 'premier free-market and anti-environmentalist think-tank', gloomily agrees but is holding out against the tide. 'Here in Britain we have libertarians who will work for nothing,' he says. 'I know, to our American friends it seems incredible, if not immoral, but that's the way it is. And it gives us a chance to hang in there until the Indians are in turn undercut by the Fr - the Fr ... the frigging Chinese.'