Top positive review
including stuff like UIDAI and online payments
9 June 2017
While the power of institutions in society is apparent to any observer, what is often not discussed in detail is how they come to be. Social psychology tends to portray the adoption of cultural patterns as a random process of discovery of successful behaviours (or, rather, of behaviours associated with the phases of felt success), and then their conscious perpetuation. This book goes beyond this generality and gets into the mechanics of perpetuation of certain types of cultural patterns that impact economic well-being more directly, with elaboration of the mechanics at play within specific sub-cultures, especially of the ruling elites. I am left with the feeling that the process has largely been accidental in societies across the world. This is depressing. Living in India and watching how the political and business elites get away with it all, corroborates the precepts in the book thoroughly. Neither of the two camps in our national politics today inspire hope. Leads me to hope instead for transformation through the points of inflection that various forces are bringing upon our society - technological revolutions (digital, in general, including stuff like UIDAI and online payments, and, more powerfully perhaps, blockchain, which is still on the horizon), geopolitics (enforced competition with a China-Pak coalition at a time when there is no more a 'Mamma' called the USSR / USA to run to anymore), and the like. Worth reading slowly, with discursive travels into related texts, especially historical.