Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Indian aggression

An article in Bloomberg Businessweek - Scaring India to Save it - talks about behavioral psychology and its use at the Mumbai local train stations.
What caught my attention was this:

"They say that many antisocial behaviors in India can be traced to generations of scarcity—of resources and opportunities—and what they call an empathy gap. “We have this idea that whatever little space I get, whatever little opportunity comes my way, I need to make the most of it rather than giving it away, because for the longest time we’ve been used to limited resources,” Prasad says. This fear of scarcity contributes to the inconsiderate driving, line cutting, and pushing and shoving to board trains and buses before they’ve come to a complete stop that characterize any Mumbai commute."

Indians, I believe, tend to be quite aggressive. We become easily agitated in discussions, we like domineering, our answers to most issues tend to revolve around "finding an alternative route" instead of solving the issue.

The paperwork that is required to operate a small business just kills energy - annihilates it. In addition to that there are rounds of backs and forths just to get things done. Why cant I change my electricity provider online? Why is there so little delegation of work? Why do people drive the way they do? What can one do if there as an errant parker on the road? In general, I find it astonishing that people refuse to solve problems - they grow bitter, angrier and eventually fume at not having taken the appropriate steps.

Just yesterday, I was appalled at a decision by a friend to opt for a longer, tedious route compared to a quicker, effective, albeit costlier route. He would not have behaved the same way if the more complex route was the only option. Makes one think of what options really mean... especially when they come gradually instead of abruptly - think of a INR 2 rupee increase in petrol prices each year as opposed to sudden moves.

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