What About Welfare in Mumbai?

Okay. The fact is that there is very little welfare in Mumbai, where Lady Marjorie and I recently landed for a tour of western India, and for good reason. You don’t want to encourage the poor to move to the city and join the 20 million already living and working in this teeming metropolis, not unless they can get a job. Welfare in India tends to be directed at the farmers to keep them down on the farm and away from Gay Mumbee.

So, as our high-status Muslim guide tells us, the poor in the shanty towns in Indian cities all work. And since wages are pretty low, it’s okay to have a security guy standing at the entrance to every store, and several bus boys in a restaurant that don’t seem to have too much to do.

And then there are the street traders, or “hawkers.” There are plenty of sidewalk barrows selling everything from smartphone protectors to fruit juice. And every business street has small 5’ x 5’ stores selling everything from water and soda drinks to snacks. There is, in other words, a whole universe of micro businesses in Mumbai, and every other big city in India.

But where do the poor live? They live in shanty towns on government-owned land in houses they have built themselves or, very often, built and rented out. There’s a huge shanty town next to the Mumbai airport, not a hundred yards from big jets taking off at full throttle.

So what happens if the government wants to use the squatters’ land for something? Here in Ahmedabad in Gujarat, population 8 million and one of the fastest growing cities in India -- betcha never heard of it -- the government decided to convert the shanty slums along the banks of the broad Sabarmati river into a park. So they built apartments for the shanty residents ten miles out of town, cleared out the slum, and built a park right along the river.

But what about the homeless? Good question. They are there: in the hustle and bustle by the side of the street in Indian cities in between all the motorbikes and tuk-tuks and men sitting down for a chai there are clearly people who spend the night on charpai beds on the street. Some of them are street vendors defending their turf, and some are mothers with a kid or two. The difference, I suspect, is that homelessness is not an Issue, and that in India the activist community has not confronted us with a home/homeless binary. Indians obtain the best homes they can, from the street to a shanty, to semi-slums, to apartments, and all the way up to the Villa Sarabhai of the filthy rich Sarabhai family in the old city of Ahmedabad.

But, I wondered, how does a country boy get started in Mumbai, or Ahmedabad, or any other terrifying Indian megacity? Here’s how. Some country boy gets to Mumbai, finds some sort of a job, and pretty soon he is sending money home to his family in his village. Then, after about eight to ten months, he goes home for a rest. When he returns to Mumbai he takes three or four of his buddies, who fancy a taste of that city money and figure to take advantage of their friend’s experience and contacts in the big city.

Yet here in the U.S., we learn, up to 63 percent of immigrants rely on welfare.  How come the rough and tough migrants to the city in India can do without it?

First of all, I’d guess that there is a huge subculture of informal and semi-informal off-the-books work in an Indian city, where country boys can learn to hustle. But then that is true for illegal immigrants in the U.S. too.

But think of the ruling class interests for a moment. In India, I’ll bet, the availability of welfare in the cities would not work out well for the ruling class, for I can imagine the Mumbais and the Ahmedabads would get completely clogged by freeloaders and develop a proto-revolutionary underclass if they started attracting folks interested in living in the city on welfare. But here in the U.S., I suspect, the ruling class thinks the current welfare recipients are all good regime supporters and doesn’t yet imagine that the illegals could pose a threat to their regime. Our rulers and their willing accomplices in media and education and their billionaire-funded AntiFa thugs think that they are so smart that there isn’t a chance that anyone would challenge their divine right to rule.

Although they might want to ask the impeccable Louis Emmanuel Macron about that.

The thing about ruling classes is that they never see the revolution coming. That’s because even the most benign ruler usually has no idea that millions are experiencing his benign rule as brutal injustice.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also get his American Manifesto and his Road to the Middle Class.

Okay. The fact is that there is very little welfare in Mumbai, where Lady Marjorie and I recently landed for a tour of western India, and for good reason. You don’t want to encourage the poor to move to the city and join the 20 million already living and working in this teeming metropolis, not unless they can get a job. Welfare in India tends to be directed at the farmers to keep them down on the farm and away from Gay Mumbee.

So, as our high-status Muslim guide tells us, the poor in the shanty towns in Indian cities all work. And since wages are pretty low, it’s okay to have a security guy standing at the entrance to every store, and several bus boys in a restaurant that don’t seem to have too much to do.

And then there are the street traders, or “hawkers.” There are plenty of sidewalk barrows selling everything from smartphone protectors to fruit juice. And every business street has small 5’ x 5’ stores selling everything from water and soda drinks to snacks. There is, in other words, a whole universe of micro businesses in Mumbai, and every other big city in India.

But where do the poor live? They live in shanty towns on government-owned land in houses they have built themselves or, very often, built and rented out. There’s a huge shanty town next to the Mumbai airport, not a hundred yards from big jets taking off at full throttle.

So what happens if the government wants to use the squatters’ land for something? Here in Ahmedabad in Gujarat, population 8 million and one of the fastest growing cities in India -- betcha never heard of it -- the government decided to convert the shanty slums along the banks of the broad Sabarmati river into a park. So they built apartments for the shanty residents ten miles out of town, cleared out the slum, and built a park right along the river.

But what about the homeless? Good question. They are there: in the hustle and bustle by the side of the street in Indian cities in between all the motorbikes and tuk-tuks and men sitting down for a chai there are clearly people who spend the night on charpai beds on the street. Some of them are street vendors defending their turf, and some are mothers with a kid or two. The difference, I suspect, is that homelessness is not an Issue, and that in India the activist community has not confronted us with a home/homeless binary. Indians obtain the best homes they can, from the street to a shanty, to semi-slums, to apartments, and all the way up to the Villa Sarabhai of the filthy rich Sarabhai family in the old city of Ahmedabad.

But, I wondered, how does a country boy get started in Mumbai, or Ahmedabad, or any other terrifying Indian megacity? Here’s how. Some country boy gets to Mumbai, finds some sort of a job, and pretty soon he is sending money home to his family in his village. Then, after about eight to ten months, he goes home for a rest. When he returns to Mumbai he takes three or four of his buddies, who fancy a taste of that city money and figure to take advantage of their friend’s experience and contacts in the big city.

Yet here in the U.S., we learn, up to 63 percent of immigrants rely on welfare.  How come the rough and tough migrants to the city in India can do without it?

First of all, I’d guess that there is a huge subculture of informal and semi-informal off-the-books work in an Indian city, where country boys can learn to hustle. But then that is true for illegal immigrants in the U.S. too.

But think of the ruling class interests for a moment. In India, I’ll bet, the availability of welfare in the cities would not work out well for the ruling class, for I can imagine the Mumbais and the Ahmedabads would get completely clogged by freeloaders and develop a proto-revolutionary underclass if they started attracting folks interested in living in the city on welfare. But here in the U.S., I suspect, the ruling class thinks the current welfare recipients are all good regime supporters and doesn’t yet imagine that the illegals could pose a threat to their regime. Our rulers and their willing accomplices in media and education and their billionaire-funded AntiFa thugs think that they are so smart that there isn’t a chance that anyone would challenge their divine right to rule.

Although they might want to ask the impeccable Louis Emmanuel Macron about that.

The thing about ruling classes is that they never see the revolution coming. That’s because even the most benign ruler usually has no idea that millions are experiencing his benign rule as brutal injustice.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also get his American Manifesto and his Road to the Middle Class.