Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Probability and behavioral economics

The following aspects of David Humes writings are of interest
A. From an Enquiry in Human Understanding
a) the different species of philosophy-abstract reasoning and clear simple logic.
b)Ideas as less vivid than sensations
c)how ideas can be contradicted not facts which can only be true or false
d)how if one wants to truly wants to understand cause and effect one must understand habit, custom and belief and that this belief of necessary connexion is something which is felt after uniform experience.
Habit, custom and belief leads us to surmise about our feelings regarding chance, cause or probability of an event based on experience.
B. From general references on Hume and Causality
a) There are no innate ideas and all knowledge comes from experience. Hume rigorously applies this standard to causation and necessity.
b) We have a very tenuous grasp on causal efficacy.
c) Despite constant conjuction of events A and B we are left with a very weak notion of necessity.
d) The above leads to the problem of Induction. We cannot go from Evidence of Cause to the Hypothesis effect of necessity or efficacy.
e) Copy principle shows that senses of impressions lead to ideas, which are less vivid and are product of intellect.
f) Causal reasoning is just due to experience, thats all.
g) Causal Reductionism suggests that our only notion of causation is constant conjunction with certitude, the mental determination of the mind according to some is thus not emphasized and considered contrary to Humean emphasis on necessity.
Hume had differentiated between fiction and belief by annexing feeling to belief, and the superiority of chances of any event lead to lead to a higher degree of belief. Frequency definition of probability explains that odds are the ratio of the amount a person feels he should get in return for risking a certain amount in a given situation. Important here is the word feels, for different persons may give different gambling odds based on their subjective evaluation of a given situation.
Repeated observation does not lead to truth, sun rising everyday till now makes no difference to whether it will rise tommorow ( but repeated observation does bring you more accuracy -weak law of large numbers).
Hume says the fact that the sun rises everyday does not mean it will rise today, Bayesian analysis shows just this, confidence about the probability of a single event based on the experience of many.

Philosophers have studied the role of probabilistic notions in the analysis of causal concepts:
1. Causation is not restricted to deterministic process.
2. Causes must in some way make their effects more likely.
3. An event of type B is positively relevant to an event of type A if and only if the conditional probability of an event of type B is greater than the unconditional probability of an event of type A.
4. Wesley, Salmon  suggests not to abandon relating causation to probability but to supplement probabilistic concepts with other ones, in particular with causal processes.
5. Whereas the logical probability of an event of type E, given only that events of type C causally necessitate events of type E, will be higher than the a priori logical probability of an event of type E, but this relation cannot be used as a part of a probabilistic analysis of causation since the relation itself involves that very concept.
6. The most difficult problem involves the dictum that cause effect relations must always involve positive statistical relevance. Dictum cannot be accepted in an unqualified way yet a cause which can  probabilistically bring about a certain effect may atleast raise the probability of that effect vis a vis some other state of affairs.
(Wesley Salmon, In Michael Tooley (ed.),(1980))

Philosophically we consider three kinds of probability-physical, epistemic and subjective. Physical called chances and subjective Credences.
So consider the statement: Smokers have a greater chance of Cancer.(Chances.)
Or the statement: New Evidence makes it unlikely that the butler did it.(Epistemic.)
Or: I think it will probably rain tonight.(Credences.)
Chances are real features of the world, they are whether we conceive or know them, epistemic only measure evidence confirming hypothesis, credences measure our beliefs on propositions, an event or state of affairs like rain may not hold but proposition will, it just may not be true, proposition cannot be contradicted just falsified.
In terms of epistemic probability, chance that the butler did it might be low, what matters is the probability relative to the evidence before the court that the butler was the murderer.
In terms of credences there is an on off view of belief, yes or no, versus degrees of belief or credences, "probably", a coin may be two headed or two tailed, credence of heads is 1/2, chance is 0 or 1, nor is epistemic 1/2 because you have no evidence of type of coin, still credence in heads remains 1/2.Credences and chances are not relative to evidence, but epistemic probability is.
(Mellor D H, 2005)

More generally we consider the following kinds of Philosophical Interpritations of Probability:

Classical Interpritation:

"The theory of chance consists in reducing all the events of the same kind to a certain number of cases equally possible,
that is to say, to such as we may be equally undecided about in regard to their existence, and in determining the number
of cases favorable to the event whose probability is sought. The ratio of this number to that of all the cases possible is the
measure of this probability, which is thus simply a fraction whose numerator is the number of favorable cases and whose
denominator is the number of all the cases possible.
The preceding notion of probability supposes that, in increasing in the same ratio the number of favorable cases and that
of all the cases possible, the probability remains the same." (Laplace,1814).
Laplace goes on to explain the last statement by giving the example showing that 1/3 is the same as 2/6. (To get the real flavour of this example it is necessary to read the original Chapter 2 "Concerning Probabilities" in Laplace, 1814).
The Classical Definition is essentially a consequence of the principle of indifference. The principle of indifference asserts that if there is no known reason for predicating of our subject one rather than another of several alternatives, then relative to such knowledge the assertions of each of these alternatives have an equal probability.(Keynes, 1921). Keynes  states that this rule as it stands leads to paradoxical and even contradictory conclusions. Keynes says in the treatise in Chapter 4 on the principle of indifference that the principle of indifference is not applicable  to a pair of alternatives, if we know that either of them is capable of being further split up into a pair of possible but incompatible alternatives of the same form as the original pair. (Page 61, Keynes, 1921.)

Logical Probability:

Keynes makes the case for "rational degree of belief" or for probability based on a logical assessment of the degree of belief which is rational to entertain in given conditions. (Page 4, Keynes, 1921). Ramsey held that epistemic probabilities simply are degrees of rational belief, rather than being logical relations that merely constrain degrees of rational belief. Ramsey feels that no one estimating a degree of probability simply contemplates the two propositions supposed to be related to it; he always considers inter-alia his own or hypothetical degree of belief. This according to him seems to be the only way of accounting for the fact that we can all give estimates of probability in cases taken from actual life, but are quite unable to do so in cases in which, were probability a logical relation, it would be easiest to discern.(Ramsey, F.P,1931).

Subjective Probability:

Ramsey regards probability as a measure of the degree of belief of an individual in assessing the uncertainty of a given situation. Ramsey takes as his measure of the degree of belief a psychological theory which is unlike the utilitarians for it does not seek to give pleasure a dominating position but seeks to consider anything at all we want, Ramsey then states that in order to be consistent these degrees of belief must follow the laws of probability (Ramsey, F.P,1931).

Frequency Definition- Frequency interpritations date back to Venn (1876), and represent an objective notion of probabilities, heedless of anyone’s beliefs, it is the philosophical position that lies in the background of classical statistical inference. Relative frequencies bear an intimate relationship to probabilities, it refers to the proportion of occurrences of an attribute A within a finite reference class B.(Hajek, 2007) The frequency interpritations involve limiting relative frequencies and must be relativized to a reference class. Richard von Mises, defines probability(1957, page 28-29):  and the
range of applicability of probability theory is delineated thus:
1. It is possible to speak about probabilities only in reference to a properly
defined collective. (R. Mises 1957, p. 28)
2. A collective [appropriate for the application of the theory of probability
must fulfill] . . . two conditions: (i) the relative frequencies of particular
attributes within the collective tend to fixed limits; (ii) these fixed limits
are not affected by any place selection. That is to say, if we calculate the
relative frequency of some attribute not in the original sequence, but in a
partial set, selected according to some fixed rule, then we require that the
relative frequency so calculated should tend to the same limit as it does in
the original set. (pp. 28–29)
3. The fulfillment of the condition (ii) will be described as the Principle of
Randomness or the Principle of the Impossibility of a Gambling System.

Propensity Definition
Propensities, or chances, are not relative frequencies, but purported causes of the observed stable relative frequencies. Frequentists do not define relative frequences for a single event such as a toss of a coin. On the other hand propensists use the law of large numbers to explain behavior of long run frequencies.For Popper (1957), a probability p of an outcome of a certain type is a propensity of a repeatable experiment to produce outcomes of that type with limiting relative frequency p. For instance, when we say that a coin has probability 1/2 of landing heads when tossed, we mean that we have a repeatable experimental set-up — the tossing set-up — that has a propensity to produce a sequence of outcomes in which the limiting relative frequency of heads is 1/2. (Hajek, 2007).

Axiomatic Theory is based on the axioms of Kolmagorov in which probabilities are numerical values that are assigned to events. The numbers are non negative, they have a maximum value of 1 and the probability that one of two mutually exclusive events occurs is the sum of their individual events, these are collectively known as the Kolgomorov probability axioms. Namely,
A1. Non negativity.
A2. Normalisation.
A3. Additivity.
Kolmogorov goes on to give an infinite generalization of A3 known as countable additivity. He also defines the conditional probability of A given B which can be given in the form of an example as:
Probability that the toss of a fair die results in a 6 is 1/6, but the probability that it results in a 6 given that it results in an even number is 1/6/1/2=1/3.

Important consequences of the conditional probability axiom include Bayes Theorem
P(H/E)= [P(H)/P(E)]P(E/H)=P(H)P(E/H)//[P(H)P(E/H)+P(not H)P[E/( not H)].
This theorem provides the basis for Bayesian confirmation theory, which appeals to such probabilities in its account of the evidential support that a piece of evidence E provides a hypothesis H. P(E/H) is called the likelihood (the probability that the hypothesis gives the evidence) and P(H) the prior probability of H( the probability of the hypothesis in the absence of any evidence whatsoever).
Events A and B are said to be independent if the probability of the intersection of A and B is given by probability of A into Probability of B. If P(A) and P(B) are greater than zero, this is equivalent to P(A/B)=P(A) and to P(B/a)=P(B), intuitively, information about the occurrence of one of the events does not alter the probability of the other. Thus, the outcome of a particular coin toss is presumably independent of the result of the next presidential election. Independence plays a central role in probability theory. For example it underpins the various important laws of large numbers, whose content is roughly that certain well-behaved processes are very likely in the long run to yield frequencies that would be expected on the basis of their probabilities. The axiomatic approach is well developed but its interpretation is open to question, leaving any analyst of probability with the task of  enumerating as well as analyzing the other theories not just for the sake of completion but also to throw light on what Probability actually is.

The following two statements mean exactly the same thing:
Large samples are more precise than small samples.
Small samples yield  extreme results more often than large samples do.
—The first statement has a clear ring of truth, but until the second version makes intuitive sense, you have not truly understood the first.
—Large samples are more precise than small samples.Using a sufficiently large sample is the only way to reduce the risk.
—you wish to confirm the hypothesis that the vocabulary of the average six-year-old girl is larger than the vocabulary of an average boy of the same age. The hypothesis is true in the population; Girls and boys vary a great deal, however, and by the luck of the draw you could select a sample in which the difference is inconclusive, or even one in which boys actually score higher.
Small samples yield  extreme results more often than large samples do. Researchers who pick too small a sample leave themselves at the mercy of sampling
A research study showed that more small schools had done well, so the Gates foundation started funding small schools and a causal story can easily be linked to this saying that attention to students is more in small schools, actually larger schools empirically, if anything, do better possibly because of greater curriculum options . And so Unfortunately the causal analysis is wrong, the actual fact is which could have been pointed out had the Gates foundation taken statistics seriously is that more small schools had also done badly. Clearly on average small schools are not better just more variable.
Many decisions are based on beliefs concerning the likelihood of uncertain events.
Occasionally, beliefs concerning uncertain events are expressed in numerical form as odds or subjective probabilities. The subjective assessment of probability involve judgements based on data of limited validity, which are processed according to heuristic rules. However, the reliance on this rule leads to systematic errors. Such biases are also found in the intuitive judgement of probability. Kahneman and Tversky describe  three heuristics that are employed to assess probabilities and to predict values. Biases to which these heuristics lead are enumerated, and the applied and theoretical implications of these observations are discussed. This discussion below is based broadly on writings by Kahneman and Tversky, the following heuristics and the biases they lead to are discussed:

  • Representativeness.
  • Availability.
  • Adjustment and Anchoring.
(i) representativeness, which is usually employed when people are asked to judge the probability that an object or event A belongs to class or process B; (ii) availability of in-stances or scenarios, which is often em-ployed when people are asked to assess the frequency of a class or the plausibility of a particular development; and (iii) adjustment from an anchor, which is usually employed in numerical prediction when a relevant value is available. These heuristics are highly economical and usually effective, but they lead to systematic and predictable errors. A better understanding of these heuristics and of the biases to which they lead could improve judgments and decisions in situations of uncertainty.

1. Beauchamp, Tom L. and Rosenberg, Alexander. Hume and the Problem of Causation, OUP, NY 1981.;
2. David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Clarendon, Oxford, UK, 2000, edited by Tom L Beauchamp;
3.  Hajek, Alan (2007) Interpretations of Probability Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
4. Keynes, John, 1921 , A Treatise on Probability. New York: Dover Publications,(2004). page 3-9, page 41-52.
5. Laplace, P. S., 1814, English edition 1951, A Philosophical Essay on Probabilities, New York: Dover Publications Inc.
6.  Mellor D H, Probability-A Philosophical Introduction,Routledge-Taylor and francis Group, London and New York, 2005.
7. Popper, Karl R., 1957, “The Propensity Interpretation of the Calculus of Probability and the Quantum Theory”, in S. Körner (ed.), The Colston Papers, 9: 65–70.
      8. Ramsey, F.P,1931,"Chapter 7, Truth and Probability" (1926)In Braithwaite, R. B. Foundations of Mathematics and Other Logical Essays. London: Kegan, Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. pp. 156–198.
      9.  Tversky, Amos; Kahneman, Daniel, Psychological Bulletin, Vol 76(2), Aug 1971, 105-110.
     10. Von Mises, Richard (1957) Probability, Statistics and Truth, first Lecture-The Definition of Probability, page 1-29
     11. Wesley Salmon, In Michael Tooley (ed.),Causation (Oxford Readings in Philosophy) Oxford Up. 137-153 (1980).

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Alternatives to arm twisting:how you can have your cake and let me have it too.....

Gujarat Model and Alternatives from within Gujarat Understood through a prism of Development and Institutions
Munish Alagh
A Country which loses sight of its ideological bearings is in much danger of sinking into the abyss of decline and deterioration. National Policy Statements are often not simply statements which express a country’s ruling parties political ideology, but also the Orientation and Thinking of its People. Recent dominant societal and economic trends in India are examples in recent political discourse of such a trend. In India a very clear worrying trend towards socially conservative policy and an economic policy encouraging crony capitalist tendency in the name of the Gujarat Model is rearing its ugly head.
Countries choose different strategies towards economic growth, as any Masters Student of Economic Growth would tell you, Economic Growth can be analysed in terms of the Neo Classical Model (Solow Swan) which explains that increasing capital relative to labour leads to Growth as well as that technological progress can increase the level of this growth, meanwhile an alternative approach based on Human Development which following from Romers Endogenous Growth Theory which allows for increasing returns to technology, further also introduces Human Capital as a variable. Robert Barro and others took this concept of human development further. Human Development is crucial for Economic Growth and a Model of Growth which is based on Crony Capitalismideals basically does not encourage any kind of innovation in ideas and human capital.
The Problem with the Gujarat Model of development is that its flawed at the very start, the Bharatiya Janta Party of Narendra Modi wants to move away from Nehruvian ideals, so that’s fine, but any approach to development which encourages spending of huge sums of unaccounted money on things ranging from a political campaign, to land for favourite businesses and aims to take away land from farmers and make the marginalized “clear out” for the sake of development raises questions which make further more detailed questioning regarding Agricultural Support and non farm employment raised here more relevant.
 India is a large country with economic and institutional policy traditions which are based on and lead to their relevance and future dominance of the world stage, City States like Singapore and Dubai can afford policies based on ignoring nuanced and innovative thought and in its place introducing practical result oriented steps, our country cannot. It’s not that Singapore and Dubai have not been innovative or approached development positively, but my major criticism against the development in these countries is that this development has at the very first instance failed to address very important issues regarding the deep rooted development of their own people: lack of democratic freedoms, discouragement of any kind of dissent, ignorance of the rights of the poor, the working classes and the dispossessed and in the case of Dubai lack of any kind of real intellectual capital and development of its indigenous ethnic population, in this sense Dubai is a classical prototype of Gujarat where too the indigenous population lacks in true indices of development like Education.
In Gujarat ‘might is right’ is the approach followed, do not question power of the elite established class otherwise you will be dispossessed is the war cry and is much more going to be the slogan or the message of the future, let us look at this Model(?) In terms of two interesting approaches and alternatives from within Gujarat. As I have written in my thesis published by Academic, Farmers need their hands strengthened: a large stock of grains needs to be gathered by providing price support and this needs to be bought up by the government and stored efficiently and well, besides this microlending to impoverished farmers, security of land tenure et al needs to be strengthened as opposed to dispossession of farmers as indulged by Modi. The Kheda and Bardoli Satyagraha in Gujarat itself were examples in which Gandhiji struggled for the rights of farmers as opposed to riding roughshod over their rights and privileges which were being threatened by the British. Another danger is the crony capitalism of the likes of Adanis and Ambanis in the Modi Model. As opposed to this is the model underlined by me in my project of “Retail Franchising in a Minority Community in villages of North and Central Gujarat”  a research project I have undertaken with ICSSR support. The project underlines the case of Nadim Jafri a young Muslim entrepreneur who has undertaken project which aims to build up microentrepreneurial franchisees from young village farmers of the Chilea community of Shia Muslims in the villages (Nadims brother is the sect head of the Chilea Muslims.) Thus these young farmers develop in the villages itself upscaling their facilities while remaining in the comfortable location and building up a franchising enterprise with their own investment of between 15 to 35 lakhs. This is indeed an alternative paradigm which needs to be studied.

Finally, I will say that all over the world: in Canada, in France, in the United States, the idea of freedom and plurality is being challenged with simply one approach and that is: “My way or the Highway”. The biggest example of such arm twisting is in Gujarat, this needs to be challenged and we must build up strong alternatives both by private initiative and by groups of commited and motivated young men and women who are motivated for the cause of a more humane, inclusive approach.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

My Dear Ruhi,

My Dear Ruhi,
As someone who considers himself a Cultural Muslim living in Gujarat since 1999, I read your article, with 1) pride at a fellow academics achievement in writing on a subject often ignored 2) dismay at the darkness of your tone.
I have had an experience of working on Minority Entrepreneurship and Development on an ICSSR project conceived by me for Rs 30 Lakhs, every weekend me and my muslim friends Javed Rahmatullah and Ahejaz Chauhan go for an evening out/movie in Ahmedabads multiplexes, one of my best students in my career of teaching and research in the last ten years is Wasim Shaikh, who studied economics seriously with me and is now working in Bombay, my dear friends Salahuddin working for BBC Urdu service and Faiz working as an ivory craftsman in Jma Masjid are my companions when I go to Delhi, Saife Ali Abbas my ex student takes me around in Dubai when I visit him ( in his SUV).
According to me, history is being made in countries like Egypt and Bangladesh which are the battlegrounds for secularism today and there battle has a lot to do with Indian Muslims, when we Indians say WE in Hindi, it means H for Hindus and M for Muslims, I am as much a Muslim as any Hyderabadi or Lucknowi or Jamia nagar practicing Muslim, and for that I don’t have to practice the religion or even adopt its cultural tehzeeb, I am a living, breathing enthusiastic symbol of the pride of HIND, beacause of what I am, feel and think…simply…and no one can take that away from me, every Ruhi in the world is special to me….and you know why? Because I love the name Juhi…and I love the name Ruhi even more…because it is different!!!
More later,


Wednesday, 1 January 2014


Journal of Quantitative Economics, Vol. 1 1 Nos.1&2 (Combined), January-July 2013
Academic Foundation, New Delhi, 2011
Review by
SEBASTIAN MORRIS Professor, lndian lnstitute of Managemenl, Vastrapur, Ahmedabad 380015, Email:
This slim volume as the name suggests raises at a most opportune moment the
important issue of the role of prices in coaxing up aggregate output in agriculture' The general
consensus has been that while prices (variously considered as gross agricultural prices, WPI of
food items, terms of trade of agricultural sector with the rest of the economy, ratio of output to
purchased input prices, etc) have and do influence the output of specific crops and subsectors
within the economy, they do not determine the overall output. Conceptually at least if even a
significant part of the agriculture sector is carried out by profit maximizing entities, and if land
can be left uncultivated or partially cultivated in relation to its potential, there is no a priori reason
for such a position. However the consideration that agriculture houses vast disguised
unemployment being the "residual non capitalist sector' in the sense of Arthur Lewis ( "Economic
Development with Unlimited Supplies of Labor,". Manchester School of Economic and Social
Studies, yol. 22, pp. 139-91 , 1954), and is therefore dominated by peasant farms who maximize
value added minus purchased inputs, and the profit maximizing farms entities have very small
shares, then the absence of overall price responsiveness can be a priori expected. Yet if in
particular areas the there is no little or no disguised unemployment and the market wages are too
nign to support agriculture at the national level prices then lands can be left uncultivated,
especially if very fragmented holdings, and or local chauvinism, prevent the use of cheaper
migrant tabour. Not all scholars who have dwelt on the issue of price responsiveness have been
clear. Alagh makes the argument clear, and in an open economy whence imports through the
demand side can affect output , and with the increasing role of capitalist farms should at this
juncture reopen the question. lt now becomes an empirical issue. Already the observation that in
Goa and Kerala significant amounts of land (earlier cultivated) are allowed to go fallow due to
high cost of cultivation (largely due to relatively "high" market wages), means that the assumption
oiuniversal disguised unemployment would no longer be valid. Thus the book picks up a very
significant issue for lndian agriculture. The hallowed ground of a near universal consensus that it
is public investments, seeds and fertilisers, and irrigation, and not prices that affect aggregate
output can be questioned only cautiously, and the book takes the first significant steps. lt is
notable not only because of the empirical analysis but also because of the discussion and the
arguments that the author puts forth for a reconsideration of the problem. The latter could have
been clearer if the author had not been overly reverent to the past consensus.

To show price responsiveness through multivariate models would result in collinearity
with the associated input use such as fert'iiisers and private irrigation; i.e. even if there is
responsiveness it would be through input use. Hence as a first cut analysis Alagh has studied the
area response to relative prices. He shows that during the period 1981-82 to 2C01-03/03-04' the
area response of the non-food grain sector has been significant to the terms of trade (ToT) of
agriculture as a whole. ln doing so he goes through a number of specifications - linear' log-linear
and log-log models. This is the principal conclus]on of the book. He estimates the same model
but now over a restricted set of data to make forecasts over the last six years or so for which the
TOT information ls available, in the chapter on policy analysis' These forecasts are then
compared to the actual realized area use in non{ood grains, to show that there is agreement in
terms of the upswings and downswings being able to match the data'
prior to these analyses, the carries out a series of Chow-tests to establish that there has
been change in growth raies and in the level of agricultural output from period to period' This
justifies the periodization, so that that the period from 1975-80 onwards up to 2003-04 stands out
as significantly different for a number of crops. while the chow tests are meaningful on levels on other determinant variable to establish structural shifts in causation (i'e' in the
parameters), the Chow tests when used to elicit significant changes in growth rates (the
dependence being on time) would have to be necessarily cast on a log(of output)-linea(on time)
model specification, because the a priori is no shift in the slope (= the growth rate)' With
specification as above and with adjacent periods, the test while conceptually is jointly for change
in the constant(log value) and the slope (growth rate), would in effect be for the latter, given the
adjacent aspect of the period. lt is better to have carried out a dummy variables
specification where significant t-values  in the model would reveal level
shifts and growth rate changes respectively (Gujarathi, Damodar (1998) Basic Econometrics'
McGraw Hill).

Thus the chow tests for the exponential trend coefficient for production are enough with
regard to production or output. For area since there is no a priori expectation of continuously
increasing area the linear model is appropriate. For yield it is debatable what needs to be used'
These are rather marginal considerations that should not take away the value of the analysis
which clearly shows stiuctural change in the growth rates for a number of crops some declining
(eg. coarse cereals), and many others increaiing levels (area) and yields and production' That
growth rates during the latter period have differeJ significantly for a large number of crops and for
food grains as well is firmly established. Chapter 3 as mentioned before shows that the supply
response of non-foodgrains (as measured) by the acreage has been sensitive to prices during the
last period. This ls through a single factor model and justification for the same is in terms of prices
determining other associated variables and area itself. Nevertheless use of an additional factor in
the form of rainfall suggests itself, though it is an empirical issue if the small number of data
points would not limit degrees of freedom. That could possibly give robustness to the impact
of the TOT.
The critique of the literature provides a gentle but nevertheless pointed exposure to the
price responsiveness debate. The study should open the door to further inquiry on this important

“Hearty Eating, Cold Weather and Friendly People”: Perceptions of a Visitor to Canada.

“Hearty Eating, Cold Weather and Friendly People”: Perceptions of a Visitor to Canada.

                                                        Munish Alagh

“Hearty Eating, Cold Weather and Friendly People”: This sums up my overall perception of Canada. But for the uninitiated lets start from the beginning:

Canada is a country in North America consisting of 10 provinces and 3 territories, so says the Wikipedia entry. But in reality when the Canadian Confederation was officially proclaimed on July 1, 1867, it was initially with four provinces- Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.

Ontario is one of the ten provinces of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province by a large margin, accounting for nearly 40%of all Canadians, and is the second largest province in total area. It is home to the nation's capital city, Ottawa, and the nation's most populous city, Toronto.

Quebec is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province that has a predominantly French-speaking population, and the only one to have French as its sole provincial official language.

Quebec independence debates have played a large role in the politics of the province. Parti Québécois governments held referendums onsovereignty in 1980 and 1995; both were voted down by voters, the latter defeated by a very narrow margin. In 2006, the House of Commons of Canada passed a symbolic motion recognizing the "Québécois as a nation within a united Canada."
While the province's substantial natural resources have long been the mainstay of its economy, sectors of the knowledge economy such as aerospace, information and communication technologies, biotechnology and the pharmaceutical industry also play leading roles. These many industries have all contributed to helping Quebec become a very economically influential province within Canada, second only to Ontario in economic output
Nova Scotia ("New Scotland", is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and constitutes one of the four Atlantic Canada provinces. Located almost exactly halfway between the Equator and the North Pole (44º 39' N Latitude), its provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the second-smallest province in Canada, with an area of 55,284 square kilometres (21,300 sq mi), includingCape Breton Island and another 3,800 coastal islands. As of 2011, the population was 921,727, making Nova Scotia the second-most-densely populated province in Canada.The largest ethnic group in Nova Scotia is Scottish.

New Brunswick:  is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the only province in the Canadian federation that is constitutionally bilingual (English–French). It originates as the British Colony by the same name which was divided from the colony of Nova Scotia in 1784. Fredericton is the capital and Saint John is the most populous city. Greater Moncton (Moncton,Dieppe, Riverview) forms the province's largest census metropolitan area. In the 2011 nation wide census, Statistics Canada estimated the provincial population to have been 751,171. The majority of the population is English-speaking, but there is also a large Francophone minority (33%), chiefly of Acadian origin.

North West Territories were formed with a large aboriginal population, here in 1870 the Red River Rebellion by the Metis created the province of Manitoba. British Columbia (united with Vancouver island in 1866 joined the confideration in 1871, while Prince Edward Island joined in 1873.

Manitoba is a Canadian prairieprovince. The province, with an area of 649,950 square kilometres (250,900 sq mi), has a largelycontinental climate, with thousands of lakes and many rivers. Agriculture, mostly concentrated in the fertile southern and western parts of the province, is vital to the province's economy; other major industries are transportation, manufacturing, mining, forestry, energy, and tourism. The word "Manitoba" comes from the native word manitou, meaning spirit. Lake Manitoba was named earlier, north of Portage la Prairie.
Manitoba's capital and largest city, Winnipeg, is Canada's eighth-largest Census Metropolitan Area, and home to 60 percent of the population of the province. Winnipeg is the seat of government, home to the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba and the highest court in the jurisdiction, the Manitoba Court of Appeal. Four of the province's five universities, all four of its professional sports teams, and most of its cultural activities are located in Winnipeg.
The name Manitoba (meaning "strait of the spirit" or "lake of the prairies") is believed to be derived from the Cree, Ojibwe or Assiniboine language.Fur traders first arrived during the late 17th century and Manitoba was the heart of Rupert's Land, owned by the Hudson's Bay Company. Manitoba became a province of Canada in 1870 after theRed River Rebellion. A general strike took place in Winnipeg in 1919, and the province was hit hard by the Great Depression. This led to the creation of what would become the New Democratic Party of Manitoba, one of the province's major political parties and currently in power, led by premier Greg Selinger.
British Columbia also commonly referred to by its initials BC or B.C., is a province located on the West Coast of Canada. British Columbia is also a component of thePacific Northwest, along with the U.S. states ofOregon and Washington.[4][5] The province's name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858, reflecting its origins as the British remainder of the Columbia District of the Hudson's Bay Company. In 1871, it became the sixth province of Canada. Its Latinmotto is Splendor sine occasu ("Splendour without Diminishment").
The capital of British Columbia is Victoria, the 15th largest metropolitan region in Canada, named for the Queen that created the Colony of British Columbia. The largest city is Vancouver, the third-largest metropolitan area in Canada, the largest inWestern Canada, and the second largest in thePacific Northwest. In 2012, British Columbia had an estimated population of 4,622,573 (about two and a half million of whom were in Greater Vancouver).[6] The province is currently governed by the BC Liberal Party, led by Premier Christy Clark, who became leader as a result of the party election on February 26, 2011 and who led her party to an election victory on May 14, 2013.
British Columbia's economy is largely resource-based. It is the endpoint of transcontinental railways and the site of major Pacific ports, which enable international trade. Though less than five percent of its vast 944,735 km2 (364,764 sq mi) land is arable, the province is agriculturally rich (particularly in the Fraser and Okanagan Valleys) because of its mild weather. Its climate encourages outdoor recreation and tourism, though its economic mainstay has long beenresource extraction, principally logging, farming, and mining. Vancouver, the province's largest city and metropolitan area, also serves as the headquarters of many of the Western-based natural resource companies. It also benefits from a strong housing market and a per-capita income well above the national average. While the coast of BC and certain valleys in the south-central part of the province have mild weather, the majority of BC's land mass experiences a cold winter temperate climate similar to the rest of Canada. The Northeast corner of BC has a Subarctic climate with very cold winters.
Prince Edward Island is a Canadianprovince consisting of the island itself, as well asother islands. It is one of the three Maritime provinces and is the smallest province in both land area and population. The island has several informal names: "Garden of the Gulf" referring to the pastoral scenery and lush agricultural lands throughout the province; and "Birthplace of Confederation" or "Cradle of Confederation",[4]referring to the Charlottetown Conference in 1864, although PEI did not join Confederation until 1873, when it became the seventh Canadian province. The backbone of the economy is farming, as it produces 25% of Canada's potatoes. Historically, PEI is one of Canada's older settlements and demographically still reflects older immigration to the country, with Celtic, Anglo Saxon and French last names being overwhelmingly dominant to this day.
According to the 2011 census, the province of Prince Edward Island has 145,855 residents. It is located about 200 km north of Halifax, Nova Scotiaand 600 km east of Quebec City. It consists of the main island and 231 minor islands. Altogether, the entire province has a land area of 5,685.73 km2 (2,195.27 sq mi).
The main island is 5,620 km2 (2,170 sq mi) in size, which is slightly smaller than the U.S. state of Delaware, is the 104th-largest island in the world, and is Canada's 23rd-largest island.
Alberta and Sasketschwan became provinces in 1905.
Alberta  is a province of Canada. With a population of 3,645,257 in 2011,[1] it is Canada's fourth-most populous province and most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces. Alberta and its neighbour, Saskatchewan, were established as provinces on September 1, 1905.
Alberta is located in western Canada, bounded by the provinces of British Columbia to the west and Saskatchewan to the east, the Northwest Territories to the north, and the U.S. state of Montana to the south. Alberta is one of three Canadian provinces and territories to border only a single U.S. state and is also one of only two provinces that are landlocked.
Edmonton, the capital city of Alberta, is located near the geographic centre of the province and is the primary supply and service hub for Canada'scrude oil and also oil sands (Athabasca Oil Sands) and other northern resource industries. Approximately 290 km (180 mi) south of the capital is Calgary, Alberta's largest city. Calgary and Edmonton centre Alberta's two census metropolitan areas, both of which have populations exceeding one million, while the province has 16 census agglomerations. Notable tourist destinations in the province include Banff,Canmore, Drumheller, Jasper and Sylvan Lake.
The current Premier of the province is Alison Redford.
Saskatchewan is a prairie province in Canada, which has a total area of 651,900 square kilometres (251,700 sq mi) and a land area of 592,534 square kilometres (228,800 sq mi), the remainder being water area (covered by lakes/ponds, reservoirs and rivers). Saskatchewan is bordered on the west by the Province of Alberta, on the north by the Northwest Territories, on the east by Manitoba, and on the south by the U.S.states of Montana and North Dakota. As of July 2012, the population of Saskatchewan was estimated at 1,079,958.[6] Residents primarily live in the southern half of the province. Of the total population, 257,300 live in the province's largest city, Saskatoon, while 210,000 live in the provincial capital, Regina. Other major cities include Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, Yorkton, Swift Current andNorth Battleford.[7]
Saskatchewan was first explored by Europeans in 1690 and settled in 1774, having also been inhabited for thousands of years by various indigenous groups. It became a province in 1905, its name derived from the Saskatchewan River. The province's economy is based on agriculture, mining, and energy. Saskatchewan's current premier is Brad Wall and its lieutenant-governor is Vaughn Solomon Schofield.
"In 1992, the federal and provincial governments signed a historic land claim agreement with Saskatchewan First Nations." The First Nations received compensation and were permitted to buy land on the open market for the tribes; they have acquired about 761,000 acres (3079 kilometres squared), now reserve lands. Some First Nations have used their settlement to invest in urban areas, including Saskatoon.

Some Jottings On The Political Economy of Canada
As a politically aware and informed visitor to Canada it is my observation that Canada has many similarities to India, specially regarding its political economy, pluralism and multiculturalism are major features of the Cnadian Governments stated policy, in short, like India, Cnada celebrates diversity.  In the political sphere Pluralism and democracy have been confronted with challenges in India and Canada not least sucessionism and terrorism, but remain important foundations on which the two countries depend.

The Past
We begin with a quote from Sunil Khilnanis “The Idea of India” where he sees in India’s democratic experience evidence of something that James Madison and his Federalist colleagues well understood more than two hundred years ago. “Large republics with diverse and conflicting interests can be a better home for liberty, a safer haven against tyranny, than homogenous and exclusive ones. Within them, factions and differences can check one another, moderating ideological fervour and softening power.” This statement could hold as true of Canada as of India although many could say that the changing cycles of Social equilibria in such culturally multi-hued countries leave nothing to certainty, least of all the certainty of social peace; as has been seen through time with periods of comparative stability and inter-communal amity being punctuated with periods where it seems that Religious Conflict has taken the Driving Seat.

Common features between India and Canada are many but what stands out are the adherence to Secularism in India’s case and Pluralism in Canadas case. In the case ofIndia its emergence as a secular state despite the native religiosity of its people is significant. Indeed India stands apart from its immediate neighbours Bangladesh andPakistan specially in having forsaken an ethnic religion as the basis of its national development. With its large size India presents a natural case as a country which should be given its due in world affairs but our case is that its very much for the features that accompany India’s large size that it should be given importance specifically its adherence by and large to secularism and its independent chartering out of its economic path. Despite ambivalence over its federal structure and a strong centre India continues to have ideologically contrasting parties at the helm in many cases at the centre and the states. Despite prophets of doom warning against disintegration regional parties continue to bloom. It is the democratic structure of India’s nationalist movement which has bequeathed to us an egalitarian structure of governance, in these days of abuse of the nationalist movement and its icons specially in Gujarat (except Sardar Patel) it would serve us well to remember a quote from a popular book on modern Indian history. “A nationalist movement has to be disciplined and organizationally strong and united; yet it cannot afford to be monolithic or authoritarian”2
As Trudeau himself writes in the introduction to the book “Towards a just society” edited jointly with Thomas Axworthy-
The ideas that animated our efforts from 1968 to 1984 are every bit as compelling today as they were during our years of power.
·                     We fought for a Canada where individual rights including linguistic rights, would be accepted across the land.
·                     We fought for a strong federal government capable of initiating programs that would equalize opportunities for Canadians wherever they happened to live.
·                     We fought for an independent Canadian economy and foreign policy so that we would have the ability to create and maintain a distinctive way of life in our part of North America.
·                     We fought for a fairer, more humane Canada, in which the power of government was a necessary instrument in the quest for a more just society.

The period when Trudeau was in the driving seat in Canada saw a lot of conflict, because conflict does arise when a leader who espouses strong humane ideas emerges and drives his point home quite forcefully to the discomfort of elements inimical to Individual freedom. As we see below these ideas which remain a force in Canada today emerged during a period when they were even more forcefully contested then they are today in Canada.

Pierre Elliot Trudeau-The man and his ideas-

Rather than discuss personalities and events it is our aim in this project to discuss ideas, but behind these ideas lie certain events, and in the case of Trudeau these include events like the October Crisis and the Quebec Referendum. The ideas that lie behind these events include Multi-Culturalism, Federalism and Canadian Nationalism.

October Crisis:3 During the October Crisis of 1970, the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) kidnapped British Trade Consul James Cross at his residence on the sixth of October. Five days later, Quebec Labour Minister Pierre Laporte was also kidnapped (and was later murdered, on October 17). Trudeau responded by invoking the War Measures Act, which gave the government sweeping powers of arrest and detention without trial. Although this response is still controversial and was opposed as excessive by parliamentarians like Tommy Douglas and David Lewis, it was met with only limited objections from the public. Trudeau presented a determined public stance during the crisis, answering the question of how far he would go to stop the terrorists with "Just watch me". Five of the FLQ terrorists were flown to Cuba in 1970 as part of a deal in exchange for James Cross' life, although they eventually returned to Canada years later, where they served time in prison.

Trudeau’s credo was to strengthen individual rights over groups. Notwithstanding his approach of individual freedom being paramount, or perhaps, because of it, during the crisis of October 1970 Trudeau while initially making some concessions dealt with terror with a heavy hand. In this he showed that whereas he was all for individual freedom the legitimacy and the authority of the State was to be upheld. As Trudeau explained ‘Freedom and personal security are safeguarded by laws; those laws must be respected in order to be effective.’

He emphasized ‘This government is not acting out of fear. It is acting to prevent fear from is acting to make clear to kidnappers and revolutionaries and assassins that in this country laws are made and changed by the elected representatives of all Canadians-not by a handful of self selected dictators.’

Trudeau it was claimed was acting during this crisis to discredit the PQ, but this is clearly contradicted by his statements and that of his Ministers at this time. Thus Trudeau’s record as a democrat is enhanced not weakened by the events of October 1970.

Defeat of the referendum on Quebec sovereignty4, called by the Parti Québécois government of René Lévesque, which was held on May 20, 1980 was another landmark event in Trudeaus career. In the debates between Trudeau and Lévesque, Canadians were treated to a contest between two highly intelligent, articulate and bilingual politicians who, despite being bitterly opposed, were each committed to the democratic process. Trudeau promised a new constitutional agreement with Quebec should it decide to stay in Canada, and the "No" side (that is, No to sovereignty) ended up receiving nearly 60% of the vote.

Federalism: With regard to federal –provincial relations and constitutional reform too Trudeau’s steps mirrored his credo of individual rights over groups. However his governments overall record was mixed with regard to this ‘bold in approach, but often enfeebled and infirm in withstanding the provinces political demands.’4This credo was however put to test in the crisis of Autumn 1970. Trudeau was definitely not one ‘to put Quebec in its place’ unlike what some commentators noted, instead his efforts was always for cultural and social accommodation following his credo.

Multi Culturalism: On October 8, 1971, the Liberal government of Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau announced in the House of Commons that, after much deliberation, the policies of bilingualism and multiculturalism would be implemented in Canada. When the Canadian constitution was patriated by Prime Minister Trudeau in 1982, one of its constituent documents was the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and section 27 of the Charter stipulates that the rights laid out in the document are to be interpreted in a manner consistent with the spirit of multiculturalism.

Trudeau ‘represented a legitimate strand of Quebec thought or opinion, often overlooked both inside the province and in the rest of Canada.’5 That opinion was of providing the rights of French-Canadian people within Canada. His approach ‘urged French speaking Quebeckers to seek their future in a larger Canada than a narrower Quebec; it stressed safeguards for individual rights rather than the collective responsibilities of a beleaguered French-Canadian people.’6

This was similar to Henri Bourassa who represented a strand of Quebec thought which was unique in Canada in the late nineteenth century another thought or opinion-Indian nationalism was inaugurated in the same time period. This phrase Indian nationalism is somewhat misleading; “Infact a sense of region and nation emerged together through parallel self definitions-and this point is essential to any understanding of the distinctive layered character of Indianness”7

The commonness in Bourassa’s thesis of a federal security to French Canadians and Jinnah’s initial project to protect the interests of  the Muslim minority in provinces is noticeable.

This need for a federal balance in population is reflected in Bourassa’s thinking as well when he claims “we do not have the right to make Canada an exclusively French country any more than the Anglo-Canadians have the right to make it an English country.”

But indeed Bourassa had strong roots, he had a conviction that  the church and the French culture were coexistential. In this respect he was close to Maulana Azad who had deep roots in Islamic tradition and simultaneously in Indian tradition. Bourassa had deep roots in the church and in French Language and culture but even so had an unshakeable belief in Canadian unity.

It is interesting to note that Trudeau moved from supporting Quebecois Nationalism in his early years to being a Canadian Nationalist through most of his political life speciually with regard to the constitutional and federal stand which he took.

Canada largely has followed Social Liberalism during its existence with regard to health care, pensions, federal province expenses etcSocial liberalism is the belief that liberalism should include a social foundation. Social liberalism seeks to balance individual liberty and social justice. Like classical liberalism, it endorses a market economy and the expansion of civil and political rights and liberties, but differs in that it believes the legitimate role of the government includes addressing economic and social issues such as poverty, health care andeducation.[1][2][3] Under social liberalism, the good of the community is viewed as harmonious with the freedom of the individual.
Canada has always attempted for equal partnership between the two founding races, taking into account the contribution made by the other ethnic groups to the cultural enrichment of Canada and the measures that should be taken to safeguard that contribution.
Multiculturalism in Canada is the sense of an equal celebration of racial, religious and cultural backgrounds. Multiculturalism policy was officially adopted by the Canadian government during the 1970s and 1980s.[1] The Canadian federal government has been described as the instigator ofmulticulturalism as an ideology because of its public emphasis on the social importance of immigration.[2] The Canadian Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism is often referred to as the origin of modern political awareness of multiculturalism.[3]
Canadians have used the term "multiculturalism" both descriptively (as a matter of fact) and normatively (as an ideal). In the first sense "multiculturalism" is a description of the many different religious traditions and cultural influences that in their unity and coexistence in Canada make upCanadian culture. The nation consists of people from a multitude of racial, religious and cultural backgrounds and is open to cultural pluralism. Canada has experienced differentwaves of immigration since the nineteenth century, and by the 1980s almost 40 percent of the population were of neitherBritish nor French origins (the two largest groups, and among the oldest).[4] In the past, the relationship between the British and the French has been given a lot of importance inCanada's history. By the early twenty-first century, people from outside British and French heritage composed the majority of the population, with an increasing percentage of individuals who self identify as a "visible minorities".
Multiculturalism is reflected in the law through the Canadian Multiculturalism Act and section 27 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and is administered by the Department of Canadian Heritage. The Broadcasting Act of 1991 asserts the Canadian broadcasting system should reflect the diversity of cultures in the country. Despite the official policies, segments of the Canadian population are critical of the concept(s) of a cultural mosaic and implementation(s) of multiculturalism legislation.[5] Quebec's ideology differs from that of the other provinces in that its official policies focus on interculturalism
Interculturalism refers to support for cross-cultural dialogue and challenging self-segregationtendencies within cultures.[1] Interculturalism involves moving beyond mere passive acceptance of a multicultural fact of multiple cultures effectively existing in a society and instead promotes dialogue and interaction between cultures.[2] Interculturalism has arisen in response to criticisms of existing policies of multiculturalism, such as criticisms that such policies had failed to create inclusion of different cultures within society, but instead have divided society by legitimizing segregated separate communities that have isolated themselves and accentuated their specificity.[3] It is based on the recognition of both differences and similarities between cultures.[4]It has addressed the risk of the creation of absolute relativism within postmodernity and in multiculturalism.[5] Philosopher Martha Nussbaum in her work Cultivating city, describes interculturalism as involving "the recognition of common human needs across cultures and of dissonance and critical dialogue within cultures" and that interculturalists "reject the claim ofidentity politics that only members of a particular group have the ability to understand the perceptive of that group".[6]

Interculturalism has both supporters and opponents amongst people who endorse multiculturalism.[7] Gerald Delanty views interculturalism as capable of incorporating multiculturalism within it.[8] In contrast Nussbaum views interculturalism as distinct from multiculturalism and notes that several humanities professors have preferred interculturalism over multiculturalism because they view multiculturalism as being "associated with relativism and and identity politics"