Viewpoint: Should the Ease of Doing Business Really Be Our Top Priority?
By Pramod K. Nayar
One reads with ‘trembling pleasure’ (a phrase used by Ralph Waldo Emerson to describe his emotions when welcoming the new poet on the American scene, Walt Whitman) that in the World Bank’s index of “ease of doing business”, India has moved up by 14 ranks, becoming the top ranked South Asian country and third in BRICS.
To be counted and classified in these indexes is something of a spectacular achievement, in the domain of the market, industry and high finance. Being indexed and placed within standards designed to evaluate and adjudicate is an important part of our lives, as individuals and as a nation. They indicate a set of standards adopted by organisations and countries.
A standard is a set of “agreed-upon rules for the production of (textual or material) objects”. They “embody goals of practice and production that are never perfectly realised”, write Geoffrey Bowker and Susan Leigh Star in Sorting Things Out: Classification and Its Consequences. The important thing is, “every successful standard imposes a classification system, at the very least between good and bad ways of organising actions or things we speak of classifications as objects for cooperation across social worlds, or as boundary objects”.
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