Corruption, business & good conduct
Randeep Wadehra

Decentralisation, Corruption and Social Capital
by Sten Widmalm. Sage.
Pages 229. Rs 495

Decentralisation, Corruption and Social CapitalCorruption, which is rampant in developing countries like India, poses a serious challenge to all developmental activities. It mars governance, stunts growth and obstructs democratic functioning. According to received wisdom centralization encourages corruption; therefore decentralisation can be an effective antidote. Widmalm points out that there is not enough data available to validate or debunk this proposition. In fact there are powerful arguments linking spread of corruption with decentralisation processes. In this respect, the ongoing Panchayati Raj experiment is of particular interest. Would the grassroots-level democratisation and decentralisation eradicate or encourage corruption? What will be its impact on the quality of governance, including economic growth?

This book seeks to examine the factors that may make a crucial difference to the quality of governance in contexts that are democratic but where the institutional and socio-economic environment is quite challenging. For this purpose Kerala and Madhya Pradesh have been chosen for the purpose of collecting and analysing empirical data. And it comes up with findings that do not hold corruption as the only constraint on development. Political apathy and lack of strong and enlightened public opinion are among the other daunting factors. If you are a student of developmental economics or involved in aid-related activities you will find this tome invaluable. Our opinion makers and ruling elite too may find it a rewarding read.

Pave your way to good conduct and happiness
Pave your way to good conduct and happinessby BD Dhawan.
Pages xxii+213. Rs 130

This book contains articles on different aspects of virtuous living. Sanskrit texts, along with their English translations, from various scriptures like Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagwad Gita and Valmiki Ramayan have been used to explain the process of attaining happiness through spiritual and ethical living. For example, in the chapter Character of Sita the author has depicted how she, along with Rama and Lakshman, managed to lead a happy life (before her abduction by Ravan) despite dangers and deprivations. Her joy in discovering local flora and fauna is vividly described by Valmiki. Similarly the chapters Mysticism in the Taittiriya Aranyaka and Ethics in Aitareya and Taittiriya Aranyakas are insightful and thought provoking. Despite the title, this book enriches our thought processes without being didactic.

When the going gets tough
by VG Patel. Tata McGraw-Hill.
Pages: xviii+156. Price not mentioned.

When the going gets toughIn a market-driven liberalised economy it has become far easier to set up business than it was during the good old days of mixed-economy-marinated-in-socialism. At the same time it has become tough for start-up ventures to survive the competition, which comes both from local rivals as well as global business houses. The commercial-industrial environment too is changing thanks to GATT & WTO. Then there are challenges emanating from the fast and continuously evolving technologies, the highly volatile capital market and increased mobility of other factors of production. The beginning stages of a venture are invariably beset with various perils. This book points out that nearly half of all new businesses fail within first four years of inception. Patel has enumerated seven crises that can derail an enterprise, viz., Starting, Cash, Delegation, Leadership, Financial, Prosperity and Management-succession crises. He has also suggested ways and means of avoiding and/or resolving these crises. If you are a management student or a budding tycoon this tome ought to be on your bookshelf.