| by Gajalakshmi Paramasivam
( October 4, 2013, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) Recently an academic specializing in Political Policy was highly critical of Management of Projects funded by World Organizations. The academic was obviously an outsider to Project based management. Most senior academics tend to have difficulties with Project based management as do Politicians. I guess this also contributed to the difficulties I experienced at the University of New South Wales in implementing Democratic Financial Management systems.
Most in senior management would be familiar with the difference between Program and Projects. Program is a combination of Policy and Outcomes such as votes at the bottom which is the project of One. When the Policy component is stronger than the Project component the system is still better suited to be managed by top-down Program based structures than bottom-up Project based management. The former is subjective vertical management and the latter is objective lateral management.
Anyone who is part of Policy Management in a democratic nation, needs to be able to work for her/himself rather than ‘show’ and ‘tell’. Often those in Policy tend to take projects as competition because in democracy projects take priority over policy. When production of own outcomes through democracy is not facilitated it often leads to reverse program and hence rebellion as happened in Sri Lanka, in Sinhalese areas first followed by Tamil areas. Majority (Sinhalese) with democratic power to elect government would tend to practice reverse program more quickly than Minority (Tamils) due to their failure to develop discriminative thinking through common policies and decide on rights and wrongs through the Administrative system. Tamils who also fail to invest in discriminative thinking at the higher levels – would tend to separate themselves and follow the majority and practice reverse programs. The more money they have, the more they ‘show’ outcomes and claim that they are democratic because they ‘won’. Recently, a Sinhalese academic stated that the Sri Lankan Government could have easily crushed the LTTE. As a Sri Lankan, I could not identify with this. Every person of Sri Lankan, Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim or Burgher faith, who uses the principles common to both sides is a Sri Lankan. Such a person would see no wins nor losses. To the extent Tamils (including the LTTE members) were killed outside the principles common to the LTTE and the Government – the Government acted beyond its mandate. To the extent LTTE used reverse program instead of discriminative thinking using principles common to them and their opposition - the Sri Lankan soldiers – they acted inhumanely. Tamils who have as a community invested strongly in Public Administration and in Higher Education, would reject such parts of the community one way or the other.
Often when we copy the policies of ‘foreigners’ towards status at the wider level, we end up with heavy baggage and separate ourselves from the human worker. That’s how those in policy area end up developing their parallels at the bottom due to such hoarding.
Reverse program reduces the height of our system because those who have not invested intellectually in ‘policy’ would tend to present their own thinking as policy and hence the localization. In democracy this is facilitated through the voting system at the local level. There are no rights and wrongs but just common identity through the identically structured vote. This obviously limits discriminative thinking and therefore the ability to function as higher humans.
As I said recently to a Diaspora member, the three levels at which we classify through the Hindu system is – Animal, Human and Divine. The brain of a person who takes more benefits than s/he works for functions at animal level. One who lives close to break-even level is human. One who pays more costs than the benefits s/he receives and accepts the excess as being natural – is Divine. The costs and benefits here are not those we receive physically but those we register in our brain cells. They are the ones that we live with. Those who are pampered therefore eventually lose their mind and therefore lose control over the body and how to receive the problems and opportunities of the body. The more we are pampered (often by ourselves) the quicker we lose that part of our brain used for discriminative thinking. Truth when surfaced would naturally discriminate Itself into two equal parts. Hence the mind of those who live close to Truth is healthy even when they lose their surface memory.
Those who are pampered would need to remove the excess at least in their brain by paying anyway they can. Hence the system of respecting seniors / elders who ‘give’. When we say thank you, we recognize that they are higher than us and showing that respect goes towards maintaining our sovereignty as a whole (made up of two) at the present moment. If we seek to remain a unit of One – we need to return the excess through the younger generation in a vertical system and through the needy of our generation in a lateral system.
World bodies undertake the latter through the Aid system. Rich folks who received from their previous generation often may not have the continuity of the vertical system in their own environment due to the younger generation breaking away early from the parental groups. Hence they would still feel that they are indebted and hence their lateral sharing through Aid.
The problem arises when the recipient does not feel global and therefore takes it as ‘free’ money – with no strings attached. Corrupt politicians tend to buy over some folks under pretext of Aid and Development Assistance. The dignity of the receiver is upheld only when the receiver has earned it. Genuine need confirms that they have earned it – by being victims of those who were pampered when those at the bottom were starving. In a sovereign system – one would feel s/he is in need of giving when another is in need of receiving – whichever part of the world the needy may be in. When the donor expects returns then the donor is outside this circle of sovereignty. We then need structures that would facilitate production of objectively measurable outcomes so the donors would ‘see’ and enjoy their returns from a distance. When the donee was not in need, the funds get wasted and worse – they often go towards disturbing the local structures and sense of sovereignty that the donee groups have been enjoying. It’s for this reason that I am insistent that we need structures for ‘foreign aid’. Otherwise we lose our own dignity.