What do we mean by governance? Governance means boring things. Things such as -
Providing utilities to the masses:
- Water supply and distribution
- Electric supply and distribution
- Garbage collection and disposal
- Air travel
- Internal security (police)
- External security (army)
- Health care
This list is by no means complete. If you are so inclined, it helps to create your own list to grasp the scope of your government.
Again there are many more aspects to this. Also there are differences in how different governments approach each of these. Some use private sector, some use public sector (government organizations). Typically it is some combination of the two.
Now for each sector you need competent people. A lot of them. You may not need the Isaac Newtons of the world but you need a huge number of engineers, doctors, researchers, accountants, police, lawyers, teachers, and so on.
It is these people who maintain and develop the civic services. Science education creates a pipeline of people for this purpose. I like to think of this as a factory spinning out goods. The educational institutions producing capable engineers, science graduates, accountants at regular intervals and the infrastructure machine uses these people to grow, sustain and enhance our infrastructure.
The graduates coming out of the education system are the life blood of the civic systems. By extension they are also the life blood of the nation and the future of our civic society.
The civic workers are the unsung heroes of our modern age. These are nameless. Without them we do not have working society.
We live in an interdependent reality and need all these people to contribute (either directly or indirectly) for the cause of keeping the civilization running.
That brings us to the second point which I want to make. That is: infrastructure is the wealth of a nation. It is created by productive people.
In India you can be ultra rich by US standards, can have a multiple BMWs in your garage. However when you take them out on the road you will only curse all the people and infra around you. In this case, you are wealthy but the county is not. So beyond a certain extent your personal wealth has restricted utility.
Henry Ford once said that -
“US doesn’t have good roads because it’s rich but rich because it has good roads”.
Infrastructure is the seed on which every thing else grows. Be it your technology competence, great businesses, defense and a host of other things. So without a steady and increasing supply of professionals, it is impossible to maintain (and create) systems to serve the increasing population. In essence, infrastructure is the wealth of the nation. I wonder why this wealth is not measured.
Now with enough background context, lets discuss the news from Turkey.
We are discussing the aftermath of the failed Turkey coup. You may have doubts about if there was ever a legitimate coup or not. But lets stick to the aftermath as we are talking about infrastructure.
After the coup, Erdogan has begun dismantling universities, private schools, hospitals, government agencies, parts of the army. This is happening at an unprecedented scale in modern history without war. The only comparison available is with Pakistan in the 1980s.
Turkey’s Islamists are the main supporters of Erdogan. With the firing of teachers and professors, the education system will become more Islamic. Science education will be undermined. That is the price Erdogan will have to pay.
So as we saw in Pakistan in the 1980s, the number of competent engineers and science graduates and political thinkers in Turkey will decline in the coming years. The infra will suffer and more intellectuals will leave the country. What is happening in Turkey is like carpet bombing the lifeblood of the nation’s future.
Now we can see how the country develops in the next 5 years. If you map the number of science, medicine, and engineering graduates over next 15 years, you should see a downward trend unless there are unexpected changes that we do not foresee at this point.
We observe a similar situation in Pakistan in the 1980s. By early 1980, Pakistan was developing in lock step with India. It had good education institutes and there was a decent up tick in the nation’s graduates and womens’ education. Zia Ul Hak then began using Islamists for the covert war against India. With America providing money and weapons for war in Afghanistan, the country started going in a downward spiral.
Today the enrollment in religious schools is way higher. The science colleges are routinely attacked and they are not on the up tick. There is no overt intellectual challenge to the Ideology and more young people are driven to religion than to science.
Understandably the country’s infra has begun to suffer. There is no thought of nation building. Pakistan is not too much more stable or better off today than it was when it first became independent in 1947.