This blogsite is dedicated to the Youth of India.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Man and Markets

Man in the mass in society is governed predominantly by his vital instincts and interests. This is especially so, when it concerns his material interests and welfare. Markets are arrangements which attempt to arrive at some kind of mutually beneficial exchange of time, energy and effort in terms of the needs and desires of individuals.

Since the market focuses on the vital interest of individuals, it works on the basis of incentives and disincentives. This provides a spur to work and effort, and is conducive to rousing and harnessing a form of rajasic or vitally dynamic energy which counters the natural inertia of the physical being of man.

However, as with all vital energies which are released in action, an excess is destabilizing. The excess of vital egoism manifests itself in unbounded greed. As Michael Douglas declares in the film Wall Street, “Greed is America, and greed is good.” This causes many undesired or unintended consequences in society- wide disparities in income distribution, poverty, monopolies, concentration of economic and political power, exploitation and so on…

The organization of vital and material energies takes place in markets through a system of property rights, voluntary exchange and monetary transactions. All or any of these may be used rightly or abused by the mind of man whether acting individually or as aggregates of community, class or country.

The attempt to solve the problem of economic inequality which is bred and sustained by markets, has resulted in experiments which go to the other extreme. The communists in erstwhile Soviet Russia did away with property rights, voluntary exchange and money. Such attempts to govern the vital instincts of man by the half-light of reason are bound to fail. They end up in a morass of stifling rules, regulations and rigid dogmas which ruins the vital health of individuals and nations and can produce its own excesses. It often results in taking away the freedom of man and replacing it by the rule of the committee or the collective.

Nor does this method solve the economic and material problem. The result of over-regulation is a lapse into collective inertia or tamas, as the vital being of man recoils in discouragement and despair, unwilling to work under the mandate of the secret service geek or the party clone. The regime of a regulated collective life perishes under it own weight.

Attempts to combine both methods, like the democratic socialism experiment of India also come a cropper. They succeed in inheriting the worst of both systems. The result is mass poverty and inequality with inertia and inefficiency.

Presently, the Indian economy needs to rid itself of the stifling rule of the inept bureaucrat and party goon, to experience a phase of vital freedom in order to come out of its centuries long inertia before it can find its own centre of reference in its soul and arrive at a better solution to the economic problem which besieges it.


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