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Capitalism – The future to come

 

“When kings used to rule, ordinary people were slaves!! Then Democracy happened and everyone was free!! Then Capitalism happened and big businessmen became kings!! Now once again everyone is becoming a slave, albeit without the chains and with right to vote!!”

Having made a statement as big as above, I have cut out a huge task for myself. Not only will I have to prove how big businessmen have become kings but also, ordinary people are becoming slaves. Over-awed by the occasion? Nah! Piece of cake if you ask me!

So let us take it down step by step, before I link the present page to Indian settings (and also to similar upcoming third world markets) and touch on a few sensitive issues that are current in India. So here I go!

ð How have businessmen become kings?

Human history is replete with examples where powerful kings, overpowered by even more powerful lust to subdue and control vast empires, lead many a merciless armies to battles that lead to mass scale killings, destruction, looting and enslavement of innocent ordinary humanity.

Compare it to big Billionaires and Multi-Millionaires who want to own an empire to be envied by their peers, buying off their small time competitors in the market, then their weakened equal competitors, and then when they are the only ones’ left in a particular market, venturing into other avenues and repeating the same gig. The casualties are not only those small businessmen who suffer losses when they are mercilessly maneuvered by marketing tactics, but also all other ordinary people who could have otherwise dreamed of owning a similar small business and making a decent living with no one to boss them around. They cannot compete with big businessmen price for price and hence either cannot set up their businesses in the first place or will be financially destroyed out of it. What choice is left for them other than joining the workforce and work as employees for those they could have competed had it been a fair world?

So technically, big businessmen are the new kings out to conquer every other competitor out of the market even if it means leaving the majority of the population of this world no other option but to work for them. Just like the slaves of kings of the past, slaves who had no choice but to work for kings and courtiers to be given the basic rights of life and food. Today the basic rights are right to vote and not to be sold like cattle by force. Rather people are bought and sold by big business establishments on their own free will as they offer them better incentives to quit one organization and join another.

So have I explained my first statement?

ð How will ordinary people become slaves?

Even though a big chunk about this statement has been explained just above but this statement still merits a bit more of a detail. So let me go through it, or it will remain on my heart till your death!

Have a look around yourself today and see for yourself how many small businesses do you see getting tossed out of market and being replaced by chains of same businesses but owned by a big businessman? Perhaps supermarkets, electronic giants, other warehouses will come to your mind straight away. But, what about coffee kiosks, gas stations, hotels, fast food joints, restaurants, flower shops, juice bars and mechanic garages?

Ok! I realize I’ve just raised many an eyebrow by mentioning the last four in the list above. Restaurants, flower shops, juice bars and mechanic garages are still not owned by big businessmen and are not a part of the chains, at least not yet. I hope you get the zest of it at the end.

Today many people will find nothing untoward or uncommon or wrong about supermarkets, because they were born in a world full of them and they never noticed how slowly and slowly small grocery stores, good shops, electronics shops and delis vanished from the market scene because they never went there. They are used to this society and don’t mind it. There seems nothing wrong with it.

Ok! There is nothing wrong with it! I agree!

And so will your great grand kids agree, there is nothing wrong with chains of juice bars, mechanic shops, flower kiosks, restaurants etc because everything that is still left in market as individual owned is going to be ultimately taken over by some big businessman. What else do you expect? When everything they can buy will have been bought, how will they spread their empire further? Where will they spend all the surplus cash? There will always be someone who would be desperate to own everything of something and this market takeover will continue until everything in the market is owned by a handful of businessmen in every country. What will ordinary people do then?

Yep! You guessed it right! Ordinary people, most likely our great-grand-kids, will have no choice but to work as employees for those businessmen. All that we can own today will only be available to our great-grand-kids as a job opportunity. And the worst part is, they will find it perfectly normal, simply because they would have born in a society where everything is owned by a few people. All they will have is a right to vote thanks to democracy, and offcourse, a choice to be employed by an employer they like. Otherwise they will all be slaves for all practical purposes, living only to work for others so that they can have some money to buy food and PAY RENT.

Yep! You got that last bit correct as well! Our great-grand-kids won’t even have resources to buy their own houses. They will be renting properties owned by big Billionaires and will probably grow old and die as tenants.

But don’t feel sad about them! Because just like all of us, they will find nothing wrong with their society as they would have been born and brought up in such an environment only.

They all will have the right to dream that they own a house and have a big business, and also to hope that maybe if they are born again, if they live a good life, they might be born as rich people who own the world.

So, have I made the second part of my statement clear as well?

Then I think I should explain why this will happen.

ð Why will ordinary people become slaves?

As I’ve mentioned above, there are two reasons. Firstly, ordinary people cannot compete with big businessmen who have a free reign to do whatever they need to promote their interests. Secondly, we ordinary people have been slow poisoned with the changes in a way that we don’t notice what is happening around us. We find it all normal and think there is nothing wrong with our society. Let me shed some more light on these two, with examples.

For the first point let me take a fast food joint. The big fast food chains have many outlets that remain open 24 hours. Because they have many outlets, they need raw material in much bigger bulk than a guy who just owns one small shop. They get their raw materials cheaper than that guy and can hence market their cooked products cheaper. They have many locations and hence are very convenient, while the small guy only has one. Because they make profit from many outlets, they can market themselves on TV, radio and print, while the small guy can only market himself as much. So who do you think will go out of business? Doesn’t matter how tasty the small guy makes his food, without adequate marketing, without cheaper prices, without enough money to keep his joint open 24 hours, the small guy is only there as long as the local community is interested in him. The worst is, there is nothing legally wrong with what the big guy is doing, hence nothing morally wrong as well. But whose chances are we destroying by not supporting the small guy? Will we dare to open our own fast food joint?

And this story is with every other industry. Big businessmen are venturing into previously untouched avenues. Mobile mechanics that you could call and they would come to your house to fix your car, they have already been replaced by private organizations who contact local mechanics and label their vehicles and contracts them. Soon enough, they will provide them the vehicles and hire them as full time employees. Not too long from then, one by one, all the big mechanic shops will be bought by a big businessman as well, converting it into a chain of mechanic repair shops. We have already seen tyre shops and spare part ware houses go that way. How long before mechanics? Same is the story of Coffee bars. How long before juice bars and flower shops?

Now coming to the second point, as I mentioned, since we were born in an already changed world, we didn’t notice anything different and hence don’t believe anything is wrong. But I was born and brought up in India and I know there are two types of people in India; those who do a job and those who own their own small business. There are still small shops in India that sell specialized stuff. There are grocery shops, bakeries, milk diaries, spare part shops, hardware shops etc. The malls have only started to happen in bigger cities now and I will touch this issue in detail below. But let us continue with the current discussion for now.

Just like me, the grand-parents of people living in western societies will remember vividly such small businesses. For us, this current super-market and multi-chain world is not normal. But for those who were born in this new world, it is what they were born into, hence normal.

Things are being changed so slowly that one generation cannot notice the difference, and unfortunately two generations cannot coalesce. This is called slow poisoning. None of us noticed the small delis, fish and chip shops, corner grocery stores and coffee kiosks breathe their last. None of our kids will notice the mechanic shops, flower shops and others go the same way. It will all happen so slowly that no one will notice, hence no one will react. That’s when all that I’ve said above will come true.

ð So do we need another revolution?

One word answer will be an emphatic “NO”!!

We don’t need a revolution, we don’t need to strike work, we don’t need to break a single law, and we don’t need to do anything that harms the interests of our society, leave alone shedding blood or killing anyone.

That is the beauty of Constitutionalism and Democracy!

All the means and methods to fix what is wrong are already available within already established law.

All we need to do is, identify a person amongst us, who is firm on his principles, works for the best interests of ordinary people, is steadfast and loyal but above everything else, is intelligent enough to for-see things, plan for future and be strong enough to take history making decisions.

Once we have identified him, we need to make a political party, choose eligible candidates, send them to our parliaments by voting for them and then they can make relevant laws that will protect and promote our interests. If the need be, they will take necessary steps to amend our constitutions the way they are supposed to be amended legally.

Where does the question of a revolution even arise?

I am not asking anyone to break laws, to fast, to harass government and cause financial losses to our own countries by going on strikes and halting works. All I am asking is to “Rise and lighten to enlighten others”.

I have already created “Always Shine Australia Party” and have explained a better model of society than both Capitalism and Socialism, in the form of “Equalism”. You can read about it in detail at the following link:

Always Shine Australia Party (ASAP)

I have even tried to awaken people of Australia by standing in the middle of the Adelaide City in Rundle Mall, bearing charts on my body, telling people about “Always Shine Australia Party” and requesting them to join it and TAKE CONTROL of it but perhaps people thought either of the two things.

a)    Perhaps my message got covered in the dark colour of my skin and people thought, “Bloody Indian, who is he to tell us what is right or wrong about our society?” My message and its’ importance was never understood.

b)   Or perhaps those who understood didn’t trust me and thought I am doing this to get public support for my personal battle. Well, it is true that Public support will help me in my personal battle too. But then what is wrong with it? I am only seeking justice and love!

Anyway, you all know what needs to be done. So let me get down to India specific points.

ð What is happening in India?

Now there are two things that concern India under the present discussion. First is the privatization that has been going on like western societies and second is the future implications of globalization.

Now there has been a lot of hue and cry against privatization in India but once again Government has out-witted the people to protect the interests of the big businessmen. People need jobs and there are too many people in India. So Government sugar coated privatization in the form of contracting jobs to Government departments. A lot of business was transferred to private organizations regarding such employment opportunities. Indians know all its’ history as it is fairly recent, not even a decade old. But how does it affect India?

In the same way as it has affected the western society. The politicians who run the Government in India might have been paid kick-backs by businessmen so that the Government privatizes Government sector undertakings so that the same businessmen can make many times more money but the truth is, India is only going to suffer because of this as a country. Privatization robs the Government off its’ own sources of income. The privatized organizations still need same manpower to do the job and same expenses to run, so the expenses remain the same but the income generated by those organizations loose a big chunk as the Government pays the businessmen for running that organization. Businessmen are not social workers who are running those organizations for free for the Government. They get paid for it, which is a new expense out of Government kitty. Moreover, the whole world knows businessmen dupe Government in taxes by showing losses and what not. No proof is need for that. That cuts down Government’s income further.

But why does the Government need income? Well, how do you think the Government runs the country, pays administration, do repairs and development? It needs money for all these and many other activities, including calamity relief. So what happens in that case?

The taxes go up. Right now people in western countries pay huge amount of taxes, soon enough Indians will be in the same boat, thanks to privatization.

Now let me talk a bit about future implications.

Why does the whole world talk about India as an emerging market? What is the real truth behind it?

India has a huge population is just one half of the truth. It is not just that market that the global businessmen are looking into. The bigger and more sinister aspect is, “There are no big supermarkets, warehouses, malls etc. in most of India.” That is what the big businessmen are looking to tap into. There are big shopping malls and supermarkets in many Indian cities now but not everywhere.

Does the Indian population realize what this means?

It means that just like western countries, small shopkeepers in Indian markets will be soon wiped out of the markets as well. And like any western country, all the Indians will be left with only one choice, to work as employees of big business houses. The dreams of owning own businesses will be a distant reality. All that I have mentioned above will happen in India as well.

Now that off my chest, it’s time to come to the final aspect of this write up, again India specific.

ð Does India need a Lokpal Bill? Or rather, will a Lokpal solve India’s corruption problem?

Now that is two questions that I am tackling at once. But then I wouldn’t have messed with it if I didn’t know what I am talking about. So let us get on with this one too.

What is Lokpal Bill?

Lokpal Bill is a statute that will create an administrative authority named Lokpal and embody it with statutory powers to check corruption and punish guilty.

So, was it needed?

India already has a “Right to Information Act” which anyone can use provided they have time to pursue a matter, hire a lawyer and other associated legalities. But that is not all!

There are anti-corruption and anti-bribery laws and there is a department authorized and empowered to enact them, Vigilance Bureau. All this is meant to do what Lokpal Bill will be doing through Lokpal. CBI takes care of corruption in Politics including at the highest levels.

So why a new bill and will it solve the problem?

One word answer is, “NO”!!

Don’t get mad and let me explain.

Politicians are not corrupt. They are dacoits. Calling them corrupt is like calling a murderer a thief.

But the corruption problem of India is much bigger than the politicians. Let me explain.

Ordinary people of India are not directly affected by politicians selling Indian interests while buying Bofors Guns, Coffins for dead Kargil Martyrs, or over-selling tenders. These are the corruption issues that affect India’s long term interests, like the examples of privatization and shop-keepers that I mentioned above. The corruption that affects ordinary people is grass-root corruption.

A municipality employee goes to a bank to get a loan and the bank manager rips him off Rs 300. That person is now Rs 300 short. How will he recover it? He will take a bribe of Rs 500 from the person who comes to his office for work. He takes Rs 500 because five people above him will ask their share. All he will get out of those Rs 500 is Rs 50. So he will have to charge five more people Rs 500 to make up for his own Rs 300. But what has happened now? We started with one man Rs 300 down but now we have six down with Rs 500 each?

Then there are people working in organizations like Police and Traffic Police, people who have legal authority but not enough salaries. They knew before joining their organizations that their salaries will be poor but they will have authority that they can misuse to mint money from ordinary people and get rich.

This is the corruption that affects and irritates ordinary people. How will Lokpal solve it and why can’t anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws along with the Vigilance Bureau do it?

A simple answer, “The people of Vigilance Bureau too know they have power and that they can get rich.” That is, the people empowered by the laws are corrupt.

When the laws and structure is already there, a new law and new authority, that is Lokpal will not cure the problem of corruption in India.

Firstly, one Lokpal is not enough to take care of entire India and secondly, even if we have a Lokpal in every district or city, we will still be employing people who will be as efficient as those employed in Vigilance Bureau, because they all will know they have the power now, and we all know how Indians think. I am an Aussie now but I will always be an Indian as well, so I know.

As far as high level corruption is concerned, what could a strong Election Commissioner like TN Seshan do about electioneering in India? What could IPS Officer Kiran Bedi do about corruption in Delhi Police? Fasting and laws will not stop those who are not scared of them.

A new authority in the name of Lokpal is only going to be an added burden on Government budget as the people who will be employed under Lokpal will have to be paid too, plus the infrastructural costs. So gear up for some new taxes now!

I admire Anna Hazaare for what he did. He showed that an ordinary man can move a nation. I bow to my motherland India whose people showed that they can still unite above all caste and religion divides and support an honest man if they believe in his cause. But an honest man with a cause is not enough to run a country. You need to decipher what has gone wrong, what will happen if the current trends are not altered and then identify, plan and provide the answer as to what needs to be done. Then there are two monsters that I just mentioned above.

The entire India was fed up and frustrated over rising prices, corruption and all sorts of other problems. They were full of frustration against the politicians in general and Government in particular. The present exercise has wasted all that energy and built up anguish. Now everybody can stretch their arms, yawn and relax thinking they have done something for India, while nothing has actually materialized on ground.

As I said in my letter to President Obama (Link), whenever you are faced with a question, “Someone needs to do something” the answer is always “Me”. Answering it “You” means shifting responsibility to someone else and that someone else may never do anything at all, or not enough, or might not even take up the responsibility.

The question I faced today was, “Someone needs to tell the truth to people to make them wake up.”

The answer was “Me”. And I have done what was needed to be done.

I am standing here all alone to start setting the wrongs right, but I cannot do it on my own, alone. I need you.

Choice is yours.

Fatal Urge Carefree Kiss

Amanpreet Singh Rai

 

 

 

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