Monday, December 5, 2016

'Economy' is a fraud, but 'society' is real

Demonetisation reflects government's vacuity and shows that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has no clear understanding of the distinction between what passes off as the ('organised') 'economy' and mind-boggling number and variety of social transactions that are often mislabeled as the 'informal economy'.

This so called 'informal economy' is India's society itself -- 'society, not 'economy' -- and is the 'freest' and most 'competitive' possible, meeting people's myriad needs with value for money that the organised 'economy' can never give.

(One must bear in mind that what 'economists' call 'market' is nothing but 'social exchange', i.e. the set of all those transactions through which the society meets its needs.)

In contrast, what passes off as the organised 'economy' is a manipulated system and an exemplar of a lack of freedom and competition.

The inherent corruption of the so called organised 'economy' is underpinned by laws such as those that put a veil over the functioning of business entities called 'companies'.

Who is more competitive: a roadside food provider who is competing with myriad others in the vicinity and is attracting customers only by virtue of the quality of his fare or the McDonalds that needs prime real estate worth crores, expensive equipment, and yet delivers standardized fare (based mostly on recipes appropriated from the larger society or culture for free) at prices that exclude most people or deliver poor value for money?

So any attempt to push the 'society' to start behaving like the 'economy' is ill advised and misguided. It's the so called 'economy' which ought to start behaving like the 'society', and not the other way around.

Whereas 'society' exhibits great degree of freedom and autonomy (and what 'economists' call competition), the 'economy' needs constant support of the government to keep itself going.

While 'economy' pretends to be providing 'work' and 'employment' to people, it's actually the 'society' which not only makes people useful and capable, without discrimination, but also gives meaning to their lives.

No wonder, all 'economists' admit that it's the 'informal economy' -- their code word for 'society' -- which accounts for most 'workers' in India.

(As far as I am concerned, each member of a society is a 'worker' in their own right.)

India can run -- and run better -- with recession in the 'economy' or even without the so called 'economy'. But India cannot run without its 'society'.

No reason can be good enough for interfering with the functioning of 'society'.

Anything that restricts or interferes with the freedom and autonomy of the 'society' is bad.

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