Wednesday, November 07, 2012

We Are Transforming from a Market Economy to a Market Society, Says New Book

What we have been writing on this blog and talking about till we have been told to shut up. Yes, now we have proof that slowly the world is becoming a market society where everything is for sale. (So, maybe, a newspaper that we know that sells editorial space need not worry, but that’s a worrying thought.)


This was said by not a less worthy personage than Anne T. and Robert M. Bass professor of Government at Harvard University Michael J. Sandel. His book What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets is out. What he says in an interview in DNA to Vivek Kaul is that today we have migrated from being a society governed by market economy to a market society. Money has the power to buy and sell services such as direct check-ins for first class passengers, queue-less entry into amusement parks, and preferred waiting lounges for a certain category of people. In India we call it influence but in the West it is a kind of industry in itself. So if you want to be at a hearing of the Congress at Washington DC you can get a “queue standing company” to send a person who will camp overnight at the relevant place so that you can get in when the door opens.


Rather nice, no?


You might dismiss it as “we know it, it happens in India.” Now that’s a reaction from a man in the street. But the ethical implications of this transition are rather grievous. Today money can buy everything and one can buy ones way into power, and, also, more money. To purist it might seems like the ultimate Armageddon. Yes, it is. In India we put a price on everything even relationships are based on what monetary value it can bring in the long run. So, is the selling of editorial space as alluded above wrong? It seems Indian newspapers these days are surviving on that source of revenue, while all over the world news establishments are closing down.


Alas, this process isn’t reversible. So more and more people are being pushed down into the category of the poor dependents of the rich ones. This is particularly noticeable in the corporate sector. We have seen managers and directors enjoying vacations, foreign jaunts while poor sloggers (like us) work all day to complete their jobs. And the very prospect of giving a day off on Saturdays sends them into a tizzy. Actually it’s so very unfair, but what can we do about it? Today our youngsters know this fact and that’s what’s giving rise to most crimes.


So the mantra is “Get into the big league and stay there by hook or by crook.” So be prepared to deal with crooks.

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