25 January 2014

On the present disorder in the nation

  1. Three facts about the present state of the nation:
    1. The economy is in crisis.
    2. Our political leadership is powerful, but clueless.
    3. Our educated class has failed us
  2. On the economic crisis:
    1. A depreciating rupee, a widening fiscal deficit, a serious current account deficit - all these are only technical indicators of an economic system which itself is false.
    2. The actual crisis is that the economic system we have adopted is flawed at the core. It stands isolated without sharing the concerns and goals of the social system and ecological system; indeed, we can say that the present economic theory shows no understanding of human beings and human communities.
    3. Real life is lived with people, real life is lived with nature, so social harmony and ecological harmony are natural goals for a human community. It is a reality that living involves livelihood. The action of livelihood is not outside society and nature, it is within this field. 
    4. The aggressive action of modern economics is directly related to the development of modern technology. Today's economic energy is drunk on the power of science and technology - it has gone out of control and separated itself from society and ecology. Indeed, it is a fact now that economic growth and development is claimed even when social structures like villages, community and family are being fractured, and even when ecological systems of soil and forests and rivers are being destroyed. We, therefore, say that such a growth and development is false.
    5. A crucial false factor in the present economic system is that it considers money as both means and ends. We have to question both. Money as means has deeply invaded modern man's thinking and this delusion is acted out every day in politics; be it unemployment or pollution, or rehabilitation, or illiteracy, or epidemic, or migration, or terrorism, every problem is met with a budgetary allocation, this is the problem of money as means. Further, all actions in modern society have to justify that there is 'return on investment'; and dangerously, any activity that can show that it can make money finds justification - this is problem of money as ends. 
    6. With money as the only mantra, strange things are said to happen in modern economics. A self-sufficient man is said to contribute almost nothing to this economy. If he starts producing less, mortgages his land, takes a loan, and buys what he needs from others, then the economy is said to be thriving. As his dependence increases, the GDP increases. If he falls ill, produces nothing, and defaults on his loan repayment, the GDP rises even further because someone gets to sell more goods, the bank gets to earn more from penalty and higher interest, and the doctor and pharmaceutical company get some earning from his illness. It is strange economics, indeed, when higher sale of medicines, which indicates growing sickness in society, actually adds to 'economic growth'.
    7. Such a false basis for development creates a huge delusion; it has created a system of false values. Consider this. A person with five acres of land (2,20,000 square feet) and a dozen cows and two dozen sheep, who is an actual producer, who is largely self-sufficient, who is a preserver of land, water, animals and environment, and who is socially related to family and community - such a man or woman, in the present system, is still poorer economically, and inferior socially, to a person living in one fortieth of one acre (1000 square feet), whose house may be mortgaged, whose household runs through EMIs, who produces nothing, who consumes like a parasite, who is socially unrelated to his neighbours, and to fulfil whose needs an infrastructure has to be maintained which pollutes and destroys the environment. You might say this is unreal, and that would be correct. The false is unreal.
    8. This inhuman system is not proper, it is not natural, and therefore it has a tremendous affect on the psyche of the modern man. He faces contradictions at every turn, he is uncomfortable with all the exploitation and injustice; he, however, likes the comfort and convenience which the system brings him, and having few answers, he lives in the peculiar discomfort of hypocrisy.
    9. While studying the above, we have to answer as to what then is right means and what is right ends of economic action? What is right livelihood which keeps economic action in sync with social and ecological harmony? 
    10. Also, is economic action separate from education, is it separate from the spiritual action of understanding self, environment, living and reality? Or do the two move together? This important question also exists.
  3. On the powerful, but clueless, political leadership:
    1. The political leadership is clueless because it is geting nothing out of the educated class, and because it has lost all connection with ethics.
    2. In its lame-duck state, it is blindly imitating the US-style of politics, becoming an extension of business corporations. The entire government has reduced itself to being a 'facilitator' of business interest, and begging for 'foreign investment'. Being clueless, it is even being dictated to and bullied into writing new policies. The common man, or rather, one point two billion common people, are affected deeply by this destructive policy that the government is thrusting upon the nation.
    3. Despite being clueless, the political leadership is nevertheless powerful in India's heavily centralised political system. When one is powerful, but clueless, the result is recklessness. So our government is signing questionable international agreements, amending and creating laws, making and changing policy – all of which is going to further enslave the people at large, and provide profits to private national and international corporations.
    4. At the same time, by ignoring character and conduct, which would have grounded them in ethics, the political leadership and indeed the entire poltical cadre is into shameless money-making. Corruption is not a wound here and there, it is a cancer flowing through the political veins of the nation (as indeed the world). More than 250 Members of Parliament have declared that their assets have increased by two to fifty crore rupees in the last ten years. The same trend is seen for all state assemly members, city corporators as well as zilla parishad members. 
    5. In such an ethical vacuum, the political class does not ask about right and wrong. It has blindly accepted the modern economic and governance mechanism and is merely thrusting it upon the nation; a constant attraction being personal profit which is built into this system.
    6. Poltical work, which used to be seen as seva even till the seventies and eighties, has, without any debate or deliberation, been quietly transformed and accepted as a 'career'. One must question this.
  4. On the failure of the educated class:
    1. The educated class is invisible. I would like to believe that there are many wise men in this nation, but where are they? When a majority of citizens are beginning to reject the entire political and bureaucratic class, where is the educated class to which we can look up to for guidance?
    2. The educated class is incompetent. Is this why they are invisible - because they do not have original answers? Look at the media: most who write or speak as experts are parroting the same narrow viewpoint. The common man in Delhi has understood that be it Congress, BJP or any political party, they are all the same – and he has voted for change with this feeling. But strangely, there are no answers from the educated class on the fundamental alternatives on issues of society, economy and polity.
    3. The educated class is not educated. Is this why they are incompetent - the reality being that what we considered as education is actually not so, that the 'educated' intellectuals have got nothing of substance? There is definite evidence of this in the form of a total absence of any Indian solution to any Indian problem – the educated economist follows the American economist, the educated historian follows the western historian, and the educated agriculturist follows Monsanto.
    4. The educated class is caught in the trappings of modern comfort. Is this why they are invisible, why their silence looks like incompetence? By comfort we are referring to the comfort of job, salary, the physical facilities, the conveniences of cronyism. Is this the reason that the elite in our educated class are reluctant to speak up, because they are soft, lazy, insecure, relying on easy perks?
    5. About our political leadership not getting anything out of the educated class, what better evidence than that for the post of the top-most economic/financial/monetory policy position, viz., the Governor of RBI, the Indian political leadership could not find one educated Indian from a billion. They selected instead a second-hand desi, but a first rate loyal American, a World Bank-IMF reformist who is now out to 'reform' us. But what is more surprising is that the educated class said not a word of protest, indeed they all applauded in loyal devotion, drooling as they do with all imported goods.
    6. The spiritual class, earlier also known as religious leaders, for a long time played the role of the educated, ethical, guiding opinion in society. They have been sidelined in modern India, while at the same time, a new, modern educated, spiritual class is seen to be active through our alternate schools and other institutions, but who do not have the confidence of the common man. Strangely, these two groups are separate, despite their common quest for spiritual understanding. An examination of education and modern society has to examine this fact, too, and how come it has come to this pass. 
  5. Three facts about the limitation of present action:
    1. The political leadership sees the economic crisis. But it is unaware that it itself is clueless, and it is unaware that the educated class is a failure. So it is merely tinkering within the boundary of economic disorder.
    2. The educated class sees the economic crisis, and it also sees the incapacity in our political leadership. But they do not see that they themselves have failed, they do not accept the fact that their education has failed them, and so their suggestions fall within the boundary of political disorder.
    3. The economic crisis indicates absence of justice. The political mis-governance indicates absence of ethics. The failure of the educated class indicates absence of human character. Together, the three indicate a state of disorder, of disharmony.
  6. While seeing all this, can one also see the alternative?