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Re: [Re: [Re: "The menace of globalization" ... for the Poor?]]



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My contention is that present day globalization presents such a unique
scenario that had never existed anytime before in human economic hostory. And
we cannot go past present day problems by the same level of thinking that
created these situations in the first place. 

Consider this small piece of economic philosophy. Economics is fundamentally a
system of exchange of "value" where "value" is anything that meets demands --
be it products or services. Earlier, in the barter system "value" was
exchanged directly; however the problem with such a system is well known.
"Value" takes on so many different forms that it is difficult to search for
someone who would meet my demands and also is willing to take my products or
services. So, a notion called money came into existence. 

Now the economic system is as follows: 
Add value (meet existing demands) --> Earn Wealth --> Take value (have your
demands met) 

Hence "wealth" is a representation for "value." In the above diagram, one can
see that all monetary "games" like lotteries, insurance, banking, investment,
... all are concerned only with the "wealth" node. 

Suppose the entire diagram of the above existed within a single economic
system like a country. The point of leverage (the "powerpoint") here is hence
"wealth." And there is a rush towards wealth generation. One can safely assume
that the greater the rush that is towards wealth generation, the greater
existing demands of the system that are met. Hence a rush towards wealth
generation *automatically* creates a rush towards unearthing demands of the
system. This is a first-order free system. 

However, consider the case when it is possible to earn orders of magnitude
more "wealth" by meeting demands of *another* system than by meeting local
demands. Now the rush towards "wealth generation" takes on an entirely new
meaning. Greater wealth does not correspond to greater added value to the
system -- resulting only in inflation of prices. This is a second-order free
system -- most developing economies of today. 

In a theoretical sense, the only way to set this skew right is to somehow make
unearthing local demands to be at least as lucrative as seeking out outside
demands. The question is simply, how?? 

I have been thinking along various different directions. But the skew is so
massive, it is not possible by any one entity to set it right. It can be
observed that many concerns like even erosion of local languages, can be
attributed to economic skew. Economics molds the social-psyche and even
cultural preferences. For example, youngsters of today are fed a different
cultural staple from Hindi movies, than they did in the yesteryears. Movies of
today are much more "NRIish" throwing metaphors that are so alien to the
Indian culture. Slowly, these metaphors diffuse into the mindset and form a
part of the culture. But why this new metaphors -- because that is where the
"wealth" is! 

But well, that was just a simple example -- and cultural "invasion" may not be
all that harmful. They might be more helpful, if anything. But the point is,
economic skews form a large part of many of the strange things that we see in
India today. I can even take the case of education and research. With my small
experience in computer science research, what I was able to discern was a
general mentality that considered "current computer science research" to be
whatever that is happening in Palo Alto,, MIT, Stanford or such places. If
they were interested in mining data from supermarket transactions, well that
was what we're gonna do out here in India -- never mind if no one has even
seen a supermarket. The response that I get to this is "well, if there are not
any supermarkets, they will come soon." And that is what I call "solutions
being imposed" in response to failure driven progress. 

When I say that demands get stifled in this melee, the response is that "show
me which are the demands that are stifled." But then the problem is that "we
don't know what we don't know." Because there is no demand driven dynamics,
demands are not getting unearthed proactively, and we simply don't know what
we are missing. How come first world economies always have so many demands --
so many specialized conferences and workshops all through the year? Why is it
that we don't have such demands. Well, the point it, there is too many many
such demands right here in India, but nobody wants to seek them out, cause it
does not earn "wealth." 

If anything, this makes a real big interdisciplinary research problem to
address... 

Srinath 


Padmanabha Rao K V <kvprao@igidr.ac.in> wrote:
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Please help make the Manifesto better, or accept it, and propagate it!
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Couldn't agree more.  We have to find the means to REALISE it. 

The problem, I think, is really about the range of the perspective; it's
too short in a 'capital-driven' free system, and fairly long in the first
order free system.  And probably, the origins for this, as always, is
socio-psychological, or ultimately politico-economic. The greater problem
today is to actually allow political-economy its run...

/rao



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