To all the MBA and Economics types out there, I have one simple question. For some of us to be wealthy, is it necessary to keep some others poor?
I asked an economists (or rather, an economics major) this question. I don’t quite remember her answer. It was a long time ago, and it was a party. May be I was drunk. I do remember her saying something about an ice cream factory in an isolated island. I guess the answer was that all of us could get richer at the same time. But I wonder now…
Inequality has become a feature of modern economy. May be it was a feature of ancient economies as well, and we probably never had it any better. But modern globalization has made each of us much more complicit in the inequality. Every dollar I put in my savings or retirement account ends up in some huge financial transaction somewhere, at times even adding to the food scarcity. Every time I pump gas or turn on a light, I add a bit to the cruel inequality we see around us.
Somehow, big corporations are emerging as the villains these days. This is strange because all little cogs in the corporate mega machine from stakeholders to customers (you and me) seem blameless decent folks. Perhaps the soulless, faceless entities that corporations are have taken a life of their own and started demanding their pound of flesh in terms of the grim inequalities that they seem to thrive on and we are forced to live with.
At least these were my thoughts when I was watching heartrending scenes of tiny emaciated Congolese children braving batons and stone walls for a paltry helping of high energy biscuits. Sitting in my air-conditioned room, voicing my righteous rage over their tragic plight, I wonder… Am I innocent of their misfortunes? Are you?
One thought on “An Economics Question”
Hallo Manoj, Can two individuals think almost the same way and have also the same favourite themes? Anyway, the articles you wrote on ‘The contraints of perception and cognition’ contained many ideas that I had myself discovered a few years back and had noted down (in Malayalam, as there was a particular friend of mine who eagerly read them preferably in that tongue). And now you touch upon another topic that lies close to my heart. My conviction is that there should be developed the need for a public consent on placing an acceptable and reasonble limit to the amount of wealth any single person or a company can acquire. The rest should be given away for the less advantaged and of course without force. That’s just one way to reduce the wide and ever increasing chasm between the rich and the poor. Regards, Zach Neduncanal.
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