Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Leftist Corporate

It would be funny if it were not an irony to see people who make their living off comfortable jobs hold leftist views. How does one explain that many of our corporate warriors who earn capitalist salaries hold leftist views? This also includes trusts and NGOs and businesses which are floated with capitalist earnings yet whose owners evangelize a leftist vision.

Do I hear you say, what is wrong with that? Practically everything.

Any corporate job is based on a simple premise. Merit. There is nothing other than merit that gets you there. In a way it reflects the market they serve in. The products and services they sell are not sold or bought for any other reason than the fact that they serve their target market in terms of price or service.

Yes, you will be tempted to jump in saying that companies and product markets are hotbeds of caste and religion and discrimination. Find out how many purchased their last car or washing power or mobile phone or software based on caste or religion. Also find out how many people are retained in companies only due their last names. Quite a few, you may say. Unfortunately, any company that prefers this mode will find itself out distanced by the competitor who follows merit because the marketplace is unforgiving.

Case in point, government enterprises, where political patronage triumphs merit are inevitably behind their private peers. Sure, some exceptions remain but they are mostly in monopolistic areas.

In a nutshell, this is what drives capitalism. Capitalism is all about people and markets. Socialism (and leftism) on the other hand is an enforced order where the government (an all-knowing god) decides what the minions deserve and proceed to serve this fare to them over 5 year plans that inevitably fail.

In an utopia, this will work, but in any society it wont. Because the natural scheme of any society is progress and evolution. Even in religions where equality is claimed, discrimination is rampant. You might as well be open about it and let people progress. And even in socialist countries, there is a vast difference in the quality of life of leaders, important cats paws and the common folks. Ask yourself who is working on making life better? And who should? People or planners? Or both?

And this where it all falls in place. When you lead a life of capitalism - which is all about you having a job or running your own business in a market - it is fairly impossible for you to substantiate leftism - while you quaff mineral water and eat at fancy (or ordinary) restaurants. When you head a trust that makes its money off corporate donations - please do not go out and diss the corporates for the work they do especially at capitalistic cocktail parties and capitalist conferences (airfare paid by capitalists, please note).

Look closely and you will find that the corporate organization is far better organized and set up than your average political party or NGO or trust. The corporates shun nepotism unlike your dynastic political parties. Also, note that the corporate is structured as an 'going concern' whereas the others usually decline or die once their leaders decline.

So, if you are still a leftist, please give up your corporate job, shun corporate and business donations and wear unbranded clothes, go to government hospitals and eat dal chawal (bought from PDS stores, preferably). Beyond that your argument is about as valid as a certain activist who lives in a house built on encroached land while arguing for tribal rights!

(Cross posted at Friends of BJP)


Arunkumar Dhananjayan said...

This article is really thought provoking. Especially to someone, who has a mixture of what you call 'leftist' thinking, some amount of libertarian thinking and a good amount of free market and anarchic views.

You think that I am a hypocrite because, I somehow support free market in some cases and also have 'leftist' views. The 'leftist' view that I am referring here is the view that, rich people should be taxed more so that, we can support the poor.

You use the term 'Capitalism' and 'Capitalistic' but I am not sure if you have really thought through the real meaning of that term.

One common meaning attributed to 'Capitalism' is everybody should be allowed to satisfy their greed in a free market. Eventually everyone will split up the resources according to their ability. It is better for more resources to end up with the people who have shown more ability to corner up resources, because that good for increasing the total utility of the resources.

When you read through the above you will find that you agree with some points and will disagree with some points.

And I think that is the whole point. You cannot really define one true Socia-Politico-Economic system which is a panacea. There are some cases which are addressed by traditional left wing approach. There are some cases that are addressed better by traditional right wing approach.

To add to the confusion, I am sure when we argue about one system being better than the other, not all of us really are on the same page as what is 'better'.

Does better means, GDP or less people below poverty line or less undernourished children or less number of crime or more growth rate (rate at which resources are utlitized) or any of the hundreds of other parameters that you can think of.

So it is really difficult to generalize these things. All you can do is try to be true to your heart.

ecophilo said...

Arun, if I could condense what I am saying in a nutshell is - Practice what you preach. And preach what you practice.

For example, if you believe government should provide education to all, send your children to government schools.And not to private schools.

Since people like us have come up the private route - why close those doors to others and expect the government to do everybodys job - which by the way, no government ever in the history of the universe has ever done?

Sushant Trivedi said...

nobody expects government to do everything. in all free market discussion we focus on "merit" and forget the "level playing field" part. maybe according to you we should hold no thoughts for people who were born in distant villages with no education and hardly enough food and assume that we are rich because we are meritorious and they are poor because they are plain dumb. Nothing to do with our being born in decent money and their being born completely out of it.