Posts filed under ‘BoP’
In other words, the secret ingredient for the taste is the street – the pollution, the filth, the dirt, the particulates, the gutter, the parasites, the flies, the stagnation, the germs, the stench, the putridicity et al. – don’t let the ‘Kung-Fu Panda’ motto of no secret ingredient in secret noodle soups and blank dragon scrolls fool you with its epiphany.
[add – 20141029] The full sketch on CWorks – http://bit.ly/1ymQU1r
You have been told nicely and have been warned. Full story here at CWorks.
Finally, someone did some true work and dissected the phenomenon of the so-called “Arab Spring”. Here is Hernando de Soto Polar (President of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy at Lima in Peru, and author of ‘The Mystery of Capital’) op-ed piece in Deccan Chronicle today by arrangement with the Spectator – The real truth behind the Arab Spring | Deccan Chronicle
Effectively, it boils down to just one thing – the uprising is not for democracy nor liberty nor rights but the fundamental human need to make a decent living without interference of corruption – something that even the developed world with its free-slinging yeehaw free-market and capitalism guns in their holsters and tanks cannot deliver to people without old-money and influence.
I suppose sad sods collectively called humanity could not care less about the type of government or religion or police or any other entity that affects their daily life as long as they can simply go about making a living without getting too much hassled along the way. If a dictator or puppet-president can ensure this, people will welcomingly tolerate it but even when a democratically elected government with fair voting (if there is indeed such a thing) does not deliver on this basic amenity, people will revolt. As simple as clean water – scratch that, clean water apparently is hard to get for billions of people. As simple as clean air – scratch that, clean air apparently is hard to get for billions of people. As simple as clean earth – scratch that… you get the drift. Just about anything is complicated if it is not handed down.
Now it leaves the small question why people in other parts of developing world like India, Bangladesh, Pakistan etc. where they have it much worse than Arabia do not revolt. Elementary my dear websons, these are not people but sheeple who have given up all hope and merely exist and survive. Sorry to digress.
This is inspired from many a movie where the hero can endure any punishment meted out by villains while pouting testesterone charged dialogues for the masses and particularly, a skit/scene in the ‘Monty Python Flying Circus’ film, “Life of Brian” where Brian gets arrested and is put in a dark battered cell with a pain immunized hedonistic-for-torture prisoner singing praises of the Romans. Here is a transcript of the dialogue converted into a monologue for your reading pleasure –
You lucky, lucky bastard! Probably the little jailies’ pet, aren’t we? You must have slipt him a few shekels, eh? Oh, ohoh, what wouldn’t I give to be spat at in the face? I sometimes hang awake at night, dreaming of being spat at in the face. Manacles! Ohuuhoh… what idea of reaving; is to be allowed to put in manacles, just for a few hours. They must think a sun shines out your arse, sonny! You’ve had a hard time!? I’ve been here five years, they only hung me the right way up yesterday! So don’t you come ’round… They must think you’re lord God Almighty. Oh, you’ll probably get away with crucifixion. Yeah. First offense. Best thing the Romans ever did for us. Oh, yeah. If we didn’t have crucifixion, this country’d be in a right bloody mess. Nail ’em up I say! Nail some sense into ’em! Hah! Ptui! [Spit] Oh! Look at that! Bloody favouritism! Now take my case. They hang me up here five years ago. Every night they take me down for twenty minutes, then they hang me up again. Which I guard as very fair, in view of what I’ve done. And if nothing else, it has taught me to respect the Romans, and it has taught me that you’ll never get anywhere in this life, unless you are prepared to do a fair day’s work for a fair day’s… Oh haha! Nice one, centurion! Like it. Terrific race, Romans! Terrific.
Yep! Terrific politicans, businessmen and police we have too. Truly blessed.
Though there is a lot of suffering, there are also a large number of people and institutes and corporates doing their best to alleviate it. Goodness is not in short supply. Buddha said this in his sermon on charity, “Hard it is to understand: by giving away our food, we get more strength; by bestowing clothing on others, we gain more beauty; by donating abodes of purity and truth, we gain greate treasures; give till it hurts.” Most other religions and prophets have preached the same. In a country such as India where more than half of the population lives on less than 20-rupees daily (or 50c, hey, it is far less than international yardstick of poverty at 2$/day, interesting), it is the responsibility of the privileged fellow citizens to change the skewed balance between the haves and have-nots. Basic needs like food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, education, water, electricity that several of us take for granted are even today a struggle for several. Fortunately, the conscience of the common man is awake and alive. So are corporate hearts and dedication of NGOs.
Sounds too much of an advertisment but well, thank goodness that there is some good still left although I opine that poor are poor because they are suggestable and keep electing criminals time after time after time who are responsible for this mess which is a serious problem than is acknowledged. Maybe they deserve to suffer.
Food prices kept their upward trend hitting the common man hard. Food inflation rose to 15.58% for the second week of November with potato prices rising by 111% As compared to last year the prices of pulses were up by 35.60%, wheat by 12.53%, cereals by 13.04% and rice by 11.89%. Also prices of vegetables moved up by 11.96%, onions by 27.33%, fruits by 10.97% and milk by 11.36%. On a weekly basis, products which saw a rise in their prices are urad and poultry chicken (15% each), eggs (8%), moong (6%), arhar (5%), fruits and vegetables (3%) and milk and wheat (1% each). However, the prices of barley (2%) declined. The increase in food prices is due to shortages caused partly by a weak monsoon and partly by floods in some parts of the country. Said Mr Trehan and Mrs Mathur respectively –
In a country where even a simple vegetable like potato has become so expensive, how can one expect to have three meals a day. Survival has become really tough. How frugal can one become?
One has to think twice even for grocery shopping. Everything has become out of reach. Be it milk, vegetables or pulses. And worst, public transport has also gone so expensive. How can we honestly manage?
Inflation for all commodities more than doubled to 1.34% for the month of October from 0.50% in September due to costlier minerals and fuels, as per data released earlier. The finance minister, Pranab Mukherjee, said on Thursday that government is very deeply concerned about rising prices and will take all fiscal and monetary measures to contain it. Arjun Sengupta in his “Fair Food Deal for All” in DC on 30-November-2009 comments that it is high time that the government initiates a universal public distribution system (PDS) covering at least the essential commodities because the bulk of the population, about 70%, remains poor with their dire struggle for minimal livelihood –
About 350-million people remain below poverty line (BPL). The prices of essential commodities have been rising at an unprecedented rate. Not only foodgrains but vegetables like onions and potatoes are becoming costlier day by day. These affect all Indians but for the poor they are devastating as all their meagre incomes get exhausted, not meeting even a portion of the necessities. Prices of these products are no doubt largely due to shortfall in production but there are clear signs of market cornering, hoarding and price fixing. It is, however, very difficult to control speculatory tendencies by physical measures because the players are too many in the country and not just big traders and producers, even the common rehriwalla is hoarding. Unless those expectations are dampened they cannot bring down the speculation. The only way to do that is to increase supplies, if not through temporary production increase measures, then through additional imports.
To mitigate this problem, the universal PDS would be the first important step beginning with the BPL population by supplying them with the essential commodities at cheap and affordable prices. If PDS is targeted to a limited BPL population it may also be possible to increase their supplies through market purchase of these products and sell them at subsidised prices. This would push up the open market prices somewhat further. But targeted PDS can be sustained if the government is willing to subsidise the difference between market price and issue price of commodities. Hopefully increased prices, supported by planned increase in production incentives, will raise output in a short period reducing the supplies bottleneck. But in the immediate future, the government has to be ready to bear the cost of maintaining the PDS. However, the most important requirement is organisation of the system. That cannot be achieved by market incentives or subsidies. The government has to build up a huge and efficient structure of distribution throughout the country. It has to procure, purchase or import products and reach them to different destinations of the PDS. This can be done only with the help of state governments, first to identify the BPL beneficiaries and then to have fair-price shops supply the products efficiently. National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited (NACMFoI) or similar organisations can be created for vegetable and other such products. They should build up storages and have contract farming both at home and abroad. The time has now come for all kinds of out-of-the-box thinking to meet a serious problem of economic management in the country. Indian development, if it has to follow an inclusive path, must reinvent itself so that the poor develop an equal stake in our growth process.
Well, I agree in moral principle to Dr Sengupta (a Member of Parliament and former Economic Adviser to assassinated-good-riddance Prime Minister Indira Gandhi) but does this universal PDS not sound too communist? Why should the poor be further subsidized when already farmer markets, ration shops and pink/white cards etc. exist? Are not the high prices a result of supply-demand and greed (read, free-market capitalism) and therefore, market-based solutions are needed? Let missionaries, NGOs, social enterprises and fortune-at-BoP marketing gurus deal with solving something tangible like hunger for a change other than human rights, empowerment or whatever cause. Oh wait, they tried. And failed. And chickened out.