CAPITALISTS IN QUAGMIRE: GANDHIJI’S THEORY OF TRUSTEESHIP MAY GIVE A TEMPORARY REPRIEVE

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Notwithstanding different and rival geographical nationalities, human society has now become ‘global’.

A single factor is responsible for this. And, that is ‘industry’.

Industry has only one aim. That is ‘profit’.

Profit has two types of ‘utilization’.

When private operators – individual or corporate – own Industry, the profit goes to personal coffers for benefit of the private operator. When ‘Society’ owns Industry, profit goes to the State Exchequer for utilization in social welfare. The former phenomenon has its philosophical base in Political Economy of Capitalism and the later in Political Economy of Socialism.

Socialism as a social science has developed in seeking end of uncompensated exploitation of natural and human resources by private profiteers and with its emergence it has ushered in confidence in human beings for continued freedom from oppression.

Oppressive forces have conspired against the new order and their planted agents have sabotaged socialist countries from within in aggressive attempts at extinguishing the latest political light that shows ways for utilization of industrial profit in cause of social welfare instead of getting stored in the black chambers of individual coffers. And to their preening best, they have unilaterally declared that the world is now unipolar!

But what has happened to this unipolar world?

Amusing it is to note that the principal architect and highest leader of the unipolar world, US of America is in quagmire due to excesses of capitalism!

Anne D’Innocenzio, Business Writer of Associated Press gives glimpses of this when on Apr 29, 2008 he informs:

“Struggling with mounting debt and rising prices, faced with the toughest economic times since the early 1990s, Americans are selling prized possessions online and at flea markets at alarming rates.
“To meet higher gas, food and prescription drug bills, they are selling off grandmother’s dishes and their own belongings. Some of the household purging has been extremely painful — families forced to part with heirlooms”.

The position is so precarious that policy-makers representing the Group of Seven free-market democracies after meeting in Washington have pledged “to purge capitalism of the excess that caused the latest crisis in financial markets” and “to finish much of the groundwork within 100 days and the rest by year-end”, reports Brian Love, European Economics Correspondent of Reuters on April 13, 2008.

But, quoting Geithner he says, it is “hard to do, complicated to figure out how to do it well”.

But capitalism cannot be purged of its excesses.

Notwithstanding lexical meanings, it stands for “competition to grab profit”.

In the perception of the profit grabbers, competition ushers in free-market and free-market upkeeps democracy. So to them, democracy is synonymous with free-market.

In a free-market the operators never compete to share the profit with the peoples or to pump in the profit to the public exchequer. Competition takes place only in order to generate more and more profit and to grab the same for personal use by the operators of industries.

For an instance, Mukesh Ambani’s 27-floor skyscraper tipped to be the costliest home in the world now under construction at Malabar Hill of south Mumbai attracts attention.

It is on records before Judiciary that the plot on which the house is being built belongs primarily to an Orphanage over which the Maharashtra State Wakf Board claims to be the custodian.

The state government’s steps to cancel the deed that has helped Ambani occupy the Wakf land was stayed by the Mumbai High Court in October 2007 and now the Supreme Court has rejected a plea against the HC order with observation that the HC is competent to decide the case.

Without any prejudice to judiciary’s role in the matter, it can safely be said that had industrial profit not been grabbed by Mukesh as personal property such a naked exhibition of individual opulence mocking at the wretched existence of majority Indians could not have mattered on the soil of India.

The judiciary can nullify the land transaction deed but cannot intervene in exhibition of opulence howsoever that may mock at the people of India perishing under poverty.

This unrestrainedly displayable opulence is a strong factor of industrial competition facilitated by free-market economy.

This competition therefore is competition amongst industry owners and traders to amass personal wealth by maximizing exploitation of natural and human recourses of the country where they operate.

Thus, when a small number of individuals amass huge volume of wealth, like the top 20 ‘rich Indians’ having amassed wealth equivalent to earning of 30 crore of (middle class) people of India as reported by PTI quoting Reserve Bank of India’s former Governor, Bimal Jalan on Jan 25, 2008, citizens of the citadel of capitalism, USA, as reported by AP, “are selling prized possessions online and at flea markets at alarming rates” to “meet higher gas, food and prescription drug bills”.

It is not known as to what is perceived by leaders of free economy as “excess” of Capitalism that the imperialists want to purge out within 100 days; but this precarious condition to which the people have been pushed into is certainly an outcome of the excesses of capitalism.

And the situation is so very precarious, because any attempt to save people from unbearable cost of living would be resented to by industry owners as thereby the the quantum of profit they fetch may be affected, the policy makers also express fear that the purging would be “hard to do”, even “complicated to figure out how to do”.

What would happen if they fail to do what they want to do?

India has examples to offer.

She had, on her soil, in the past, around six hundred persons who were Kings and Emperors who had been exploiting the people and the soil to their personal advantage and displaying their opulence in form of massive palaces, even in tombs for their spouses like the Taj. They had made bards sing their glories and made poets write scriptures equating them with Vishnu, the celestial Lord.

Where are they now?

They are no more the Lords. No more the moving Vishnus.

People of India under guidance of the Communists, who, in many kingdoms had raised armed revolutions against the kings and emperors, at the summit of freedom movement, dethroned them and threw them into the dustbin of time.

That would happen, for sure, again in respect of owners of Industry all over the world if individual opulence remains its creed than welfare of human society.

Therefore, it can be said that the decision of Group of Seven Capitalist countries at Washington to purge the excess of capitalism is perhaps the last hope for their survival.

The sooner Indian Industry and advocates of free economy understand this phenomenon, the better for them that would be.

Termination of Nepal kingdom under leadership of the Communists is perhaps the last warning to private cofferists to understand the truth that notwithstanding who owns industries, profits are the creation of community and if community is denied to have necessary benefits out of that, whatsoever office stands on the way, the community must throw that away.

If immediate rescue from the quagmire is the aim, for the capitalist seeking their system purged of excesses of capitalism, Gandhiji’s Theory of Trusteeship, if adopted whole-heartedly, may grant them a temporary reprieve.

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