Friday, August 7, 2015

Inequality was the result of a few deliberately moving away from original state of EQUALITY

(The open letter to Mr.Thomas Piketty is the 3rd blog-post down from here)

Inequality was the result of a few deliberately moving away from original platform of EQUALITY, claiming them as different class !

Better we start with a real example of the phenomenon from the contemporary world, to understand the above allegation. India's capital New Delhi was a cluster of many villages in the past. When the city had become Capital of the country, the so called political and corporate elites, followed by their work-force- the middle class-migrated to the city, with all their typical Western life style,mansions,big-cars,dress-code and language codes.

There was no separate land-mass in the city to accommodate this alien people, so the govt  and private builders had to chose their dwelling and office units close to that of the old-settlers, the old village population.

For these age old settlers, their traditional culture,language,life-style,dress-code and food-habits became suddenly alien in the newly emerged world around them ! The youth in the villages, with their rustic ways,hair-style, dress-code and language found them-selves laughing stock before the City dwellers,especially for the women folk.Night clubs, Pubs and class-hotels refused entry for the village-youth. At their own native land for centuries, suddenly they had become out-fits !

Clashes between the occupants and agents of the two distinctly different worlds are frequent in many parts of Delhi and surrounding new corporate hubs like Gurgaon and Noida today.

The pattern of how inequality originates gets a clue here. A new different world, with different values and norms is thrust upon the old population of the world, for accommodating the industrial advancement, culture and modernity !

Though the old settlers eat,dress and lead their kind of contended lives, they suddenly turn inferior and outsiders in  the new world !

Many of these old settlers got unbelievable prices for their land-stock, but they ended-up spending such large sums of buying expensive cars and mansions, with the intention of becoming one with the new stock people, but they failed, as it was impossible for them to become one with the well groomed, and long-accustomed life-styles, education, values and world-views of the new people.

By this time, there was a gigantic flow of ordinary men and women from every neighboring State to the Capital city, to cater to the need of labor-force in the never ending construction boom for factories and mansions. City sheltered them in temporary sheds built to accommodate them near the large construction sites. Thus, thousands of Slums settlements emerged in the city of Delhi, wherein men,women slept, defecated,cooked,had sex and procreated a new generation of support-force of manual labor, electricians, plumbers,barbers, butchers and street-vendors for the new world. These settlements gradually have got extended to street-pavements and also to the underneaths of the many cemented road-fly-overs in the city, gradually.

These millions of men and women workers ( or laborers)  had also joined the population of 'outsiders' to the new world,like the original village inhabitants that we have touched in the beginning.

Very few of them are deprived of three, or at least two square meals a day. They do every thing the same way that the city-dweller does in the routine of every day life, in every aspect of the biological as well as social life.  Difference perhaps might be that, while the typical city dweller have his daily sexual act in his well decorated,air-conditioned bed-room, while soft music-emanating from sophisticated audio-systems, in a much more softer-bed that the street-dweller or the village-couple could never even imagine of. The villager and the street-dweller might be enjoying the same act with the same degree of ecstasy and contentment, but the act undertaken lying perhaps on a coarse jute-sheet spread on the floor, without music flowing from behind, and no cool air flowing from air-conditioner!

The latter class may not be familiar with the comforts the city-dwellers are accustomed with, so there is no sense of deprivation on this account. A laborer accustomed to living in a tarpaulin-tent for long, might   certainly suffer a sense of discomfort sleeping in an air-conditioned room, or in relishing a western-style break-fast with toast,milk and fruits! Tastes of life are certainly matters of familiarity&routine,and what is being accustomed to.

The warmth or ecstasy of physical-intimacy a migrant-labor might enjoy under the tarpaulin-roof of his temporary tent at the work-site, or on the street-side, under a sheet of cloth, can not be termed as less than that of the model of the city-dweller we have described above.

With regard to food-habits and life-style,while the city-dweller  have his western-style break-fast, lunch and dinner made of the same basic flour that  the villager and street-dweller use to make his hand-made,coerce bread at home, the former might prefer it to be made in a different style, with added ingredients and flavor, thus the name of final product on the table might sound strange to the villager and the laborer. The food that these migrant workers and the villager eat might be akin to their native habit, recipe and style, with raw-chilly,raw-cut-onion etc there as a side-dish, with rough,home-made bread, or plain cooked-rice always there as the main-course.

 The city-dweller might have painstakingly left his native food-habits and style of living, and learned the ways of their peers, in an effort to aid his gaining the new ( up-class ) identity. This is the central theme of this paper. While the net-human biological acts remain essentially the same, man always sought to belong to up-classes by adopting their particular changed styles of the same acts, whether it is dress, food, language or way the inter-relations with others conducted ! An altogether new vocabulary and narrative had-been developed in modern world to denote that kind of a life,pushing the basic life of the base-man into an out-modeled,archaic kind !

A peep into history to find the root of higher-class aspirations 

We must go back to the first beginnings of seeking of the life-style and food-style change in history, to understand the desire of man to acquire an upper-status in society. Whatever primordial factors might have gone into making of the human-institution of the King and Queen, the next-down the class, the Feudal Lords, always sought to imitate the style of the Royal family, to keep their own identity different from that of the ordinary citizens. The industrial revolution saw the rise of the new class of the Corporate-Lords, and their slowly replacing the class of the Feudal-Lords.

The newly emerged corporate sector had caused emergence of multiple layers economic prosperity in the society, with different classes of cars, apparels, foot-wears,different Hotel and air-travel class-differences, different levels of social-contacts etc defining them, and the boarder-lines. The next down-class in the ladder always show a will and desire to up-grade itself to the next level.

Market today offer differently priced luxury life-amenities that specifically cater to each of such economic-class. A shirt made of the same basic kind of yarn, when brought to market by a top-notch brand, the price from its base model would be at times even 10 or 15 times higher! People buy it to belong to a particular class !Modern market not only cater to the basic biological needs of man, but also to his psychological and social-needs !( class distinction needs)

Richard Wilkinson,a renowned social scientist from UK says: "the more we judge each other by social status, the more lower status hurts. The deeper this hurt, this pain of feeling devalued, the more reckless our search for relief. Instances of drug and alcohol abuse proliferate. People die before they should" ( The context was a study seeking cause of many Americans middle-class men between age 45-54 die early)

To summarize, the so called civilizational-progress was a walking away of a few from the base-model or platform, or the base life-style of man, into  artificially conceived categories of comfort and luxury !  When Steam-ship or Rail-road travel was invented, due to the cost-factor of availing these advancements, majority of the population left behind from being their routine users and consumers. Though electricity was invented in 1879, some 130 years ago, there are still large pockets in Asian and African countries where people do not have electricity ! What percentage of world population could so far avail air-travel at least once in life? Though there are no reliable date available, rough estimates at internet sources show it, not more than 6% in one estimate, and of course not more than 25% in another estimate ! Similar statistics on the number of house-holds without air-conditioner or computer would blew-off our myths about EQUALITY in modern world !

The small percentage of world-population who dared to journey away from the mainstream, invented paths of leading life differently, also was able to carry a sizable percentage of others with them in the voyage as support force for leading their very special kind of life. This class was ultimately able to speak about the entire world in FIRST-PERSON, as if they exclusively represent it, the entire world belong to them !

Rest of the world ( the majority) had to live in awe of them, but had to realize and feel that they do not belong to it.  As their old world had ceased to exist as the original, with no separate identity and existence to lead their old lives that they had been leading since beginning, they were forced to continue living with a deep sense of alienation and non-belonging-ness to the new world, and to the new realm of modern life !

There is a real vacuum in modern world;she run blind on her above narrated path of PROGRESS, without showing any sign of stopping somewhere, and check whether everyone is following behind ! It's institutions are morally blind to see the truth of her own walking away as different, and life-style-wise above the common population. Instead, this majority population are being utilized as convenient and practical 'resource' to ensure the pace of advancement and progress of the minority elite who had walked away to create the new,synthetic world. We have convincingly seen above that, there is no base quality difference in the lives people live at both sides of the dividing wall, except one class has declared the WORLD as their own, leaving all others to fend for them-selves !  This minority often tend to institutionalize the existence of the said majority an INEVITABLE price for the PROGRESS of 'THEIR' world.

Unfortunately, this 'progress' pays a great price also these days,affecting the whole mankind.Excessively crowded cities with slums and dirt at her peripherals,industrial and vehicular dust polluting her air,crime and rape ever increasing. There is 'progress', as empty sign of 'success',but life of man a neglected concept. Man and women seek 'success' by hook or crook.Life lost its fundamental character.,eaning and substance in every sense!!

The sense of pleasure and mirth, and that of inequality and alienation factor 

If there is not much quantitative and qualitative difference in the degree of satisfaction and contentment level of the lives of men and women at the two sides of the wall, why there is the great cry of INEQUALITY ?
Rousseau's answer would be the most appropriate to explain this dilemma; " it is because the former ( the one who walked away, claiming their life is superior) PRIZE what they enjoy only in so far as others are destitute of it; they would cease to be happy the moment (others) cease to be wretched" ( 'wretchedness', always as per subjective notions of the rich) ( His long essay, ' On the origin of inequality')

Rousseau had meant that, the mirth and pleasure of the rich is confined to his sense of 'affluence', compared to the new standards his class had intentionally created to STAND-OUT from the crowd ! The sense of 'inequality' that the other model feels is merely about his not belonging to the NEW-WORLD,from where its creators had walked-away from one day, to create their own different world ! These people of the old world often do not understand the exact difference of the life-style of the rich and powerful; in the sense that the new food stuff and life-style they have, or the new dress,foot-wear and dress-style they now have adopted. Those are beyond the grasp of the ordinary class. They can not even relish or enjoy these neo-life style and amenities even if it is offered to them. They will catch cold if they sleep in an air-conditioned room. They will omit if the new food items are fed-to them.

Our ancestors were habitual of walking miles and miles when Buses and roads were not invented and available. When bullock-carts or horse-cart invented, it was affordable by almost all, unlike Air-travel of the day, which is beyond the means of almost 90% of the population.

Inequality is a matter of comparison. Our previous generation, when they walked and walked to reach their destinations, there was no knowledge of any advanced mode of transport. So, they never felt any sense of inequality. When electricity was not invented, or not available in remote villages, people never felt any sense of deprivation as the heat of the day and night, and the dark-nights without electric bulbs, were simply the order of the day. The sense of deprivation arrives when men once experience the difference of the other kind of life, and when he senses the different-life the other men live.

This is not an attempt to devalue the merit of human-invention and progress. This is specifically to remind the vital need of making available all the fruits of inventions and progress to one and all, and making it an inevitable VALUE and natural LAW that, whatever can not be made available to one and all should not be made available to a select few, as special privilege to those who could afford it ! It will breed a sense of deprivation, inequality and disturbing sense of two worlds.

The conclusion is that, INEQUALITY of today is an intentional  or deliberate product of the new world, wherein a class simply walked-away from the common platform of life all the men. The sense of deprivation of the poor and deprived men is basically that of the lower status inflicted upon them by the new world. The new world look-down upon the ones who do not conform to their new life-style and habits as inferior and below-par ! Media, and every other mass-communication agencies are owned and run by the new world dwellers, thus stamping-down the old world to obscurity.

When every manufacturer of products and services changed over to catering to the needs of the new world, where their profit margins are substantially high, the old-world had to face acute INFLATION; when money supply was abundant, prices naturally rose, depriving the old world dwellers their capacity to buy their daily needs at old prices. As they did not belong to the new world and its income sources in the corporate sector, their income-level never reached the old world dwellers. So, their purchasing power naturally dwindled day by day, depriving them of even the very items of subsistence ! Poverty, thus visited them uninvited and unexpected.

The idea introduced above would be more clear, if you could share few other blog-posts, like: http://whatequalityshouldmeanindemocracy.blogspot.in/


Authored by: Abraham J. Palakudy

An independent philosophy,mind,Reason,Spirituality and Polity researcher,seeker and writer
Contact at: ajoseph1@rediffmail.com
Other blogs&Profile:https://www.blogger.com/profile/14249415589712707293
Twitter: Voice of Philososophy@jopan1

Books by the author:Please see the list at his blogger profile









1 comment:

  1. A great article and wholeheartedly I agree with the points you have put forth.

    ReplyDelete