Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Myopic Visionary Speaks: holiday edition

Prof Viswanathan, Director, International Socio-Economic Research Bureau (E Mail Id : post a long manifesto of sorts on the Mike Adkin’s Blog (HERE)

It is full of harmless nonsense, of which its author is seriously attached, and eminently missable on busy workday but worth a look at the outer-fringes of curiousity. Here is a sample on Adam Smith:

3. Economic Affidavit of Adam Smith: In his book Adam Smith spelt out an ‘Economic Affidavit’ solemnly and sincerely that if we, the people, entrusted our capital to a few capitalists in the name of ‘Capitalism’ (Individualism), they would not only change even the sand into gold but also drive the mankind to march towards an ‘Ideal Society’ by modernizing production potentialities with the help of scientific technologies and division of labor. Completely ignoring the working class who constitutes the society, Adam Smith concentered and focused his interest on a few capitalists and advocated that they without the interference of State would accumulate wealth of nations with the help of division of labor using modern machines and assured that the few independent capitalists would moreover create a favorable climate for the establishment of Ideal Society by increasing production many folds. Adam Smith completely neglected the equitable distribution of wealth to the mass working class. He linked the establishment of an ideal society with the mass production but not equitable distribution of wealth. Thus he misguided the whole world convincingly and decisively for a long period during which the working class was thrown into appalling poverty and horrible living hood.”

What can one say? Meanwhile, what was going on in Asia, or Africa, or the Americas, or Russia? All the tens of millions of the world’s population gave their “capital” – of what did their “capital” consist of [if their "labour" why are the labour surplus countries so wretched?] -– to “capitalists” – where did they come from, and why did they not use their own “capital”? Where did this major historical event take place and when?

The entire history of the human species has been one of varying degrees of barely tolerable poverty, absolute and relative, and debilitating ignorance, and above all short-life spans. Per capita incomes hardly changed, except for a changing few, for tens of thousands of years, and hasn’t changed yet for a significant minority.

The detritus of stone-built former ‘civilisations’ are found scattered across the globe where the elites used growing ‘GDP’ to create these structures, some useful, like irrigation, some not, like temples to their gods, meanwhile holding per capita incomes down to the eternal-like subsistence level of ages past.

Only since the so-called 'idustrial revolution', or the triumph of commerce, have many of these indicators improved, some quite dramatically in recent times.

Prof Viswanathan creates an alternative history and a fictional future to do what? Read it for yourself. Of one thing I am sure; it ain’t going to happen.

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