Who Is Robbing Us of Our Nation's Wealth?
Written by Maruthi Prasanna, BMSCE
Corporate greed seeping into the country’s veins …
Gautama Buddha once said that desire is the reason for all kinds of sorrow in life; but for those who follow karma and yoga, desire is not greed, but a necessity. Both these emotions have a very thin line of distinction. However, the manifestations of these concepts are extremely different.
Ever since the inception of industrial revolution in Europe, men always had a desire to make money out of intelligence. It gave birth to the corporate environment leading to colonialism and exploitation of innocent countries, humans and natural resources unfairly. After their political independence, many states had to suffer from economic drought. This was an open invitation to rich and powerful countries. Hence, neo- colonialism was born. It started to breach into the lives of each individual as a daily intrusion. No one had expected it to squeeze the juice out of the countries and throw it like one throws bagasse out of sugarcane.
Profiteering is the prime motto of any business, but the unruly methods to avoid competitors and other hindrances bring more complexities to the corporate sector. Let me define the corporate greed in a possible boundary even though it has no boundaries. In 1991, the Indian government made its market liberal and opened it for trade and investments to the world. Many foreign and Indian companies took pledge to expand their business empires in India. Hence this movement gained momentum and spread like a wildfire in our country.
Greed is defined as one of the seven deadly sins. Humans are constant victims of greed, falling into its trap every now and then. Corporate people and traders continuously fall prey to this sin and do not pay the society fairly. This greed keeps increasing with respect to the kind of environment developed in the society. Even though the term ‘business’ refers to fair trade, the ever increasing competition from rivals, unexpected losses due to poor management , poor estimation of the output, natural disasters, political crisis, economic sanctions, ego issues with competitors force traders to inculcate unruly methods in their dealings.
Many corporate bodies are earning their profits from various Indian resources. It can be any business or industry which includes raw materials and man power of the society. It can be skilled labour created out of the Indian government or land at low rates. They get subsidies from the Indian government for carrying out their business in India, but desert the interests of the country when it is needed the most. Many Indians have their names on the billionaires list, but the nation is confused whether it is a matter of pride or shame. Many of these “billionaires” have ruined the society for their own benefit and are oblivious to the bizarre condition of the Indian society. They interpret this ignorance as ambition, dream or life goals. They try to justify these things on ethical grounds, but they use them only to justify their bad deeds. The same ethics do not apply when it is comes to an employee of the company.
Although the Indian commerce ministry has directed all Indian corporate companies to spend 2% of their annual profit in development of the society, yet only a handful of them are doing it with genuine concern while the rest are doing it for documentation. The company which reaches its destination through the boat of society will set it on fire as soon it is done with its purpose. The socio-psychological experts help companies use the tactics of marketing. A product will be introduced as a comfort and gradually it is made as a basic need, even though it was not an essential part of life. Cosmetics are very good examples of such products. According to statistics, arms and ammunition are leading enterprises and next are cosmetics, followed by pharmaceuticals, and food and beverages. Their ever growing greed for profit makes many countries ruin nature for a few raw materials.
If we think these companies provide a good amount of employment to the graduated youth, then we need to wake up. This is nothing but an illusion. The poor, ignorant graduates are made to work for their livelihoods by draining their inner passion for a meager pay check. Their opinions are suppressed by corporate domination. According to the Indian Labour Act, an employee cannot work more than 8 hours a day and an extended 5 hours per week overtime. The employees are entitled to many incentives and insurances too. Many companies are violating these norms. We see many labourers working in manufacturing industries putting their lives at stake for poor wages. If we survey labourers in any sector of the economy, be it service or product based, we hardly find them being content with their work. Private sectors never promise development, but ensure profit. The corporate sector has grown to a stage where it is unaffected by the government. Hence, policy making will directly be in their favour. Socialist countries are an exception to this. We have seen USA favouring corporate sector more than any country. The United States has always opted political monopoly over the world ever since the Cold War. Its motives are pretty evident by its actions of destabilizing economies of many countries, dethroning the rulers and creating unrest in the Middle East. The USA has two advantages in creating unrest in these oil enriched countries. On one hand it sells arms and ammunition and on the other, it gains raw materials for cosmetics and petroleum products.
India has seen widespread corruption in the past two decades like never before. The ruthless allocation of natural resources to corporate sectors for money has contributed highly to this misdeed. Politically influenced classes are benefited either through shares of the company or a ransom which is illegally transferred to their Swiss accounts. Many NGOs and news agencies are exposing such unjust acts which directly point towards corporate greed. Unfortunately, their voices are curbed by money and muscle power.
Many corruption cases in the recent past include the biggest corporate bodies in India or well-known foreign organizations. Many natural resources like coal, land, oil and natural gas, metal ores, crops from farmers and telecom bandwidth are robbed in broad day light. It is ruining fair competition that is meant to foster development in countries like India. A fair business is almost impossible in the present economic world. Corruption at the highest level is different from the one that persists at the abyss of the order. Both parties are happy with the bribe because it is a win-win situation. The loss will be either for the common man or for institutions providing public services that are meant to be available at subsidized prices. The ever growing inflation, tax evasions, illegal business practices and piracy are one of its derivatives. Corporate sectors have been engaging themselves in making profits by exercising and exploiting the social problems, instead of addressing them. The ignorance about economic changes among the citizens emerges as a boon for these companies. The government and corporate industries involved in organized crimes target the general public. We don’t even realize that we are getting robbed of our own treasures. Even the public service sectors are corrupt and force people to move towards private sectors gradually. Profits and monopoly over the market are the only motives.
If the situation prevails as it is now, the rich and the poor will get polarized even more. Our country has already witnessed widespread outbreak of law. The unemployed youth are getting involved in illegal business or anti-social activities. The business classes don’t even feel the heat of this, while the poor and middle class have to toil more to survive. The rich are getting richer by dodging taxes and violating many norms. The society will keep losing its moral values and corruption will continue to seep in them. India has already witnessed widespread migration of people towards metropolitan cities. This is because many farmers have lost their lands in special economic zones.
The corporate greed cannot be viewed completely from one frame. We need to consider the problems of the business classes as well. It is a wild ride from which one cannot step down. They feed mongrels with tasty food for guarding their gates. Now those dogs are demanding their share for each and every bark. The fault lies with both corporate giants and illiterate, unaware citizens. Strict resolutions have to be taken and followed in a disciplined manner to arrive at the right solution. Business giants need to realize the fact that reaching the destination is not the primary goal; the path matters as well. They must remember that one who holds the sword will die with his own sword. Greed fetches no good.
We need an economy accompanied by an educational system oriented towards social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned and controlled by the society and are utilized in a planned fashion. We need a well planned economy that adjusts the production needs of the community, distributes work among efficient workers and guarantees livelihood to every man. The education of each and every individual, in addition to promoting the innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his/ her fellowmen in place of glorification of power and success in our present society.
Do you feel for such issues?
Grab a copy of a book on World Social Issues featuring Gulzar Sahab, Irshad Kamil, Ashok Sawhny, Rajev Paul and many others, here