Random Thoughts

Nay, Yea and Questions with No Right Answers

Richard Ney, a farsighted man with an analytic mind, an un-fogged vision and a modicum of integrity, saw many decades ago the conflict and potential abuse of the specialist system of the NYSE. He postulated that it was the greatest secretive and sanctioned larceny in the history of markets. It is now proved with the indictment of a number of specialists by their profiteering abuse by taking advantage of their knowledge of the book of the advanced orders and by abusing the privilege. This is not a new revelation and confirms my analysis of human nature and the inevitable weaknesses of the capitalist system and the free unregulated markets. Markets are the legal means for the powerful to manipulate the foolish to impoverish them without animosity or resentment. it is the foolish bourgeois that suffer the consequences of the market meltdown. The other side of the coin is that the middle class bourgeois in spite of their economic greed are the foundations of democracy and the hope for a better future. Thus the seeds of a better or worse harvest for humanity are sowed in the schizophrenic reality of ethical dilemmas.

This is no defense of the communist ideology which is equally bankrupt in its ideological blindness of the proclivities of human nature. Evolution fashioned us to be greedy, uncaring, unjust and selfish without remorse or reflection. It was the resultant injustice, tyranny and misery, that led to the evolution of religion, afterlife, heaven and hell and the invention of religion and god, which priests and privileged persons have used throughout history to exploit the ignorant masses. One of the sorry lessons of history and the unresolved dilemma is, whether the enlightened liberals can ever correct this anomaly or are they themselves exploiting this fact for their advancement under the guise of doing good. These benign and rationally justified solaces inevitably led to their own atrocities far greater than their benign basis to pogroms, inquisitions and the current terror of radical Islam, thus proving the theorem of unintended consequences.

Let us take some examples of conflict of interest. Many market makers in NASDAQ and other listed stocks are allowed by the corrupt SEC and other regulator bodies to issue recommendations about the very stocks that they make a market in. The Indian SEBI is even worse because it fails to monitor or police insider trading. This is a classic example of the fox guarding the chicken coop. Similar examples abound in the case of lobbyists writing legislation and the revolving door between regulators, lobbyists and elected officials in America. A congressman who passed favorable legislation for drug companies and a senator whose ethics stink, left their place gorging at the public trough, to pig out at positions with greater benefits at the same sectors that they passed warped legislation to benefit. Indian ministers and regulators have committed worse sins. This confirms the psychological stupidity of the masses confined to the glass ceiling of their lowest common multiple of stupidity, ignorance and emotionalism, that manipulating crooks take advantage of. Is it ever possible to change humanity or are we cursed by its natural ignorance, apathy and short-sighted greed to the inevitable exploitation by the knowing, rich, privileged and unconscionable, to perpetual exploitation and misery. It is my firm belief that this is an irremediable situation because the masses are ignorant, uninterested, uneducated, uncaring and restrained by the necessity of day to day existence, time constraints and misleading by the conniving free press manipulated by vested interests, which the privileged exploit by the specter of insecurity, patriotism and other propaganda to the detriment of the blind ignorant and mercurial sheep.

My rant is not an idle tirade against any one form of government, as much as a philosophical query for a form of government taking into consideration the facts and reality of the ignorant masses that constitute the bulk of humanity. We come back to Plato and his thesis of the philosopher king or the Hindu philosophy of the benevolent Rama, which are unrealistic ideals. The only pragmatic solution is to put Lakshmanrekha restraints on the governing elite. Hindu philosophy banks on the limitations of greed that would naturally apply when one becomes aware of the finite span of one's life and the facing of one's physical limitations of sexual gratification with age. It is to its credit that it still regales the weaknesses of Shantanu, Yayati and Nahush for the undying desire for sexual gratification, youth and power, while indulging in amusing irony of these follies. Its greatest fault is that it ignores the reality of the day to day life of the common man while ascribing intelligent reflection and analytical capability to the unthinking masses. Its elitist philosophy combined with the common appeal of Christianity and Islam and their affluence to bribe the poor oppressed by the abuses of caste discrimination, is the greatest potential future nightmare facing India. Converted fanatics are our worst nightmare as our experience with Islam should teach us.

Much as we aspire for "Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam", it is an unachievable aspiration. Ethnic and religious divisions are an invincible curse of human nature. We should follow the example of the latter day enlightened EU to guarantee economic security to our masses, while ensuring military security for ourselves. This may require radical changes in our economic laws to guarantee ownership or profit sharing in our corporations, which while anti-capitalistic is not against the original precepts of Adam Smith that never envisaged the current neo-liberal globalization, that leads to enrichment of the rich by beggaring the poor. As Paul Kennedy observed by analyzing historical facts, no nation can maintain its primacy when its economic supremacy falls behind its military hegemony over time. As the verse of the Bhagwad Gita that Oppenheimer misinterpreted at the detonation of the atomic bomb at Almogardo, when he translated it as, "Now I have become death the destroyer of everything", which really means, "Now I am time, the destroyer of everything". Affluence leads to increased desires, lesser willingness to sacrifice for the common good and increased selfishness and greed. We Indians are philosophically aware of the impermanence of everything. There is a schizoid reality in the voting preferences of the Indian electorate. They voted against the BJP for its philosophy to enrich the have-nots, while ignoring the foreign origins of the current leader Sonia of the Congress. This is a reflection of the naturally self-centered attitude of the Indian impoverished, oppressed and exploited masses, who never saw their salvation in government and are not yet enlightened enough politically like the Chinese to have a nationalistic perspective. Like some Iraqis, they still believe in economic benefits while ignoring reality due to their indifference to changing economic and political trends of the current world. They have no hopes to benefit from whosoever rules and this is the prime cause of India's long colonial status. Even today many ordinary people long for the British Raj and its lack of corruption while forgetting its oppressive racist exploitation.

From the defense point of view, we should keep our mind open to the transfer of technology to obtain F-18 super hornets while negotiating for the transfer of technology for the French Rafaeles or Mig-35s, continuing the negotiations for the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline for gas, working with China, be wary of Pakistan, stop giving credence to the film-stars and cricketers with vested interests who would sell us down the river for their own economic benefits and view with sensible suspicion Musharraf and his progeny who were the architects of Kargil and have a sordid history of betrayal and double-dealing.

So what should India do? It would be utopian to educate the masses to the level that they would vote for India's benefit. That is as equally impossible as honest and upright elected representatives in America or India. Thus the only compromise possible is to restrain the destructive selfishness of the elected and minimize the damage due to the ignorant apathy of the stupid electorate to protect the nation from these Scylla and Charybdis. China, not a democracy and America, a pretense of democracy have sought to do this by inflaming jingoistic patriotism by sacrificing truth and democracy.

In the long-term, this is likely to lead to greater chauvinism, more conflicts,

a falsifying of history as Japan and America have done. These wrong means are justified by achieving a desired good end, but they sow the seeds of further catastrophes like Panama, Haiti, Iraq and future Iran, North Korea, Venezuela and Colombia. Direct participatory democracy with national referenda, like that of Switzerland is impossible for countries like America and India with large land masses and populations. The EU model just results in a bloated ineffective and corrupt bureaucracy of Brussels. Some questions have no clear answers as In Vaital's question to Vikramaditya of the relationship between the child of a king who married the princess and that of his son who married the queen who was the mother of the princess! 


More by :  Gaurang Bhatt, MD

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