Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Poetics of Salt

Nice article.

I liked the way "salt" connotes several meanings in religion, politics and life.
Also the poor man's experience of life in the increasingly competitive world and the subjugation of the body as a means to oppress and conform is interesting.

I have one question and critique about the article and in general the critique of anti-capitalistic stance.

" The economist Jagdish Bhagwati in his book In Defense of Globalization makes a pretty elaborate methodically articulated defense of globalization. What particularly caught my interest is when he says, “The anti-capitalist sentiments are particularly virulent among the young who arrive at their social awakening on campuses in fields other than economics. English, comparative literature, and sociology are fertile breeding grounds.”

I have read the book the author mentions above. Bhagavati defends some baseless assertions of anti-capitalists and why they could be wrong in their understanding of economics. There are certain assertions that I agree with the anti-capitalists. For example the ever expanding vision of the present day capitalists and the visions of utopia based on eternal development will lead to destruction of the ecosystems and our very survival as a special. It is becoming obvious from scientific studies that the way we are doing business, the next 50 years can prove to be the most dangerous time for us as a species. But that does not put the principles of capitalism and the science of supply and demand in jeopardy. Economics is a set of knowledge of the world of give and take, just like science is the knowledge of the matter.
But there is in general a disagreement between economics as a field and literature, sociology etc.  I do not know if that is because of anathema of specialization or general lack of interest in other fields.
Communism puts power to some individuals and that has caused mass
murders of artists and all intellectuals in communist states and there are many examples of that in history. At least democracy gives air to breath no matter how polluted and space for thoughts to express no matter to some extent policed. The ideas of communism based on economics and welfare state sound well but the application and concentration of power
that it leads to has proved self destructive and dangerous to the intellectuals.

My question is how do you show resistance to the capitalists who have vast power? Unlike colonialists this capitalists are indirect holders of power of the state. They manipulate politics sitting at the back and the actors are the politicians and we the spectators.
Gandhi wanted to break the unjust salt law to show resistance to the British, but now how do you show resistance to mindless development and destruction of earth? Though there is some resistance from the department of sociology and literature, it has to be agreed for the practical matter that it is only is the world of ideas however noble they may be. It can be argued that ideas are powerful and can bring change, which I agree. But in the real world, change is happening very fast.

I feel that the theory of efficiency and demand and supply and the importance of markets has its place in society. There is no problem with the theory and sound principles of capitalism , the problem is in its application, just like science can be destructive, for example lead to nuclear war.
My point is that we need to understand this system and to counter the power structure we need to develop more methods of resistance to this madness of development and utopia.
This is the hype and utopia created by the media and the corporates as if there are infinite resources on earth. We are destroying earth, and our earth cannot sustain this ever growing population and extravagant lifestyle. This hype needs to be countered on a greater mass  level than in departments of sociology and literature.

Instead of attacking sound principle of economics we need to attack the greed of the corporates and the way they use media for their ends. How can we do it on a greater level and let people know that this business in usual will lead us and other animal species to extinction?

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