Dress of Diamonds: Whose Wealth is it anyway!

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A photograph of a diamond dress of one of the daughters of the Ambanis, in a mobile phone failed to inspire awe. It was abhorrent. It is vulgarism or ridiculing the income/asset poverty of the millions in India or that one diamond dress could fetch million clothes for the daughters of the million poor families. What ashamed Bhaskar is the glorification of wealth (open or concealed) of such few billionaires by not only the growth-mongers (economists) but his post-PG level students, who equate the wealth of these few with the national wealth! He could not explain how British wealth once was projected as Wealth of Nations (thanks to Adam Smith). He also dwells on the intellectual poverty of some people that allow the rouges and criminals to call shots in premier research institutes. Here’s an opinion piece by the columnist, as weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.

A few days back, I was in Kolkata, when my sister showed me in her mobile phone the diamond dress of one of the daughters of the Ambanis. It was two-dimensional display. The ground reality was non-attainable. So I should be excused for my comments that follow here. Who does not know Ambanis, thanks to Reliance at the least? My response, however, was crude or blunt to her surprise, “One of the pieces of diamonds you contributed,” was my comment to my sister. They are now accustomed with my responses, and added, ‘Hmm’. I did not further explain Marxism because people have accepted the final disappearance of that ism. I also did not opine that it is vulgarism or ridiculing the income/asset poverty of the millions in India or that one diamond dress could fetch million clothes for the daughters of the million poor families, in India.

What puts me ashamed is glorification of wealth (open or concealed) of such few billionaires by not only the growth-mongers (economists) but my own post-PG level students, who make the wealth of these few with national wealth. I so far could not explain how British wealth once was projected as Wealth of Nations (thanks to Adam Smith).

I had the idea that the days of Taj Mahal was over once the economy started moving from Monarchy to feudal to emerging market capitalism. My idea has been belied for display is display – one has to show that she/he lives materially superior to others without understanding that it is the others who fed these few by being dispossessed and always ready to be dispossessed for they are on the wasteland and reproducing future mechanically. I abstain from classifying this as demographic disaster (dividend?) or unlimited supply of labour or surplus labour as conventional economists would have done.

My sleeplessness is because the diamond code also will bestow upon the few the glory of dispossessing the others. These others are the millions, in India, who do not speak out in the public space. Perhaps they have forgotten to speak privately too. Such is our subjugation!

Intellectual Poverty

These days I have been trying to restrain my tongue and pen (the latter of course is hardly used for my access to key board). So rather than calling stupidity and defining the stupidity line (parallel to poverty line as the privileged in India has a high propensity to define others), I would like to call it intellectual poverty of particularly those who are the decision-makers or academic administrators. I am referring to the research institutions in India obviously with exceptions and I am confining for the time being to the heart of India, region-wise.

As I was made to hear more than a decade back, one academic administrator in a premier social science research institute in hypocrite helplessness opined that people had become individualistic and so on (that he was opposed to). My silence got window through my pen that time explain what Tendulkar did was really at least partially because of team effort or that the scorer in the game of football get the ball from the back on the playground to get the opportunity to score. I did not find any reason why Tendulkar or the scorer in football ought to have been accused as individualistic.

Recently, the helplessness or self-glorification by declaration by the academic administrator (not the decade-old one) in a premier social science research institute at Allahabad brought to light (or darkness?) the same comment. My understanding is that each was incapacitated. At the least such declarations make peer persons distanced that is unwelcome unless these persons negative socio-cultural externalities. The problem remains the same individuals remain isolated, while the negatives get crystallised to rule/administer the sane, the latter often withdrawing from the system of the rule-setters or fixers of goal post and relocating it as and when needed. Let me assure you that these crooks are not for collectivism, but for selectivity, often based on sycophancy. The criminal history of mankind confirms this.

©Bhaskar Majumder

Photos from the internet.

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Prof. Bhaskar Majumder, an eminent economist, is the Professor of Economics at GB Pant Social Science Institute, Allahabad. He was the Professor and Head of the Centre for Development Studies, Central University of Bihar, Patna. He has published nine books, 69 research papers, 32 chapters,15 review articles and was invited to lectures at premier institutes and universities over 50 times. He has 85 papers published in various seminars and conferences.
He also worked in research projects for Planning Commission (India), World Bank, ICSSR (GoI), NTPC, etc. A meritorious student, Bhaskar was the Visiting Scholar in MSH, Paris under Indo-French Cultural Exchange Programme. He loves speed, football and radical ideology.