Free Your Mind (and the Markets Follow)

“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!”

This voice has been occupied with personal-life-related stuff recently, and thus hasn’t had time to address issues which are his pet peeves. In a post written in the aftermath of the much publicised Operation Duryodhana (Which was great work!, IMO), Shivam Vij (Mall Road) highlighted some of his political convictions, and slipped in what looked like a guerrila attack on free markets…

sigh. I didn’t want to write about this, because these arguments need to be tackled in a civilized manner, and not in a TTG Rant….to counter posts by a reputed blogger, who shall remain nameless (Dilip D’Souza). He has decided that there are two types of people – NHBs (Normal Human Beings) and FMS(Free Market Supporter) Jihadis.

Well, as Fido Dido, one of the murtis of the Free Market said: “Normal is Boring”.

Here’s my attempt at actually tackling all arguments with sanity (er.. I failed MISERABLY, BTW).

First off, I am not a member of the Libertarian Cartel, I’m a Voice From A 2.5-World Country. But every once in a while, our views converge. I cannot speak for what kind of India the Libertarians envision, but I can tell you what kind of India I envision. this might get across what I mean by what a “Free Market” is. I never realized this was a definition in dispute.

First of all, if we are discussing which country/area comes closest to a Free Market – it is NOT America. It is Hong Kong. Everything in Hong Kong is run by PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS. EVEN MONEY is legally printed, by three banks, managed by an AUTHORITY called the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. This means that there are three different types of currency notes being printed in Hong Kong. One set is by HSBC(formerly the HongKong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, the other set is by Standard Chartered Bank, and the third is by the Bank of China. The Bus Service is run by 3 private companies, the underground train system is run by one private company(the MTRC), the electricity is supplied by two private companies (China Light & Power, and HK Electric), the cooking gas is provided by one private company (TownGas), the telephone network was initially provided by one private company (PCCW – formerly HongKong Telecom)

Somehow, I don’t see Hong Kong deteriorating into anarchy.

Then next…let’s take America…America’s train network was built by private individuals…and is still now mostly private – AmTrak. Amtrak sucks. But would somebody please compare it with Indian Railways?

The bus services are run by GreyHound. Would somebody like to make another comparison?

The highways in USA, were originally private-built. The ‘Turnpike’ is a road you have to pay a toll to use….

I envision an India, where the government is not in charge of running any business whatsoever. There are no government-run airlines, no government-run hotels, no government-run railroad, no government-run bus services, no government-run water-distribution/electricity distribution services, no government-run telecommunication services, no government-run education boards, no censor board, no Board of fucking-Control for Cricket in India (What the FUCK kind of name is that, anyway?), no government-run Oil Companies, no government-run Bread Companies, Coal companies, or any other f-ing companies, no government-run liquor distribution vends, no government-run “Super Bazaars”, no government-run Ration shops.

I envision a lot more stuff too, but we’ll take this as a vision for starters. Once the government gets out of the business of producing stuff, it can actually get INTO THE BUSINESS OF ENFORCING LAWS TO MAKE SURE PRIVATE PLAYERS STAY IN LINE.

It is NOBODY’s case, that businessmen, and the corporate world, do things for “the good of the people”, or to be moral, or righteous. They are after one thing, and one thing alone. It is called…not MONEY…but PROFIT.

Making money is easy. Declare yourself the voice of God, ask for donations, and say you work in Mysterious Ways when questioned about your lack of Miracle-Performing abilities. You’ll have money.

But that’s not what businessmen, are after. It’s PROFIT. This is not the same thing.
And it is the GOVERMENT’S JOB to ensure that the businessmen do not step out of bounds in their relentless pursuit of profit. The government’s role is to function as an UMPIRE, not as an f-ing batsman. Let the businessmen play their games, but once they step out of bounds, the other side appeals, and then somebody gets out.

So….let the private players run an airline. But then ensure that they give cheap fares to remote areas. Let them make profit on the rest of the routes.

Let the private players supply petrol to the Country. Let them allot petrol pumps on the basis of who seems the savviest at making a profit. But then make sure that the person who does so, is not adulterating the petrol in his pursuit of profit.

In order for businesses to make money. They have to cut costs. Be nimble. Act quickly. The ones that don’t automatically perish. Their employees leave them. They start defaulting on loans, they get a bad reputation due to shitty customer service.
And when THAT happens, ensure you have a strong legal system which ensures the CONSUMER GETS HIS DUE


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