Nearby was another clan. Earlier both were united but due to some problem in recent freebie distribution rifts were created. When I asked this group's leader he said the price was Rs. 200/-. Maharaj now lost it and said. "What you guys say different prices at different places - is there no one price ?" Now the leader looked worried. Then I asked him when they get the honey, and mentioned Tamil month name, ani avani aipasi, but he was clueless. Then i asked him if it was during rain, before rain before wind, during summer but he stayed clueless.
The beauty was when I asked both what other products they get in the forest. They both mentioned sambrani (dhoop), at which my antennas straightened. I asked them what the price and they said there is no price. I told them "Look here, I buy from here and I sell in urban areas and make money and so I should pay you." The answer they gave defines them. They said there is no price for sambrani. Whenever someone asks them they consider it their bounden duty to collect it for them so that it may be offered to god. They firmly believe that that is the purpose of their birth". They just stuck to their theory of, "No price for sambrani and whatever you give we take. No dealing wheeling and no negotiations."
Now you know why it still rains here. dont you?.
Isn't the flip side of the story about attributing 'infinite' economic value to something and hence not willing to part with it? The answer is relevant in debates on developmental issues like dam construction, mining, etc where 'economic' value of a tree, or rock, or mountain or soil does not exist since it is sacred, even if the feature may offer immense economic value to people outside the community. We will also end up debating 'who owns the land?' though property has ceased to be a fundamental right in India since 1970s.
What would be a classic economics textbook / IIM-A class work response to this?
Sridhar Lakshmanan i have no clue about IIMA but i know one thing for sure, rather two things
Sridhar Lakshmanan OK, on the economics of it, the problem in my view is monetisation. If you observe nature , anything greater than one's immediate needs is a waste. Money enables that to be captured as wealth, and this is where distortion happens and we destroy nature around us. This principle you will see in factory shop floor , supply chain management etc yielding good results but when it comes to ourselves we abandon it. The realisation that money is only a partial measure of wealth is not often realised by many and business schools dont teach that.
Sridhar Lakshmanan Proven good will, is what i know
Balasubramaniam Thyagarajan Do they have no needs or wants?
Sridhar Lakshmanan They have needs, but most is provided by the forest. Their needs are very limited unlike us. Many are "illiterate", they dont understand numbers, and most importantly they are a contented lot. Many a time it has happened when you ask them if you can do some thing , they politely say no and say thanks,with utmost sincerity . If they are closer to city, or to civilisation, or to education it does not happen