Saturday, 26 November 2016

Livlihoods first

25 November 2015 at 21:37 ·

I went to a cobbler to get slippers repaired. He said he would stitch all around. I asked him the cost, and he said '150/-'. I told him the slippers cost that much only ! Then he said he would do it for 70/-.
It was a 20 minute job. But I also realised that i was probably the only customer for the day. And maybe he needs to feed his family on that. And school his children.

What is the way out of such choiceless states. (No, schooling everyone will only lead to unemployed schooled delinquents. I can show you plenty. In our village also.)


Prakhar Prakash It has become a reality everywhere. Even in so called developed countries.

Aparna Krishnan It needs a people's movement. Where people decide to only buy handmade things. No government is going to do that for us.

Jayant Thakur I have a simple rule with hawkers and petty service providers. Never bargain. Pay what they ask. A few over charge but generally they become honest, start giving extra special service etc. But above all, it spares me of the thought how to help this guy. He is usually barely making his ends meet. He is working and not a beggar. Indian culture doesn't permit tipping except to waiters. So just pay what they ask. Even they expect that we will bargain and hence make a higher offer upfront.

Aparna Krishnan I know. I also usually maintain this. But a larger sense of responsibility and answerability towards them is needed. By the state, and also by us all. To only go to them for whatever they can give.

Aparna Krishnan But malls are only spreading like cancers.

Jayant Thakur Generally I find mall and petty stores providing different type of service and different market. I guess both have their place.

Aparna Krishnan Till the last man in employed, only employment intensive activities have a space in a nation.

Jayant Thakur Malls too do employ people.

Aparna Krishnan Minimally compared to many vendors and small shops. Just as handlooms create far more employment than mills - though obviously mills also employ.

Aparna Krishnan Anyway - till the last man if fed and clothed adequately, malls have no place. Malls only jeer at the poor !

Jayant Thakur I am a free market supporter. I leave it to common sense of people and their self interest and of course their voluntary philanthropy. I distrust the state generally. I think state intervention is disastrous. Sorry, I think we have a deep ideological difference here.

Aparna Krishnan no problem. anyway i am also for people making choices. moral and ethical choices that permit another man his right to livlihood. and were they to be incapable, i would ask the state to ensure basic livlihood for all.

Aparna Krishnan yes, even thro' controls. i hold life more important than 'opposition to controls' !!

Jayant Thakur Yes. For the poorest of poor, state must provide education and food.

Aparna Krishnan right to livlihood. not doles.

Abby FromKodur Don't like to believe that malls are cancer, but there isn't any medicine in sight

Mythili Ramesh When I was young my mother used to say that cost of living is the same for all, rich poor and middle class. So the money we pay is not for the service rendered but towards the cost of their basic needs. So she told me not to bargain with those people.

Aparna Krishnan Yes. 'From each according to his ability, to each according to his need'.


Mark Johnston If a 'free market' means that governments allow corporations the freedom to exploit individuals and their communities and grassroots resistance is suppressed then that is surely not a philosophy to support. If, however, it means that individuals and their communities are free to choose how they live and work because they and/or their governments will not accept the imposition of exploitative corporate power then perhaps that would be a different and more admirable concept of the free market.
Aparna Krishnan But isnt the modern usage always the former - in every land. The latter is closer to gram swaraj !
Mark Johnston Sadly so many people nowadays seem unable to see that there is a fundamental difference between people being free from being exploited by corporations and corporations having the freedom to exploit them. They wrongly think that being able to give their money to McDonalds, Nike or Unilever (amongst others) somehow makes them free. Sheep have the 'freedom' to blindly follow their shepherd to the slaughterhouse, are we, in general, any more aware of the context we live within?
Aparna Krishnan All sheeple. The so called modern free liberal woman in india is more enslaved than every village woman i have known.
Mark Johnston Around 1/3 of a century ago I visited Hungary which was still communist controlled. We hitchiked and stayed with a friend who was studying medicine in Budapest. The locals in their branded western clothes and shoes and with a consumer lifestyle that left them struggling to afford to eat could not understand that I had no fashion clothes and shoes and did not have a washing machine or a car. I thought then, and the intervening years have not changed my view much, that they were exploited involuntarily by their communist government but then somehow chose to, additionally, allow themselves to be seduced and exploited by what they wrongly believed the West was. I took some comfort in the fact that 80% of available fruit and vegetables were produced in family gardens rather than on state farms or imported.
Aparna Krishnan The seductiveness of modern consumerisn seems to demand a deep ethicality or spirituality to counter it.
Mark Johnston And perhaps, no matter how much of modern consumerism we happily avoid, we still at times make some compromises that we may either agonise over or reluctantly accept.
Aparna Krishnan yes, the seductiveness of comfort gets us all.

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