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Illusion and Reality
The neoliberals delude humanity towards some El Dorado. They say: let the wealth be created in the market by, and for, the MNCs and the mega-rich creatures so that, later on, even aam aadmi can be helped. It is trumpeted with passion that high GDP helps this to happen. They call this “trickle-down theory”. This theory illustrates (as John F. Kennedy once noticed it) the phenomenon unfolding how “a rising tide floats all boats”. It is, in effect, what John Kenneth Galbraith had called a “horse and sparrow theory”: if you feed enough oats to the horse, some will pass through to feed the sparrows. My reader may read the story I have mentioned in Chapter 26 (pp. 433-435) of this Memoir, to decide if that sort of ‘trickle-down’ benefits would ever entitle ordinary persons to live with dignity. You need not get amazed at my morbid apprehensions. The days are not far when the promoters of the neoliberal paradigm would tell the poor to live only on fodder (if even that remains available after scams like the Fodder Scam discussed in the Chapter 12 of this Memoir). Experts would be hired to convince people that the cattle feed, if consumed, would provide the aam-aadmi (common man) more calories than what they needed to survive. (Perhaps, the IMF-WTO-minted counterfeit coins in high circulation would find nothing wrong in that!)
What they say reminds me of a story I had read in the Mahabharata ( ‘Striparva’, Chapter 6) explaining, through metaphors, the world we all live in. It tells us what this ‘trickle-down effect’ is all about. It says that someone journeying through a deep and dark forest fell into a deep well he could not see as it was covered with rich grass and saplings. It happened that much before he could fall down on the well’s bottom, he was caught, while on way down, in the labyrinthine tendrils, and he stood turned upside down. He saw a terrifying elephant waiting at the brim above, and a snake hissing down below with its hood spread. He saw some honeycombs wherefrom honey ‘trickled down’ delighting him as he saw the prospect of satisfying his great desires with lovely honey! Greed builds a rainbow of delight which many chase, but all in vain.
(by Shiva Kant Jha)