Saturday, February 07, 2009

Duplicitous protectionism

The Groundhog is supposed to be the harbinger of spring. Once the groundhog is sighted on Groundhog Day people rejoice, since spring is round the corner and the dreary winter is almost over. Likewise, in case of a forest fire, the rhino is rumored to run out of the forest as though its own tail were on fire, and this sort of gives a cue to other animals to grab their coats and run! Then again, before Mt. Vesuvius erupted incinerating Pompeii, the legend goes that dogs all over the town howled, and acted crazy. Precursors, forebears, harbingers, whatever.

You might wonder why I am saying these things. Because I feel that we should have read the signs long ago. Remember how Mumbai and Maharashtra was held to ransom a few months back on the whole North Indian v/s Maharashtrian story? Well, now, with the global economic meltdown, British are out on the streets protesting and urging the government to provide them with right of way when it comes to jobs in their own country. Now, the US House wants to ban American companies that employ people on H1B visas. The bailout has fine print that reads - 'Buy American'. Why? because they want food cooked by the family to be eaten by family first before being given to the poor. Curb internal unemployment. Encourage indigenous industry first and prevent internal enterprise from being devoured by cheaper Eastern-world substitutes. Are they right? Who knows? One may argue that American tax payers' money had better be used to encourage American industry. But this argument never surfaced when the world was busy buying American debt. People call this 'Protectionist policies' when they are the victims. But the same people call this phenomenon 'protection of self interests' while they act as the enforcers of such policies. Duplicity? Indeed..............

Parallels exist everywhere. It is up to the informed, aware individuals to decide which way to go. Why not let the market decide which way to go, since history has proven time and time again that markets are by and far the most righteous, and fair entities in the game called life. Let the markets decide whether to 'buy American'. Let 'American' be competent enough to compete on the world stage unaided. Let the market decide whether a Jha or a Jadhav gets an opportunity. Let each compete on merit. This is the only way we can achieve overall development of our core competence.

1 comment:

Amitabh said...

Be realistic! Markets have never been free. They always have been subject to explicit and implicit control. And as long as we are divided by geographical, political, linguistic ... I can go on ... boundaries, these will exist. Americans will do what is best suited for them. We should do what is best suited for us.