Sunday, 14 June 2015

Equality is a myth!

Back in the late 1800's when capitalism became the engine of transformation and collective human progress, there were many thought leaders from all over the world who postulated various theories for the way forward. Most of these theories were very simplistic in premise and adhered to the basic Darwinian tenet of the "Survival of the fittest:. It was said that as long as man remained a primate, the fight and the struggle was for the fundamental resources like food, firewood and partners. However as civilizations became more evolved and formidable, the struggle was now for the prime instruments that helped the rulers reign over the modern society - money and power. All class struggles, all bourgeoisie v/s proletariat skirmishes and all major killings and wars could be attributed to the stark disparity between the rich and the poor, and the powerful and the minions. And that, ladies and gentlemen, was social Darwinism in action. 
 

For a long time, Laissez Faire capitalism, which said that free markets were the perfect natural simulation, was the rule of the game. Markets were for everyone to buy and sell from and to. The most astute of businesses survive, and others get winnowed away. It was actually considered acceptable because we were still mammals, and mammals being animals, and animals being natural organisms, had to conform to the basic Darwinian maxim. The ones who succeeded in getting wealth and power, would righteously pass it on to their progeny, which would further evolve and strengthen their entire pedigree. It's pretty much what animals do, and that's pretty much what leads to natural evolution. The selected families which accumulate their traits and their bounty of acquired resources over the generations would become more and more profound and that leads to incessant improvements, which ultimately lead to more advanced species coming to the fore. But alas, mankind has a satyriasis for tinkering with nature, and so we did again.

The end of 19th century was marked by massive public ordeal, which was substantial enough to knock out the cogs and the wheels of the engine of Laissez Faire capitalism. Suddenly there were massive civil wars and rulers were getting usurped out of power. There was hue and cry over capitalism coupled with imperialism, leading to downtrodden lives of millions. Abject poverty, when led by some new concepts developed by more radical leaders, led to massive revolutions, most of which led to power transfers that came with the promise of ideological changes. Suddenly, socialism took over the general zeitgeist and everyone believed that true happiness of all can be ploughed out of truly socialist societies. In an instant, all the mendicants who were denied prosperity for so long, now started believing in the concept of equality. Even the top level global organizations like the befallen League of Nations, and it's phony redux UN, were based on the principles of promoting equality. Moreover, even the preamble of our constitution, one from the largest democracy of the world, enshrined equality in writing. Fundamental rights, legal provisions, and almost every other caveat in the modern world was predicated on equality, and everyone savored the aplomb of a utopic world coming into existence. Did equality ever arrive?

A recently concluded OxFam study indicated that the global disparity is only on the rise. More than half of the global wealth is now controlled and held by less than 1% of the global population. So equality of well being and prosperity has definitely gone for a toss. On the other hand when it comes to the wielding of power, while democratic citizens can boast of their voting rights, they never realized the tomfoolery all around them. In the US for example, the two harbingers of the two prime ideologies, the democrats and the republics, became the ultimate authority to choose from. And while only congenial and trustworthy candidates contest for presidential elections, the power lobbies that run at the behest of the corporates always influence the major decisions. So ultimately, the real power still rests with only a handful of people, who work in a way so discreet and furtive, that you're made to believe you still have a say! And we never realized we were dunces and no more.

Yes, paupers rose to power and lower castes and sects saw a rise in status. Be it Obama becoming the president of the US, or Mayawati becoming the CM of UP. These phenomenal power swings were never possible without the step over to equality. So now as the blacks progressed in the US, and the dalits in UP, did you actually believe no one is at a loss. Just think of it in terms of the limited pool of resources. As more and more resources move towards the ones who were denuded and deprived, the same is now not available for those who once enjoyed it. Now the main argument here is that those who enjoyed them, have already enjoyed enough. But ironically, the resources that go out to help the paupers who needed them, were taken off those who were already suffering, or who were just at the threshold, and whose predicament no one took a note of. The disparity still stays there, with the situation of some becoming less abject, at the cost of someone else whose life worsens.

Consider reservations in India for example. Every seat that goes to a minority candidate, deprives someone else from getting the same. Now the proponents of equality would say that if this seat came from someone who probably doesn't really need it as much as the indigent and destitute, then it's equality in play. However, more often than not, this seat that went to a needy candidate actually came from some someone who did not have the minority tag, but someone who was in as much or even more dearth than the one who got it. So while the seat was supposed to go away from someone who may have had some privileges tantamount to attainment of luxury, it actually goes out of the kitty of someone else who desperately needed it. Hence the rich and the powerful have set up the systems and provisions in place to make sure that they never have to bear the brunt. And while the society lives in the aplomb that the poor are seeing upliftment, it's actually making someone else more poor, whose tribulation finds no way to see the daylight, until the day it's the turn of these denied groups to soar and surge, at the cost of some other denied cohort receding in terms of amenities. In short, equality is a myth!

Yes, power swings do happen after every turbulent revolution. Yes, every massive struggle for rooting out of class differences does culminate in some change. However, while the change may seem to be real, it's actually just a facade. Power swings take place only within the respective groups of the rich and the poor, with only some of it taking place between the two groups. Only a few of the rich suffer and only a few of the poor achieve prosperity. Otherwise, power balances remain the same and new equilibria are formed. The promise of equality concomitant with the original idea of a revolution, always stay at bay, and everyone believes the true objectives were met.

Now one would say that it's fatuous and rather odious on my part to perpetrate the notion of inequality as being the final maxim. But once again we gotta revisit the roots of our existence. It's alright that we have collectively progressed so much that we may even be obdurate enough to take on nature itself. But we have to face the wrath of nature's core principles as and when nature activates them. We build dams, but ultimately nature destroys them. And while we think of ourselves being gods already, mankind can't even hope to create some wonders carved out of nothing by nature. So ultimately we all have to accede to the rules laid down by nature. And one of those rules is the survival of the fittest, manifested by Social Darwinism, which we may scoff today as being ludicrous and even reprehensible, but which is still the core dictum.

Social Darwinism is no different than what we collectively qualify as fate, destiny and contentment. In fact acceptance of any of these concepts is actual secession of your conscience to the all powerful guiding doctrine of nature. Some beings are born poor and bereft of even the basic necessities. Some are born rich and with a surfeit of opportunities. While it's said any of the poor has the potential to become rich and any of the rich can be stripped off their glory. In reality, only a few are genuinely equipped to achieve the former, and only a few are so jejune and weak for the latter to happen. It's natural selection in terms of not only corporeal and bodily endowments, but also in terms of the propensity and capacity to leverage on resources and make it big. And while the strong and the weak from the respective natural classes collide, the strong survive and the weak perish. And being rich or poor has no major role to play in it. Nature has the major discretion in that, and has it's own inscrutable ways of accomplishing that.

A few people may rebut all of the above saying that a man can always be in control of his destiny and future and I'm just being too devout to nature. But here, you're underestimating the marvelous prowess of nature in stimulating evolution. In our quest to become formidable, we've come so far that we forgot the clause of our collective fate. We as a species have to become extinct, for a more advanced race to take over from us. And all the class struggles for equality, which never result in equality but result in some more class struggles on a future date, are all mandatory. Battles, wars, swarming nuclear explosions. They're all agents of decimation of the weak and lead to the ultimate evincing of the strong. The strong survive and become more stronger, and the weak are extirpated off the face of the planet. And while killings and murders and genocides may sound loathsome, please note than you enjoy watching all of them on Discovery. And all men are innate animals, with their core conscience still being comprised of the mammalian instinct without which we would have been already dead. The law, the constitution and the so called tacit codes of conduct may all be applicable, but only in an evanescent way. We all may remain happy as long as we believe we're at par with others. But one day we do realize we were deceived by subterfuge of top class and hence wars and battles are all but inevitable. Because only then would the weak get eliminated, only then would the strong become stronger, and only then wold nature evolve. And nature doesn't give a damn about how strong and everlasting we think we are!