I was surfing the other day and I came across this piece by a Gaurav Sabnis:
“Of course, the right to property was deleted from the fundamental rights for a different reason. To make it easy for the government to take land from the “big fish” without any trouble. Ironically and tragically, it has also enabled the government to take land from the “small fries” and turn it over to the big fish. Which shows how disastrous and stupid it is to take away fundamental rights for utilitarian reasons.
Taking away something as basic as the fundamental right to property from everyone because the big bad zamindars and corporate wolves could misuse it is like outlawing oxygen because murderers and rapists use oxygen to stay alive.”
I couldn’t have put it better.
“Utilitarian“. It has been so long since I came across that word. One of those nice clean words you pick up from economic texbooks where the whole world is neatly divided into assumptions, theory and criticism. Where you feel safe as long as you can mug up the criticisms of a particular theory because it gives you the reassuring feeling that someone has a grander vision, knows better than this rather impressive thing you are reading; or else how could she or he criticise it in such a wonderfully concise and focussed way.
And then one day you wake to realise that all those criticisms you read, all that progress you thought was happening from Smith to Keynes wasn’t so simple. And that economics didn’t have all the answers and only Marx and the Monetarists ever pretended to.
And all the contentment that you can afford when you are a schoolboy, is, bit by bit, taken away from you. And yet, somehow, the world was a better place. A place where there is space for everyday argument and even more space in-between. Its a complete mess of course. But like my Dadu always said:
“There is no greater fool than a fool who thinks he isn’t one.”
I still believe Marx gave us an understanding of the workings and evolution of capitalism which changed world history forever. And that men like John Maynard Keynes have helped save entire nations.
But I struggle everyday to find my faith again. The faith that it is possible to understand and fix all the problems of the world. “We must have the will, thats all.”, I used to say.