Saturday, October 03, 2009

Pavlov's World

There's this great joke doing the circles everywhere. You know it all too well. Every day now, some random unknown banker/world bank official/ previously unknown economist will tell you, quite seriously, "There are serious indications that the Recession has bottomed out and the recovery has begun". Flip over to the next page and you're greeted with " (Insert region name) Unemployment still at worrying levels/Decade High)". Flip over to the India page and you'll have bankers, consultants, ministers pat themselves at the "Fundamentally Sound Indian economy which has emerged unscathed". Right next to the para talking about rising prices and negative inflation(talk about about mutual incompatibility).

Nothing works on Time? Recession

Prices are high? Recession

Fraying relationships? Recession

Hate your job? Recession

The latest buzzword for chai wallah to your respected retired uncle? Recession

We parrot the word, dive into panic, and follow the herd without pausing to ask the 5 Ws and 1H we learnt about in journalism. Who caused the recession? What caused it? Where did it start? Why is a property bubble implosion in America threatening my paper wallah? When exactly did it start?(2007, 08 or 09? make up your mind Friedman). How exactly is the global economy (read America) different today from what it was three years ago?

Oh, it's not just economics. Let's talk about healthcare. We know all about the Swine Flu. However, how is it fundamentally different from the regular flu? Or the Bird Flu? I am not knocking on the unfortunate victims, but I question the panic mongering and (sadly) profiteering indulged in by pharma cos, in the name of treatment. The sad fact is, all of us take so much of what we've been told for granted, that if I were to ask you about how exactly black money could be brought back to india, when we don't have any idea about it's size, you'll splutter in indignous  disbelief. "It's money that will go into children's education(like the 2.5 % we have been charged on every item, to see no visible difference in schools), healthcare (like the supposed thousands of crores the government is pumping into the sector every year) and development( the biggest black hole in the indian budget)."

Hey if Rajni and Vikram have made two movies about it, it must be true, right?

/ End Rant