Friday, May 16, 2008

the story of a one rupee coin ... true cost ... and why I am not a financial analyst.

True cost.
What is the true cost of me working in a large company ?
My salary ? My time ? My health ?

Suppose I earn just one rupee a day. Just one coin.
Now I spend that coin on buying what I like, or on a cause that I think is worthwhile - say I feel that people who write and search for knowledge and truth should be supported. So I buy good books. With that one rupee coin. That same one rupee coin now goes to the fellow who wrote that book. What does he do - he does a similar thing. Say, he likes music - he buys a CD with that one
rupee. The same coin - the same one rupee coin moves a million times. Everybody gets what they want. And thus wealth is created. So says economics. Money moves. People get what they want. Everybody is rich. WAIT. One coin moves a million times.

One million things are made. consumed. production and consumption. A million times - the raw material is .... the earth?

energy that comes from the sun? The earth is a largely sustainable meme complex by itself. But one coin moving around a million times introduces changes a million times in that meme complex .... changes which people like you and me, people who

create technology and consume it can only begin to faintly comprehend ... the earth is not INTEREST. It is CAPITAL. (If at all it can be talked about in such simple words.) So ... do we SPEND CAPITAL in order to become wealthy, or do we re-invest a part of the interest (if there is such a thing) back into the capital and consume the rest, and in this case - CAN WE ? wicked loop ? yes?
just one rupee moving around a million times!
For a moment ... forget the ecological implications and the wealth creation aspect.
Say ... I spend one rupee on buying books (or something that you currently deem worthwhile) and then, say the next one million minus one people use that coin to gamble, smoke, drink ... or basically on destroying sustainable memes
(because I CURRENTLY feel that one of the best ways to be human is to participate in and create sustainable meme patterns and complexes - fight entropy (and a new child is just the default apex of what we are hard coded to 'create' ... an anti-entropy genetic construct, a family is the social anti-entropy construct ... and so on) ... but my mental model seems to be constantly refined and altered. And the edge ... the END of what thought as a system is capable of doing, as a tool is capable of creating is almost visible... that is another story)
so ... then what is the true ethical cost of moving one rupee through the 'market' a million times ?

It is possible to consider this as an academic question, and it is possible to be HIT IN THE CEREBRAL GUT by it.

In my case it was the latter.
And ... I closed my CFA books.

A subconscious understanding of the above was the reason I asked girls who wanted to marry me in the year 2005 - 'Will you be okay with the idea of us living only on say a couple of thousand rupees a month?' Most of them gave me funny looks - if this fellow can and probably is earning close to 30 or 40 times that amount ... why would he think of this! :)

We truly no longer know the true cost of anything. And neither do we really know what we really need. :) So ... shinier, stronger, bigger, faster ? more, more, more ? WHAT ? WHY ? The greatest of corporations, the best of our scientists don't seem to have an answer to what we SHOULD need. In the absence of that answer, they just compromise and seem to accept the easier convergent problems. Dangerous. Even more dangerous - they persuade everyone that the problems that they work on - the convergent ones - amenable to the tools of technology and science and rationality are the MOST IMPORTANT problems, and people who don't become scientists or engineers are generally not intelligent (this at least, seems to be the case in my hometown in Pune, India ... and all the most refined brains are sucked in by the Engineering profession)

This post is history. Last year. I have some answers to the difficult questions posed now. Not very easily expressible through words. Words are too mechanical.

If you don't 'get' me - you will call my words 'psychobabble'.

(ever wonder WHY many things speak louder than words? MUSIC ? and silence ? and silence backed with LOVE - even louder? Actually there are even more powerful methods of meme transfer than words and direct action. Parable that comes to mind -
when Ramana Maharshi was asked by a person - 'Why do you live here in the Arunachala mountains - when you could be down in the villages DOING SOMETHING!' - and he replied something to the effect of 'What in HEAVENS name makes you think that direct action is the most effective method of creating change, and what makes you think it is necessary!!!!')


kilocoder said...

As a further addition to the last paragraph about Ramana Maharshi,
consider this ...
who do you consider more effective - Swami Vivekananda, who acted and created wholesale changes ...
Ramakrishna Paramhansa who -created- Vivekananda ;)

kilocoder said...

the comment about swami vivekananda and ramakrishna paramhansa is not a judgment or a statement but a seed for thought. :-)