Market is People

'At a human level, somebody else's vulnerability creates empathy when it is located in a fear about tomorrow, but diminishes us when it is rubbed into our faces as a fact about today. When a Yuvraj Singh, flush after the success of the World Cup talks about the vulnerabilities involved in professional sport, it humanises him, when he watch him do the same after he has been diagnosed of cancer, it de-humanises us. The belief that the market as a mechanism is somehow exempt from social and cultural conventions as it resides outside the bounds of society, makes it possible for it to act in this way. Like it is with human beings, sometimes the market can gain much more from not using an opportunity than by wringing it dry.'

The problem in Santosh Desai's commentary stems from his misunderstanding of what a market is. His delineating the market from the people (read, consumers) it carries, and associating it only with business firms it consists of, is a flawed representation of what a market truly stands for. It is this flaw that prompts Santosh to ask for business firms in a market to be more humane, whilst missing out on a similar call to consumers who populate that very same market.

If business firms in a market operate sans humanity, then know that people within in too live pretty much the same way. After all in a market firms do what consumers ask them to. The dumb business firm is the one that does contrary to what's expected of it by its consumers. You see, the first and only rule of marketing is to give consumers what they seek, or else prod them into recognizing what they desire, and then give it to them.

Santosh must know its no good asking business firms to be humane, when people aren't. In fact he can do better if he makes that call to the society he lives in. He can then save the 'turn humane' speech meant for business firms, for they will surely take the humanity road if people lead the way.


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