Only Liberty needs Protection!

Its only natural all those in favor of FDI In India write about how incoming FDI won't do much to wipe out indigenous kiranas. Personally, I don't give damn. The kiranas can stay or shut, I don't care either way. The farmers may benefit or their lot may remain the same post FDI, again, I don't care!

Why?

Because protectionism is immoral. It doesn't matter who the recipient is, protectionism rewards one party at the cost of another. In protecting the kirana through denying entry to competition from the outside (read, MNCs), you limit consumer choice. Such limiting benefits the kirana, not the consumer. By the protectionism logic, isn't the consumer as valuable as the kirana, and therefore a worthy recipient of protection?

No parties in any society should be accorded protection. That means, the farmer mustn't be protected. Nor the middleman, or the kirana. Or even the consumer. The same goes for yours truly. I shouldn't be protected! For a moment, assume I am incompetent as a professor, and you protect me from being fired. Who suffers? Its a no brainer! Students! Pray, why must they suffer, if they've paid good money to get educated?

The only scared tenet of any civilized society that needs full protection is liberty! Meaning, the farmer's liberty must be protected. So should the middleman's, the kirana's, and even mine. The farmer must have the liberty either to farm, or not to. The middleman mjust have the freedom to facilitate trade, or not to. The kirana must have the all the rights to sell, or not to. The consumer must have the liberty to buy, or not to. As a professor, I must have the liberty to teach, or stay silent.

Now who puts us all in business? That's a million dollar question that keeps the farmer, middleman, kirana, and me in business!

The consumer, stupid!

The consumer is only entity who has the power to let anyone stay in business. The farmer farms because the consumer buys his produce. The middleman's facilitation is needed only if the consumer is willing to pay the cost the middleman incurs in connecting the farmer to the trader. The kirana stays in business because consumers are willing to spend the money they earn on products at the kirana.

Now if the MNCs come in and farm, so be it. If they can farm better than current farmers and come up with better produce that consumers turn to, the current farming lot don't deserve to be in the farming business. If the MNCs come in and eliminate the middle man by buying directly from the farmer, thus reducing costs, and if they pass such cost reductions as lower prices to the consumer, the middleman can to the blazes for all I care. If the MNCs come in and run the kirana business far better than current kirana store owners, and consumers switch, so be it. The existing kiranas may have to down their shutters, and it will squarely be their fault.

If the MNCs come in and teach students paying for an education better that I do, I deserve to take a hike into oblivion. 

Comments

Profound thoughts, as always. A quick question. How do customers protect themselves from cartels, syndicates. This is in the context of CCI (Competition Commission of India) penalizing a slew of real estate and cement companies, to name a few.
Sidhesh Iyer said…
As far as cartels are concerened, no consumer can do much about it unless and until government agencies like CCI disable it by imposing fine(like in the cement companies case) or by other strict means like treating private cartels as a National crime.
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