Trump’s Victory Explained

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Contrary to all expectations, contrary to all opinion polls and exit polls Donald Trump is the President of US. To the horror and chagrin of many and yet to the elation and hope of some it’s Trump administration that’s in-charge for the next 4 years. How did this happen? What propelled a character like Trump to the most powerful position of the world? No matter how disappointed and let down many feel I think there is a silver lining to this dark cloud.

Hope for Anti-Establishment:

trumpIt is interesting to note that people across the world, whether in rich or developing countries, are extremely cynical of their politics and politicians. Often people resign to a corrupt and impossible system. Except for criticizing from outside, an invisible entry barrier stops many from coming into active politics. It is in this regards that the elected government and the leadup to his election must be seen with great interest.

That an apolitical and anti-establishment guy is at the helm of US politics should be a sign of great hope rather than despair. It gives hope of wriggling countries out of the tight grip of a corrupt ‘political establishment‘. Even Democrat Bernie Sanders, though a career politician, can’t be considered as an ‘establishment’ guy. This shows that there is scope for professionals or non-establishment guys from various fields to enter politics. This could be revolutionary change as it would keep all politicians as honest as possible and also attract fresh talent. Especially those who want to genuinely improve the condition of their fellow citizens and not just interested in making a career in politics. Thus a Trump victory has to be hailed in this aspect.

Capitalism, Globalization and Equality:

Post cold-war, many countries in the world adopted to open market economy. The hope was that this would create more jobs, improve productivity and alleviate poverty. The initial days saw a very heady rate of growth and creation of many millionaires. The open market economy seemed to work on principles of merit and appeared to overcome the problems of accident of birth. Capitalism is basically a game driven by Demand and Supply. What’s in abundant supply but is lower in demand would be cheap, what is scarce in supply but is high in demand would be dearer. So on and so forth. Tagging along with capitalist economy was Globalization. The concept was to visualize a border-less world, at least economically, and utilize manpower, or skills or expertise wherever it might be available from. The revolution in Information Technology was breaking down barriers and brought countries virtually together. The introduction of this new globalization variable in the game of Demand and Supply literally broke the geographical barriers. This meant that if the manufacturing of a component by a company was expensive in one country, that company assisted by bilateral agreements between Governments could shift their factory to another country where it would be more affordable and profitable.

The world saw a possibility of redistribution of wealth from Developed economies to developing economies and a greater scope of poverty alleviation. Large corporations were excited with the sight of newer unseen and untapped markets. Again the initial days saw rapid proliferation of jobs. It also saw many jobs being offshored from high cost locations to low cost locations. Large corporations soon became Multi-Nationals. The hope behind these endeavors was that as more and more people get added to the work force and get employed, more and more people will find a way out of poverty. Once the production improves, once the consumption increases and prosperity spreads the impact would trickle down to the lowest common denominator in all societies.Did this happen? Were the targets met?

Alas, this wasn’t to happen. As market driven economy strengthened and private organizations became stronger the wealth instead of spreading started getting concentrated in few hands. Of course, few people have escaped poverty of course a vibrant middle class has been created yet there are millions who have got tired waiting for a drop of that trickle. Each passing day their frustration has only increased. This has driven people to depend on Governments to take care of their needs and requirements. Proliferation of Globalization meant jobs were getting off shored to locations which would save cost. The hope was that the people who would lose jobs would somehow up-skill themselves find greener pastures and continue to take benefit from the evolving economic situations. Moreover, evolving technology meant there were more automation of jobs, more mechanization of work and more reliance on robots. This led to reduction in the demand for manual workforce. Over dependence on Private sector to generate jobs and fuel growth was not creating the number of jobs required. Thus people around the world have shown a renewed belief in Governments to help improve their condition.

Also the point to be noted here is that as Market driven economics took center stage and large corporations became the engines for growth, Governments were increasingly seen as facilitators. Facilitators who could devise policies to benefit private companies, devise policies that could increase their profit. This reached to such a stage where both seemed to be feeding off each other completely self absorbed and oblivious of the growing section of frustrated and deprived sections of society. The ‘system’ became self serving forgetting the epithet of “Of the People, By the People and For the People”. Thus the question now was more about dignity and equality. There are sections of society that has felt itself to have been deprived a fair share of the pie in this evolving economic scenario. It’s a section that has felt humiliated and neglected at the hands of their own governments or by the very companies that were meant to improve their condition. They feel even the media looked the other way and didn’t highlight their plight. This inequality in available opportunities and continual deprivation led to seething and simmering anger among many. An anger that was waiting to find it’s voice.

The Message Over Personality

Look at the set of events that have unfolded across the world in the last year. US elected a person of dubious character and UK voted for the contentious Brexit. Both these events were counter intuitive and shocking. In both these events some very cleverly designed propaganda was used to sway people. Most of the material used for such propaganda campaign were found to be fake. Also in this age of information revolution to verify claims isn’t that difficult at all. Yet Trump is the President of USA and UK did vote for Brexit. How could one explain this? Has the world dumbed down or against the run of events have people chosen to be deliberately ignorant? I think there is more stronger reason behind this. This reason lies hidden in the sequence of events I describe in the earlier section. The deprived and angered section of society has finally exerted themselves. They finally found someone who was willing to listen to their problems and raise their issues. They finally found a platform where those issues that were close to their heart were heard without being ridiculed. Thus despite being led by dubious leaders who used questionable means, people have rallied behind them. I believe people have chosen the “Message” over the person who was espousing it.

The reason why I feel that people have chosen the message and not the personality is because, if we look at election campaign leading up to the Inauguration day, the Republican party saw Donald Trump emerge as their leader. Similarly, among the Democrats, Bernie Sanders received an overwhelming response and gave Hillary Clinton very tough fight till the very end. If we look at the “Message” of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, on could find a lot of similarities. In fact some say that if Bernie Sanders was the chosen as the Democrat candidate then he might have defeated Trump hands down.

Conclusion

I think it’s important to understand that Trump comes to power as an apolitical and anti-establishment. He is 70 and is already rich. This all indicate it’s not going to be business as usual. No matter how odd his policies appear they are consistent to the “Message”. In fact he has nothing to lose by resorting to contentious policies and shaking up the entire system. In that bargain if some of the deprived section of the society managed to get a portion of the expected pie it would be a success. Even if they don’t it’s not a failure. How that could be achieved and whether it is achievable or not is beyond the point. Also if people like Trump must be countered people will have to forget the ‘Personality’ that is driving the policies and focus only and only on the “Message”. If anyone has a “Message” that is better than the “Message” of Trump and has a ‘people connect’ people will hook onto whoever provides that message. The mantra should be Address the “Message” not the person behind it.

Camirroraderi

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“Magic mirror, on the wall – who is the fairest one of all?” Even if the mirror were to answer in your favor, beware! The camera might be in stark disagreement. When I tend to agree with the mirror image the image captured by camera comes us a rude shock. Of course there are some occasions when even the vice versa situation has been found to be true by me.  I did a Google about this issue and realized that many have had similar experiences. It is particularly devastating for the weight conscious individual and completely discouraging for the one who is attempting to lose weight.

enhanced-9327-1458322842-13There was this one occasion when my friend seeing me after a good 6 months suggested that I had become thin since the last time he saw me. I agreed with him as my mirror image agreed with his observation! However, on the same day another friend of mine came equipped with his SLR. He painstakingly shot many shots of me and my wife. I eagerly awaited the pics to be shared back with me. The SLR captured images shared were in such stark contrast with what the other friend observed or I saw in the mirror that it left me wondering what to believe. Of course lesser said about the Mobile Cameras especially the selfie camera the better. If I believe the selfie camera of my mobile, then I am this person with a double chin only marginally better than the person in the below pic minus the gold of course!

Bappi

I think that the in case of a mirror image as the eye is directly sending the information to the brain, we see what we want to see. Hence the waist seems tucked in, the jaw well defined. However, in case of an image captured by the camera, the camera does some processing of its own before presenting the information to the brain via the eye. Possibly the mirror image is how I see myself and the camera is how others see me.

Even more tricky to note is that no two mirrors agree with each other nor do two cameras agree with each other. I have finally resigned to the deduction that neither the mirror or camera is right, after all they just produce an image. However close or far it is from the truth, it is still an ‘image’. The truth probably in neither or either or somewhere in between.

Dogged Run

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Early morning joggers in Bangalore I think face one major challenge apart from their stamina. Dogs! I personally think that in Bangalore, after IT professionals the next biggest population is that of street dogs.

Two things have to be attributed to dogs, first is that they are not pretentious and second that they are moody. They are not pretentious means you know whether they like you or don’t. However, being moody means you don’t know which day they would like you and which day they won’t!  Which means even on a well-trodden path one can’t be oblivious of them. Every morning I see people carrying a stick or food to ward off dogs or distract them.

I do neither and have to have a battery of tactics to deal with situations that show up with every twist and turn or every nook and corner. Sample a few. If I have to run on a new route, I walk the day before that on the same route so that the dogs in that area get used to my scent. If it is an old route, I ensure a healthy gap between me and the dog to ensure I have time to react in an eventuality. In situations where I see a herd of dogs I take a detour. If no detours exist, depending upon how familiar the dogs look I decide whether to stop running and walk till I am in the clear or to continue running. Of course if I decide to continue running then I think of how I would kick the dog if it were to attack, I keep looking back and don’t relax till I am sure that none of the dogs are interested in me anymore. It is strange that the day when dogs are doing their own thing and don’t pay any attention to me running past them I feel ignored and humiliated. Whereas on days when they do pay attention I feel threatened.

There are also days when there is a faux pas. Like this one time when I was running past a heap of garbage and I could see a dog running in my direction from corner of my eye. I was alarmed, however I tried to settle my nerves thinking that it was certainly headed towards the garbage. I was proved right but not before a few anxious moments both for me and the dog. That day I realized two facts, that dogs prefer garbage over me and if the choice is between me and food, food takes the precedence always! Not that this realization made me to introduce any new strategy but it was just good to know!

I am a dog lover at the same time I love running too. I hope municipal corporation can work out an amicable solution for me and them to co-exist. Or I find a way to lose my paranoia!

Dog

Blind Spot or Blind Eye

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The world around us doesn’t make a pretty sight does it? The 2008-09 recession has exposed many fault lines that we all were about to forget or were oblivious about. West was leading the way with a consumerist mindset with USA as the leader of the pack. Organizations around the world were feeding this mindset with products of all type with China as the leader of this pack. Assumption was that an Industrialized, inter-connected and consuming world would be sufficient to make the world a just, equal and enriching place. All was hunky dory till we were all woken up from our slumber by a rude shock of the collapse of Lehman Brothers!

We are being told now that the path we had embarked upon was unsustainable and at some stage something had to give. From 18th century onward the world started moving away from a low productive agrarian economy to a high productive industrialized economy. Industrial economy meant usage of fossil fuels with a large carbon footprint. While income levels and quality of life of many improved, environment was being damaged irreparably. If Industrialization has to continue at the same rate, then not only we run the risk of exhausting fossil fuels but also creating an extremely polluted environment. This could lead to severe health issues, life span reduction and eventual destruction of Earth! On the other hand, if we reduce the growth rate, we risk unemployment, poverty, starvation and death of millions. Thus we are stuck in a vicious cycle.  However, anything detrimental to environment would mean leaving an unsafe living condition for our future generation. Is that what it has come to then? Is it current generation vs the future? Is it an “either-or” scenario?

On the other hand, we had financial institutions that have enticed people into borrowing beyond their need. The borrowed money has been used to increase production that did cause increased employment. The increased production yields fruits only if there is enough demand. Demand depends upon earning capability of individuals, which in turn depends upon availability of employment. If for any reason unemployment rises, increased production leads to unsold inventory and hence losses and eventually drives financial institutions towards bankruptcy. Also bankrupt financial institutions mean no availability of credit in the market, without which organizations fail to meet their production requirements further adding to the unemployed workforce. Another vicious cycle that we are perennially stuck with as well!

We thought Governments were by the people, for the people and of the people. However, Governments world over went and helped the financial institutions by pumping in funds. Those funds were used to pay off bonus and salaries to already rich top bosses rather than those who were impacted with unemployment. However, Governments are stuck in a vicious cycle of their own. For Governments to function and help people they need reve55071719nue, taxes are their revenue. To help increasing population they need an increasing revenue. Increase in revenue is possible only if they widen the tax base with moderate taxes or maintain a smaller tax base with higher taxes. Governments cannot widen tax base without increasing income of poor people, to increase income of poor people they need more revenue, to get more revenue they need to levy heavy taxes on a smaller tax base. This often leads to loss of revenue due to black money. Thus most Government officials often use power bestowed upon them to focus on providing benefits to the smaller tax base, earn kickbacks, generate a moderate revenue sufficient for its upkeep and forget the masses. Thus the Governments world over become “by the poor people, of the aspiring to be rich people and for the super-rich people”

What emerges is that We are industrialized but with scant respect to environment. We are industrialized but instead of poverty eradication, cost optimization and profit became the primary concern. We became globalized but with scant respect to the local workforce. We became globalized but with no equality. We consumed but consumed just for the sake of consuming and that too way beyond our means and requirement. The more we consumed the rich became richer and the poor continued to remain poor. The more we consumed, the more we became susceptible to lifestyle diseases. The more we consumed the more a newer deprived classes. Of course, what we’re being deprived off became relative and subjective. In this shadow fight between the haves and have-nots’ humanity has been a casualty!

We have created a strange world. A world that suffers from both its extremes. We have extreme luxury and abject poverty. We have obesity and malnutrition. We have food shortage and food wastage, so on. At least are we happier? We live in a world that has built ways to connect with people across the world but where we are completely disconnected with people next doors! We are becoming a generation of people with attention span of a 5-year-old, lonely and depressed. Are we healthier? Obesity, diabetes and Cardiac diseases. In this bargain have we at least managed to create a safer world? Increasing defense budget of every country each year, including the poorer countries and increasing threat of terrorism don’t indicate so.

Could all of this be because we followed wrong role models all our life?

 

 

 

 

Metanoia


Human emotions are one of the biggest mysteries of life. Within the seemingly calm surface of the lake of human conscious awareness hide the ripples of emotional upheavals. Time to time these ripples disturb the deceiving calmness of the surface and plunge us into a labyrinth of memories. These disturbances, like seismic activity continue for days together.

Two such emotions are Guilt and Repentance. Dictionary definition indicate:

Guilt: the act of having committed a specified or implied offence or crime

Repentance: Act of sincere regret or remorse

Words are incapable of capturing the true essence of any human emotion. Observe the definition of these two words closely, while they do capture what stems these emotions but they fail to capture what it means emotionally for an individual to experience them.  That’s a linguistic limitation that we have to live with.

Let’s look at these emotions beyond the linguistic framework. In life it’s a given that we would err and hence intentionally or unintentionally offend people as well. Most of us with a moderate sense of morality and ethics would experience one of the aforesaid emotion. Interestingly, I think, these two emotions are disparate yet sequential in nature.

After we have erred the first emotion that humans experience is that of guilt, which involves ingredients like disbelief, denial, self-pity, fear, ignorance and recurrence. With conscious and unconscious analysis of the situation this feeling of guilt gives way to repentance which involves ingredients like acceptance, self-assurance, learning and closure. In the fire of true repentance feeling of guilt ends and from it emerges a liberating wisdom. The general human tendency though is to wallow in guilt and languish in the improbable proposition of rolling back time and correcting the error. Unless one accepts that everybody is fallible and learn from the experience one can’t progress towards the stage of repentance and hence liberate from the incident.

No matter how strong the urge of the ego to believe it is right and deny the error, the longer the feeling of guilt lingers and prevents true repentance. Because:

  • Guilt is egoistic. Repentance is Humility
  • Guilt is denial. Repentance is acceptance
  • Guilt is open ended. Repentance is a closure
  • Guilt is ignorance; Repentance is Knowledge
  • Guilt is binding. Repentance is liberating

Next time when faced with a situation one could make the wise choice of progressing to repentance so that one could gain freedom from the incident only after gaining the wisdom.

Repentance