Spend in Solidarity
Can we channelize our spending to help??
Money is an important aspect of human life. When some consider it as the most important, others consider it as something at the service of humanity. I mostly would go with the second position. The worth of money (100Rs or 100$) is very subjective. It’s value to buy commodities may not be varied depending on the persons, but 100$ has a different worth for the rich and the poor, super-rich, and beggar.
Capital is typically cash or liquid assets held for expenditures. It is important for families, small and large-scale industries. It is a fact that most of the people are economically affected during the COVID-19. There are some exceptions, and this is most evident for the super-rich billionaires of the world. The lockdowns imposed in various countries (I do think it was necessary, though we could have better managed it) have created immense harm to poor and small-scale traders and industries. When a reduction of 1000$ in profit may be extremely significant for a small-scale trader, a 100000$ reduction may not have a similar substantive effect on the super-rich. One of the conclusions is that there is a lack of capital with the people, especially the poor.
Abhijit Banarjee, the Nobel prize-winning Indian economist speaks of putting money in the hands of the poor. This is an idea not endorsed by many in and out of government. I think that a time like ours call for an innovation like that, though many governments may not willingly take it up. So the question arises, what can we do?
It is always easy to push all the responsibilities to the government and assume that we have power only to vote. Though it has some amount of truth, we still do have power in our simple actions. Festive seasons are one period in time where people spend extensively, on food, clothes, and other items.
Can we use the purchasing power of the festive seasons to inject capital into the hands of the poor?
- Buy things from the hands of poor traders or small scale traders in your locality. They may not be able to offer all the discounts as the large companies, but your 100$ spend on them would have much worth for them than 1000$ spend in malls. This is fraternity or solidarity in action.
- This won’t solve all the problems, but some significant relief may reach some of the affected people.
NB: None of these ideas are original (or mine), but I strongly feel that we all should do something in this direction.