Unfinished essay on limitations of capitalism
I did not finish this essay because I found a book which beautifully explained the limits of *free markets*. This book was a finalist for the Pulitzer prize for non-fiction.
The book: How Markets Fail: The Logic of Economic Calamities is written by John Cassidy, a writer for the New Yorker, .
The Mosambi test:
If you have ever drunk the perfect mosambi, you will understand what I am talking about.
The mosambi is first peeled and then carefully every piece is also peeled, and only the pulp is collected. Care is taken that not one seed gets mixed with the pulp. Now, the pulp is put in a mixer and ground and you get the perfect mosambi juice. The total absence of the bitter skin and any seed is what makes the perfect mosambi juice. Now, picture the way the mosambi is made in the juice stalls.
They just put the whole fruit into the mixer and add some large amount of sugar and some salt(to mask the bitterness) and some dirty ice. The point is, you do get a decent juice , but with excess sugar and salt and probably some bitterness will still be left.
This gives an illustration of how Capitalism gives an inferior product (because it takes a lot of labor to peel the ffin mosambi without even a shred of skin or seed), and masks it with substances not good for your health and sells it.
Now, you might ask why there will be some juice stalls which will want to attract customers like you and may be they do the perfect mosambi juice. But, the problem is , this will happen only when there are large number of people like you. But, the problem is there are large number of people like me (who are ready to pay a premium). Now, you might ask , why dont you do the mosambi juice yourselves.
Well, I dont have ffin time. So, since time is money, I am ready to shell out a few extra bucks for the perfect mosambi juice. But, others are not ready to do that and since a large number of people dont want the perfect mosambi juice, majority will sell it. This situation is analogous with democracy. Large number of people who cant see through the hypocricy of the politicians choose the wrong person, and all athoers like us have to go along with the shit because, it is what large number of people want. (This is the first problem with capitalism, majority is always right)
So, enough of the mosambi example.
Let’s take the example of organic farming and organic produce. We have been eating pesticides and fertilizers since the green revolution(or a few decades back).But, the concept of organic food has been a very recent one. So, there is this huge ffin delay for us to realize that we have been eating poison all along . Some people would have realized that this ffin green revolution wasn’t good. But, the food shortage was so much that eating food laced with poison at that time was better than eating nothing at all. Dying from not eating anything was felt to be worse than suffering from some long-term diseases as a result of eating that shit.
So, long-term welfare is sacrificed for short-term. But, people fail to realize that long-term problems will eventually catch up with them. Another example for a similar phenomenon is the habit of packing eatables in plastic in hotels which is ffin dangerous. But, if they give it tn something like banana leaves, it might be less convenient or costlier, so they don’t do it.
We too don’t carry any vessel, because again it is not very convenient. Coming back to organic food, since some people would have realized that we are sacrificing quality(of our indigenous food crops) for quantity. But, the cost of organic food was so much that not many wanted to spend so much on that (but they would have no hesitation to spend on shitty things like gold, some new house, vehicles) etc and there was also ignorance and the huge cost that is associated with the spreading of knowledge regarding this . So, majority opinion always prevails.
There are other instances of limitations in Capitalism.
1. Since people buy the vegetables by weight, farmers tend to grow hybrid vegetables which are very large in size, and slightly cheaper compared to indigenous varieties, and the hybrid ones are less tasty. But, people tend to buy mostly hybrid vegetables, and thus farmers seeing that very few people buy such stuff stop growing them. Thus, it is very hard to find good tasty indigenous varieties of vegetables, which don’t look like monsters.