Sunday, October 5, 2008

Tale of two persons: The Financial Meltdown of 2008

It is Sunday fifth of October 2008. It is shashti (Sixth day according to Hindu Calenders) and the first of festivities of Durga Puja. But I am here to write about something totally different thing. It is about the global financial meltdown, or a small part of it.

No, No, Absolutely not, I am not writing about the reasons, the culprits, the causes, the tools of such destruction. We have enough literature on that, or even more than enough. But what I will write is about the human implications that had, the causes of such implications, and why people are not seriously feeling sad about it.

I was moving my eyes over the headlines of the morning newspaper, when I caught up with this article, I read only what was there in the first page itself, I need not go further, whatever I had to get I got it there itself.

What is loss? Are two losses are same? Lets go through this example.
Once there were two friends Ravi and Anand. Both passed out of the same school, both went to the same college. However, Ravi chose to do his MBA from a prestigious College and Anand, due to strained financial circumstances, begin working in a brokerage at a meagre salary.
Years passed on, both them were still friend, both were in touch with each other, but they have seldom met for years. Both were married with kids. Ravi, after doing his MBA, joined a bank as trainee, salary is five figured and in denominated in dollars, now he a investment banker, his salary is left to your imagination. Anand, since he had started working earlier, didn't went for regular post graduation, he did it from correspondence. He left his first job and changed many since then, his current job pays him a salary of six figure, denominated in rupees. Ravi, stayed in an upmarket enclave in Manhattan. Anand was in his old government flat.
As the banks began to collapse in 2008, Ravi, in a single day, lost his job, but he always has expenses to meet, the rent of his upmarket home, insurance, grocery etc., leave alone savings that he has to make. Anand on the other hand, too have tougher time, his raise was freeze, adding on to that, the crippling inflation in the country was eating into his daily grocery budget and future planning. One day, both of day met at IM, and began to share there feelings, Ravi was distraught, for him, it was a great loss, now he has to meet his rent and other expenses, the upmarket apartment, which provided him the serenity, now was pinching, they had to move out. Anand kept wondering, who was at great loss, himself who was at place, when he started his career, or Ravi whose monthly expenses amounts to his two years annual salary.

This is the question that struck my mind immediately. Those who had lost in this meltdown, had lost a great deal. But what about those who did had anything to lose at all, but still at a loss. To fall from a position in tip always hurts, but when it is shared with persons whose income is all but your expenses. What if the other guy falls, and if he did he falls down he falls to the dumps. Which fall is bad, which one is more pathetic.

Going back to the example again, both Ravi and Anand worked for 10 hours a day at least, whereas Ravi has access to best food and gym, Anand had to content with television only, and few visits to mall in the weekends if the pocket permits. Ravi dined in the best restaurants in the world, whereas Anand loved the local canteen or dhaba, or a good local restaurant once in a blue moon. Both of them love their families, but their work permitted them to meet them only on weekends, Sundays in case of Anand.

One thing I do believe in is this, that every level more or less all people work equally hard. Only difference is there qualifications, and nothing else. But should it make the disparity that big that one man's expense is other man's yearly income. Well, it can be attributed to the survival of fittest. The move of the smarter one. However, their falls should not make paeans, odes or ballads, because still they are practically not in dumps.

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