Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sell as they may

Annual budget might not have the significance as it used to have once. It was the period when people used to hook to their radios and Black & White television sets to apprise themselves of the latest cutbacks and increases. In a socialist economy everything was determined by the state. However, after the advent of liberalization, budget lost its sheen. As markets became more and more active, prices became dependent on the market rather than the views of some bureaucrat at South Block. However, business still has the considerable interest in it. If someone invests his vast some of money, he might want to know the environment under which it is being managed. After all, policy cannot be market determined.

But, the nation has become more literate than it was in 1991, when first doses of liberalization were provided. Now most of the people can claim that they are financially literate, and they know markets. Even if they have being bugged down by at least three to four stock market scams, including one hitting straight after the 1991. But still excitement is such that everyone wants to play with the fire. Fire after all is the symbol of power.

But every game has its rules. And in this game most important rule is ‘information’. Information which forms bedrock of any decision, any business and probable Weapon of Mass Destruction. Those who are in the business of ‘information’ certainly know how to sell one.

Spicing up! Is what you will see when you pick up any newspaper. Take out any issue of any post-budget day newspaper and you will get a more than example. There are doses, of the economic health, of the budget history, of great Indian family, of Indian resilience (whatever it might be), and of hope. There are talks about great Indian family saving the member from the trauma of recession, from the pink slips, from depression. And there are articles, articles and more articles. Articles claiming to contain inside views, claiming to contain more information, claiming to contain more insight.

The newspapers claimed that they get everything examined from every angle. The articles contain perspective. The perspectives of the people who are experienced. The perspective of the nation’s who’s who. These articles are not served alone; they are garnished with flashy graphics, informative statistics and canny quotes. It’s special after all, so it is a sellout, even if free copies of the same have to be doled out. It’s big and bountiful, likely to be grabbed by everyone. But how many actually read the entire content.

However, the question remains, is all information sold is valuable? Does government policy and bureaucratic procedures are affected by ‘opinion’ of any particular person. The answer is simple no. Such might affect judicial rulings, but governments aren’t known to give much thought to individual opinions. After all, economic policy just can’t be challenged on court.

But something has to be sold. Sell as they may, irrespective of the significance of what’s being sold. Its volume and contents, value! Anyone can derive from it. Because the people, they are experts. And when some other economic incident strikes the shores, again more information will be provided. Who cares about the eventual outcome, selling is an art. Buyer is always beware.

Who cares about eventuality, even if jingoistic feeling raised during the purchase of Corus and JRL, are now being considered stupid and out of the way. If a nation is buying, then what is the point of being not selling?

© Tarun Mitra

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