PROSPERITY MOST FOUL
June 11, 2012
As a banker during the '70's and '80's I have been an unwilling witness to how people acquire riches violating the laws of the land, particularly then forex laws, licensing regulations etc. Political nepotism and bribing the officials were their chief weapons.
More recently I have been seeing how private corruption rules the roost. How useless people by virtue of a thick-skin brief-case culture manage to make money. No geniuses these - with no inventions, discoveries, research, patents and copyrights.. to their credit.. but lots of money regularly flows in. [Obviously some money in certain proportion is also duly going out to some people in power!]
Corruption was earlier the monopoly of the bureaucrats. Now even totally private professionals like doctors, architects, engineers, managers et al are neck-deep in bribery.
Here are some examples of unethical trade practices:
* Auto parts sellers routinely buy newly stolen parts from street urchins and sell them making a huge profit on retail. On a larger scale there exist 'artistes' who specialize in reshaping stolen vehicles
* Hardware merchants regularly pay bribes to the carpenter / fitter who brings in a customer, the engineers and the architect who recommend him. This is usually done pretty honestly.
* I was horrified to know from a nursery I bought some plants from that our routine gardener would first destroy our plants, then take us to the nursery to buy fertilizer and new plants. Later he would go there to collect his commission, which is paid without demur.
* Thanks to Aamir we already know how doctors are seeped in corruption in myriad ways. I was also told of an Ahmedabadi doctor who would interrupt an operation to come out the theatre and announce to the relatives that 'such and such additional problem has been noticed.' Would they have him attend to that also? Obviously it meant additional completely free money.
* I knew of a major sugar seller who would routinely buy industrial-grade [meaning unfit for human consumption!] sugar and pass it off for human consumption making a huge kill. [After all he was selling poison!]
* Throughout India - particularly in Delhi - making spurious drugs is high business.
* Printing presses usually give less printed quantity than ordered, specially if you are printing in bulk. Even if it was you who supplied the plain paper, they save some blank sheets and print less. After all who would count those thousands of handbills or posters
* A mind-boggling 'cottage industry' thrives collecting undamaged emptied mineral water bottles, fill them with common tap water, seal, label and sell them as major brand mineral water, virtually minting money. Also the so-called water pouches provide a liquid gold mine to its cottage manufacturers. In a one-square KM locality I know of there are a dozen such 'water pouch' fillers, packers and sealers.
* Restaurants routinely recycle used oil and foods and buy rotten vegetables late in the evening. And many street-side food stalls even recycle used water
These are merely some of the malpractices I personally know of and recalled spontaneously. All my life I have been seeing criminals, thick-skinned, insensitive or networked people making illegitimate money, without adding proportionate value to the supply chain. Some present do-gooders are merely good inheritors of bad money.
Common to these traits was insensitivity toward fellow human being's suffering. And sadly most of them also took refuge in cheap versions of quick-fix 'religiosity' seeking forgiveness and even 'scoring positive points' through charity.
No, I am not implying that all traders, all rich people are sinners. I have merely stated the rule. Exceptions may - and do - exist. And we salute them.
I earnestly seek a lot of opinions - no less from traders and prosperous people!