1. Organised-efforts by individuals, groups, and governments to help protect consumers from policies and practices that infringe consumer rights to fair business practices.
Consumer protection in India is very strong for those who are willing to take the pains to fight for their rights. I know a number of cases where the consumers have won big settlements from large corporations here and I am sure that it must be the same overseas as well.
2. Doctrine that ever-increasing consumption of goods and services forms the basis of a sound economy.
and 3. Continual expansion of one’s wants and needs for goods and services.
This is something that has overtaken us human beings from the time of the Industrial Revolution which was speeded up from after the second world war when it was discovered that women could also come into the non agricultural workforce. Rather than expand on what has happened elsewhere in the world, let me concentrate on India where we got out of the Socialistic Pattern of Society in the 1990s of the last century and got royally involved in the rat race.
The one word mantra is Growth. Everyone and his uncle obsesses about growth. If the GDP growth gets below a certain percentage point, all hell breaks loose and the pundits start baying for the blood of the politicians. And such growth can only come from demand for goods and services constantly increasing to facilitate production of goods and services. So, businesses have come up with the brilliant strategy of advertising overt and covert to keep the demand pot simmering and producing goods and services highly subject to obsolescence so that replacement demand also takes place besides demand for new goods and services.
To facilitate that process, financial institutions get on the bandwagon and offer products, read loans, to make borrowing attractive so that people are perpetually in debt often just meeting interest payments without the original borrowed sum ever reducing at all. Another phenomenon that one can watch is that of the debt servicing going up for individuals as their incomes go up too! A self perpetuating cycle that leads to many of the modern ills.
I am glad to report that I do not contribute to the growth of our GDP. I am in the process of simplifying my life to the extent I can by becoming a minimalist. I refuse to be swayed by advertising for goods and services though I am sucker for advertising for movies and books. In the latter case however, I prefer buying a kindle version and buy hard copies only when I cannot get an electronic version. I however doubt that my splurging on these two items will seriously impact our GDP, the current growth of which is 7.3%, among the highest in the world!
I had suggested the topic for this week’s LBC Friday post. You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs. Maria, Pravin and Shackman.
In the absence of adequate public transportation, Indians depend on private transportation in all its avatars, but most in number will be two wheelers in the form of motorcycles and scooters of all varieties of power and design.
Pune, the city that I live in has the dubious distinction of being the city with the highest number of two wheelers in India.
In many parts of the country, wearing helmets is compulsory but in quite a few, it is not, but the local authorities try to popularise the use of helmets. Some cities had to withdraw legislation making wearing of helmets compulsory when the public took strong objection. The climate not being very conducive is the main reason for the objection.
One very popular God in India is the God with the elephant head, Ganesha. The lore is that Parvathi wished to take a bath in privacy and created a boy figure from sandal wood paste and breathed life into it to keep any strayers away from her abode. When her husband Shiva came, the young lad would not let him inside and so Shiva simply chopped his head off and entered. When Parvathi lamented, Shiva arranged to get the first animal he came across,an elephant to be decapitated and fixed that head on the torso of the corpse and brought the young lad back to life. That lad is Ganesha.
Here is a local authority using that lore to popularise the use of helmets. It would appear that it is addressed to rule breakers there! Perhaps it is compulsory in Kochi to wear helmets and I can understand why the locals would not like to wear helmets. It is almost always hot and humid there.
Using the theme of people not using helmets where it is compulsory, a local advertisement has come up with this short film too.
As an afterthought, I was reminded of the Hill Tribe of Nagas of our North Eastern India who use scooters made of wood to race downhill in a favourite pastime when it does not rain. I only wish that our cities could use more of these instead of the motorised ones.
“I was embarrassed yesterday, when returning from the metropolis on the train, to find myself being scanned by a nubile young woman diagonally opposite me. She sat down, glanced across to me, smiled and allowed (allowed?) her pupils to dilate…or maybe she was using belladonna. She did not appear to be much more than 17 0r 18 years old. Now don’t forget that little girls as young as 6 months old can pull the same trick.”
I could not resist the temptation to tease him a bit and responded with this:
“You lucky devil you. Still being given the come on looks! Come on, share the secret with us. Some special deodorant spray that is advertised with such themes? I have so far paid scant attention to them, but if they work for you, may be I will try too.”
And Ursula barged right in with this:
“I beg your pardon, Ramana: Deodorant? What sort of backhanded compliment is that? Magpie’s charms are not bottled, or tinny for that matter. Though he liberally sprays.
My guess it’s the eyes, maybe a smile (hint of). There is no age barrier to that x-factor.”
Now, I cannot resist the temptation to put this up for my readers’ entertainment.
One of my favourite reference books goes by the title of this post. The author, I am sure would not have thought of this new shocker for me.
Our newspapers are frequently advertising a new Mutual Fund offering. The advertiser is a highly respected and conservative, Tambram (Tamil Brahmin) family run company from the South of India.
My understanding of this advertisement was straight forward. Promoting a new MF. I was made wiser by my son who thought that this was hilarious. I was puzzled till he asked me to google for ‘Golden shower’. Before disambiguation, I was led to this wikipage.
I am now wiser by hindsight. I wonder if the Sundarams are!