Recession (Post-6)

I wrote this few months back....

(from 4 Ps- 24th April-7th May)

Nothing like a ganne ka juice in a hot recession hit summer morning…. He he, why, recession is in. I guess it’s the word of the year. No news column is complete without it. People joke, everything nowadays is caused by this recession. It’s a fraught, a plague, a tsunami, an earthquake, a WTO attack, a terrorist, or GOD himself. We have to fight back, to restore our economies. Since, one of my earphones is not working properly; I am often compelled to drop my ear into the conversations of other joggers, usually gentlemen in their late 50s-60s. They love to discuss the pros and cons of recession and debate on the future, at the same time, flaunting their remarkable knowledge of current affairs. But, this word recession is a household hero, I guess. Even the juice maker, tailor, helpers know it and they are more vocal about it.

Last Monday, when I was groaning in disappointment to see the fate of my newly bought kurta, the tailor tried to appease me by dragging the word into conversation, “Madam, I tell you, this recession hasn’t hit me a bit. I am doing well in the business and I feel it’s just a hoax.” I resented, “but, our placements have been badly affected.” However, he was adamant to give his verdict, “This recession is bad for those who do clerical work. I tell you madam, there are less number of people in India who are technical, most of the people are clerical. Now see, we are technical, we won’t face this recession ever.” This conversation could have worked more, had I not freaked out to see the puckering in my kurta’s seam.
To speak truly, even I am a layman regarding economic terms (macro and micro, that’s all I know). My mother, being a post graduate in economics, tried hard to convince me to take economics as an extra during my +2, but for me, it was a complete no no. Now, guess, what my latest hobby is- to collect business magazines, from all the publications, they are so cheap and colorful, they add color to my room. Yesterday, I supposed to read the editorial issue of one of the magazines in which Mr. Arindam Chaudhary, the author and editor, talked a lot about recession and how it will prove a boon for developing countries like India.

I have always been abject in my school-time essays when talking about India and its growing population, blaming all the growth retarding activities on it. I was quite surprised to know that we are a country with 50 percent of the population below 35. We are the young people of the old world. Few months ago, I flipped through a book on Toyota Production System which gave the manufacturing world the concept of lean manufacturing. I came to know, before the Japanese recession, most of the Japanese manufacturers followed the American concept of mass manufacturing given by Henry Ford. This was a push system. When Japanese recession set in and Toyota retrospected, it found there was not much demand in the country for the product. Mr. Arindam Chaudhary says, business are much influenced by the culture of a country. One system that works for one country may not work for other. Combining both the readings I have done, I can understand what the author wanted to convey.
Japanese families are mostly followers of Buddhism; satisfaction is in-built in their culture. They buy less and they buy only when they need to. So, they don’t create a market. Push system in this case will obviously lead to failure. At the same time, a delegation sent to America by the company to study the Ford system came across the pull system used in the departmental stores where goods were replaced on the racks as soon as they were sold. Then, came the lean manufacturing system into existence. Now, some more words about the American market and people’s buying power. Products were mass manufactured and pushed into the market. People were given more purchasing power, in terms of credits, loans, etc. They were encouraged to buy more and more even if they already have those things working in their full potential. When a saturation point reached for the people, when their future income was bind to pay back the loans, the financial firms eased out the pay back terms facilitating even the noncredit worthy people to take loans. Now, the ratio of average house-hold debt to disposable income is around 140% in US and 180% in UK. Since, many countries are involved in business with these developed countries, they also feel the waves of recession. But, according to the author, these countries pose the new market. The only thing we need is to be given the purchasing power, the same way Henry Ford gave to his employees by paying them more so that they can buy his products.
So, now that the American markets are super saturated; the industries need to create and search for more and more markets in countries that were till date, under developed or developing. This opens a new opportunity for us because to buy something, we need to have purchasing power. We can get this purchasing power only by nice packaged job placemnts . Hence, world is turning its eyes towards us; we just have to dance on the chance.

But, I have a fear- Fear of being westernized. Yes, westernization is transforming the urban part of the country and drifting it apart from the root traditions. Now, the issue is, one can say, why is westernization always seen as a negative impact on the society? May be, its because it makes us materialistic, which doesn’t go with the spirit of India. We are people of several beliefs, home to several religions and theories, all zeroing down to teach us unity, simplicity and love. These thousands of brands and their 4 Ps are driving us crazy for more and more money. We need money; we need to purchase more and more- just to quantify our achievements. Thanks to credit cards, which act like an appetizer to our hunger. Now, my question is- wouldn’t this boom in the sales of credit cards and loan schemes leading us to a situation similar to America? Are we really enjoying an opportunity or repeating some blunders?