As I sat and discussed some strategies about maximizing the productivity of few of the teams with my bosses, my thoughts went tangential (what’s new?!!)! I had no clue on the connection at that time, but after mulling over it for a while I think I know now. Anyways, I am penning it here…
We (myself and few of my bosses) were discussing about productivity enhancements. I was playing the devil’s advocate (which is the easiest thing to do…not all bosses are that intelligent and their schemes aren’t well formed…obviously picking out holes in such schemes is easy and enjoyable at the same time!). At one point, they were talking about “effective utilization of resources”. I think this is when I started wondering about something else.
“Effective utilization of resources” – this is what economics is all about. They predominantly worry about ‘scarce’ resources – nowadays they have branched out too..But then, it is about resources and distribution of same (there are other aspects as well, as brought out in this and this). The basic premise is, there are some resources that are sought after/needed by mankind universally. Most of such resources are ‘scarce’, in the sense that, the distribution of them isn’t even – and hence the supply-demand is skewed by various divisions like nationality, culture, geography etc. This calls for defining a scheme on how best to handle this situation – and there comes in Economics (though highly convoluted and advanced, the premise remains the same). It draws heavily from the advancements in Group Theory as well, but that’s beyond the point.
In this state, I wondered about a situation where the “basic needs” of mankind are met. There is a big leap when you move from “basic needs” to the next set of “needs”. The next set of “needs” aren’t universal in nature. Identifying them is tricky, and as far as I could think of, it is impossible too. It isn’t a natural progress. It isn’t like saying to oneself, “i’ll first solve these issues and take up the next ones”.
From this stance, how will Economics evolve? Without a clear definition of basic needs, it cannot operate. Even if someone defines those needs, that will be heavily disputed – IMO. I do not think anything that’s beyond food, shelter and other basic needs of today can be deemed “basic” in an undisputed way. On this note, I am reminded of one of my friend’s (a pseudo economist) statement in the recent past when we were talking about some aspect brought out in Zen…”If the basic needs are met, democracy isn’t a sustainable model. Most probably anarchy will prevail”. I tend to believe him as of now. Anarchy as the model of society and Existentialism (self definition of meaning of their lives by individuals) as the philosophy, might become the corner stones of the future.
Unfortunately I don’t have the life time to see how it pans out! Not a big deal, I am not going to see many such things 🙂