Recent farm debt waiver in the states of MP and Rajasthan has once again generated heated discussions on the prudence of such generosity by Governments using public money. In an interesting cartoon published in one of the dailies, a middle class person is shown carrying the weight of super rich (corporate borrowers), who are defaulters and absconders on one side and farmers, whose debt is written off, on the other. In normal day to day conversation also, we lament the plight of hard working and honest tax paying middle class. However, being a middle class myself, I have a slightly different view here, especially in respect of farm debt waiver.
Indian farmer is much disadvantaged vi’s-a-vi’s his counterparts in developed nations. His land holdings are small, making the scale of farming unviable. On top of it, very few farmers enjoy the luxury of perennial irrigation, a majority still depending on rains. On top of it, mechanisation of farming activity is again limited to affluent farmers and the cost of inputs is ever rising. A farmer barely manages to earn enough to sustain his family for two square meals. An illness or a social obligation forces him to take debt and sometimes whole lifetime goes in servicing debt. What’s the alternative available to a hardworking, debt laden, severely underprivileged farmer other than committing suicide, which we are seeing dime a dozen day after day. If as an election plank, once in 5 years their small debt (sometimes it’s not even in lakhs; it’s few thousands only) is waived, why make such a hue and cry? Farming is physically tough activity and reward for labour is severely disproportionate. Under the circumstances, we, living in the comforts of our plush city homes, should not discuss this over sumptuous meals, even if the move is considered to be politically motivated and an economic disaster!
Second perspective I just got from a very sharp writing that I came across in one of the WhatsApp groups of which I am also a member. This post said, ” Nothing wrong in middle class bearing the load. The middle class does not take risk. The people in this category have great paying capacity by saving lifelong out of lazy jobs. Saving is leakage in economy system – savings is a leakage in the economy of the circular flow model. -Keynes”.
As aforesaid, though a middle class myself and pretending to be working very hard under lot of stress and duress, with mega responsibilities, the words “saving lifelong out of lazy jobs” has shaken my core, inspiring me to write this blog.
4 thoughts on “Middle Class”
The saving habit is what has protected the middle class people so far from all the vagaries of inflation (which everyone in the government pretends doesn’t exist ), to save money for children’s education in a scenario where mostly the super rich can afford it. To save for old age in a country when there’s no system of social security or indeed any system of practical value to take care of the seniors’ daily and medical needs. The middle classes pay for the shortfall created by the tax avoidnce by the business class. The middle classes also pay for the shortfall in money supply with the government that is created by corruption (that causes subsidies to disappear en route to the intended beneficiaries )… So middle class is the fogging horse and the milch cow rolled into one, for all the shortages created by government inefficiency and corruption… Need I say any more?
Agreed sir! But a new perspective on middle class fascinated me. Also, though not an Economics student, Keynesian view on saving was something new for me! Desk workers are unfit, nurture host of ailments and have unhappy demeanour. May be middle class needs to reinvent itself. Your critique on blog as always is superb
It seems that only middle class are people who are paying taxes. There is also another mindset .. majority of farmers think that ultimately their loans will be waived. At least I experienced that attitude when during one part of my job I was processing farmer loans.
This blog of mine seems to have ruffled some feathers, especially of tax paying middle class. However, plight of Indian farmers is so deep rooted that not our taxes but our compassion only can do something! Thanks