Kashmir, The Broken Soul…

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Stifled and Suffocated Under Occupation,

Confined to a Life in a Brazen Act of Annexation,

Subjected to a Toxicity by the Rest of the Confederacy, 

Paying the Price of Some Cooked and Some Raw Conspiracy.  

Counting Days and Nights Cut off From the Near and Dear Ones, 

By the Apathy and Atrophy of the Power that Runs, 

Into a Corner and Forced Underground, 

By the Despicable Vulgarity and Obscenity of the Dictatorial Sound. 

Who’d Turn a Messiah to the Multiplying Affliction, 

To Arrest the Basic Arithmetic of Division by Constriction, 

To a Unity Imposed by Self-Rule and Determination, 

By a Despot Shambolic and Ostentatious in Bringing Forth Malediction. 

We are People With Indomitable Rights, 

Sacrificed at the Altar of Rituals and Rites, 

Chanted on by a Population that doesn’t seem to Care, 

Legitimizing the Deeds of the Fundamentalists’s as an Internal Affair. 

China’s Belt and Road and India’s Infrastructural Ambitions – Where is the line to be drawn?

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When in 2017, China organized the first-ever Forum on Belt and Road, almost 130 countries from all over the world, including the United States had sent in their representatives to witness and be part of the diplomatic showcase of China’s global ambitious project, which aims to create an interlocked trade, financial and cultural network stretching from East Asia to Europe and beyond. There was, however, one notable miss, India. India was always opposed to Chinese ambitions of erecting this vast infrastructural network and the primary reason was that it violated India’s state sovereignty. The showcase arm of the Chinese Belt and Road happens to be the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a $62 Billion pet project of Chinese President Xi Jinping and traversing the entire length and breadth of Pakistan with nodal points in Xinjiang province of China, and Pakistan’s port town of Gawdar. CPEC is marked by modern infrastructure of transportation networks, special economic zones, industrial clusters and energy hubs, and considered China’s main plank of Belt and Road Initiative aimed to underscore China’s economic might and dominance over the Asian-Pacific seas. That a segment of CPEC cuts through the disputed territory of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir has irked India no ends, which it considers a direct, uncalled-for and aggressive nature of China’s global ambitions at the cost of state sovereignty. Though, the CPEC is yet to be fully commissioned, some segments have started to function. This is turning out to be major bone of contention between the two Asian economic giants. But, relations have a gotten a bit murkier since 2017, and two major geopolitical events have confounded matters further. 

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The first one is the Doklam Standoff between China and India. This tiny plateau nestled between China, India and Bhutan witnessed a three-month standoff between the two largest armies in the world over a road that the Chinese were building and which India apprehended would function more as a surveillance apparatus over the narrow path of land that connects the Indian mainland with the Northeastern states. Though the tension was eventually diffused, the state of affairs between China and India never really thawed as could have been anticipated. It was in 2017 that India and Pakistan became newly installed members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), having been elevated from observer states. China, anticipating an increasing amount of divisiveness within a regional economic and security organization by being accustomed to extreme comity and cooperative discussions was frustrated at India’s becoming a member state that Russia, another founder-member of SCO pushed for. Russia wanted to constrain China’s growing influence in the organization as it was concerned that post-Soviet SCO members were drifting too far into the Chinese geostrategic orbit. Moscow had long delayed implementing Chinese initiatives that would have enabled Beijing to reap greater benefits from regional trade. As China gained more clout in Central Asia, Moscow choice New Delhi’s inclusion to slow and oppose Beijing’s ambitions. It is under these circumstances that New Delhi would likely continue to criticize the CPEC in the context of the SCO because, as a full member, India now has the right to protest developments that do not serve the interests of all SCO members. The SCO also offers another public stage for India to constantly question the intent behind China’s exceptionally close ties to Pakistan.

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The second is the recent escalation of hostilities between India and Pakistan, and how Pakistan felt betrayed over China’s so-called neutral stand by asking both countries to take recourse to meaning dialogue in resolving the contentious issue of Kashmir and Terror and cease all military adventures. It is to be noted that the second convention of the Belt and Road Forum is to take place in April this year, and China is all hopeful to get India’s positive support for its infrastructural might. India’s notable absence from the 2017 meet has hit Chinese plans, and the latter wants to reverse the course this time around. Even if India were to take part this year, or send in their dissent note via an official communique, it would reliably and reasonably highlight the contradiction between China’s stated anti-terrorism goals and the reality of its policy. Most notably, Beijing has consistently looked the other way as Pakistani Intelligence Services continue to support terrorist groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Moreover, because India is particularly close to the Afghan Government, it could seek to sponsor Afghanistan to move from observer status toward full SCO membership. This would give India even greater strength in the group and could bolster Russia’s position as well.  

Lingering border disputes and fierce geostrategic competition in South Asia between China and India is likely to temper any cooperation Beijing might hope to achieve with New Delhi in latter’s inclusion at the Forum. Mutual suspicions in the maritime domain persist as well, with the Indian government shoring its position in the strategically important Andaman and Nicobar island chain to counter the perceived Chinese “string of pearls” strategy – aimed at establishing access to naval ports throughout the Indian Ocean that could be militarily advantageous in a conflict. Such mutual suspicions will likely impact Forum’s deliberations and discussions in unpredictable ways. Although India may be an unwelcome addition and irritant, China’s economic and military strength makes it far more formidable on its own – a point that is only magnified as Russian influence simultaneously recedes, or rather more aptly fluctuates. Even when India rejected Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative overture, China remains India’s top trading partner and a critical market for all Central and South Asian states, leaving them with few other appealing options. India’s entry into the Forum, however, could put Beijing in the awkward position of highlighting the value, while increasingly working around or outside of it. Outright failure of the Forum would be unacceptable for China because of its central role in establishing it in the first place. Regardless of the bickering between countries that may break out, Beijing can be expected to make yet another show of the importance, with all of the usual pomp and circumstance, at the upcoming summit in April, 2019.

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What then is India’s infrastructural challenge to Belt and Road? India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi instantiated the need for overhauling the infrastructure in a manner hitherto not conceived of by emphasizing that the Government would usher in a ‘Blue Revolution’ by developing India’s coastal regions and working for the welfare of fishing communities in a string of infrastructure projects. That such a declaration came in the pilgrim town of Somnath in Gujarat isn’t surprising, for the foundations of a smart city spread over an area of about 1400 acres was laid at Kandla, the port city. The figures he cited during his address were all the more staggering making one wonder about the source of resources. For instance, the smart city would provide employment to about 50000 people. The Blue Revolution would be initiated through the Government’s flagship Sagarmala Project attracting an investment to the tune of Rs. 8 lakh crore and creating industrial and tourism development along the coast line of the entire country. Not just content with such figures already, he also promised that 400 ports and fishing sites would be developed under the project. One would obviously wonder at how tall are these claims? Clearly Modi and his cohorts are no fan of Schumacher’s “Small is Beautiful” due to their obsession with “Bigger is Better”. What’s even more surprising is that these reckless followers of capitalism haven’t even understood what is meant by “Creative Destruction” both macro- or micro- economically. The process of Joseph Schumpeter’s creative destruction (restructuring) permeates major aspects of macroeconomic performance, not only long-run growth but also economic fluctuations, structural adjustment and the functioning of factor markets. At the microeconomic level, restructuring is characterized by countless decisions to create and destroy production arrangements. These decisions are often complex, involving multiple parties as well as strategic and technological considerations. The efficiency of those decisions not only depends on managerial talent but also hinges on the existence of sound institutions that provide a proper transactional framework. Failure along this dimension can have severe macroeconomic consequences once it interacts with the process of creative destruction. Quite unfortunately, India is heading towards an economic mess, if such policies are to slammed onto people under circumstances when neither the macroeconomic not the microeconomic apparatuses in the country are in shape to withstand cyclonic shocks. Moreover, these promotional doctrines come at a humungous price of gross violations of human and constitutional rights of the people lending credibility once again to the warnings of Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People Mattered…

So, is there any comparison between Belt and Road and Blue Economy? Well, pundits could draw far-fetched comparisons between these infrastructural advances, but, for the Chinese, Belt and Road is geographically much vaster as compared to Indian Blue Economy, which is more confined to domestic consumptions but do have elements of exim and trade aspects to it. Apart from that, when it comes to fulfilling these ambitions, China with its economic might have much better resources at commissioning the initiative, whereas India, with its faltering banking industry and waning investor confidence is finding its increasingly difficult to map out routes of funding and financing. On a more geopolitical note, and especially in the wake of current events between India and Pakistan, china would do well to factor in the larger perspectives of its relations with South Asia. It’s well known that China has been using Pakistan as a foil against India since the 1960s, and with its CPEC has upped its commitment to Pakistan that includes the assurances of Pakistani well-being. But can China remain oblivious to Pakistan’s scorpion-like behavior of devouring itself? On the other hand, a stable India is providing opportunities for Chinese companies to expand themselves. The reset in Sino-Indian ties following the Wuhan Summit of 2018 has created conditions which can be of great benefit to Beijing in an era when it is facing a fundamental challenge from the United States. Who knows, New Delhi may even consider supporting the Belt & Road Initiative in some indirect fashion as the Japanese are doing?  

न्यूनतम समथर्न मूल्य: एक जन-केंद्रित परिप्रेक्ष्य (Minimum Support Price: A People-Centric Perspective)

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न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य (MSP) एक वायदा है जो भारत सरकार द्वारा किसानों और कृषि श्रमिकों को किसी भी तरह की कृषि उत्पादक दामों में तीव्र गिरावट के दौरान सुरक्षा मुहिया कराता है| न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य सरकारी व्यवस्था में एक नीतिगत साधन है और इसे आमतौर पर फसलों की  बीजारोपण  के  शुरुआत में कृषि लागत और मूल्य आयोग (CACP) की सिफारिशों के आधार पर पेश किया जाता है। न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य का प्रमुख उद्देश्य  भरपूर  उत्पादन अवधि के दौरान किसानों को सुरक्षा देना, और उन्हें समर्थन करना तथा सार्वजनिक वितरण प्रणाली के लिए अनाज इकठ्ठा करना है.  वस्तुओं की खरीद और पारिश्रमिकरूप, ऐसे दो  माध्यम  है  जिससे एक प्रभावी न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य लागू किया जा सकता है. किसानो के लिए पारिश्रमिक की प्रकृति ही न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य और  प्राप्त कीमतों के बीच के अंतर की भरपाई कर सकता है |

बड़े पैमाने पर कृषि संकट  के चलते,  ऐसे नीतियों पर जोर देने की आवश्यकता है जो तत्काल प्रभाव से सकारात्मक परिणाम  सामने ला सकते हों। इन  परिणामों  को मूल्य और गैर-मूल्य कारक के घटकों के माध्यम से प्राप्त किया जा सकता है। गैर-मूल्य कारक दीर्घकालिक योजना से संबंधित हैं जो  बाजार  सुधार, संस्थागत सुधार और प्रौद्योगिक   क्षेत्र में नवीनीकरण पर  आश्रित  है,  जिससे  किसानो की स्थिति में सुधर हो सके   उनके  आय  में भी वृद्धि हो सके। मूल्य कारक अल्पकालिक योजना से संबंधित है जो कृषि उपज के लिए पारिश्रमिक कीमतों में तत्काल प्रभाव से वृद्धि करने पर जोर देता है | न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य, मूल्य के कारकों के दायरे में शामिल होता है| सरकार 23 वस्तुओं के लिए न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य और गन्ने के लिए FRP (उचित और पारिश्रमिक मूल्य) को अधिसूचित करती है। ये फसलें  एक कृषि अवधि में उपयोग होने वाले भूमि के  कुल क्षेत्रफल में से लगभग 84% हिस्से को सम्मिलित करता है |  लगभग 5% क्षेत्र चारा फसलों के अंतर्गत आता है  जिसे न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य के अंतर्गत शामिल नहीं किया जाता |  इस गणित के अनुसार, यदि न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य को पूरी तरह से लागू किया जाता है तो कीमतों में लाभ के लिए उत्पादकों के एक छोटे से भाग को छोड़कर कुल कृषि क्षेत्र के करीब 90% पर न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य लागू  होगा|  

तो, सवाल यह है कि, CACP कैसे न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य (MSP) का निर्धारण करता है? न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य का निर्धारण करते समय CACP निम्नलिखित कारकों को ध्यान में रखता है:

  1. प्रति हेक्टेयर खेती की लागत और देश में विभिन्न क्षेत्रों में लागत की संरचना और उसमें हुए परिवर्तन।
  2. देश के विभिन्न क्षेत्रों में प्रति क्विंटल उत्पादन की लागत और उसमें हुए परिवर्तन।
  3. विभिन्न उत्पादक सामग्री की कीमतें और उसमें हुए परिवर्तन।
  4. उत्पादों  के बाजार मूल्य और उसमें हुए परिवर्तन।
  5. किसानों द्वारा बेची व खरीदी गयी वस्तुओं की कीमतें और उसमें हुए परिवर्तन।
  6. आपूर्ति से संबंधित जानकारी जैसे क्षेत्र, उपज और उत्पादन, आयात, निर्यात और घरेलू उपलब्धता तथा सरकार / सार्वजनिक एजेंसियों या उपक्रमों के पास भंडार की उपलब्धता| 
  7. मांग से संबंधित जानकारी, जिसमें कुल और प्रति व्यक्ति खपत, प्रोसेसिंग उद्योग की प्रवृत्ति और क्षमता शामिल है।
  8. अंतरराष्ट्रीय बाजारों में कीमतें और उसमें हुए परिवर्तन।
  9. कृषिउत्पाद  से ली गई  साधित वस्तुएं मसलन चीनी, गुड़, जूट, खाद्य और गैर-खाद्य तेलों, सूती धागा की कीमतें और उसमें हुए परिवर्तन।
  10. कृषि उत्पादों की प्रोसेसिंग लागत और उसमें हुए परिवर्तन।
  11. विपणन और सेवाओं की लागत, भंडारण, परिवहन, प्रोसेसिंग, करों / शुल्क, और बाजार के  कारक द्वारा बनाए गए लाभांश, और
  12. व्यापक आर्थिक चर वस्तुएं जैसे की सामान्य स्तर की कीमतें, उपभोक्ता मूल्य सूचकांक और मौद्रिक व राज कोषी  करक | 

जैसा कि देखा जा सकता है, यह मापदंडों का एक व्यापक  समूह है जिसपर आयोग न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य (MSP) की गणना के लिए निर्भर करता है। परन्तु  सवाल यह है की : आयोग को इस डेटा   कहाँ से मिलती है? डेटा आमतौर पर कृषि वैज्ञानिकों, किसान नेताओं, सामाजिक कार्यकर्ताओं, केंद्रीय मंत्रालयों, भारतीय खाद्य निगम (FCI), नेशनल एग्रीकल्चरल कोऑपरेटिव मार्केटिंग फेडरेशन ऑफ इंडिया (NAFED), कॉटन कॉर्पोरेशन ऑफ इंडिया (CCI), जूट कॉर्पोरेशन ऑफ इंडिया तथा व्यापारियों के संगठन और अनुसंधान संस्थानों से एकत्र किए जाते हैं। आयोग फिर MSP की गणना करता है और इसेके अनुमोदन के लिए केंद्र सरकार को भेजता है, जो फिर राज्यों को उनके सुझावों के लिए भेजता है। एक बार जब राज्य अपनी मंजूरी दे देता है,  आर्थिक मामलों की मंत्रिमंडलीय समिति इन आंकड़ों पर सहमति प्रदान करता है, जिन्हें फिर CACP पोर्टल पर जारी किया जाता है।

2004 में, केंद्र में शासित UPA-1 सरकार ने अपने प्रथम वर्ष के दौरान, एम.एस स्वामीनाथन  की अध्यक्षता में  राष्ट्रीय किसान आयोग (NCF) का गठन किया ।आयोग का प्रमुख उद्देश्य कृषि वस्तुओं को लागत-प्रतिस्पर्धी और  लाभदायक बनाना था। इस  उद्देश्य को प्राप्त करने हेतु, खेती की लागत की गणना के लिए एक तीन-स्तरीय संरचना तैयार की गई , जो इस प्रकार  है, A2, FL और C2। A2 वास्तविक भुगतान की जाने वाली लागत है, जबकि A2 + FL वास्तविक भुगतान की जाने वाली लागत और परिवार के श्रम का प्रतिशोधित मूल्य के बराबर है, जहाँ  मानसब्बद्ध किसी चीज़ का मूल्य निर्धारण करने में उत्पाद या उसके प्रोसेसिंग जिसमे  उसका योगदान  के  अनुमान के  तहत  किसी वस्तु    का मूल्य  निर्धारित किया जाता है | C2  एक  विस्तृत  है, जिसमें स्वामित्व वाली भूमि और पूंजी पर लगा  किराया और ब्याज शामिल  है। यह स्पष्ट है कि C2> A2 + FL> A2 |

कृषि लागत और मूल्य आयोग (CACP)  कीमतों की सिफारिश करते हुए उत्पादन की लागत, इनपुट कीमतों में बदलाव, इनपुट/आउटपुट मूल्यों का अनुपात, बाजार के कीमतों में रुझान, अंतर फसल मूल्य का अनुपात, मांग और आपूर्ति की स्थिति, किसानों द्वारा देय कीमतों और प्राप्त कीमतों के बीच समता आदि महत्वपूर्ण कारकों को ध्यान में रखता है। समर्थन मूल्य तय करने में, CACP लागत की अवधारणा पर निर्भर करता है जो खेती में खर्च होने वाले सभी मदों को शामिल करता है, जिसमें किसानों के स्वामित्व वाले इनपुट्स का मूल्य भी शामिल होता है, जैसे कि स्वामित्व वाली भूमि का किराया मूल्य और निश्चित पूंजी पर ब्याज। कुछ महत्वपूर्ण लागत अवधारणाएं C2 और C3 हैं:

C3: किसान को प्रबंधकीय पारिश्रमिक के लिए C2 + C2 का 10%

स्वामीनाथन आयोग की रिपोर्ट में स्पष्ट रूप से कहा गया है कि किसानों को उनके उत्पादन की सम्पूर्ण लागत से 50% अधिक की न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य मिलना चाहिए। यह लागत + 50% का सूत्र स्वामीनाथन आयोग से आया  और जिसमे स्पष्ट रूप से कहा गया  कि उत्पादन  लागत उत्पादन की व्यापक लागत है, जो  C2 है,  ना कि A2 + FL । C2 में वास्तविक मालिक द्वारा उत्पादन में पट्टे की भूमि के लिए किया गया किराया भुगतान  + परिवार के श्रम का प्रतिधारित मूल्य + स्वामित्व वाली पूंजीगत संपत्ति के मूल्य पर ब्याज (भूमि को छोड़कर) + स्वामित्व भूमि के किराये का मूल्य (भूमि राजस्व का  कुल मूल्य)  जैसे वास्तविक खर्च, जिसका भुगतान नकदी  व् अन्य प्रकार से किया गया हो, शामिल हैं|  उत्पादन की लागत की गणना प्रति क्विंटल और प्रति हेक्टेयर के आधार पर की जाती है। चूंकि राज्यों में लागत भिन्नता बहुत ज्यादा होने के कारण CACP अनुग्रह करता है की  न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य को C2 के आधार पर माना जाना चाहिए। हालाँकि, धान और गेहूं के मामले में न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य में बढ़ोत्तरी इतनी ज्यादा है कि अधिकांश राज्यों मे न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य न केवल C2, बल्कि C3 से भी ऊपर है।

रबी सीजन, 2017- 18  की  अनुमानित लागत और सिफारिश की गयी न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य (रु प्रति क्विंटल में)

Untitledस्रोत: कृषि लागत और मूल्य  आयोग और कृषि मंत्रालय

यहीं पर न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य की राजनीतिक अर्थव्यवस्था असहाय किसानों की समस्या को जटिल बनाती है । हालाँकि 23 फसलों  का  न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य  अधिसूचित किया  जाता है, लेकिन वास्तव में 3 से अधिक को सुनिश्चित नहीं किया  जाता  हैं। भारतीय कृषि क्षेत्र  छोटे आकार के कृषि स्वामित्व के चलते निम्न  स्तर के उत्पादन से त्रस्त है, प्रचलित प्रणाली के अंतर्गत लागत पर मुनाफा  किसानो के लिए कम आय पैदा करना सुनिश्चित करता है ।  इन्ही  महत्वपूर्ण बिन्दुओं पर जोर देते हुए  किसान  न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य को  प्रभावी लागतों की तुलना में 50% अधिक बढ़ाकर, न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य के प्रभावी क्रियान्वान की मांग  कर रहें हैं। किसान और किसान संगठनों ने मांग की है कि न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य को उत्पादन की लागत + 50% तक बढ़ाया जाए,  चूँकि  उनके लिए उत्पादन की लागत का मतलब C2 है और A2 + FL नहीं । वर्तमान में, CACP, A2 और FL को जोड़कर न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य निर्धारित  करता है। सरकार फिर A2 और FL को जोड़कर प्राप्त किये गए मूल्य का 50% जोड़कर न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य तय करती है, और इस प्रकार C2 को अनदेखा कर दिया जाता है। किसान व किसानों के संगठन  मांग है कि न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य में C2 का 50%  जोड़ा  जाये, जो  सरकारी घोषणाओं के मुख्यरूप   से गायब है।  न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य के संदर्भ में किसानों  की मांग  व सरकार क्या  दे रही है, इनका अंतर ही तनाव का मुख्य कारण है | 

रमेश चंद, जो वर्तमान में निति आयोग  में  सेवारत  होने के बावजूद भी,  सरकार के द्वारा दिए जा रहे सहुलियातोँ के तार्किक विश्लेषण पर जोर देते हैं|   उनका यह भी सिफारिश है कि कार्यशील पूंजी पर ब्याज मौजूदा आधे सीजन के  बजाय  पूरे सीजन के लिए  दिया जाना चाहिए, और गाँव में प्रचलित वास्तविक किराये के मूल्य को किराए पर बिना किसी उच्चतम सीमा  के माना जाना चाहिए। इसके अलावा, कटाई के बाद की लागत, सफाई, ग्रेडिंग, सुखाने, पैकेजिंग, विपणन और परिवहन को शामिल किया जाना चाहिए।  जोखिम प्रीमियम और प्रबंधकीय शुल्कों को ध्यान में रखते हुए C2   को 10% तक बढ़ाया जाना चाहिए।

 रमेश चंद के अनुसार, न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य की सिफारिश करते समय  बाजार निकासी कीमत को ध्यान में रखना आवश्यक है। यह, मांग और आपूर्ति,  पक्षों को प्रतिबिंबित करेगा । जब मांग-पक्ष के कारकों के आधार पर न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य तय किया जाता है,  तब न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य को लागू करने के लिए सरकारी हस्तक्षेप की आवश्यकता केवल बाज़ार प्रतिस्पर्धा की गैर-मौजूदगी व् निजी व्यापार के शोषक रूप लेने तक ही सिमित हो जाता है  । हालाँकि, अगर कोई न्यूनतम मूल्य भुगतान तंत्र या फसलें हैं  जिनपर न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य  घोषित किया गया हैं, लेकिन खरीददारी ना होने पर  सरकार को न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य और बाज़ार के निचले मूल्य के अंतर के बीच के आधार पर किसानों को मुआवजा देना चाहिए। ऐसा ही एक तंत्र, भावान्तर भुगतान योजना के नाम से मध्य प्रदेश में लागू किया गया , जहाँ पर सरकार ने किसानों से सीधे खरीद में अपने पुराने ख़राब रिकॉर्ड को स्वीकार करने के  बजाय,  बाजार मूल्य न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य से  कम होने पर  किसानों को सीधे नकद हस्तांतरण के माध्यम से मुआवजा देने का व्यवस्था किया गया है . भुगतान में देरी और भारी लेनदेन लागतें  इस योजना  की   नकारात्मक पक्ष हैं। बाजार में कम गुणवत्ता वाले अनाज के आधिक्य आपूर्ति जो  पहले से ही कम फसल की कीमतों पर  दबाव बनाती है। जब तक, इनकी और एम.एस स्वामीनाथन की सिफारिशों को गंभीरता से नहीं लिया जाता है, कृषि संकट का समाधान पूंजीवादी तबाही में छिपा है। और कोई ऐसा क्यों कहता है?

मूल्य की कमी वाले तंत्र पर बातचीत करने और संकल्प की ओर बढ़ने के लिए, सरकार के पास को  खरीद के रूप में एक  विकल्प  बच जाता है। लेकिन, इसमें एक विरोधाभास है। जिन फसलों लिए न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य की घोषणा की गई है, जिसकी संख्या 20 है, उनके लिए सरकार के पास स्पष्ट रूप से पहले एक प्रणाली बनाने और फिर उन फसलों की खरीद का प्रबंधन करने का बैंडविड्थ (bandwidth) नहीं है। यदि यह  स्थिति गतिरोध तक पहुँच गयी है, तो सरकार की निजी बाजारों की ओर रुख करने की संभावना से इनकार नहीं किया जा सकता है।  यदि ऐसा होता है तोह  बाजार स्थानीय राजनेताओं की मनमानेपन और पसंद की चपेट में  आ जायेगा, जो आमतौर पर अपने क्रिया-कलाप में सत्ता के केन्द्रों को प्रभावित करते हहुये  सिस्टम को  अपने सुविधानुसार चलातें हैं ।

स्पष्ट रूप से कुछ ऐसे सवाल हैं जो  उत्तर की मांग करतें हैं  और ये सभी सवाल नीति बनाने के दायरे में आते हैं। उदाहरण के लिए, क्या बजट में न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य के दायरे में आने वालेसभी किसानों के  सीमा को बढ़ाने का प्रावधान है?  दूसरा, न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य की गणना में निजी लागत और लाभ शामिल होते हैं, और इस  प्रकार केवल  एक पक्ष प्रदर्शित   होताहै। संपूर्ण समझ के लिए, सामाजिक लागत और लाभों को भी शामिल किया जाना चाहिए। मुख्य रूप से निजी लागतों और लाभों पर ध्यान केंद्रित करने के साथ, सामाजिक रूप से बेकार उत्पादन और विशेषज्ञता को प्रोत्साहित किया जाता है, जैसे उत्तर भारत में धान के उत्पादन में होने वाले परिणाम जिसके  गवाह  हैं। क्या इस दोहरे बंधन को दूर किया जा सकता है, यह एक नीतिगत मामला है, और फिलहाल जो देखा जा रहा है यह एक नीतिगत पक्षाघात है और राजनीतिक इच्छा की कमी केवल वोट बैंक को बनाने के लिए की जाएगी। यह बेहद अफसोसजनक है! 

Albert Camus Reads Richard K. Morgan: Unsaid Existential Absurdism

Humanity has spread to the stars. We set out like ancient seafarers to explore the limitless ocean of space. But no matter how far we venture into the unknown, the worst monsters are those we bring with us. – Takeshi Kovacs

What I purport to do in this paper is pick up two sci-fi works of Richard Morgan, Altered Carbon (teaser to Netflix series), the first of Takeshi Kovacs trilogy and sometimes a grisly tale of switching bodies to gain immortality transhumanism, either by means of enhanced biology, technology, or biotechnology, and posthumanism. The second is Market Forces, a brutal journey into the heart of corporatized conflict investment by way of conscience elimination. Thereafter a conflation with Camus’ absurdity unravels the very paradoxical ambiguity underlying absurdism as a human condition. The paradoxical ambiguity is as a result of Camus’ ambivalence towards the neo-Platonist conception of the ultimate unifying principle, while accepting Plotinus’ principled pattern, but rejecting its culmination.

Richard Morgan’s is a parody, a commentary, or even en epic fantasy overcharged almost to the point of absurdity and bordering extropianism. If at all there is a semblance of optimism in the future as a result of Moore’s Law of dense hardware realizable through computational extravagance, it is spectacularly offset by complexities of software codes resulting in a disconnect that Morgan brilliantly transposes on to a society in a dystopian ethic. This offsetting disconnect between the physical and mental, between the tangible and the intangible is the existential angst writ large on the societal maneuvered by the powers that be.

Morgan’s Altered Carbon won’t be a deflection from William Gibson’s cyberpunk, or at places even Philip K Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, which has inspired the cult classic Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, wherein the interface between man and machine is coalescing (sleeves as called in the novel), while the singularity pundits are making hay. But, what if the very technological exponent is used against the progenitors, a point that defines much of Artificial Intelligence ethics today? What if the human mind is now digitized, uploaded and downloaded as a mere file, and transferred across platforms (by way of needlecast transmitting DHF, individual digital human freight) rendering the hardware dis- posable, and at the same time the software as a data vulnerable to the vagaries of the networked age? These aren’t questions keeping the ethic at stake alone, but rather a reformatting of humanity off the leash. This forever changes the concept of morality and of death as we know it, for now anyone with adequate resources (note the excess of capitalism here) can technically extend their life for as long as they desire by reserving themselves into cloned organics or by taking a leaf off Orwell’s Government to archive citizen records in perpetual storage. Between the publication in 2002 and now, the fiction in science fiction as a genre has indeed gotten blurred, and what has been the Cartesian devil in mind-body duality leverages the technological metempsychosis of consciousness in bringing forth a new perception on morality.

Imagine, the needle of moral compass behaving most erratically, ranging from extreme apathy to moderate conscience in consideration of the economic of collateral damage, with the narrative wrenching through senses, thoughts and emotions before settling down into a dystopian plot dense with politics, societal disparity, corruption, abuse of wealth and power, and repressively conservative justice. If extreme violence is distasteful in Altered Carbon, the spectacle is countered by the fact that human bodies and memories are informational commodities as digitized freight and cortical stacks, busted and mangled physical shells already having access to a sleeve to reincarnate and rehabilitate on to, opening up new vistas of philosophical dispositions and artificially intelligent deliberation on the ethics of fast-disappearing human-machine interface.

If, Personal is Political, Altered Carbon results in a concussion of overloaded themes of cyberpunk tropes and is indicative of Morgan’s political takes, a conclusion only to be commissioned upon reading his later works. This detective melange heavily slithers through human condition both light and dark without succumbing to the derivatives of high-tech and low-life and keeping the potentials of speculative fiction to explorations. The suffusive metaphysics of longevity, multiplicity of souls and spiritual tentacles meeting its adversary in Catholicism paints a believable futuristic on the canvass of science-fiction spectra.

Market Forces, on the other hand is where cyberpunk-style sci-fi is suddenly replaced with corporatized economy of profit lines via the cogency of conflict investment. The world is in a state of dysphoria with diplomatic lines having given way to negotiations with violence, and contracts won on Ronin-esque car duels shifting the battlefield from the cyberspace of Altered Carbon to the more terrestrial grounds. Directly importing from Gordon Gekko’s “Greed is Good”, corporates enhance their share of GDP via legal funding of foreign wars. The limits of philosophy of liberal politics are stretched on analogizing the widening gap between the rich and the marginalized in the backdrop of crime-ravaged not-so futuristic London. Security is rarefied according to economic stratifications, and surveillance by the rich reach absurd levels of sophistication in the absence of sousveillance by the marginalized.

Enter Chris Faulkner, the protagonist defined by conscience that starts to wither away when confronted with taking hard and decisive actions for his firm, Shorn Associates, in the face of brutality of power dynamics. The intent is real-life testosterone absolutism maximizing the tenets of western capitalism in an ostentatious exhibition of masculinity and competition. The obvious collateral damage is fissuring of familial and societal values born as a result of conscience. Market Forces has certain parallels from the past, in the writings of Robert Sheckley, the American sci-fi author, who would take an element of society and extrapolate on its inherent violence to the extent of the absurd sliding into satire. It’s this sliding wherein lies the question of the beyond, the inevitability of an endowment of aggression defining, or rather questioning the purpose of the hitherto given legacy of societal ethic.

With no dearth of violence, the dystopian future stagnates into dysphoria characterized by law and apparatus at the mercy of corporations, which transcend the Government constitutionally along rapacious capitalism. A capitalism that is so rampant that it transforms the hero into an anti-hero in the unfolding tension between interest and sympathy, disgust and repulsion. The perfectly achievable Market Forces is a realization round the corner seeking birth between the hallucinogenic madness of speculations and hyperreality hinging on the philosophy of free-markets taken to its logical ends in the direction of an unpleasant future. The reductio ad absurdum of neoliberalism is an environment of feral brutality masked with the thinnest veneer of corporate civilization, and is the speculation that portrays the world where all power equates violence. This violence is manifested in aggression in a road rage death match against competitors every time there is a bid for a tender. What goes slightly over the board, and in a pretty colloquial usage of absurdity is why would any competition entail the best of staff on such idiotic suicide missions?

Camus’ absurdity is born in The Myth of Sisyphus, and continues well into the The Rebel, but is barely able to free itself from the clutches of triviality. This might appear to be a bold claim, but the efficacy is to be tested through Camus’ intellectual indebtedness to Plotinus, the Neo-Platonist thinker. Plotinus supplemented the One and Many idea of Plato with gradations of explanatory orders, for only then a coalescing of explanations with reality was conceivable. This coalescing converges into the absolute unity, the One, the necessarily metaphysical ground. Now, Camus accepts Plotinus in the steganographic, but strips the Absolute of its metaphysics. A major strand of absurdity for Camus stems from his dic- tum, “to understand is, above all, to unify”, and the absence of such unifying principle vindicates absurdity. Herein, one is confronted with the first of paradoxes, in that, if the Absolute is rejected, why then is there in Camus a nostalgia for unity? The reason is peculiarly caught between his version of empiricism and monism. His empiricism gives accord to comprehensibility of ordinary experiences by way of language and meaning, while anything transcending the same is meaninglessness and hinges on the Plotinus’ Absolute for comprehensibility, thus making him sound a monist. Add to this contradiction is the face of the Christian God to appear if the Absolute were not to be rejected, which would then have warranted a clash between good and evil in the face of the paradox of the existing of the latter when God was invested with qualities of the former. Invoking modernism’s core dictum, Camus then, questions spontaneity in the presence of Absolute by calling to attention scholastic perplexity.

Having rejected the Absolute, Camus takes the absurd condition as a fact. If one were to carefully tread The Myth of Sisyphus, it works thusly: If a man removes himself, he destroys the situation and hence the absurd condition. Since, the absurd condition is taken as a fact, one who destroys himself denies this fact. But he who denies this fact puts himself in opposition to what is, Truth. To oppose the Truth, recognizing it to be true, is to contradict oneself. Recognizing a truth, one ought to preserve it rather than deny it. Therefore, it follows that one ought not to commit metaphysical suicide in the face of the meaningless universe. This is a major paradox in his thought, where the evaluative absurdity is deemed to be preserved starting from the premise that man and the universe juxtaposed together is absurdity itself. So, what we have here is a logical cul-de-sac. But, what is of cardinal import is the retention of life in mediating between the man and universe as absurdity in polarities. If this were confronting the absurd in life, eschatology is another confrontation with the absurd, an absolute that needs to be opposed, a doctrine that becomes a further sense of the absurd, an ethic of the creation of the absolute rule in a drama of man as a struggle against death.

It is this conjecture that builds up in The Rebel, death as an antagonist subjected to rebellion. The absurdity of death lies across our desire for immortality, the inexplicability of it, and negating and denying the only meaningful existence known. Contradictorily, death would not be absurd if immortality were possible, and existence as is known isn’t the only meaningful existence that there is. Camus is prone to a meshwork logic here, for his thought fluctuates between viewing death as an absolute evil and also as a liberator, because of which it lends legitimacy to freedom. For, it isn’t the case that Camus is unaware of the double bind of his logic, and admittedly he ejects himself out of this quandary by deliberating on death not as a transcendental phenomenon, but as an ordinary lived-experience. If the Myth of Sisyphus holds murder and suicide in an absurdist position by denying the transcendent source of value, The Rebel revels in antagonisms with Nihilism, be it either in the sense of nothing is prohibited, or the absolutist nihilism of “permit all” with a fulcrum on the Absolute. The Rebel epitomizes the intellectual impotency of nihilism. But due credit for the logical progression of Camus is mandated here, for any utopia contains the seed of nihilism, in that, any acceptance of an Absolute other than life ultimately leads to tyranny. If this were to be one strand in the essay, the other is exposited in terms of an unrelenting and absolute opposition to death. Consequently, The Rebel, which is the embodiment of Camus’ ethic cannot kill. To avoid any danger of absolutism in the name of some positive good or value, the absolute value becomes oppositional to death, and hence the Rebel’s ethic is one of ceaseless rebellion, opposition and conflict.

Now, with a not very exhaustive treatment to Camus’ notion of absurdity as there is more than meets the eye in his corpus, let us turn to conflation with Richard Morgan and justify our thesis that we set out with. We shall bring this about by a series of observations.

If antagonism to death is the hallmark of rebellion, then Altered Carbon with its special hard-drives called “Stacks” installed in the brainstem immortalizes consciousness to be ported across humans across spacetimes. Needlecasting, the process by which human consciousness in the format of data gets teleported suffers disorientation across human hardwares, if it could even be called that. Interestingly, this disorientation aggrandizes the receiver conflict-ready, a theme that runs continuously in Market Forces as well as in Altered Carbon. The state of being conflict- and combat-ready is erecting armies to quash down rebellions. To prevent immortality from getting exploited in the hands of the privileged, these armies are trained to withstand torture, drudgery, while at the same time heightening their perception via steganography. But where the plot goes haywire for Camus’ rebel is Richard Morgan’s can neutralize and eliminate. Thats the first observation.

On to the second, which deals with transhumanism. A particular character, Kovac’s partner Kristen Ortega has a neo-Catholic family that’s split over God’s view of resurrecting a loved one. The split is as a result of choosing religious coding, a neo-Catholic semblance being the dead cannot be brought back to life. In these cases, Altered Carbon pushes past its Blade Runner fetish and reflexive cynicism to find something human. But, when the larger world is so thin, it’s hard to put something like neo-Catholicism in a larger context. Characters have had centuries to get used to the idea of stacks begging the larger question: why are many still blindsided by their existence? And why do so few people, including the sour Meths, seem to be doing anything interesting with technology? Now Camus’ man is confronted with his absurd and meaningless existence, which will be extinguished by death. There are two choices to consider here: either he can live inauthentically, implying hiding from truth, the fact that life is meaningless, and accepting the standards and values of the crowd, and in the process escaping the inner misery and despair that results from an honest appraisal of facts. Or, he can take the authentic choice and live heroically, implying facing the truth, life’s futility, and temporarily, submitting to despair which is a necessary consequence, but which, if it does not lead to suicide, will eventually purify him. Despair will drive him out of himself and away from trivialities, and by it he will be impelled to commit himself to a life of dramatic choices. This is ingrained in the intellectual idea of neo-Catholicism, with Camus’ allusion as only the use of the Will can cause a man truly to be. Both Takeshi Kovacs in Altered Carbon and Chris Faulkner in Market Forces amply epitomize this neo-Catholicism, albeit not directly, but rather, as an existential angst in the form of an intrusion.

Now for the third observation. The truth in Altered Carbon is an excavation of the self, more than searching data and tweaking it into information. It admonishes to keep going no matter whichever direction, a scalar over the vector territorialization in order to decrypt that which seems hidden, an exercise in futility. Allow me to quote Morgan in full,

You are still young and stupid. Human life has no value. Haven’t you learned that yet, Takeshi, with all you’ve seen? It has no value, intrinsic to itself. Machines cost money to build. Raw materials cost money to extract. But people? You can always get some more people. They reproduce like cancer cells, whether you want them or not. They are abundant, Takeshi. Why should they be valuable? Do you know that it costs us less to recruit and use up a real snuff whore that it does to set up and run virtual equivalent format. Real human flesh is cheaper than a machine. It’s the axiomatic truth of our times?

In full consciousness and setting aside the impropriety above, Morgan’s prejudicing the machine over human flesh extricates essentialism, mirroring Camusian take on the meaning of life as inessential, but for the burning problem of suicide. This is a direct import from Nietzsche, for who, illusion (the arts, Remember Wagner!) lends credibility to life and resolves despair to some extent, whereas for Camus, despair is only coming to terms with this absurd condition, by way of machination in the full knowhow of condition’s futility and pointlessness. This fact is most brilliantly corroborated in Morgan’s dictum about how constant repetition can even make the most obvious truths irritating enough to disagree with (Woken Furies).

To conclude: Imagine the real world extending into the fictive milieu, or its mirror image, the fictive world territorializing the real leaving it to portend such an intercourse consequent to an existential angst. Such an imagination now moves along the coordinates of hyperreality, where it collaterally damages meaning in a violent burst of EX/IM-plosion. This violent burst disturbs the idealized truth overridden by a hallucinogenic madness prompting iniquities calibrated for an unpleasant future. This invading dissonant realism slithers through the science fiction before culminating in the human characteristics of expediency. Such expediencies abhor fixation to being in the world built on deluded principles, where absurdity is not only a human condition, but an affliction of the transhuman and posthuman condition as well. Only the latter is not necessarily a peep into the future, which it might very well be, but rather a disturbing look into the present-day topographies, which for Camus was acquiescing to predicament, and for Richard Morgan a search for the culpable.

Albert Camus Reads Richard Morgan: Unsaid Existential Absurdism…(Abstract/Blurb)

For the upcoming conference on “The Intellectual Geography of Albert Camus” on the 3rd of May, 2019, at the Alliance Française, New Delhi. Watch this space..

Imagine the real world extending into the fictive milieu, or its mirror image, the fictive world territorializing the real leaving it to portend such an intercourse consequent to an existential angst. Such an imagination now moves along the coordinates of hyperreality, where it collaterally damages meaning in a violent burst of EX/IM-plosion. This violent burst disturbs the idealized truth overridden by a hallucinogenic madness prompting iniquities calibrated for an unpleasant future. This invading dissonant realism slithers through the science fiction of Richard Morgan before it culminates in human characteristics of expediency. Such expediencies abhor fixation to being in the world built on deluded principles, which in my reading is Camus’ recommendation of confrontation with the absurd. This paper attempts to unravel the hyperreal as congruent on the absurd in a fictitious landscape of “existentialism meets the intensity of a relatable yet cold future”. 

———————–

What I purport to do in this paper is pick up two sci-fi works of Richard Morgan, the first of which also happens to be the first of the Takeshi Kovacs Trilogy, Altered Carbon, while the second is Market Forces,  a brutal journey into the heart of conflict investment by way of conscience elimination. Thereafter a conflation with Camus’ absurdity unravels the very paradoxical ambiguity underlying absurdism as a human condition. The paradoxical ambiguity is as a result of Camus’ ambivalence towards the neo-Platonist conception of the ultimate unifying principle, while accepting Plotinus’ principled pattern or steganography, but rejecting its culmination. 

Richard Morgan’s is a parody, a commentary, or even en epic fantasy overcharged almost to the point of absurdity and bordering extropianism. If at all there is a semblance of optimism in the future as a result of Moore’s Law of dense hardware realizable through computational extravagance, it is spectacularly offset by complexities of software codes resulting in a disconnect that Morgan brilliantly transposes on to a society in a dystopian ethic underlining his plot pattern recognitions. This offsetting disconnect between the physical and mental, between the tangible and the intangible is the existential angst writ large on the societal maneuvered by the powers that be…..to be continued

The Mathematics of Political Policies and Economic Decisions – Dictatorial (Extremists) Versus Democratic. Note Quote. Part 1 Didactics.

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If a strategy-proof, onto rule does not pick x∗ when it is the median of peaks and ym‘s, then a contradiction is reached using preferences with peaks at piL and piH.

Let us take a look at single-peaked preferences over one-dimensional policy spaces. This domain can be used to model political policies, economic decisions, location problems, or any allocation problem where a single point must be chosen in an interval. The key assumption is that agents’ preferences are assumed to have a single most-preferred point in the interval, and that preferences are “decreasing” as one moves away from that peak.

Formally, the allocation space (or policy space) is the unit interval A = [0, 1]. An outcome is a single point x ∈ A. Each agent i ∈ N has a preference ordering ≽i, which is a weak order over the outcomes in [0, 1]. The preference relation ≽i is single-peaked if ∃ a point pi ∈ A (the peak of ≽i) such that ∀ x ∈ A\{pi} and all λ ∈ [0,1), (λx +(1−λ)pi) ≻i x. Let R denote the class of single-peaked preferences.

We denote the peaks of preference relations ≽i, ≽′i, ≽j, etc., respectively by pi, pi′, pj, etc. Denote a profile (n-tuple) of preferences as ≽ ∈ Rn.

One can imagine this model as representing a political decision such as an income tax rate, another political issue with conservative/liberal extremes, the location of a public facility on a road, or even something as simple as a group of people deciding on the temperature setting for a shared office. Here, the agents have an ideal preferred policy in mind, and would prefer that a decision be made as close as possible to this “peak.”

A rule f : Rn → A assigns an outcome f(≽) to any preference profile ≽. A rule is strategy-proof if it is a dominant strategy for each agent to report his preferences truthfully when the rule is being used to choose a point.

Our purpose then is to see that this class of problems admits a rich family of strategy-proof rules whose ranges include more than two alternatives. In fact, the family of such rules remains rich even when one restricts attention to rules that satisfy the following condition.

We say that a rule f is onto if ∀ x ∈ A ∃ ≽ ∈ Rn such that f(≽) = x. An onto rule cannot preclude an outcome from being chosen ex ante. It is not without loss of generality to impose this condition. For instance, fix two points x, y ∈ [0, 1] and consider a rule that chooses whichever of the two points is preferred to the other by a majority of agents (and where x is chosen in case of a tie). Such a rule is strategy-proof, but not onto. Similar strategy-proof rules can even break ties between x and y by using preference information about other points x′, y′, . . ., in [0, 1], even though x′, etc., are not in the range of the rule.

The onto condition is even weaker than what is called unanimity, which requires that whenever all agents’ preferences have the same peak (pi = pj ∀ i, j), the rule must choose that location as the outcome. In turn, unanimity is weaker than Pareto-optimality: ∀ ≽ ∈ Rn, ∃ no point x ∈ [0, 1] such that x ≽i f(≽) ∀ i ∈ N.

As it turns out, these three requirements are all equivalent among strategy-proof rules. Suppose f is strategy-proof. Then f is onto iff it is unanimous iff it is Pareto-optimal.

It is clear that Pareto-optimality implies the other two conditions. Suppose f is strategy-proof and onto. Fix x ∈ [0, 1] and let ≽ ∈ Rn be such that f(≽) = x. Consider any “unanimous” profile ≽′ ∈ Rn such that pi′ = x for each i ∈ N. By strategy-proofness, f (≽′1, ≽2, . . . , ≽n) = x, otherwise agent 1 could manipulate f. Repeating this argument, f (≽′1, ≽′2, ≽3, . . . , ≽n) = x, . . . ,f(≽′) = x. That is, f is unanimous.

In order to derive a contradiction, suppose that f is not Pareto-optimal at some profile ≽ ∈ Rn. This implies that either (i) f(≽) < pi ∀ i ∈ N or (ii) f(≽) > pi ∀ i ∈ N . Without loss of generality, assume (i) holds. Furthermore, assume that the agents are labeled so that p1 ≤ p2 ≤ ··· ≤ pn.

If p1 = pn then unanimity is violated, completing the proof. Otherwise, let j ∈ N be such that p1 = pj < pj+1; that is, j < n agents have the minimum peak. ∀ i > j, let ≽′i be a preference relation such that both pi′ = p1 and f(≽)≽′i pi.

Let xn = f(≽1,…, ≽n−1, ≽′n). By strategy-proofness, xn ∈ [f(≽), pn], otherwise agent n (with preference ≽′n) could manipulate f by reporting preference ≽n. Similarly, xn ∉ (f(≽), pn], otherwise agent n (with preference ≽n) could manipulate f by reporting preference ≽′n. Therefore xn = f(≽).

Repeating this argument as each i > j replaces ≽i with ≽′i, we have f(≽1,…, ≽j, ≽′j+1,…, ≽′n) = f(≽), which contradicts unanimity. Since a strategy-proof, onto rule must be unanimous, this is a contradiction.

The central strategy-proof rule on this domain is the simple median-voter rule. Suppose that the number of agents n is odd. Then the rule that picks the median of the agents’ peaks (pi ’s) is a strategy-proof rule.

It is easy to see why this rule is strategy-proof : If an agent’s peak pi lies below the median peak, then he can change the median only by reporting a preference relation whose peak lies above the true median. The effect of this misreport is for the rule to choose a point even further away from pi, making the agent worse off. A symmetric argument handles the case in which the peak is above the median. Finally, an agent cannot profitably misreport his preferences if his peak is the median one to begin with.

More generally, for any number of agents n and any positive integer k ≤ n, the rule that picks the kth highest peak is strategy-proof for precisely the same reasons. An agent can only move the kth peak further from his own. The median happens to be the case where k = (n + 1)/2.

The strategy-proofness of such rules stands in contrast to the incentives properties of rules that choose average-type statistics. Consider the rule that chooses the average of the n agents’ peaks. Any agent with peak pi ∈ (0, 1) that is not equal to the average can manipulate the rule by reporting preferences with a more extreme peak (closer to 0 or 1) than his true peak.

This would also hold for any weighted average of the agents’ peaks, with one exception. If a rule allocated all of the weight to one agent, then the resulting rule simply picks that agent’s peak always. Such a dictatorial rule is strategy-proof and onto.

In addition to favorable incentives properties, rules based on order statistics have the property that they require little information to be computed. Technically a rule requires agents to report an entire preference ordering over [0, 1]. There is a need to transcend the rules, which, only require agents to report their most preferred point, i.e., a single number. In fact, under the onto assumption, this informational property is a consequence of the strategy-proofness requirement; that is, all strategy-proof and onto rules have the property that they can be computed solely from information about the agents’ peaks.

Let us generalize the class of “kth-statistic rules”. Consider a fixed set of points y1, y2, . . . , yn−1 ∈ A. Consider the rule that, for any profile of preferences ≽, chooses the median of the 2n − 1 points consisting of the n agents’ peaks and the n − 1 points of y. This differs in that, for some choices of y and some profiles of preferences, the rule may choose a point that is not the peak of any agent’s preferences. Yet, such a rule is strategy-proof.

Such rules compose the entire class of strategy-proof and onto rules that treat agents symmetrically. To formalize this latter requirement, we call a rule anonymous if for any ≽ ∈ Rn and any permutation ≽′ of ≽, f(≽′) = f (≽). This requirement captures the idea that the agents’ names play no role in the behavior of a rule. Dictatorial rules are examples of rules that are strategy-proofand onto, but not anonymous.

A rule f is strategy-proof, onto, and anonymous iff ∃ y1, y2,…, yn−1 ∈ [0,1] such that ∀ ≽ ∈ Rn,

f(≽) = med{p1, p2,…, pn, y1, y2,…, yn−1} —– (1)

Suppose f is strategy-proof, onto, and anonymous. We make extensive use of the two (extreme) preference relations that have peaks at 0 and 1 respectively. Since preferences relations are ordinal, there is only one preference relation with a peak at 0 and only one with a peak at 1. Denote these two preference relations by ≽0i and ≽1i respectively.

For any 1 ≤ m ≤ n − 1, let ym denote the outcome of f when m agents have preference relation ≽1i and the remainder have ≽0i:

ym = f(≽01,…, ≽0n−m, ≽1n−m+1,…, ≽1n)

By anonymity, the order of the arguments of f is irrelevant; if precisely m agents have preference relation ≽1i and the rest have ≽0i then the outcome is ym.

With a profile of preferences ≽ ∈ Rn with peaks p1, . . ., pn, and without loss of generality (by anonymity), once one assumes that pi ≤ pi+1 for each i ≤ n−1, then,

f(≽) = x∗ ≡ med{p1,…, pn, y1,…, yn−1}.

If the median is some ym, then suppose x∗ = ym for some m. By monotonicity of the peaks and ym‘s, since x∗ is the median of 2n−1 points this implies pn−m ≤ x∗ = ym ≤ pn−m+1. By assumption,

x∗ = ym = f(≽01,…, ≽0n−m, ≽1n−m+1,…, ≽1n) —– (2)

Let x1 = f(≽1, ≽02,…, ≽0n−m, ≽1n−m+1,…, ≽1n). Strategy-proofness implies x1 ≥ x∗, otherwise agent 1 with preference ≽01 could manipulate f. Similarly, since p1 ≤ ym, we cannot have x1 > x∗, otherwise agent 1 with preference ≽1 could manipulate f. Hence x1 = x∗. Repeating this argument for all i ≤ n − m, x∗ = f(≽1,…,≽n−m, ≽1n−m+1,…, ≽1n). The symmetric argument for all i > n−m implies

f(≽1,…, ≽n) = x∗ —– (3)

If the median is an agent’s peak, then the remaining case is that ym < x∗ < ym+1 for some m. (The cases where x∗ < y1 and x∗ > yn−1 are similar, denoting y0 = 0 and yn = 1). In this case, since the agents’ peaks are in increasing order, we have x∗ = pn−m. If

f(≽01,…, ≽0n−m−1, ≽n−m, ≽1n−m+1,…, ≽1n) = x∗ = pn−m —– (4)

then, analogous to the way (2) implied (3), repeated applications of strategy-proofness (to the n−1 agents other than i = n−m) would imply f(≽1,…, ≽n) = x∗, and the proof would be finished.

Thus, the parameters (ym‘s) can be thought of as the rule’s degree of compromise when agents have extremist preferences. If m agents prefer the highest possible outcome (1), while n − m prefer the lowest (0), then which point should be chosen? A true median rule would pick whichever extreme (0 or 1) contains the most peaks. On the other hand, the other rules may choose intermediate points (ym) as a compromise. The degree of compromise (which ym) can depend on the degree to which the agents’ opinions are divided (the size of m).

The anonymity requirement is a natural one in situations where agents are to be treated as equals. If one does not require this, however, the class of strategy-proof rules becomes even larger. Along the dictatorial rules, which always chooses a predetermined agent’s peak, there are less extreme violations of anonymity: The full class of strategy-proof, onto rules, allows agents to be treated with varying degrees of asymmetry.

Fascism’s Incognito – Conjuncted

“Being asked to define fascism is probably the scariest moment for any expert of fascism,” Montague said.
Communism-vs-Fascism
Brecht’s circular circuitry is here.
Allow me to make cross-sectional (both historically and geographically) references. I start with Mussolini, who talked of what use fascism could be put to by stating that capitalism throws itself into the protection of the state when it is in crisis, and he illustrated this point by referring to the Great Depression as a failure of laissez-faire capitalism and thus creating an opportunity for fascist state to provide an alternative to this failure. This in a way points to the fact that fascism springs to life economically in the event of capitalism’s deterioration. To highlight this point of fascism springing to life as a reaction to capitalism’s failure, let me take recourse to Samir Amin, who calls the fascist choice for managing a capitalist society in crisis as a categorial rejection of democracy, despite having reached that stage democratically. The masses are subjected to values of submission to a unity of socio-economic, political and/or religious ideological discourses. This is one reason why I call fascism not as a derivative category of capitalism in the sense of former being the historic phase of the latter, but rather as a coterminous tendency waiting in dormancy for capitalism to deteriorate, so that fascism could then detonate. But, are fascism and capitalism related in a multiple of ways is as good as how socialism is related with fascism, albeit only differently categorically.
It is imperative for me to add by way of what I perceive as financial capitalism and bureaucracy and where exactly art gets sandwiched in between the two, for more than anything else, I would firmly believe in Brecht as continuing the artistic practices of Marxian sociology and political-economy.
The financial capitalism combined with the impersonal bureaucracy has inverted the traditional schematic forcing us to live in a totalitarian system of financial governance divorced from democratic polity. It’s not even fascism in the older sense of the term, by being a collusion of state and corporate power, since the political is bankrupt and has become a mediatainment system of control and buffer against the fact of Plutocracies. The state will remain only as long as the police systems are needed to fend off people claiming rights to their rights. Politicians are dramaturgists and media personalities rather than workers in law.  If one were to just study the literature and paintings of the last 3-4 decades, it is fathomable where it is all going. Arts still continue to speak what we do not want to hear. Most of our academics are idiots clinging on to the ideological culture of the left that has put on its blinkers and has only one enemy, which is the right (whatever the hell that is). Instead of moving outside their straightjackets and embracing the world of the present, they still seem to be ensconced in 19th century utopianism with the only addition to their arsenal being the dramatic affects of mass media. Remember Thomas Pynchon of Gravity’s Rainbow fame (I prefer calling him the illegitimate cousin of James Joyce for his craftiness and smoothly sailing contrite plots: there goes off my first of paroxysms!!), who likened the system of techno-politics as an extension of our inhuman core, at best autonomous, intelligent and ever willing to exist outside the control of politics altogether. This befits the operational closure and echoing time and time again that technology isn’t an alien thing, but rather a manifestation of our inhuman core, a mutation of our shared fragments sieved together in ungodly ways. This is alien technologies in gratitude.
We have never been natural, and purportedly so by building defence systems against the natural both intrinsically and extrinsically. Take for example, Civilisation, the most artificial construct of all humans had busied themselves building and now busying themselves upholding. what is it? A Human Security System staving off entropy of existence through the self-perpetuation of a cultural complex of temporal immortalisation, if nothing less and vulnerable to editions by scores of pundits claiming to a larger schemata often overlooked by parochiality. Haven’t we become accustomed to hibernating in an artificial time now exposed by inhabiting the infosphere, creating dividualities by reckoning to data we intake, partake and outtake. Isn’t analysing the part/whole dividuality really scoring our worthiness? I know the answer is yes, but merely refusing to jump off the tongue. Democracies have made us indolent with extremities ever so flirting with electronic knowledge waiting to be turned to digital ash when confronted with the existential threat to our locus standi.
But, we always think of a secret cabal conspiring to dehumanise us. But we also forget the impersonality of the dataverse, the infosphere, the carnival we simply cannot avoid being a part of. Our mistaken beliefs lie in reductionism, and this is a serious detriment to causes created ex nihilo, for a fight is inevitably diluted if we pay insignificance to the global meshwork of complex systems of economics and control, for these far outstrip our ability to pin down to a critical apparatus. This apparatus needs to be different from ones based on criticism, for the latter is prone to sciolist tendencies. Maybe, one needs to admit allegiance to perils of our position and go along in a Socratic irony before turning in against the admittance at opportune times. Right deserves tackling through the Socratic irony, lest taking offences become platitudinous. Let us not forget that the modern state is nothing but a PR firm to keep the children asleep and unthinking and believing in the dramaturgy of the political as real. And this is where Brecht comes right back in, for he considered creation of bureaucracies as affronting not just fascist states, but even communist ones. The above aside, or digression is just a reality check on how much complex capitalism has become and with it, its derivatives of fascism as these are too intertwined within bureaucratic spaces. Even when Brecht was writing in his heydays, he took a deviation from his culinary-as-ever epic theatre to found a new form of what he called theatre as learning to play that resembled his political seminars modeled on the rejection of the concept of bureaucratic elitism in partisan politics where the theorists and functionaries issued directives and controlled activities on behalf of the masses to the point of submission of the latter to the former. This point is highlighted not just for fascist states, but equally well for socialist/communist regimes reiterating the fact that fascism is potent enough to develop in societies other than capitalistic ones.
Moving on to the point when mentions of democracy as bourgeois democracy is done in the same breath as regards equality only for those who are holders of capital are turning platitudinous. Well, structurally yes, this is what it seems like, but reality goes a bit deeper and thereafter fissures itself into looking at if capital indeed is what it is perceived as in general, or is there more to it than meets the eye. I quip this to confront two theorists of equality with one another: Piketty and Sally Goerner. Piketty misses a great opportunity to tie the “r > g” idea (after tax returns on capital r > growth rate of economy g) to the “limits to growth”. With a careful look at history, there are several quite important choice points along the path from the initial hope it won’t work out that way… to the inevitable distressing end he describes, and sees, and regrets. It’s what seduces us into so foolishly believing we can maintain “g > r”, despite the very clear and hard evidence of that faiIing all the time… that sometimes it doesn’t. The real “central contradiction of capitalism” then, is that it promises “g > r”, and then we inevitably find it is only temporary. Growth is actually nature’s universal start-up process, used to initially build every life, including the lives of every business, and the lives of every society. Nature begins building things with growth. She’s then also happy to destroy them with more of the same, those lives that began with healthy growth that make the fateful choice of continuing to devote their resources to driving their internal and external strains to the breaking point, trying to make g > r perpetual. It can’t be. So the secret to the puzzle seems to be: Once you’ve taken growth from “g > r” to spoiling its promise in its “r > g” you’ve missed the real opportunity it presented. Sally Goerner writes about how systems need to find new ways to grow through a process of rising intricacy that literally reorganizes the system into a higher level of complexity. Systems that fail to do that collapse. So smart growth is possible (a cell divides into multiple cells that then form an organ of higher complexity and greater intricacy through working cooperatively). Such smart growth is regenerative in that it manifests new potential. How different that feels than conventional scaling up of a business, often at the expense of intricacy (in order to achieve so called economies of scale). Leaps of complexity do satisfy growing demands for productivity, but only temporarily, as continually rising demands of productivity inevitably require ever bigger leaps of complexity. Reorganizing the system by adopting ever higher levels of intricacy eventually makes things ever more unmanageable, naturally becoming organizationally unstable, to collapse for that reason. So seeking the rise in productivity in exchange for a rising risk of disorderly collapse is like jumping out of the fry pan right into the fire! As a path to system longevity, then, it is tempting but risky, indeed appearing to be regenerative temporarily, until the same impossible challenge of keeping up with ever increasing demands for new productivity drives to abandon the next level of complexity too! The more intricacy (tight, small-scale weave) grows horizontally, the more unmanageable it becomes. That’s why all sorts of systems develop what we would call hierarchical structures. Here, however, hierarchal structures serve primarily as connective tissue that helps coordinate, facilitate and communicate across scales. One of the reasons human societies are falling apart is because many of our hierarchical structures no longer serve this connective tissue role, but rather fuel processes of draining and self-destruction by creating sinks where refuse could be regenerated. Capitalism, in its present financial form is precisely this sink, whereas capitalism wedded to fascism as an historical alliance doesn’t fit the purpose and thus proving once more that the collateral damage would be lent out to fascist states if that were to be the case, which would indeed materialize that way.
That democracy is bourgeois democracy is an idea associated with Swedish political theorist Goran Therborn, who as recent as the 2016 US elections proved his point by questioning the whole edifice of inclusive-exclusive aspects of democracy, when he said,
Even if capitalist markets do have an inclusive aspect, open to exchange with anyone…as long as it is profitable, capitalism as a whole is predominantly and inherently a system of social exclusion, dividing people by property and excluding the non-profitable. a system of this kind is, of course, incapable of allowing the capabilities of all humankind to be realized. and currently the the system looks well fortified, even though new critical currents are hitting against it.
Democracy did take on a positive meaning, and ironically enough, it was through rise of nation-states, consolidation of popular sovereignty championed by the west that it met its two most vociferous challenges in the form of communism and fascism, of which the latter was a reactionary response to the discontents of capitalist modernity. Its radically lay in racism and populism. A degree of deference toward the privileged and propertied, rather than radical opposition as in populism, went along with elite concessions affecting the welfare, social security, and improvement of the working masses. This was countered by, even in the programs of moderate and conservative parties by using state power to curtail the most malign effects of unfettered market dynamics. It was only in the works of Hayek that such interventions were beginning to represent the road to serfdom thus paving way to modern-day right-wing economies, of which state had absolutely no role to play as regards markets fundamentals and dynamics. The counter to bourgeois democracy was rooted in social democratic movements and is still is, one that is based on negotiation, compromise, give and take a a grudgingly given respect for the others (whether ideologically or individually). The point again is just to reiterate that fascism, in my opinion is not to be seen as a nakedest form of capitalism, but is generally seen to be floundering on the shoals of an economic slowdown or crisis of stagflation.
On ideal categories, I am not a Weberian at heart. I am a bit ambiguous or even ambivalent to the role of social science as a discipline that could draft a resolution to ideal types and interactions between those generating efficacies of real life. Though, it does form one aspect of it. My ontologies would lie in classificatory and constructive forms from more logical grounds that leave ample room for deviations and order-disorder dichotomies. Complexity is basically an offspring of entropy.
And here is where my student-days of philosophical pessimism surface, or were they ever dead, as the real way out is a dark path through the world we too long pretended did not exist.

Fascism’s Incognito – Brechtian Circular Circuitry. Note Quote.

Carefully looking at the Brechtian article and unstitching it, herein lies the pence (this is reproduced via an email exchange and hence is too very basic in arguments!!):

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1. When Brecht talks of acceding to the capitulation of Capitalism, in that, being a historic phase and new and old at the same time, this nakedest manifestation of Capitalism is attributed to relationality, which are driven by functionalist propositions and are non-linear, reversible schemas existing independently of the specific contents that are inserted as variables. This may sound a bit philosophical, but is the driving force behind Brecht’s understanding of Capitalism and is perfectly corroborated in his famous dictum, “Reality as such has slipped into the domain of the functional.” This dictum underlines what is new and what is old at the same time.
2. Sometime in the 30s, Brecht’s writings corroborated the linkages between Capitalism and Fascism, when the victories of European fascism prompted consideration of the relationship between collective violence and regressive social configurations. At its heart, his corpus during the times was a defining moment of finance capital, an elaborate systemic treatment of economic transactions within the literary narrative with fascistic overtones. It is here the capitalist is consummate par excellence motivated by the rational calculus (Ayn Rand rings the bells!!!). Eschewing the narrative desire of the traditional dramatic novel, Brecht compels the readers without any recourse to emotional intensity and catharsis, and capturing the attention via phlegmatic and sublimated pleasures of logical analysis, riddle solving, remainder less, and bookkeeping. This coming together of the financial capital with the rise in European Fascism, despite leading to barbaric times in due course, brought forth the progeny of corporation merging with the state incorporating social functions into integrated networks of production and consumption. What Brecht reflects as barbaric is incidentally penned in these tumultuous ear, where capital evolves from Fordist norms into Corporations and in the process atrophy human dimensions. This fact is extrapolated in contemporary times when capital has been financialized to the extent of artificial intelligences, HFTs and algorithmic decision making, just to sound a parallel to Nature 2.0.
But, before digressing a bit too far, where is Brecht lost in the history of class consciousness here? With capital evolving exponentially, even if there is no or little class consciousness in the proletariat, there will come a realization that exploitation is widespread. This is the fecund ground when nationalist and fascist rhetoric seeds into a full-grown tree, inciting xenophobias infused with radicalization (this happened historically in Italy and in Germany, and is getting replicated on micro-to-macro scales contemporarily). But, what Brecht has failed to come to terms with is the whole logic of fascists against the capitalist. Fascists struggle with the capitalist question within their own circles (a far-fetched parallel drawn here as regards India is the right ideologue’s opposition to FDI, for instance). Historically speaking and during times when Bertotl was actively writing, there were more working class members of the Italian fascists than anyone else with anti-capitalist numbers. In Nazi Germany, there were close to 30 per cent within stormtroopers as minimal identifies and sympathizers with communism. The rest looked up to fascism as a stronger alternative to socialism/communism in its militancy. The intellectual and for moral (might be a strikethrough term here, but in any case…) tonic was provided for by the bourgeois liberals who opposed fascism for their capitalist bent. All in all, Brecht could have been prescient to say the most, but was too ensconced, to say the least, in Marxist paradigms to analyze this suturing of ideological interests. That fascism ejected itself of a complete domineering to Capitalism, at least historically, is evident from the trajectory of a revolutionary syndicalist, Edmondo Rossoni, who was extremely critical of internationalism, and spearheaded Italian fascist unions far outnumbering Italian fascist membership. Failure to recognize this fractious relationship between Fascism and Capitalism jettisons the credibility of Brechtian piece linked.
3. Althusser once remarked that Brecht’s work displays two distinct forms of temporality that fail to achieve any mutual integration, which have no relation with one another, despite coexisting and interconnecting, never meet one another. The above linked essay is a prime example of Althusser’s remark. What Brecht achieves is demonstrating incongruities in temporalities of capital and the human (of Capitalism and Barbarianism/Fascism respectively), but is inadequate to take such incongruities to fit into the jigsaw puzzle of the size of Capitalism, not just in his active days, but even to very question of his being prescient for contemporary times, as was mentioned in point 2 in this response. Brecht’s reconstructing of the genealogy of Capitalism in tandem with Fascism parses out the link in commoditized linear history (A fallacy even with Marxian notion of history as history of class consciousness, in my opinion), ending up trapped in tautological circles, since the human mind is short of comprehending the paradoxical fact of Capitalism always seemingly good at presupposing itself.
It is for these reasons, why I opine that Brecht has a circular circuitry.

Politics of Teleonomies of Blockchain…Thought of the Day 155.0

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All of this starts with the dictum, “There are no men at work”.

The notion of blockchain is a decentralized polity. Blockchain is immutable, for once written on to the block, it is practically un-erasable. And most importantly, it is collateralized, in that, even if there is a lack thereof of physical assets, the digital ownership could be traded as a collateral. So, once you have a blockchain, you create a stack that could be database controlled using a Virtual Machine, think of it as some sort of digital twin. So, what exactly are the benefits of this decentralized digital polity? One crucial is getting rid of intermediaries (unless, one considers escrow accounts as an invisible intermediary!, which seldom fulfills the definitional criteria). So, in short, digital twinning helps further social scalability by getting intermediaries o to an invisible mode. Now, when blockchains are juxtaposed with algorithmically run machines (AI is just one branch of it), one gets the benefits of social scalability with analytics, the ever-increasing ocean of raw data hermeneutically sealed into information for utilitarian purposes. The advantages of decentralized polity and social scalability compiles for a true democratic experience in an open-sourced modeling, where netizens (since we still are mired in the controversy of net neutrality) experience participatory democracy.
How would these combine with exigencies of scarce nature or resources? It is here that such hackathons combine the ingenuity of blockchain with AI in a process generally referred to as “mining”. This launch from the nature as we know is Nature 2.0. To repeat, decentralized polity and social scalability creates a self-sustaining ecosystem in a sense of Anti-Fragility (yes, Taleb’s anti-fragile is a feedback into this) with autonomously created machine learning systems that are largely correctional in nature on one hand and improving learning capacities from the environment on the other. These two hands coordinate giving rise to resource manipulation in lending a synthetic definition of materialities taken straight from physics textbooks and scared-to-apprehend materialities as thermodynamic quotients. And this is where AI steams up in a grand globalized alliance of machines embodying agencies always looking for cognitive enhancements to fulfill teleonomic life derived from the above stated thermodynamic quotient of randomness and disorder into gratifying sensibilities of self-sustenance. Synthetic biologists (of the Craig Venter and CRISPR-like lines) call this genetic programming, whereas singularitarians term it as evolution, a break away from simulated evolution that defined initial days of AI. The synthetic life is capable of decision making, the more it is subjected to the whims and fancies of surrounding environment via the process of machine learning leading to autonomous materialities with cognitive capabilities. These are parthenogenetic machines with unencumbered networking capacities. Such is the advent of self-ownership, and taking it to mean to nature as we have hitherto known is a cathectic fallacy in ethics. Taking to mean it differently in a sense of establishing a symbiotic relationship between biology and machines to yield bio machines with characteristics of biomachinations, replication (reproduction, CC and CV to be thrown open for editing via genetic programming) and self-actualization is what blockchain in composite with AI and Synthetic Biology is Nature 2.0.
Yes, there are downsides to traditional mannerisms of thought, man playing god with nature and so on and so on…these are ethical constraints and thus political in undertones, but with conservative theoretics and thus unable to come to terms with the politics of resource abundance that the machinic promulgates…