I recently got an opportunity to read and review this book under BlogAdda’s Book Review program. I have been a huge fan of Arun Maira’s articles and being able to review his book was like a dream come true. The book is a collection of thought-provoking articles written by Arun Maira and covers all the aspects to which capitalism is directly or indirectly related.
The book has been divided into four parts. He tries to trace the concept of capitalism and economic development since the time of Arthashastra compiled by the great Indian political economist Kautilya or Chanakya (Note: Historians say that it was written by many political economists of that era and finally compiled under the name of Kautilya. But I like to believe that it was done by Kautilya or Chanakya, the prime minister in the court of Chandragupta Maurya as it gives value of antiquity) and moves to concept of Trusteeship as given by Mahatma Gandhi when he discusses the criteria for corporate social responsibility.
Arun Maira puts various questions on the validity of Capitalism in today’s world, which is trying to emerge from the implosion of 2008 recession. However, he does not say that Capitalism is bad or Socialism is good. He has not passed the judgment on the debate and has left the debate open and poses question on business leaders and government which path they want to tread. It is obvious fact that one solution does not fits all and we can be strong when we say so in front of the larger world audience that include so called capitalist nations.
People are emerging and saying that capitalism has failed but has it really failed. There has never been a true capitalist economy in the world as every nation and organization has provided some kind of protection and bailout to its economic participants (organizations, nations, etc).Greece is a classic example. Therefore, neither blaming Capitalism is correct nor blaming Socialism nor Communism is right, as there has never been ideal capitalism or socialism anywhere in the world.
Arun Maira also discusses whether monetary rewards alone would be enough to satisfy needs of a person. When he states against that, I think of him as a new age Administrative Thinker who believes in humanism. Hope that he is included in the list of renowned Administrative Thinkers of the likes of Mary Parker Follet, McGregor, etc. I think he already is one.
Recently, I had also read Hello Bastar by Rahul Pandita. The book talks from the perspective of leftists and somehow passes the judgment that capitalism is exploitative. However, capitalist are concerned about the downtrodden, poor, and civil society as a whole is the fact proved by thinkers like Arun Maira. Hope that there are more thinkers and doers like him. He is a member of Planning Commission and hope that Planning Commission works for the welfare of the citizens and the private companies, NGOs and citizen organizations all work together towards the common goal.
Overall, the book is a wonderful read. I will recommend it to all.