17 Nov 2011

India's New Generation Impatient?

India’s economy is growing at a record rate! All business channels are talking about India’s ROBUST CONSUMPTION STORY! The young Indian is unafraid, impatient, knows what she wants and gets it! That’s because Indians have started earning good sums of money. And those Indians want to spend on luxury, enjoyment; on what they deserve. We Indians are living up to our expectations! We’re buying expensive gadgets, going on expensive vacations, compromising on nothing less than elite brands for perfumes, clothes, electronics, mobile phones, laptops...
There are 2 concepts in economics – Conspicuous Consumption & Conscientious Consumption. The former is applicable when brand equity overshadows value for money as buyers want to be seen using snob value goods. This was applicable in developed countries until recently. However, it’s now more applicable in India while the latter (conscientious consumption) is applicable today in developed countries. Conscientious Consumption is when value and functionality of goods have more weightage in consumers’ minds than the brand.
People today are encouraged to buy more than they can afford because of loan schemes being offered on everything. So we buy all we want, keep paying off the loans and live on a paycheck-to-paycheck basis. But what’s the ulterior motive in this?
We shell out dollops of our hard earned money to buy things we want. We seemingly take pleasure in using high quality commodities thinking they provide respite from our mundane work lives. The big guns (politicians, big industrialists, etc.) are covertly having the media drive into us the logic that we can buy expensive iPads, cars, Sony BRAVIA TVs, etc. to enjoy the spoils of our earnings. This, we’re made to believe, will make the frustrations at work feel worthwhile. But whose coffers are these filling? The sellers', loan providers' and invariably - through various taxes - the government's. So who thinks they’re richer? We. But who actually grows richer? Those people suck the money out of us.
This logic gets me to another point. In the desire to own more, we start putting up with all sorts of crap. True, we hop jobs… but we’re still working for others. This yearning for money to buy more ensures we do what the higher ups want us to, the way they want us to, when and how they want us to. Some of us try being entrepreneurs, but how many of us seriously risk all we have for something we’re passionate about? The fear of losing it all has been instilled in us. So we toe in line and do not venture off in directions which might make it hard for corporates to retain talent for less. This is the same reason why the education curriculum does not get revamped either. They (politicians, big industrialists, etc.) want us to retain the mindset of learning all we NEED to for a JOB. We focus on placements, salaries, etc. We continue doing work they have chalked out for us to fatten their pockets. We are exposed to redundant educational curriculum to ensure we learn doing things the way they were and are being done. Innovation is barely ever encouraged, unless it makes money for the big bosses.
We’re being conned gradually, and we don’t even know it. The bigwigs don’t want us to think. They act like they’re offering us a lot of freedom, but it’s all well orchestrated. We spend; we make money for banks, industries, the government. Savings in U.S.A. have come down drastically from 8% of the GDP some years ago to less than 0.5% now. The repercussions are that the average American is $22,000 in debt. All this leads to rallies like Occupy Wall Street. The format is now pilfering down to us. Are we prepared to see the truth the way it is? Or are we going to learn the hard way! I guess only time will tell…


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