I am trying to figure out my economic ideological/political leaning (Read here)
When I was in 11th grade, my economics teacher mentioned something about the Indian government allowing FDI’s in India. I didn’t understand what that meant, so my friend explained that it meant that the government would start allowing American companies like Walmart to come to India. When she said Walmart, I started reminiscing the hours that I used to spend with my mom at the store during my trip to the U.S and how many beautiful things I used to buy for such cheap prices. I started thinking about how big the store was and how much fun it was to shop there. So I immediately responded to her saying that our government should definitely pass the FDI bill so that I can enjoy shopping at Walmart and India could be more like U.S. (I was more stupid then)
Today I realize how naive that judgement was for many reasons. I was supporting a full blown capitalist policy assuming that that was what I loved about the country I was in love with. My American bias makes me often forget what I actually liked about the country or even just my trip/vacation. And that made me think, what was it that I actually really liked about the U.S? Was it the consumerism, brands, riches, technology, cleanliness, or liberty, nature?
Sure, I enjoyed the big stores, variety of products that the markets had, the brands, highly technological society etc that were a part of and a result of capitalism. However, I feel that what really got to me was the ample personal freedoms and nature aspect, more so than the materialistic aspects of the country.
Since I was living in the suburbs, and that too in a house with enough lawns and a swimming pool, I was very close to nature. There were fruits growing on trees in our house, gardens with so many flowers and basically an ample amount of greenery. In terms of personal liberties, I could easily wear whatever I was comfortable in, no matter how short or tiny it was, without attracting any negative judgement. This liberty also reflected in their education system, as I saw individuals pursue their hobbies and interests more freely, with less judgement and even with a good standard.
So instead of fixating on the materialistic aspects that I definitely enjoyed, I’d rather focus other aspects of the country that I resonated much more with, like the values of closeness to nature and individualism. I also realize that a lot of these values are not universal across the country,not all cities are very green or close to nature and not there is a lot of pressure to succeed in a lot of big cities (but I still feel that the pressure is much higher in India).
Anyway, the realization of why I deeply respect and look up to America- because of how free I feel when I am there, and not for its big malls and Walmart convinced me out of the only reason I felt attracted to the idea of capitalism in the first place.
Now this is not to say that I don’t want India to have a well-functioning economy, but I just think that it needs to have its local businesses and companies booming and a stronger domestic market that resonates its own uniqueness and culture perhaps. I don’t want our country to just be cheap labour and us Indians to spend all our money strengthening multi-national companies. I would write a separate blog post discussing this idea further, and tbh I’m obviously no expert. The point of this post was more to establish that I love the US for values other than capitalism and consumerism.