Why are there so Many Protests Everywhere and What can be Done to Address Them
The Factors behind the Protests Worldwide and Why the Pandemic is the Tipping Point
Wherever we see, there are protests and mass unrest happening worldwide.
Right from the Black Lives Matter protests in the United States to the massive agitation by the Farmer Groups in India to the unrest in manufacturing firms by the workers across the world, there is no dearth of civil disturbance.
While some of these protests are the result of the Pandemic induced Economic Crisis leading to dissatisfaction among the disaffected victims, mostly the protests have been about what the protestors see as an Unjust and Unfair attempt to snatch their livelihoods and take away their incomes from them.
For instance, the Worlds Largest Agitation that is happening in India by the farmers is all about what the latter perceive as a Big Business Takeover of their lands and dissipating their incomes and livelihoods by intruding into their ability to secure a fair price for their produce.
Moreover, there is unrest in many unionized firms wherein workers are resorting to violence and vandalism against non payment of delayed payment of their wages as well as exploitative working practices and unjust and unfair tactics of firms.
What the Resource Constraint Theory Tells Us about the Reasons for the Protests
Therefore, one can say that this is an Age of Protest and Anger wherein large swathes of the populace rise up against the business and state actors who they see as working in tandem to disrupt their lives.
Moreover, while the Pandemic has also created some sort of desperate Race to the Bottom strategies by businesses, some of these grievances predate the Pandemic and hence, the Covid crisis could have catalyzed them to the Breaking Point.
There are some lessons for businesses and especially governments worldwide from these protests and key among them are the very real aspects of how governments are colluding with Big Businesses to undertake a wholesale land and resource grab.
When there are limited and finite resources and at the same time, there is an expanding group of people who lay claim on such scarce resources, there is bound to be friction and dissatisfaction.
Therefore, what the governments worldwide have to do is to ensure a Socially Just allocation of resources instead of making Big Businesses have the First Right to such resources.
In addition, in times when the economies are rapidly shrinking, it goes without saying that the people come first before profits of businesses.
Why Governments Should Not Help in the Creation of Monopolies and Oligopolies
Having said that, society needs Businesses to efficient and to be Engines of Growth.
Therefore, to expect Businesses to act from Utopian and Idealistic notions would be unrealistic and wishful thinking. What we need instead, are a balance between the need for profits and growth on one hand and the legitimate aspirations of societal stakeholders.
This is where astute political leadership is needed wherein instead of creating Monopolies and Oligopolies; such leaders ensure that there is a just distribution of profits and wages among owners and workers of capital.
This can happen by reining the need for exponentially accelerating profits while not letting businesses atrophy and at the same time, placing limits on what societal stakeholders want as well as what can be a fair wage or income.
In other words, what we need is Equilibrium between the Ever Rising Wants and the Rapidly Reducing Share of the Pie or the Rewards that both owners and workers enjoy.
Indeed, as the Farmer Protests have shown, an encroachment of Big Business and Governments in collusion would be resisted even by High Income groups as the times have changed from earlier where only those at the Bottom of the Pyramid protest.
How the Rich are Getting Richer and the Poor Poorer Leading to Class Conflict and Strife
On the other hand, there is the issue of the economic crisis making firms increase working hours and reducing wages at the same time, done by governmental approval.
Moreover, the Hire and Fire at Will laws that have been passed in India is a sure recipe for disaster as India neither has a social safety net for laid off workers nor does it have the capacity to absorb them in the present dire economic circumstances.
This is the reason for the labour unrest that is seen across India and in other parts of the world as well.
Apart from this, there are protests over lack of jobs as well. The point to be noted here is that the Pandemic has accelerated the Process of the Rich Getting Richer and the Poor Getting Poorer which is a catalyst for Class Conflict.
This is the time when Visionary Business Leaders ought to ensure that their firms practice Socially Responsible and Compassionate Capitalism instead of a All Out Effort to Make as Much Money as Possible.
While this is the case with a few sectors and firms worldwide, largely, the trend has been of Billionaires Becoming Richer and their Workers Becoming Progressively Poorer.
What Henry Ford Can Teach Us
Last, what Big Business needs to understand is that they need workers for their firms to produce and consumers for such products.
Even the Most Ruthless Capitalist, Henry Ford, realized this principle and he was the pioneer of what we now know as the Compact between Capitalists and Workers wherein a decent wage is paid for the aforementioned principle to work.
This is the need of the hour and hopefully, this message would resonate with the Big Businesses.
To conclude, social strife is neither good for workers nor the businesses and hence, this mutual self interest should prevail over stupidity.
Authorship/Referencing - About the Author(s)
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