Sir — In the article, “Capitalism and equality” (Feb 12), Prabhat Patnaik throws light upon certain aspects of a capitalist economy and underlines the fact that not even “reformed capitalism” can provide equal opportunity for all. The theories and the models of capitalism discussed in the article, like that of Joseph Schumpeter or the idea of maintaining “the threat of the sack”, may have worked in earlier times.
However, in the present context, most of these theories come across as utopian conjectures. One does not resort to sacking employees in the organized sector to reach the optimal level of production. Today, the strategy is to increase productivity by offering incentives. For instance, several modern companies offer an increase in wages if employees meet their targets. Such a move is meant to encourage employees and help enhance their efficiency.
Capitalism has to evolve with the changing times. It has to adopt a humane approach and permit certain reasonable controls.
Alok Sarkar, Calcutta
Sir — Prabhat Patnaik’s piece argues that not everyone can avail of equal opportunity even in a “reformed” capitalist society. However, from our experiences,we can firmly remonstrate that even communism cannot offer equal opportunity to all. There is evidence to show that communist countries like Russia or China have not managed to provide all its citizens with equal resources. In over three decades of their rule, West Bengal’s communist leaders could not provide equal opportunity to everybody. Even bare necessities, like education, health and sanitation, were not made available to every citizen.
Unless the wages of all professionals are brought on a par, the ideals of communism will continue to remain myths. Communism, as we all know it, is obsolete in today’s world. Hence it cannot be considered an effective alternative.
Asit Kumar Sinha Ray, Murshidabad
Sir — I read the account of Sudhir Kumar Tyagi in Khushwant Singh’s column with great interest. Tyagi, a common man from Gurgaon, found himself among the who’s who of Indian politics because of a series of bizarre happenings (“The outsider”, Feb 16). He flew in a chartered plane with Union cabinet ministers and state ministers and stood in line along with other Congress leaders to shake hands with the then prime minister, Indira Gandhi, at the Chandigarh airport. The incident took a strange turn when people mistook him for a dignitary and ended up garlanding him.
This episode highlights the enormous laxity in the security drill of those times. Those were the days before the former prime minister’s assassination. Hence a number of security protocols were not in place. These days, the shadow of threats to the lives of dignitaries and politicians has resulted in the strengthening of security arrangements.
One sincerely hopes that there will come a time in the near future when conflict related to terror becomes a thing of the past.
Ashok Kumar Ghosh, Calcutta
Sir — Sudhir Kumar Tyagi’s account has all the ingredients of a thrilling potboiler. Little wonder then that it remained etched in Tyagi’s memory for a long time. However, one really wonders as to what would have happened if an insurgent, and not Tyagi, had managed to slip in undetected.
This is certainly an instance of a major security lapse. Such an episode in our time would undoubtedly lead to a great disaster.
P.B. Saha, Calcutta
Sir — It is sad to learn that Anoushka Shankar suffered “sexual and emotional abuse” at the hands of a man whom her parents trusted (“Anoushka cry against abuse”, Feb 13). I have full sympathy for Shankar. Her acknowledgement of this incident will raise awareness about the issue. Shankar said that “As a woman, I find I am frequently living in fear.” This fear is shared by women across the world because sexual abuse is prevalent in all societies. Stricter punishment should be meted out to the offenders to root out the problem from society.
Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee, Faridabad