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Deciphering Corporate Maze

Updated: November 10, 2012 1:47 pm

The idea of fairness in business is as absurd as the idea of fairness in war. Only in the delusionary mind of a hopeless idealist, or religious propagandist dreaming up a golden-age long past, would you imagine a war that started at dawn and ended at dusk with no one attacked after battle-hours! The logic on which the world of business is perceived is thus easily reconstructed once you realise its basis. Companies are footloose warriors roaming the vast lands, looking for what they can make, by whatever means possible. This rapacious behaviour is dressed in righteous rhetoric to make it more possible. Against this background, Ranjeev C Dubey sets out to dissect the bullshit that surrounds aspects of modern Indian corporate, social, political and legal life. In doing this, he asks and answers basic questions about our society. Who runs the corporate ship and why? Who is making the stock market tick and how? What are healthcare facilities here to do? What is the role of sleaze and grease in the determination of public policy?

The 248-page book, which is divided in five parts, offers radical revelations: Indian industrial might is built on the back of a colossal land grab. Criminal cases arc business scores being settled through intimidation. Brands and Trademarks are tools to scam consumers. Corruption is necessary so that we may fund our democracy. In part one, the author begins by looking at the three basic ingredients that make up our elitist urban reality: land, material goods and life. He examines how companies have historically acquired their real assets: their factories, their mines, their minerals, their corporate offices and homes for their workers and owners. He then looks at the consumption choices we make, the schemes companies use to rip off customers, the power of brands and the profits they generate, and the manner in which the law colludes with business to protect super profits. He then turns to life itself, examines the activities of the ultimate ‘caring professions’–healthcare–and asks if the sanctity of life and death, too, has been subverted.

In section two the book takes a closer look at all aspects of our lives in the corporate world. It examines the stock market, and the gullibility of small investors; It looks at the truth about long-term value investments in stocks of small private and listed companies. It questions the role of independent directors and auditors and the dubious role of bankers in corporate life. Section three analyses the impact of the laws we have created, taking one aspect of individual liberty–privacy policies–and evaluating the security of our information in government and corporate hands. The book examines the reality of our contractual landscape and the manner in which civil and criminal courts function. It looks at the world of law and lawyers and reviews the sweeping changes flowing across the justice machine.

This brings us to section four, to the engine of the machine that drives our country. The book tries to unravel the method to the madness, the logic, or singular lack of it, that drives the society we have created. It examines the means by which business is facilitated and competition is beaten off in India; and delves into the history of contemptuous disregard that commerce has of our laws. In this final take on politics, law and culture, the book examines the inherent conflict between the laws and the structure of Indian society, its central beliefs in karma and dharma, and the existential conflict that remains unresolved as a result.

In the final section of the book, the author puts forth his argument for the need to achieve a more mature understanding of who we are so that we can rebuild our nation in the frame of our dreams. The subject of this work is too vast for one book or one author to do justice to it. In a nutshell, the book describes the smelly portions of our society, which we want to close our eyes, ears and nose to.

By Ashok Kumar

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