Re: Science and Unemployment...

Madhudvisah dasa Swami (
Fri, 30 Jun 1995 00:55:28 GMT

Ben Newsam <> wrote:

>> > "Kevin Sterner" writes:
>> >> Tell you what, maybe some advisors can come over from the advanced
>> >> economy of India, based as it is upon subsistence farming, guaranteed
>> >> jobs and handspun cotton, and show us a thing or two. Maybe then the
>> >> standard of living of the average American can be elevated to that of
>> >> the average Indian.
>> >Well, maybe they could teach *you* a thing or two, at that.
>> Such as?


Generally we accept the status-quo without questioning it. If we haven€t
experienced anything else it never crosses our mind that there is anything
else. We accept things as they are. If you try and put this mentality
aside for a minute and consider with as much detachment as possible our
current social and political system you may be surprised. I have spent
some time in Indian villages and have seen a different lifestyle
altogether. There things are going on in a very simple way without much
emphasis on economic development. Things go on in much the same way as
they have been going on since time immemorial. There are no new models
coming out, no new building materials, no multinational corporations, no
new €fads.€ Life is simple.

The villagers have land, cows and bulls. They milk the cows, plow the
fields and transport the produce with the bulls, and they grow food grains
and vegetables on the land. They make simple but comfortable dwellings
from readily available ingredients: bamboo, mud, cow-dung, and so on.
Everything is clean and civilized. They are cooking very nice food with
the produce of the land and the milk from the cows and their lives are
full and happy. Although they are busy working the land, cooking,
cleaning, bring water from the well, washing cloths, etc., still they are
nowhere near as busy as we are in the Western world. They have time to
think and time to serve God. When I saw this I was amazed. My Western
conditioning didn€t prepare me for this. I couldn€t imagine how people
could be living a civilized and comfortable life without the modern
amenities we take for granted. There is no running water, no hot water,
no electricity, hardly any furniture, no household gadgets, no carpets,
none of the stuff we fill our houses with, yet I could perceive these
people were happy and peaceful in this lifestyle. They have a peacefulness
you just can€t find in Pitt Street Mall, or anywhere in Sydney for that

Their incomes are very small compared to our standards. We get twenty
rupees for one Australian dollar and in Indian villages if someone is
making twenty rupees a day it€s considered a huge income. They really
don€t need so much money because their lifestyle is simple. It€s not that
they are poor or missing out on anything...they have good food, clothes
and comfortable houses, what else do they need?

Seeing this lifestyle prompted me to compare it with ours in Australia. I
don€t think we are better off than the Indian villagers. This was
initially quite a shock to me as I had assimilated all the subtle
brainwashing our society gives us to instill in us the desire to consume
to the maximum possible extent and thus keep the capitalistic machinery

We earn and spend so much money, but what is the result? What do we have
that the Indian villagers don€t have? We have a house, it may be
double-brick and in a posh suburb, but after all it€s a house. We are
eating, we are sleeping and we are working, the same things are going on.
Of course we have so many electronic gadgets but what have they brought
us? The television and video are a direct line to the consumer society,
and really who wants that? The computer has made half the work force
obsolete, they are now thrown on the heap of social rejects which is
growing at an alarming rate -- people who simply have no place in society.
They don€t have the intelligence to become great computer programmers or
high-pressure executives, so there is no place for them. The motor car has
created so much pollution and has fostered a society where people now live
two hours drive away from their place of work. They buy and maintain an
expensive motor car with a large chunk of the money they earn simply to
spend four stressful hours in it every day driving to and from work! So
these were some of the thoughts that crossed my mind.

We have created a very stressful society centred around personal sense
gratification. The key word in Australia is "me." "What€s in it for me?"
All the products and services are supposed to make life easier or to give
one more pleasure. But the thing is these products and services were not
created to help the public... they were created to make money for
someone... that€s the capitalistic way of things.

If this capitalistic society is to go "ahead" then people have to be
encouraged to consume more. If people are satisfied with what they have
they don€t consume so much, so there has to be discontent, people have to
be dissatisfied with what they have now, otherwise they won€t buy the new
model. Every year there is a new model of each car to make the owners of
the previous years model feel they are driving an "obsolete" model.
Everything changes so quickly. Even though the computer I€m using at the
moment to typeset this magazine is working quite well, you can see the
result is OK, I€m thinking I€ll have to upgrade it because after all it€s
a 386 and now they are obsolete. This is the way we are trained to think.
It€s perfectly alright to spend $2,000 on a computer and then throw it on
the junk-heap eighteen months later because it€s obsolete. I actually
bought this computer at an auction for $200, because it is a few years
old. If you haven€t got the latest model you€re missing out... or so the
story goes.

Dissatisfaction is actually created in our society to fuel the
capitalistic machine. But what sort of lifestyle does that give us? We are
forced to work hard for things we don€t actually need only to find twelve
months after we purchase them they are obsolete, they have no resale value
and there is a new machine on the market with many more features.

We are missing the wood for the trees, we have no idea what we are trying
to achieve in this life, we are simply going from one sense gratification
program to the next, and we are never satisfied with any of them. The
thing is we never have any time to think. Actually thinking is not
encouraged by our society, if we have any spare time there are so many
mindless diversions to consume our energy. We can watch the television,
play some sport, go to the beach, take some drugs, find a girl and try to
arrange some sex life, go to a party, go to a disco, go to a pub, go to a
restaurant, go to the movies, read the newspaper, go shopping... there is
no end to the list of diversions available to us... perhaps that€s why we
consider ours an advanced society?

Thank you. Hare Krishna!

Madhudvisah dasa Swami

Quotes from His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
(c)Bhaktivedanta Book Trust