Value, price and society
Today Nepali society has become valueless. Social harmony based on the value system is nearly broken into pieces.
By Kamal Raj Dhungel
Money matters! And thus it deserves dignity and power as it secures higher standards of living. It changes the society and social values. One possesses material wellbeing that pushes and puts him/her in a different position with accolades and praises from counterparts for being able to accumulate money not just only enough for his/her life but enough for the coming generations. Also, money brings relative joy with power. People start listening to the person with wealth and whatever s/he speaks suddenly becomes important. This is because earning wealth is not an easy task. It requires hard work and dedication. Hold on! Is that the only way? Wealth can be earned by holding power at the cost of poor fellowmen like our politicians do and also by betraying friends that are the stairs towards earning the same wealth. But does money always change for good? Where does a society head with crave for earning more money? And does the change in values ultimately lead to becoming valueless? These questions become pertinent especially in a society that is closely bound by togetherness and harmony.
To put an example, I have a story of a tiger to share. A tiger lived in a jungle. He was kind and had many friends. The tiger was very rational and lived with value and moral. With limited resources he constructed a den at a faraway place in another community. Later he invited three of his friends – fox, jackal and wolf to live together with him. He allowed those friends to remain in his house and helped whatever he had until they could build their own houses to live in. In course of time his friends built their own houses and moved. Tiger was very happy to have friends that he chose to be with. Everyone was thankful to the tiger for being helpful. Since tiger came first there he had made other friends in the community and because he was helpful to everyone, he had good fame there. His friends got jobs and help from others in the community because of tiger’s generosity and contribution to the community. Tiger was of great “value” to the jackal fox and wolf. They appreciated the tiger’s help and were in close contact with him. Slowly after settling in the community with the help of tiger the fox, jackal and the wolf started earning money. They thanked tiger for letting them use his fame to grow in the society. Slowly they started earning enough for them and ultimately higher than tiger’s earning. Now the tiger lost his value. His friends could do everything in the society without tiger’s help. They started comparing prices and looking for profits in everything they did.
It is clear that the fox, jackal and the wolf had fulfilled their interest and they were in no need of tiger anymore. This was not what tiger had expected from his friends. Therefore he decided to talk to the friends and solve this issue with them. But all that mattered to the friends was money and profits. Since tiger was of no use to them anymore they started ignoring the tiger. When situation got worse tiger demanded explanation and his friends unionized against him to oust him from the community. At last, tiger was not a friend on their happiness when he helped a lot at the time of their miseries.
Tiger always had good intentions in the community and wanted the harmony to remain in his community. He always sought to help others and wanted the same from others when needed. But, his friends forgot his help and started telling the tiger that past is not important. They started saying that what tiger did was a thing of past and that his work deserves value but the society today does not follow the paths that place us in morality.
These animals by mercy of tiger are living together. They have new friends to accompany who have no value, or they have the same interest that might pay much in their life at the cost of social welfare. Price plays very important role in their life. Their thinking guides by price. Today everything deserves price but not the value. It seems that we have all become cynics. Stephen green, in his book, the ‘Good Value’, put that “If everything is defined by price, not value, then surely social fragmentation follows, since all that matters is a supply of cash rather than shared blood, community, friendship or beliefs. Yet we all know in our innermost that price is not a reliable indicator of value. The words we use are a telling remainder of the point: what has no value is valueless. What has immense value is priceless”.
Today Nepali society has become valueless. Social harmony based on the value system is nearly broken into pieces. Price plays the dominant role in breaking the hallmark of social harmony and so on. Look at the leaders of our political parties. No one respects anyone and that’s because they don’t deserve it. They look at the money, power, dignity and individual wellbeing. They forget moral ethics and values in which they are standing and their contribution what they have made in the name of country and people in the past. Today they run into the business that pays them high profit at the cost of the nation and people.
(Dhungel is Associate Professor Economics at Tribhuvan University. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org)
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