Market is a system of interdependence. When you buy food from a farmer, the price you pay him helps him buy what he needs from someone else. So, let’s look deeper and discover the dynamics.
You, the urban elite needs good, organic food. You are willing to pay a premium for organic. He buys clothes, education, a concrete house, a motorcycle, medicines, cooking gas and numerous other needs. It is interesting to note that many of his purchases (not all) are for needs, which were craftily ‘created’ so that he participates in the market. Let’s understand this through a story.
A particular tribal community lived outside our market system few decades ago. Some good Samaritans noted that there were too many avoidable deaths. They helped the tribals avoid deaths due to infections and complexities during pregnancy and childbirth with basic medication and precautions.
So far so good. Then they felt that these people were uneducated, not well dressed, ill-equipped to live in the civilization. They should get education, clothes, toilets and much more. All of it cannot be donated. They should earn and buy from the market.
Tribals were trained and given opportunities to participate in the market. They got jobs as farm labour, school attendants and other sundry roles. They earned money and bought their ‘newly discovered needs’.
Markets being markets created more needs – liquor, phones, bikes, travel, cosmetics, processed food and much more. A generation passed and the original need for intervention was just in stories of the past. The NGOs had much bigger stories about how they had created an ‘impact’ through education, income generation, skills training, business coaching and so on.
So you buy organic food from one such ‘reformed market participant’. He uses the money he earns for his newly found needs and he always falls short of money. So now there are society reforming Micro-Finance Institutions, who not only provide credit but also include him into the financial system.
He now works on farms to pay for his installment and buys food from the market. He has no complaints. In fact, he is very happy with his ‘developed’ status.
So, you depend on him for good food and he depends on you for his needs. You are able to save money after spending on all you needs so that your future is secure and he borrows from his future to pay for what he needs to buy today. You are successful and he needs to buck-up.
If something went wrong somewhere, correcting it is a herculian task. Now nobody wants to correct.
Let us live with it. Let us also not forget the fact that we are dependent on him for survival and he for peripherals.