What is an Essential Business?

Various state governments in India have again started imposing those draconian lock downs in the name of curbing the so called second wave of Coronavirus disease. As the number of cases are rising again after the election season got over, states like Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh et cetera have again started imposing night curfews and lock downs to supposedly bring down the COVID-19 case numbers. In Maharashtra the Uddhav Thackeray government has announced lock down of all the non-essential businesses in Mumbai. Many businesses are now protesting against this draconian measure. It is barely few months economy has started recovering and Indian government is again at the game of destroying it.

In this commentary I want to discuss the issue of essential and non-essential businesses. On what basis the government is saying that some businesses are essential and some businesses are non-essential? What definition of essential and non-essential business they are using? Do they have any objective criteria to define these two categories of businesses? Of course not. It is all government’s arbitrary decision of defining some business as essential and some business as non-essential. As one of my friends reminded in her recent Facebook post, every business that has sprung up in the market is essential because if it was not essential then it would have never come into existence. The reason that business has come into existence is because consumers are demanding the goods and services that that business is producing and providing to its customers. And anything demanded by the consumers is essential. So every existing business in the market economy is an essential business. And shutting it down arbitrarily like this is only going to cause more harm to those business owners and the consumers. And anything that harms the consumers, harms the society because the end goal of any economic activity is consumption. We have to remember that we all are consumers in the end. Producers are also consumers after all. They are in that business because they want to sell those items and earn money which they will use to buy the products that they want to consume to survive and thrive. So stopping their businesses is basically killing them.

This episode of arrogant power drunk politicians and government bureaucrats, who have never done any productive work in their whole lives, instructing the productive people in the market about how to do their business reminds me of Ayn Rand. She said,

When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing – When you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors – When you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you – When you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice – You may know that your society is doomed.

We see exactly similar thing happening in the Indian society. That means the Indian nation state and society are doomed.

4 comments

  1. Agree with you. The non essential bussiness which govt is forecefully closing the producer of those commodities have no other way of survival and it will lead to anti social activity such as robbery.
    It should be kept in choice of bussinessperson whether to close his shop at what time.
    Why govt is deciding? Is government giving them money to feed their family?

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  2. Very correct and nicely written. I think this error has seeped across countries. Just the way kings and queens had outlived their utility, the Governments as we see it now have also reached a point where it is a massive drag on the productive forces. There will be a major struggle in the interim, bloody revolutions till we eventually move to an anarcho-capitalistic societies

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  3. I know this is off Topic but I’ve always wondered how Marxism came to India and how its cherish especially in places like Kerala. Is it because our country never faced a conflict with the former soviet union like the west has? Its really scary how many citizens believe we have capitalism when we really just have state socialism with a sprinkle of capitalism.

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  4. Read the Constitution. It itself is marxist. Even Ambedkar, supposedly revered, was also Marxist. Even many movies in India try to spread Marxism as a moral philosophy. And I don’t think I need to tell you about the influence that movies have on people in India.

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