Daily Editorial Updates with Vocabulary : Demonetized Living


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Daily Editorial Updates with Vocabulary

Demonetized Living

India has just been through a rough patch brought about by the demonetisation of high value currency notes amounting to about 86 per cent of the total value of notes in circulation, and worth about Rs 15 lakh crore. The measure, claimed by the Government as a ‘surgical strike on black money’, was greeted with widespread condemnation by the so-called liberal literati. It was opposed by leftist academics, self-proclaimed experts, opposition politicians as well as economists, including the Harvard-trained variety. They called the step a “historic blunder” and its driver a heartless, Tughlaqesque despot insensitive to the unspeakable suffering it had caused to common people.

However, demonetisation did not alienate the people; on the contrary, it seemed to have gained their approval. While everybody cried that the entire cash-driven informal sector would collapse because of this thoughtless step and predicted the imminent  collapse of the Indian economy, no such thing has happened. Even a state like UP, where the economy was largely dependent on the informal sector, has voted to power the party that demonetised the Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes on 8 November.

Peter Diamandis, a Harvard-MIT trained engineer and founder of the Singularity University, talked of “rapid demonetisation of the cost of living itself” within the next 20 years. This, he has predicted, will open up cheaper means to satisfy our basic needs. In the face of robots increasingly taking away our jobs, this sounds too good to be true. But Diamandis has shown that powered by innovations in “exponentially accelerating technologies” like network sensors, artificial intelligence, robotics, synthetic biology and 3D printing, the costs of humanity’s basic requirements ~ housing, transport, food, healthcare, entertainment, clothing and education on which an average Indian spends 90 per cent of his income ~ will continue to fall exponentially, eventually becoming nil. It will radically alter the way people have lived and worked on this planet since the dawn of civilization.

Progress in exponentially growing technologies will enable us to make the next two decades more productive in terms of benefits to humanity than in the last two centuries. The divide between the privileged and the commoner which has all alongthwarted humanity’s progress would then be a thing of the past, and abundance will be within everybody’s reach. It is all about technology and innovation, which if managed well, can turn scarcity into abundance.

Technology has indeed solved many of our problems and drastically reduced the attendant costs. If today we are able to feed our billion-plus population and then export the surplus foodgrains, it is only thanks to green, blue, white and yellow revolutions brought about by technology.

As Diamandis has pointed out, thanks to the use of exponential technology, many of our basic needs have already become practically demonetised, for example, photography, music and entertainment, access to information and research, telephone or video calls etc., and many more are in the offing Once Uber launches its fully autonomous services, transportation and insurance costs will plummet and the automotive market worth a trillion dollars will become effectively demonetised. The price of food globally has been on a downward spiral since the last century, having already dropped by more than 50 per cent since 1960. With the use of vertical farming that eliminates the need for fertilisers and pesticides, advances in genetic engineering of food products and with better management of transportation, storage and handling that today accounts for 70 per cent of the total food costs, hunger could be effectively eliminated from the world. The increasing world population and growth in income will continue to exert pressure for increased and more sustainable agricultural production to feed the planet. A report titled Food Security in a World of Natural Resource Scarcity: The Role of Agricultural Technologies, released in 2014 by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Washington DC had estimated that improved agricultural technologies could increase the yield of crops globally by as much as 67 per cent and cut food prices nearly by 50 per cent by 2050.

Housing today is costly primarily because of location, but once we are able to operate from any place, and access all essential services that we need, there would be no need to seek a preferred location in a city. We can then live anywhere, work from our homes or drive to the nearest workplace in autonomous cars, the time can be productively utilised thanks to improved connectivity.  Fortunately, the poorest countries are the sunniest and the cost of solar power is plummeting radically. With advances in technology, energy will continue to demonetize faster still.

Healthcare remains a challenging sphere, but advances in robotics are already opening up the possibility that in the near future, robots will take over surgery, exercising a precision far beyond the capability of the most experienced of human surgeons. With increasing deployment of robot-surgeons, the cost will reduce drastically. As regards prognosis (the likely course of a medical condition.) of diseases, the price ofgenomic (relating to the haploid set of chromosomes in a gamete or microorganism, or the complete set of genes in a cell or organism.) sequencing is dropping fast, and the more accurate our sequencing becomes, the easier it would be to arrive at the correct diagnosis. The cost of medicines will also come down as we learn to use 3-D printing for manufacturing medicines, with our home-based 3-D printing machines.

Access to good education has always drawn the dividing line between the elite and downtrodden the rich and the poor. But even education has already been substantially demonetised. Information and knowledge are freely available in the internet, and with free Massive Open Online Courses like Coursera, Khan Academy, and online availability of high-quality instructions from Harvard, MIT, Stanford, IITs etc. available to anyone with an internet connection, much of the problem of access has already been solved. It will of course still take several decades in a country like India, but it would be far easier to impart internet-based quality instruction than reform our decrepit public school system. Education will be liberated from the tyranny of universities and schools; the child of a billionaire and the child of a commoner will have access to the same education in the foreseeable future. That would be the perfect democratisation, liberalisation and globalisation of education.

Diamandis and Kotler co-authored another book, Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World in which they identified the six phases of exponential technologies ~ Digitalisation or introduction of digital technology; Deception, during which technologies advance quickly, often below the radar; Disruption, which disrupts established industries; Demonetisation, eliminating the need to buy something, like digital photography and abolishing the need to buy films; Dematerialisation, when physical tools are replaced by digital apps; and Democratisation, when access becomes universal as costs decrease. In a lecture delivered at the World Economic Forum at Davos in 2015, Diamandis gave an example of the power of exponential technologies. In 2010, the average speed of a $1000 computer was 100 billion calculations per second. In 2023, it would become 10,000 times as much, which is the speed at which our brain computes. 25 years hence, a $1000 computer is likely to have the computational power of the entire human race, leading to unprecedented democratisation of knowledge.

But the revolution may also cause disruption, if we cannot manage it well. An example is Kodak, which in 1996 was a $28 billion company with 140,000 employees. It had invented the digital camera in 1976, but failed to anticipate its potential. In 2012 it went bankrupt.disrupted by its own invention in the same year that another digital imaging company, Instagram, with only 13 employees, was acquired by Facebook for more than $1 billion.

A similar story is that of HMT in India, which was a market leader in watches but failed to see the potential of quartz watches, an opportunity that others grabbed and shoved HMT out of the market altogether. These disruptions will cause turmoil in the short term, but eventually everything will settle into a demonetised equilibrium in which humanity, if it so chooses, can live peacefully and harmoniously, without scarcity and without conflict.

Magical Vocabulary from “The Statesman”

  1. Despot(noun):A ruler or other person who holds absolute power (तानाशाह /निरंकुश शासक)

Synonyms: Tyrant, Dictator, Absolute Ruler, Totalitarian, Authoritarian, Autocrat.

Antonyms: Democrat.

Example: The military is joining forces with the rebels to dethrone the royal despot terrorizing their country.

  1. Imminent(adjective):Being about to happen/ likely to occur at any moment. (निकटस्थ)

Synonyms: Impending, Proximate, Forthcoming, Likely.

Antonyms: Distant, remote.

Example: Without some type of government funding, the closing of the NGO was imminent.

  1. Dawn(noun):The beginning of a phenomenon or period of time (आरंभ)

Synonyms: Beginning, Start, Birth, Inception, Conception, Origination, Genesis, Emergence, Advent.

Antonyms: Sunset, Conclusion, Dusk, End.

Example: With the dawn of the internet, concept of global village became true.

  1. Privileged(adjective):Having special rights, advantages, or immunities. (विशेषाधिकारोंवाला)

Synonyms: Advantaged, Entitled, Conferred With Rights,

Antonyms: Disadvantageous, Underprivileged.

Example: The president of our country has some the privileges under article 361.

  1. Thwart(verb):Prevent (someone) from accomplishing something./ to oppose successfully :  defeat the hopes or aspirations of. (विफलकरना/रोकना)

Synonyms: Oppose, Prevent, Balk, Stymie.

Antonyms: Aid, Assist, Facilitate, Support.

Example: In order to thwart the advancing enemy troops, the captain ordered the explosives team to destroy the bridge.

  1. Drastically(adverb):In a way that is likely to have a strong or far-reaching effect. (प्रभावी रूप से)

Synonyms: Exceedingly, Excessively, Immensely, Severely, Remarkably.

Antonyms: Mildly, Moderately.

Example: The effects of the drought were so drastic that everyone was without clean water.

  1. Attendant(adjective):Something that accompanies/ occurring with or as a result of. (सम्बंधित/सहायक) 

Synonyms: Accompanying, Associated, Related, Connected, Concomitant, Accessory.

Antonyms: Detached, Separated, Isolated, Divided.

Example: Digitalization was an attendant motive of curbing the black shadow of the economy by demonetization.

  1. Downtrodden(adjective):Oppressed or treated badly by people in power. (रौंदा हुआ)

Synonyms: Crushed, Oppressed, Persecuted, Tyrannized, Repressed.

Antonyms: Advantaged, Privileged.

Example: Downtrodden servants in the manor were subjected to severe treatment and had few rights.

  1. Decrepit(adjective): Weakened by or as if by the infirmities of old age/ elderly and infirm. (जीर्ण/जर्जर)

Synonyms: Dilapidated, Broken-Down, Ramshackle, Derelict, Crippled, Feeble, Infirm.

Antonyms: Solid, Stable, Strong, Sturdy.

Example: Since Mitch purchased the decrepit car, he has spent over fifteen thousand rupees on repairs

  1. Bankrupt(adjective):(of a person or organization) declared in law as unable to pay their debts. (दिवालिया)

Synonyms: Insolvent, Destitute, Skint, Stony Broke.

Antonyms: Solvent, Wealthy, Rich, Affluent.

Example: Heavy medical costs from a car accident would bankrupt the injured parties.


Courtesy And Copyright :-   The Statesman


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