Saturday, August 27, 2011

Lok Sabha adopts resolution on Lokpal Bill; Anna ends fast tomorrow!Anna`s Victory Heralds More Dangers ahead beside the Reinvoked Hindu Nationalism! The Rise of Elite Brahaminical Civil Society with CORPORATE, NGO and Media Associates may Call for a

Lok Sabha adopts resolution on Lokpal Bill; Anna ends fast tomorrow!Anna`s Victory Heralds More Dangers ahead beside the Reinvoked Hindu Nationalism! The Rise of Elite Brahaminical Civil Society with CORPORATE, NGO and Media Associates may Call for anything as Corporate Lobbying has to INTENSIFY in the FREE MARKET Economy. NDA UPA GOT UP Game with Highest TRP Ever and Branding ANNA however do NOT Signify the Gandhian Philosophy at all EXCEPT the Art of Black Mailing and Holding the Nation!Gandhian Philosophy is all about Brahaminical MONOPOLY and BRAHMIN BANIA RAJ to Sustain Manusmriti Rule. The EXCLUSION is Glorified and INTENSIFIED with Neo Liberal Policies and FREE MARKET Economy! Gandhian ANNA Team and CIVIL Society is up against CORRUPTION and leads US sponsered Civil Society led Pro Damocratic Indian Spring, BUT this Movement has NOTHING against LPG Mafia Rule and FDI Raj!The Nation is Deprived of the Informations about Legislation, Policy Making and Governance during the FAST and the Government of India Incs PUSHED for Economic Reforms and GROWTH of Profit Making Capital Inflow. The Polity is Hijacked by the Market Dominating Zionist Brahaminical Class and the Foreign Funded Media and NGOs Glorify this creating Unprecedented MIND CONTROL to Boost AGGRESSIVE HINDU Nationalism. The Parliament is Misused to KILL the Constitution once again with EXCELLENT  FLOOR Management amongst the Brahaminical Parties and the CO OPTED POONA PACT By Product SC, ST, OBC and MINORITY MPs could not Raise a SINGLE VOICE!

Indian Holocaust My Father`s Life and Time - SEVEN HUNDRED NINETEEN

Palash Biswas

Lok Sabha adopts resolution on Lokpal Bill; Anna ends fast tomorrow! Anna Hazare declared on Saturday that the nation's people had won a great victory as he announced he would end his fast at 10am on Sunday. Both Houses of Parliament on Saturday passed a resolution conveying the sense of the House on the Lokpal Bill, paving the way forAnna Hazare to break his fast.

Anna fast: The last act; updated pics

Amidst concerns over the continuing standoff between Anna Hazare and Government on the Lokpal issue, hope runs high that Anna may end his marathon fast soon. As Anna's fast entered the 12th day, the Gandhian lost seven kilos. Doctors say that he appears to be healthy.

Bollywood actor Aamir Khan greets Anna Hazare at Ramlila grounds where Hazare is fasting in New Delhi August 27, 2011. India's parliament edged closer to an agreement on Saturday on an anti-corruption bill that could end a 12-day hunger strike by a social activist that has lead to widespread anger against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's besieged government

Hazare thanked people for their support on the Lokpal agitation but cautioned that only half the battle had been won.

"We have won only half the battle," said Hazare standing before wildly cheering crowds and flanked by his key aides and Union minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, former Maharashtra chief minister who has been an interlocutor.

"I congratulate every MP on what has happened today." Anna Hazare said.

Earlier, Union minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, along with Congress MP Sandeep Dikshit, reached theRamlila Maidan and handed over a copy of the Lokpal resolution and a letter of the Prime Minister to Anna Hazare.

"Parliament has spoken. It is the will of the people," a smiling Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said while coming out of the House after the debate that ended at 8pm.

Both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha went out of their way to discuss in a special sitting on Saturday an issue thrown up by the campaign of the 74-year-old activist who has been demanding enactment of Jan Lokpal for which he started a fast from August 16.

There was confusion at the end of the day-long debate in both the Houses as Parliament was expected to vote a resolution.

Originally conceived as a resolution, Parliament converted its agreement on three issues raised by Hazare -- citizen''s charter, lower bureaucracy under Lokpal through an appropriate mechanism and establishment of Lokayukta in the states -- and to remit them to the Parliamentary Standing Committee for giving its recommendations.

In his communication to Hazare, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh conveyed to him that Parliament has passed a resolution on the three issues raised by him and appealed to him to call off his fast.

Anna`s Victory Heralds More Dangers ahead beside the Reinvoked Hindu Nationalism!

Anna Hazare will break his fast at 10am on Sunday, according to his close associate Kiran Bedi.

Bedi tweeted that the 74-year-old activist does not break his fast after sunset.

"Anna is known to have never broken his fast after sunset. Recall, he did so even in April fast. This is his decision again. He decides," she tweeted.

Later, Bedi said he will break the fast at 10am on Sunday.

If he breaks his fast on Sunday at 10am, he will complete 288 hours of his hunger strike which began on August 16.

The Rise of Elite Brahaminical Civil Society with CORPORATE, NGO and Media Associates may Call for anything as Corporate Lobbying has to INTENSIFY in the FREE MARKET Economy.

NDA UPA GOT UP Game with Highest TRP Ever and Branding ANNA however do NOT Signify the Gandhian Philosophy at all EXCEPT the Art of Black Mailing and Holding the Nation!

Gandhian Philosophy is all about Brahaminical MONOPOLY and BRAHMIN BANIA RAJ to Sustain Manusmriti Rule.

The EXCLUSION is Glorified and INTENSIFIED with Neo Liberal Policies and FREE MARKET Economy!

Gandhian ANNA Team and CIVIL Society is up against CORRUPTION and leads US sponsered Civil Society led Pro Damocratic Indian Spring, BUT this Movement has NOTHING against LPG Mafia Rule and FDI Raj!

The Nation is Deprived of the Informations about Legislation, Policy Making and Governance during the FAST and the Government of India Incs PUSHED for Economic Reforms and GROWTH of Profit Making Capital Inflow.

The Polity is Hijacked by the Market Dominating Zionist Brahaminical Class and the Foreign Funded Media and NGOs Glorify this creating Unprecedented MIND CONTROL to Boost AGGRESSIVE HINDU Nationalism.

The Parliament is Misused to KILL the Constitution once again with EXCELLENT  FLOOR Mangement amongst the Brahaminical Parties and the CO OPTED POONA PACT By Product SC, ST, OBC and MINORITY MPs could not Raise a SINGLE VOICE!

Master Manager Manipulator,Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, the Elite Brahamin From Bengal, today said Lok Sabha has adopts 'sense of House' on three key issues raised by Anna Hazare. The house was adjourned without voice vote.  The lower House was adjourned till Monday by the speaker after a 'sense of the house' was taken and there was unanimity in passing the resolution.
On a motion moved by Pranab Mukherjee, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha passed a resolution conveying the sense of the House on the Lokpal Bill.

After the passage of the resolution, Speaker Meira Kumar adjourned the Lok Sabha till Monday.

There was some confusion over whether the resolution was passed by a voice vote or not. Apparently, no voice vote took place.

"Thumping of the desk is akin to passing a motion by voice vote," Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar told Times Now.

After the passage of the Lokpal resolution in Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha also passed the resolution.

Team Anna welcomes the passage of the Lokpal resolution, Kiran Bedi said.

Some of the important points of the Lokpal resolution passed by Parliament are:

*An effective Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in states be set up.

*Employees of centre and state governments to be brought under purview of Lokpal and Lokayuktas respectively.

*All government departments to have citizen's charter with timeline.

With a copy of Lokpal resolution and a letter from PM Manmohan Singh, Union minister Vilasrao Deshmukh would now go to Ramlila Maidan to meet Anna Hazare.

Earlier, the team Anna said they have received a communication from the government that a resolution carrying their demands on Lokpal Bill will be put to a voice vote, a move which they termed as a "very happy" development.

Fresh trouble emerged this afternoon after government decided only to convey sense of House to Team Anna and not put the resolution for voting, the activists hardened their position saying it was "betrayal" and only a resolution which will be put to vote will be acceptable.

This forced the government to change its stand. The activist's camp said they have received the communication from the government about its decision to put the resolution to voice vote.

The 74-year-old Gandhian has been on fast for the last 12 days, demanding the passage of the Jan Lokpal Bill by Parliament.

Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee requested the speaker Meira Kumar to adopt the sense of the House as a resolution and forward it to the standing committee.

According to Yashwant Sinha, both, the BJP and the government were in agreement that no voting was needed and the Sense of the House should be conveyed to the Speaker.

Team Anna member Medha Patkar called it a part betrayal. "This is not what we agreed on with Khurshid; it's part betrayal" she said.

Anna Hazare is expected to end his fast at 10am on Sunday after mediator Vilasrao Deshmukh presents him with a copy of the resolution adopted by Parliament, agreeing to his three demands.

* Anna Hazare is being misled by his team members: Lalu Prasad

*The decision to arrest Anna Hazare was wrong, says RJD leader Lalu Prasad.

* Team Anna aide Arvind Kejriwal said that they are happy with the government's decision to have a voice vote.

*There will be no division on the voice vote after the Lokpal debate.

*Govt agrees to a voice vote on Lokpal debate in Parliament: Times Now

*Govt is speaking in many voices, says CPI's Dasgupta

* Aamir Khan on stage with Anna Hazare at the Ramlila Ground.

*PM holds meeting with members of opposition and government

*Anna is very disappointed with the change of events, says Kiran Bedi

*What is the stand of Congress on Lokpal resolution, asks Kiran Bedi
*Sushma Swaraj clarifies BJP willing to vote in favour of all the 3 sticky demands in both houses of Parliament.

*Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee initiated debate on Lokpal Bill in Lok Sabha on Saturday morning.

* He recounted the chain of events since Anna Hazare first went on fast at the Jantar Mantar on April 9 in New Delhi.

* Pranab Mukherjee said, "Government followed established procedures in introducing Lokpal Bill in Parliament. Whatever we do should be within the Constitution. We are at crossroads, let us try to find solution within constitutional framework without violating supremacy of Parliament.

* Mukherjee further said, "This is one of the rare occasions when the attention of the entire nation and outside is drawn to proceedings of Lok Sabha."

* Mukherjee asked Lok Sabha to consider whether Lokpal will be applicable through the institution of the Lokayukt in all states, whether Lokpal should have power to punish those who violate 'grievance redressal mechanism'.

* Pranab requested Anna Hazare to end fast.

* LK Advani also requested Anna Hazare to end fast.

* Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad got up agitatedly and said by debating the issue the house was by passing the parliamentary standing committee which is looking into the anti-graft legislation. "By allowing the house to debate the Lokpal bill directly is violating the rules," the RJD leader said soon after Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's speech.

* Leader of the opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said the bill has been stopped from being tabled 8 times.

* Even my govt failed to pass the bill, said Sushma

* Rahul Gandhi's speech was not on the agenda: Sushma

* Zero hour is for debate and not for discourse

* Rahul's speech was a discourse to the nation and not a debate, said Sushma

* If PM has no issues in coming under Lokpal, why does the govt, questioned Sushma Swaraj

* Sushma Swaraj questioned the content of Rahul Gandhi's speech

* Bringing judiciary in Lokpal will not solve problems: Sushma

* It seems that no one in the govt listens to the PM: Sushma

* We support all the three points raised by Anna Hazare: Sushma Swaraj

* Today the maturity of Parliament: Leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley

* For common people, battling corruption has become a way of life: Arun Jaitley

* Anna's movement saw outpouring of popular support: Jaitley

* Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit said it is better to convey a sense of the House to Anna Hazare than indulging in political arguments for cheap publicity. "Should we respond to BJP's barbs or Anna's demand," he asked.

Leader of opposition Sushma Swarajsaid that Anna Hazare's anti-graft campaign had brought the issue of Lokpal to the people and the massive support it garnered was because people were "fed up" of increasing corruption in the last two years.

Initiating the debate at a special sitting on theLokpal bill issue after an address by leader of house Pranab Mukherjee, Sushma Swaraj also urged the members to set an example by having a peaceful debate.

"It is a historical debate, let it be peaceful," she said.

The BJP leader said it was not the first time the Lokpal bill was being taken up by the parliament.

"This is not the first time the bill is being presented, our government also tried but could not get it passed," she said.

"This movement has brought the issue to the public. Earlier whenever a draft was made it was limited to the intellectuals," Sushma Swaraj said.

The opposition leader added the present situation had arisen because people were tired of the increasing corruption.

"The present situation is also because of the increasing corruption in the last two years. People are fed up," she said.

Sushma said Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi's unscheduled intervention in the Lok Sabha suggesting an autonomous Lokpal "poured cold water on" the statesmanship shown by the prime minister in breaking the logjam.

She also charged that house norms were relaxed to allow Gandhi to make a long speech.

"Rahul Gandhi poured cold water on the statesmanship and initiative by the prime minister," Sushma Swaraj, Leader of Opposition in the House, said while participating in the debate on the Lokpal issue.

She also charged that Rahul Gandhi was allowed to make a long speech during the question hour, which was contrary to the norms. "Zero hour is meant to raise an issue, not to deliver sermons. Why were norms relaxed for Rahul?" she asked.

Her comments triggered objections from the treasury benches, but Speaker Meira Kumar chose not to comment.

Sushma Swaraj spoke after finance minister Pranab Mukherjee initiated the debate in the Lok Sabha on the Lokpal bill by recounting the chain of events since Anna Hazare first went on fast at the Jantar Mantar here April 9.

In an unscheduled intervention during zero hour on Friday, Rahul Gandhi said that a Lokpal bill could not alone end corruption and suggested an autonomous Lokpal on the lines of the Election Commission.

"Zero hour allows three minutes to raise an issue, Rahul took 15 minutes," Sushma Swaraj said.

Taking potshots at the Congress party, Swaraj said: "The PM speaks rarely, and even when he does, no one listens (to him)."

Arrive at Lokpal conclusion by evening: Advani

Senior BJP leader LK Advani urged parliament to resolve the three key demands on the Lokpal Bill raised by Team Anna by evening so that Anna Hazare can call off his 12-day long fast.

"We should discuss the bill throughout the day and till evening the view of the house should go to Anna Hazare, and it will be meaningful if the conclusion of debate leads to ending of Anna ji's fast," he told the Lok Sabha.
What keeps Anna going - diet plan

Though Anna Hazare has been subsisting on water for the past 12 days and has amazed doctors and the public alike with his energy, it is his disciplined life style and self-control that has kept the 74-year-old going, aides close to the social activist said on Saturday.

"It is the self-control mechanism that Hazare is following, it is not new for him as he has always led a principled life," a long-term associate of Hazare said.

His normal diet when he is not fasting consists of milk and fruits, dalia (wheat porridge) and simple khichdi. Most of the time he skips even this simple meal.

"He never takes tea," the aide added.

Regular practice of yoga for at least two hours a day keeps him fit even at his age.

A strict and disciplined lifestyle of this ex-army man has made him achieve this feat.

"He eats only once in a day," he added.

Parliament adopts Sense of House on Anna's demands

Updated Aug 27, 2011 at 08:13pm IST



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New Delhi: Parliament adopted the 'Sense of the House' on the three demands raised by anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare by thumping of the desks on both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha on Saturday in a special sitting. Both Houses debated the Lokpal Bills for more than eight hours and were adjourned till Monday without voting on the three demands put forward by Team Anna. The resolution was not voted upon as the discussion was not held Rule 184.
Anna Hazare will be conveyed 'Sense of the House' through Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar. Hazare, who has been on a fast since August 16 demanding a strong Lokpal to fight corruption, will break his fast at 10 AM on Sunday.
"Parliament has spoken. The will of Parliament is the will of the people," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said.
The discussion came to an end after more than eight hours of debate on the Lokpal Bills in which 27 speakers participated in the Lok Sabha, with many of then delivering stirring speeches and acknowledging Hazare's agitation for bring the issue of corruption to the centrestage.
There were a lot of twist and turns during the day with frequent changes in the stand of both the Government and Team Anna over the final wordings of the resolution and whether it would be voted upon or not.
Details of resolution:
This House agrees in principle on following issues for an effective and strong Lokpal: 1) Citizen's charter, 2) Lower bureaucracy under Lokpal through appropriate mechanism, 3) Establishment of Lokayukta in states, 4) Further resolve to forward the proceedings of the House to the Standing Committee for its perusal.
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#Anna Hazare #Lokpal Bill #Jan Lokpal Bill #Parliament #Lokpal debate

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Scores of people came out on the roads in Delhi to express their elation over the victory of activist Anna Hazare, whose three key demands on the Lokpal bill were accepted byparliament Saturday.

Sporting Anna caps, waving the tricolour and shouting slogans, people were seen heading towards India Gate.

Some people were found to be dancing to the tunes of patriotic songs on roads, while some took out car rallies and processions.

Many people boarded the metro to reach Ramlila Maidan where Hazare will break his fast 10 a.m. Sunday. At the venue, people were applauding and singing patriotic songs.

Jubiliation in Maharashtra

Thousands of people in Maharashtra, including in Mumbai and Anna Hazare's home village Ralegan-Siddhi, broke out in celebrations Saturday after the activist said he will call off his fast as the government had agreed to his three key demands.

Villagers ran out of their homes as soon as the news broke out.

"Anna is a national hero, he has achieved what many felt was impossible by a hunger strike and a peaceful agitation," an admiring villager said in front of television cameras.

Many people, including women and youths, danced in groups, while the men folk cheered and raised slogans in favour of Hazare.

Similar celebrations were seen in Pune, Nagpur, Kolhapur, Thane and other parts of the state.

Braving heavy rains, Mumbaikars managed to gather in small groups in temples or public places and flashed the victory sign as Hazare compelled the government to take the first concrete steps for a strong Lokpal bill.

"Anna has achieved what the people of the country wanted and he continues to remain safe and healthy," Andheri businessman Rajeev Jain told IANS.

Pooja Pujari, an executive with the five-star Hotel Trident Oberoi, said she was "thrilled by the victory of the people".

"Many of us had taken out a candle light march supporting Anna's cause last week. We are happy our individual efforts have succeeded in achieving Anna's objectives for a strong Lokpal bill," Pooja told IANS.

Praful Vora, the Mumbai coordinator of India Against Corruption, said: "Real parliament is the people, says Annaji. People are supreme and parliament is only an institution to serve them. This has been established again today."

Kiran Gavande, the secretary of Nutan Dabbawala Trust said that he is glad their efforts bore fruit. "We are glad that we supported Annaji by taking a break from providing tiffins for a day, a first in the last 120 years," he said.

"But we are now planning to celebrate by serving our customers with free sweets Monday," he added

Union Minister and former Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh conveyed the "sense of the house", including in-principle agreement on the three key demands of Anna Hazare on the Lokpal bill, to the activist at Ramlila grounds in New Delhi late Saturday.

Reading out a letter signed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Deshmukh said: "This House agrees, in principle, on the following issues for a strong and effective Lokpal - citizens' charter, lower bureaucracy to be under Lokpal through an appropriate mechanism, (and) establishment of Lokayuktas in the states."

Soon after, the activist announced that he will break his fast at 10 a.m. Sunday. Saturday was the 12th day of Anna Hazare's fast.



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  6. 29 Sep 2009 – In India, corporate lobbying, in the form of intensive briefings and presentations to ministers and senior civil servants, is expanding; the current ...

  7. Govt mulls regulating corporate lobbying - Times Of India

  8. articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.comCollectionsLeakage- Cached

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  27. 15 Dec 2010 – When asked about the Niira Radia tapes, thecorporate affairs minister said he would have to talk to all the ministers for a view before moving ...

  28. Niira Radia - India Real Time - WSJ

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  30. 3 Jun 2011 – On Wednesday, India's minister for corporateaffairs, Salman Khurshid, said at a business conference in Chennai that lobbying and public ...













    How Anna united people for a common cause

    New Delhi: There is hardly any similarity between 50-year-old Raghubir Prasad, a rickshaw puller from Bihar, and 20-year-old Meneka Sharma, a student in Delhi. Yet they have been bound together by a common link called Anna Hazare.
    Prasad has been literally camping at the Ramlila Maidan in central Delhi ever since the 74-year-old activist came here from the Tihar Jail to continue his fast demanding a strong, anti-graft bill.
    Like scores of supporters, Prasad eats and sleeps at the sprawling ground, going out around mid-day to ferry passengers. He is not able to earn much money but has no complaints.
    "Annaji is on fast for people like me. We suffer every day because people are so corrupt. The traffic policemen take bribe to allow us to ride on the roads - as it is we earn a pittance, then with the bribe and the money that we have to pay the owner of the rickshaw, we are hardly left with anything," Prasad told IANS, bursting with angst.
    Sharma, a well dressed college goer, is another victim of corruption. "I wanted to study medical, but could not get admission to a particular college because they demanded a couple of lakhs as capitation fee and my father refused. My cousin faced a similar fate," Sharma told IANS, wearing a tricoloured stole around her neck.
    "I am studying in Delhi University now... but for the past 11 days I and some friends have hardly attended any class. This cause is greater than anything else because we have all been victims to corruption at some time or the other and it's high time that comes to an end. We come here early in the day and stay on till evening, raising slogans and helping in some volunteering work," she added.
    Ask them about the Jan Lokpal bill which Hazare and his team are pushing for, Prasad and Sharma had different takes.
    "I know that Annaji wants the Lokpal (bill)...but I don't know what that is," Prasad admitted, giving a sheepish smile as this correspondent's eyes hovered around his T-shirt with the slogan 'Pass the Jan Lokpal bill now!'.
    "I am illiterate madamji... I don't know these jargons. All I know is that Annaji is fighting against corruption and if what he is fighting for comes through, the monster will be killed," he said.
    The 20-year-old collegiate was, however, well aware of the facts. "The Jan Lokpal bill seeks to make everyone accountable. Accountability is very important to end corruption. Why should the prime minister or the judiciary be left out of the Lokpal's ambit? What is the fear? If you are clean you shouldn't be scared," Sharma said confidently as the rest of her friends nodded.
    On the 12th day of Hazare's fast Saturday, the Ramlila ground is swelling with people. There are young children, college goers, professionals, housewives, rickshaw pullers, shop owners and the elderly.
    "It's difficult to assess the number of people - they are in thousands! Being a weekend and a possible decision coming from the parliament, the numbers are bound to increase by a couple of thousands more today," a volunteer at the ground said.
    At the New Delhi Metro station, officials said the ranks of commuters have swelled. According to the Metro officials, the overall footfall of the New Delhi Metro station has gone up by a few thousands over the last 10-12 days.
    While the usual footfall in this station is 40,000, it went up to 65,000 last weekend and is expected to surpass that figure this weekend.
    "I hope something good comes out of this," said an elderly man sitting at the Ramlila ground, looking at a group of young supporters screaming 'Anna Tum Sangharsh Karo, Hum Tumhare Saath Hain!'.
    Source: IANS


    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    For the South Korean TV series, see Lobbyist (TV series).
    Lobbying (also lobby) is the act of attempting to influence decisions made by officials in the government, most often legislators or members of regulatory agencies. Lobbying is done by various people or groups, from private-sector individuals or corporations, fellow legislators or government officials, or advocacy groups (interest groups). Lobbyists may be among a legislator's constituents, meaning a voter or bloc of voters within his or her electoral district, or not; they may engage in lobbying as a business, or not. Professional lobbyists are people whose business is trying to influence legislation on behalf of a special interest who hires them. Individuals and nonprofit organizations can also lobby as an act of volunteering or as a small part of their normal job (for instance, a CEO meeting with a representative about a project important to his/her company, or an activist meeting with his/her legislator in an unpaid capacity). Governments often define and regulate organized group lobbying that has become influential.
    The ethics and morality of lobbying are dual-edged. Lobbying is often spoken of with contempt, when the implication is that people with inordinate socioeconomic power are corrupting the law (twisting it away from fairness) in order to serve their own conflict of interest. But another side of lobbying is making sure that others' interests are duly defended against others' corruption, or even simply making sure that minority interests are fairly defended against mere tyranny of the majority. For example, a medical association may lobby a legislature in order to counteract the influence of a tobacco company, in which case the lobbying would be viewed by most people as justified (duly defending against others' corruption). The difficulty in drawing objective lines between which lobbyists are "good lobbyists" and which ones are "bad ones" is compounded by the cleverness with which lobbyists or their clients can speciously argue that their own lobbying is of the "good" kind. At heart, the effort to influence legislation is a power struggle. As in other forms of power struggle, such as war or law enforcement, motives range from predation to self-defense to fighting for justice, and the dividing line between predation and justice is subject to rationalization or lies—deceiving oneself and/or deceiving others.

  31. [edit]Etymology

    The BBC holds that "lobbying" comes from the gathering of Members of Parliament and peers in the hallways (or lobbies) of Houses of Parliament before and after parliamentary debates.[1] One story states that the term originated at the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC, where it was used by Ulysses S. Grant to describe the political wheelers and dealers who frequented the hotel's lobby to access Grant—who was often there to enjoy a cigar and brandy.[2]
    The term "lobbying" appeared in print as early as 1820:[3]
    Other letters from Washington affirm, that members of the Senate, when the compromise question was to be taken in the House, were not only "lobbying about the Representatives' Chamber" but also active in endeavoring to intimidate certain weak representatives by insulting threats to dissolve the Union.
    —April 1, 1820
    Dictionary definitions:
    • 'Lobbying' (also 'Lobby') is a form of advocacy with the intention of influencing decisions made by the government by individuals or more usually by Lobby groups; it includes all attempts to influence legislators and officials, whether by other legislators, constituents, or organized groups.[4][5]
    • A 'lobbyist' is a person who tries to influence legislation on behalf of a special interest or a member of a lobby.[6]


    Governments often define and regulate organized group lobbying.[7][8][9][10] Economist Thomas Sowell defends corporate lobbying as simply an example of a group having better knowledge of its interests than the people at large do of theirs.[11]
    Lobby groups may concentrate their efforts on the legislatures, where laws are created, but may also use the judicial branch to advance their causes. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, for example, filed suits in state and federal courts in the 1950s to challenge segregation laws. Their efforts resulted in the Supreme Court declaring such laws unconstitutional.
    They may use a legal device known as amicus curiae, literally "friend of the court," briefs to try and influence court cases. Briefs are written documents filed with a court, typically by parties to a lawsuit. Amines curiae briefs are briefs filed by people or groups who are not parties to a suit. These briefs are entered into the court records, and give additional background on the matter being decided upon. Advocacy groups use these briefs both to share their expertise and to promote their positions.

    [edit]Lobbying by country

    [edit]United Kingdom

    Main article: Lobbying in the United Kingdom
    The House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee argued that while there are shortcomings in the regulation of the lobbying industry in the United Kingdom, "The practice of lobbying in order to influence political decisions is a legitimate and necessary part of the democratic process. Individuals and organizations reasonably want to influence decisions that may affect them, those around them, and their environment. Government in turn needs access to the knowledge and views that lobbying can bring."[12]
    Many recent MPs and in particular Ministers are recruited by lobby firms and lobbyists have been recruited by ministers as 'special advisors' using what is termed the Revolving door of influence. In 2009 the House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee recommended that a statutory register of lobbying activity and lobbyists would improve transparency to the dealings between Whitehall decision makers and outside interests.[13]
    Parliament controversially responded to this recommendation by saying that self-regulation was more practical.[14] The Conservative leader,David Cameron, predicted that it was "the next big scandal waiting to happen" and was one that had "tainted our politics for too long, an issue that exposes the far-too-cosy relationship between politics, government, business and money".[15]

    [edit]United States

    Main article: Lobbying in the United States
    The ability of individuals, groups, and corporations to lobby the government is protected by the right to petition[16] in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Lobbyists use time spent with legislators and executive branch officials to explain the goals of the organizations they represent, and to present those organizations' points of view. Another important function of lobbyists is to serve as a conduit for information flowing the other way, from officials to the people employing the lobbyists; they can serve as legislative tacticians, determining the best way for an organization to fulfill its goals.
    Lobbying activities are also performed at the state level, and lobbyists try to influence legislation in the state legislatures in each of the 50 states. At the municipal level, some lobbying activities occur with city council members and county commissioners, especially in the larger cities and more populous counties.
    Since 1998, 43 percent of the 198 members of Congress who left government to join the private sector have registered to lobby using the 'revolving door of influence'. The Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 and Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 increased regulation and transparency. In 2009 U.S. President Barack Obama signed two executive orders and three presidential memoranda on his first day in office governing how former lobbyists can be employed in the government, and restrictions on lobbying once leaving the government.[17]
    In the United States, the Internal Revenue Service makes a clear distinction for nonprofit organizations between lobbying and advocacy, limiting the former to "asking policymakers to take a specific position on a specific piece of legislation, or that ask others to ask the same"; in common language, the definition of lobbying is normally broader. Other activities that seek to influence policies, possibly including public demonstrations and the filing of "friend of the court briefs", are termed as "advocacy".[18]

    [edit]European Union

    The more political influence the European Union gains on a global level, and the more policy areas it covers, the more interesting it becomes for lobbyists. With its enlargement in 2004 this development has taken a further step, bringing in not only a lot more players and stakeholders but also a wide range of different political cultures and traditions.
    Currently around 15,000 Brussels-based lobbyists (consultants, lawyers, associations, corporations, NGOs etc.) seek to influence the EU's legislative process. Some 2,600 special interest groups have a permanent office in Brussels. Their distribution is roughly as follows: European trade federations (32%), consultants (20%), companies (13%), NGOs (11%), national associations (10%), regional representations (6%), international organizations (5%) and think tanks (1%), (Lehmann, 2003, pp iii).[citation needed]
    The fragmented nature of EU institutional structure provides multiple channels through which organized interests may seek to influence policy-making. Lobbying takes place at the European level itself and within the existing national states. The most important institutional targets are the Commission, the Council, and the European Parliament.[19] The Commission has a monopoly on the initiative in Community decision-making. Since it has the power to draft initiatives, it makes it ideally suited as an arena for interest representation.
    There are three main channels of indirect lobbying of the Council. First, lobbying groups routinely lobby the national delegations in Brussels. The second indirect means of lobbying the Council is for interest groups to lobby members of the many Council-working groups. The third means of influencing the Council is directly via national governments. As a consequence of the co-decision procedures, the European Parliament attracts attention from lobbyists who target the rapporteur and the chairman of the committee. The rapporteurs are MEPsappointed by Committees to prepare the parliament's response to the Commission's proposal and to those measures taken by the Parliament itself.
    Lobbying in Brussels was born only in the late 1970s. Up to that time, "diplomatic lobbying" at the highest levels remained the rule. There were few lobbyists involved in the system and except for some business associations, representative offices were rarely used. The event that sparked the explosion of lobbying was the first direct election of the European Parliament in 1979. Up until then the Parliament consisted of a complex, and companies increasingly felt the need of an expert local presence to find out what was going on in Brussels. The foundation of lobbying was therefore the need to provide information. From that developed the need to influence the process actively and effectively. The next important step in lobbying development was the Single European Act of 1986, which both created the qualified majority vote for taking decisions in the Council and enhanced the role of the Parliament, again making EU legislation more complex and lobbying further more important and attractive for stakeholders.
    In the wake of the Abramoff scandal in Washington and the massive impact that this had on the lobbying scene in the United States, the rules for lobbying in the EU—which until now consist of only a non-binding code of conduct-—may also be tightened.[20]
    See also: Freedom of information legislation#European Union


    In France, the political system does not integrate the lobbying practice. Much French republican thought has been suspicious of the claims of "particular interests," which are often contrasted with the "general interest" of the nation. This is one interpretation of Rousseau's Social Contract, for example. So while lobbying has always been practiced in France, organized lobbying made a significant appearance in France only in the early 1980s. Since then, it has steadily grown; many interest groups routinely seek to influence the French institutions as the Government and the French Parliament ("National Assembly" and "Senate"). To make up the lost time, more and more French enterprises try to organize their own lobbies by creating their own public affairs department. In recent years, growing numbers of grassroots and grasstop lobbies have been organized by citizen groups, representing interests such as genetically modified organisms and software piracy.
    But there is currently no regulation at all for lobbying activities in France and, as a consequence, this practice suffers from a lack of transparency. There is no regulated access to the French institutions and no register. For example, the internal rule of the National Assembly (art. 23 and 79) forbid to members of Parliament to be linked with a particular interest. However, MPs don't have to declare their interest and the list of MPs' assistants is not public. At last, there is no rule at all for consultation of interest groups by the Parliament and the Government. Nevertheless, a recent parliamentary initiative (motion for a resolution)[21] has been launched by several MPs so as to establish a register for representatives of interest groups and lobbyists who intend to lobby the MPs. The purpose of this initiative is to introduce standards of conduct and access to the National Assembly. Through the use of a register, these standards of conduct and access will enable the Assembly to identify and maintain a list of the representatives of interest groups who follow legislative activity and to supervise fully the access of those representatives to the National Assembly. This motion has not been adopted yet.

    [edit]Other countries

    Only countries where lobbying is regulated in parliament bills include:

    [edit]See also

    Main article: List of basic public affairs topics


    1. ^ BBC Definition of "lobbying"
    2. ^ NPR - A Lobbyist by Any Other Name? - NPR discussion of Ulysses Grant and origins of the term lobbyist.
    3. ^ Deanna Gelak (previous president of the American League of Lobbyists) mentioned this in her book Lobbying and Advocacy: Winning Strategies, Resources, Recommendations, Ethics and Ongoing Compliance for Lobbyists and Washington Advocates, TheCapitol.Net, 2008,
    4. ^ "lobbying". Merriam-Webster Dictionary.Com.
    5. ^ "lobbying". BBC News (London). 1 October 2008. Retrieved 24 March 2010.
    6. ^ "lobbist". Random House Unabridged Dictionary. 2006.
    7. ^ Non-Profit Action description of "Lobbying Versus Advocacy: Legal Definitions".
    8. ^ U.S. Senate definition of Lobbying.
    9. ^ Andrew Bounds and Marine Formentinie in Brussels, EU Lobbyists Face Tougher Regulation, Financial Times, August 16, 2007.
    10. ^ [1]
    11. ^ Bowell, Thomas. Knowledge and Decisions
    12. ^ Public Administration Select Committee (5 January 2009)."Lobbying: Access and influence in Whitehall" (pdf). Retrieved 5 January 2009.
    13. ^ Public Administration Select Committee (5 January 2009). "PASC calls for a register of lobbying activity". Retrieved 5 January 2009.
    14. ^ "Government rejects call for lobbying register". Civil Society. Retrieved 2010-03-03.
    15. ^ Porter, Andrew (8 February 2010). "David Cameron warns lobbying is next political scandal". The Daily Telegraph(London). Retrieved 2010-03-03.
    16. ^ "The Right to Petition". Illinois First Amendment Center.
    17. ^ Ethics
    18. ^ "Lobbying Versus Advocacy: Legal Definitions". NP Action. Retrieved 2010-03-02.
    19. ^ Kierkegaard, Sylvia (2005) How the Cookie (almost crumbled). Computer Law and Security Report Vol.21 Issue 4
    20. ^ Green Paper on European Transparency Initiative European Commission, 2006. Retrieved September 20, 2009
    21. ^ French National Assembly : Motion for a Resolution on Lobbying (21 November 2006)
    22. ^ a b c d GLOSSARY - Alphabetical list of terms associated with the Lobbying industry.
    23. ^


    [edit]External links


    Look up Lobby in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

    [edit]United States


    Categories: Political terms | Lobbying | Military-industrial complex

    Free market

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    For free-market economy, see Market economy.

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    A free market is a market free from state intervention. However, the term is also commonly used for markets in which economic intervention and regulation by the state is limited to tax collection, and enforcement of private ownership and contracts. It is the opposite of a controlled market, in which the state directly regulates how goods, services and labor may be used, priced, or distributed, rather than relying on the mechanism of supply and demand. Advocates of a free market traditionally consider the term to imply that the means of production is under private, and not state control or co-operative ownership. This is the contemporary use of the term "free market" by economists and in popular culture; the term has had other uses historically.
    A free-market economy is one within which all markets are unregulated by any parties other than market participants. In its purest form, the government plays a neutral role in its administration and legislation of economic activity, neither limiting it (by regulating industries or protecting them from internal/external market pressures) nor actively promoting it (by owning economic interests or offering subsidies to businesses or R&D).
    The theory holds that within an ideal free market, property rights are voluntarily exchanged at a price arranged solely by the mutual consent of sellers and buyers. By definition, buyers and sellers do notcoerce each other, in the sense that they obtain each other's property rights without the use of physical force, threat of physical force, or fraud, nor are they coerced by a third party (such as by government viatransfer payments)[1] and they engage in trade simply because they both consent and believe that what they are getting is worth more than or as much as what they give up. Price is the result of buying and selling decisions en masse as described by the theory of supply and demand.
    Free markets contrast sharply with controlled markets or regulated markets, in which governments more actively regulate prices and/or supplies, directly or indirectly, which according to free-market theory causes markets to be less efficient.[2] Where substantial state intervention exists, the market is a mixed economy. Where the state or co-operative association of producers directly manages the economy to achieve stated goals, economic planning is said to be in effect; when economic planning entirely substitutes market activity, the economy is a Command economy.
    In the marketplace, the price of a good or service helps communicate consumer demand to producers and thus directs the allocation of resources toward satisfaction of consumers as well as investors. In a free market, the system of prices is the emergent result of a vast number of voluntary transactions, rather than of political decrees as in a controlled market. The freer the market, the more truly the prices will reflect consumer habits and demands, and the more valuable the information in these prices are to all players in the economy. Through free competition between vendors for the provision of products and services, prices tend to decrease, and quality tends to increase. A free market is not to be confused with a perfect market where individuals have perfect information and there is perfect competition.
    Free-market economics is closely associated with laissez-faire economic philosophy, which advocates approximating this condition in the real world by mostly confining government intervention in economic matters to regulating against force and fraud among market participants. Some free-market advocates oppose taxation as well, claiming that the market is more efficient at providing all valuable services of whichdefense and law are no exception, that such services can be provided without direct taxation and that consent would be the basis of political legitimacy making it a morally consistent system. Anarcho-capitalists, for example, would substitute arbitration agencies and private defense agencies.
    In social philosophy, a free-market economy is a system for allocating goods within a society: purchasing power mediated by supply and demand within the market determines who gets what and what is produced, rather than the state. A free market may refer narrowly to national economies, or internationally; specific reference to international markets is referred to as free trade (for goods) or lack of capital controls (for money). Early proponents of a free-market economy in 18th century Europe contrasted it with the medieval, early modern, andmercantilist economies which preceded it.

    [edit]Supply and demand

    Main article: Supply and demand
    Supply and demand are always equal as they are the two sides of the same set of transactions, and discussions of "imbalances" are a muddled and indirect way of referring to price.[3] However, in an unmeasurable qualitative sense, demand for an item (such as goods or services) refers to the market pressure from people trying to buy it. They will "bid" money for the item, while in return sellers offer the item for money. When the bid matches the offer, a transaction can easily occur (even automatically, as in a typical stock market). In Western society, most shops and markets do not resemble the stock market, and there are significant costs and barriers to "shopping around" (comparison shopping).
    The model is commonly applied to wages, in the market for labor. The typical roles of supplier and consumer are reversed. The suppliers are individuals, who try to sell (supply) their labor for the highest price. The consumers of labors are businesses, which try to buy (demand) the type of labor they need at the lowest price. As populations increase wages fall for any given unskilled or skilled labor supply. Conversely, wages tend to go up with a decrease in population.
    When demand exceeds supply, suppliers can raise the price, but when supply exceeds demand, suppliers will have to decrease the price in order to make sales. Consumers who can afford the higher prices may still buy, but others may forgo the purchase altogether, demand a better price, buy a similar item, or shop elsewhere. As the price rises, suppliers may also choose to increase production, or more suppliers may enter the business.

    [edit]Spontaneous order or "invisible hand"

    Main articles: Invisible hand and Spontaneous order
    Friedrich Hayek argues for the classical liberal view that market economies allow spontaneous order; that is, "a more efficient allocation of societal resources than any design could achieve."[4] According to this view, in market economies sophisticated business networks are formed which produce and distribute goods and services throughout the economy. This network was not designed, but emerged as a result of decentralized individual economic decisions. Supporters of the idea of spontaneous order trace their views to the concept of the invisible handproposed by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations who said that the individual who:
    "By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for society that it was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest [an individual] frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the [common] good." (Wealth of Nations)
    Smith pointed out that one does not get one's dinner by appealing to the brother-love of the butcher, the farmer or the baker. Rather one appeals to their self interest, and pays them for their labor.
    "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages."[5]
    Supporters of this view claim that spontaneous order is superior to any order that does not allow individuals to make their own choices of what to produce, what to buy, what to sell, and at what prices, due to the number and complexity of the factors involved. They further believe that any attempt to implement central planning will result in more disorder, or a less efficient production and distribution of goods and services.

    [edit]Economic equilibrium

    Main article: Economic equilibrium
    General equilibrium theory has demonstrated, with varying degrees of mathematical rigor over time, that under certain conditions ofcompetition, the law of Supply and Demand predominates in this ideal free and competitive market, influencing prices toward an equilibriumthat balances the demands for the products against the supplies.[6][7] At these equilibrium prices, the market distributes the products to the purchasers according to each purchaser's preference (or utility) for each product and within the relative limits of each buyer's purchasing power. This result is described as market efficiency, or more specifically a Pareto optimum.
    This equilibrating behavior of free markets requires certain assumptions about their agents, collectively known as Perfect Competition, which therefore cannot be results of the market that they create. Among these assumptions are complete information, interchangeable goods and services, and lack of market power, that obviously cannot be fully achieved. The question then is what approximations of these conditions guarantee approximations of market efficiency, and which failures in competition generate overall market failures. Several Nobel Prizes in Economics have been awarded for analyses of market failures due to asymmetric information.
    Some models in econophysics[8] have shown that when agents are allowed to interact locally in a free market (i.e. their decisions depend not only on utility and purchasing power, but also on their peers' decisions), prices can become unstable and diverge from the equilibrium, often in an abrupt manner. The behavior of the free market is thus said to be non-linear (a pair of agents bargaining for a purchase will agree on a different price than 100 identical pairs of agents doing the identical purchase). Speculation bubbles and the type of herd behavior often observed in stock markets are quoted as real life examples of non-equilibrium price trends. Some laissez-faire free-market advocates, like Chicago school economists, often dismiss this endogenous theory, and blame external influences, such as weather, commodity prices, technological developments, and government meddling for non-equilibrium prices.

    [edit]Distribution of wealth

    Main article: Distribution of wealth
    The distribution of purchasing power in an economy depends to a large extent on the nature of government intervention, social class, laborand financial markets, but also on other, lesser factors such as family relationships, inheritance, gifts and so on. Many theories describing the operation of a free market focus primarily on the markets for consumer products, and their description of the labor market or financial markets tends to be more complicated and controversial.
    Joshua Epstein and Robert Axtell have attempted to predict the properties of free markets empirically in the agent-based computer simulation "Sugarscape". They came to the conclusion that, under idealized conditions, free markets lead to a Pareto distribution of wealth.[8]

    [edit]Laissez-faire economics

    Main article: Laissez-faire economics
    The necessary components for the functioning of an idealized free market include the complete absence of artificial price pressures from taxes, subsidies, tariffs, or government regulation (other than protection from coercion and theft), and no government-granted monopolies(usually classified as coercive monopoly by free-market advocates) like the United States Post Office, Amtrak, patents, etc.


    Main article: Deregulation
    In an absolutely free-market economy, all capital, goods, services, and money flow transfers are unregulated by the government except to stop collusion or fraud that may take place among market participants.[citation needed] As this protection must be funded, such a government taxes only to the extent necessary to perform this function, if at all. This state of affairs is also known as laissez-faire.
    Internationally, free markets are advocated by proponents of economic liberalism; in Europe this is usually simply called liberalism. In theUnited States, support for free market is associated most with libertarianism. Since the 1970s, promotion of a global free-market economy,deregulation and privatization, is often described as neoliberalism.
    The term free-market economy is sometimes used to describe some economies that exist today (such as Hong Kong), but pro-market groups would only accept that description if the government practices laissez-faire policies, rather than state intervention in the economy.[specify] An economy that contains significant economic interventionism by government, while still retaining some characteristics found in a free market is often called a mixed economy.

    [edit]Low barriers to entry

    A free market does not require the existence of competition, however it does require that there are no barriers to new market entrants. Hence, in the lack of coercive barriers it is generally understood that competition flourishes in a free-market environment. It often suggests the presence of the profit motive, although neither a profit motive or profit itself are necessary for a free market. All modern free markets are understood to include entrepreneurs, both individuals and businesses. Typically, a modern free market economy would include other features, such as a stock exchange and a financial services sector, but they do not define it.

    [edit]Legal tender and taxes

    In a free-market economy, money would not be monopolized by legal tender laws or by a central bank, in order to receive taxes from the transactions or to be able to issue loans.[citation needed] Minarchists (advocates of minimal government) contend that the coercion of taxes is essential for the market's survival, and a market free from taxes may lead to no market at all. By definition, there is no market without private property, and private property can only exist while there is an entity that defines and defends it. Traditionally, the State defends private property and defines it by issuing ownership titles, and also nominates the central authority to print or mint currency. "Free-market anarchists" disagree with the above assessment – they maintain that private property and free markets can be protected by voluntarily-funded services under the concept of individualist anarchism and anarcho-capitalism.[9][10] A free market could be defined alternatively as a tax-free market, independent of any central authority, which uses a medium of exchange such as money, even in the absence of the State. It is disputed, however, whether this hypothetical stateless market could function.

    [edit]Index of economic freedom

    The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, tried to identify the key factors necessary to measure the degree of freedom of economy of a particular country. In 1986 they introduced the Index of Economic Freedom, which is based on some fifty variables. This and other similar indices do not define a free market, but measure the degree to which a modern economy is free, meaning in most cases free of state intervention. The variables are divided into the following major groups:
    • Trade policy,
    • Fiscal burden of government,
    • Government intervention in the economy,
    • Monetary policy,
    • Capital flows and foreign investment,
    • Banking and finance,
    • Wages and prices,
    • Property rights,
    • Regulation, and
    • Informal market activity.

    Each group is assigned a numerical value between 1 and 5; IEF is the arithmetical mean of the values, rounded to the hundredth. Initially, countries which were traditionally considered capitalistic received high ratings, but the method improved over time. Some economists, likeMilton Friedman and other Laissez-faire economists have argued that there is a direct relationship between economic growth and economic freedom, but this assertion has not been proven yet, both theoretically and empirically. Continuous debates among scholars on methodological issues in empirical studies of the connection between economic freedom and economic growth still try to find out what is the relationship, if any.[11][12][13][14]

    [edit]History and ideology

    The meaning of "free" market has varied over time and between economists, the ambiguous term "free" facilitating reuse. To illustrate the ambiguity: classical economists such as Adam Smith believed that an economy should be free of monopoly rents, while proponents of laissez faire believe that people should be free to form monopolies. In this article "free market" is largely identified with laissez faire, though alternative senses are discussed in this section and in criticism. The identification of the "free market" with "laissez faire" was notably used in the 1962 Capitalism and Freedom, by economist Milton Friedman, which is credited with popularizing this usage.[15]
    Some theorists might argue that a free market is a natural form of social organization, and that a free market will arise in any society where it is not obstructed (i.e. Ludwig von Mises, Hayek). The consensus among economic historians is that the free market economy is a specific historic phenomenon, and that it emerged in late medieval and early-modern Europe.[citation needed] Other economic historians see elements of the free market in the economic systems of Classical Antiquity,[citation needed] and in some non-western societies.[citation needed] By the 19th century the market certainly had organized political support, in the form of laissez-faire liberalism. However, it is not clear if the support preceded the emergence of the market or followed it. Some historians see it as the result of the success of early liberal ideology, combined with the specific interests of the entrepreneur.
    Support for the free market as an ordering principle of society is above all associated with liberalism, especially during the 19th century. (In Europe, the term 'liberalism' retains its connotation as the ideology of the free market, but in American and Canadian usage it came to be associated with government intervention, and acquired a pejorative meaning for supporters of the free market.) Later ideological developments, such as minarchism, libertarianism and Objectivism also support the free market, and insist on its pure form. Although the Western worldshares a generally similar form of economy, usage in the United States and Canada is to refer to this as capitalism, while in Europe 'free market' is the preferred neutral term. Modern liberalism (American and Canadian usage), and in Europe social democracy, seek only to mitigate the problems of an unrestrained free market, and accept its existence as such.

    [edit]Classical economics

    In the classical economics of such figures as Adam Smith and David Ricardo, "free markets" meant "free of unnecessary charges"[16] and a "market free from monopoly power, business fraud, political insider dealing and special privileges for vested interests".[17] A "free market" particularly meant one free of foreign debt;[18] as discussed in The Wealth of Nations.[19] Alternatively, stated, it was a market freed fromFeudalism and serfdom, or more formally, one free of economic rent, in the formulation by David Ricardo of the Law of Rent.


    In Marxist theory, the idea of the free market simply expresses the underlying long-term transition from feudalism to capitalism. Note that the views on this issue – emergence or implementation – do not necessarily correspond to pro-market and anti-market positions. Libertarianswould dispute that the market was enforced through government policy, since they believe it is a spontaneous order and Marxists agree with them because they as well believe it is evolutionary, although with a different end.


    Support for the free market as an ordering principle of society is above all associated with liberalism, especially during the 19th century. (In Europe, the term 'liberalism' retains its connotation as the ideology of the free market, but in American and Canadian usage it came to be associated with government intervention, and acquired a pejorative meaning for supporters of the free market.) Later ideological developments, such as minarchism, libertarianism and Objectivism also support the free market, and insist on its pure form. Although the Western worldshares a generally similar form of economy, usage in the United States and Canada is to refer to this as capitalism, while in Europe 'free market' is the preferred neutral term. The advocates of modern liberalism (American and Canadian usage), and in Europe those of social democracy, seek ostensibly only to mitigate what they see as the problems of an unrestrained free market, and accept the existence of markets as such.
    To most libertarians, there is simply no free market yet, given the degree of state intervention in even the most 'capitalist' of countries. From their perspective, those who say they favor a "free market" are speaking in a relative, rather than an absolute, sense — meaning (in libertarian terms) they wish that coercion be kept to the minimum that is necessary to maximize economic freedom (such necessary coercion would be taxation, for example) and to maximize market efficiency by lowering trade barriers, making the tax system neutral in its influence on important decisions such as how to raise capital, e.g., eliminating the double tax on dividends so that equity financing is not at a disadvantage vis-a-vis debt financing. However, there are some such as anarcho-capitalists who would not even allow for taxation and governments, instead preferring protectors of economic freedom in the form of private contractors.



    A concern has been raised that this article's Criticism section may be compromising the article's neutral point of view of the subject. Possible resolutions may be to integrate the material in the section into the article as a whole, or to rewrite the contents of the section. Please see the discussion on the talk page. (September 2010)

    Critics dispute the claim that in practice free markets create perfect competition, or even increase market competition over the long run. Whether the marketplace should be or is free is disputed; many assert that government intervention is necessary to remedy market failurethat is held to be an inevitable result of absolute adherence to free market principles. These failures range from military services to roads, and some would argue, to health care. This is the central argument of those who argue for a mixed market, free at the base, but with government oversight to control social problems.
    Another criticism is definitional, in that far-ranging governmental actions such as the creation of corporate personhood or more broadly, the governmental actions behind the very creation of artificial legal entities called corporations, are not considered "intervention" within mainstream economic schools. This inherent definitional bias allows many to advocate strong governmental actions that promote corporate power, while advocating against government actions limiting it, while putting these dual positions under the umbrella of "pro free markets" or "anti-intervention."
    Two prominent Canadian authors (both very hostile to the "Chicago School" philosophy) argue that government at times has to intervene to ensure competition in large and important industries. Naomi Klein illustrates this roughly in her work The Shock Doctrine and John Ralston Saul more humorously illustrates this through various examples in The Collapse of Globalism and the Reinvention of the World.[20] While its supporters argue that only a free market can create healthy competition and therefore more business and reasonable prices, opponents say that a free market in its purest form may result in the opposite. According to Klein and Ralston, the merging of companies into giant corporations or the privatization of government-run industry and national assets often result in monopolies (or oligopolies) requiring government intervention to force competition and reasonable prices.[20]
    Critics of laissez-faire since Adam Smith[21] variously see the unregulated market as an impractical ideal or as a rhetorical device that puts the concepts of freedom and anti-protectionism at the service of vested wealthy interests, allowing them to attack labor laws and other protections of the working classes.[22]
    Because no national economy in existence fully manifests the ideal of a free market as theorized by economists, some critics of the concept consider it to be a fantasy – outside of the bounds of reality in a complex system with opposing interests and different distributions of wealth.
    These critics range from those who reject markets entirely, in favour of a planned economy or a communal economy, such as that advocated by Marxism, to those who merely wish to see market failures regulated to various degrees or supplemented by certain government interventions. For example, Keynesians recognize a role for government in providing corrective measures, such as use of fiscal policy for economy stimulus, when decisions in the private sector lead to suboptimal economic outcomes, such as depression or recession, which manifest in widespread hardship. Business cycle theory is used by Keynes to explain 'liquidity traps' by which underconsumption occurs, in order to argue for government intervention with central banking. Free market economists consider this credit-expansion as the cause of the business cycle in refutation of this Keynesian criticism.


    One practical objection is the claim that markets do not take into account externalities (effects of transactions that affect third parties), such as the negative effects of pollution or the positive effects of education. What exactly constitutes an externality may be up for debate, including the extent to which it changes based upon the political climate.
    Some proponents of market economies believe that governments should not diminish market freedom because they disagree on what is a market externality and what are government-created externalities, and disagree over what the appropriate level of intervention is necessary to solve market-created externalities. Others believe that government should intervene to prevent market failure while preserving the general character of a market economy. In the model of a social market economy the state intervenes where the market does not meet political demands. John Rawls was a prominent proponent of this idea.

    [edit]Differing ideas

    Some advocates of free market ideologies have criticized mainstream conceptions of the free market, arguing that a truly free market would not resemble the modern-day capitalist economy. For example, contemporary mutualist Kevin Carson argues in favor of "free market anti-capitalism." Carson has stated that "From Smith to Ricardo and Mill, classical liberalism was a revolutionary doctrine that attacked the privileges of the great landlords and the mercantile interests. Today, we see vulgar libertarians perverting "free market" rhetoric to defend the contemporary institution that most closely resembles, in terms of power and privilege, the landed oligarchies and mercantilists of the Old Regime: the giant corporation."[23]
    Carson believes that a true free market society would be "[a] world in which... land and property [is] widely distributed, capital [is] freely available to laborers through mutual banks, productive technology [is] freely available in every country without patents, and every people [is] free to develop locally without colonial robbery..."[24]

    [edit]Simulation of biological laws

    See also: Social Darwinism

    The Red-billed Oxpecker feed on ticks off the impala's coat. Such biological interaction is not competitive in nature.

    The free market is believed to self-regulate in the most efficient and just way. Adam Smith described this behavior with the metaphor of an invisible hand urging society towards prosperity.
    Charles Darwin's theory of evolution was very appealing to economists, sociologists and political scientists (most notably Walter Bagehot and William Graham Sumner) who adapted and rationalized the invisible hand by incorporating the popular idea of the survival of the fittest.[25] They proposed – among others – that in a fully competitive economic environment (as they thought was the case of ecosystems) the most potent individuals would thrive and in turn society would prosper (in analogy to the observed biodiversity and abundance of life on earth). Such arguments lead to the consolidation of neoliberalism and laissez-faire. A notable difference, however, is that selection in biotic systems is "actual" whereas in cultural systems it is "virtual": it can be avoided/invisible due to changing or limiting human perception. This permits economic non-responsiveness to selective pressure through externalities and control of mass-media, for example, introducing significant potential for maladaption. See discussions on evolution and Sociocultural evolution for more information.

    [edit]Martin J. Whitman


    An editor has expressed a concern that this section lends undue weight to certain ideas relative to the article as a whole. Please help to discuss and resolve the dispute before removing this message. (August 2011)

    Not all advocates of capitalism consider free markets to be practical. For example, Martin J. Whitman has written, in a discussion of Keynes,Friedman and Hayek, that these "…great economists…missed a lot of details that are part and parcel of every value investor's daily life." While calling Hayek "100% right" in his critique of the pure command economy, he writes "However, in no way does it follow, as many Hayek disciples seem to believe, that government is per se bad and unproductive while the private sector is, per se good and productive. In well-run industrial economies, there is a marriage between government and the private sector, each benefiting from the other." As illustrations of this, he points at "Japan after World War II, Singapore and the other Asian Tigers, Sweden and China." The notable exception is Hong Kong which found prosperity on an extremely austere free market concept.
    He argues, in particular, for the value of government-provided credit and of carefully crafted tax laws.[26] Further, Whitman argues (explicitly against Hayek) that "a free market situation is probably also doomed to failure if there exist control persons who are not subject to external disciplines imposed by various forces over and above competition." The lack of these disciplines, says Whitman, lead to "1. Very exorbitant levels of executive compensation… 2. Poorly financed businesses with strong prospects for money defaults on credit instruments… 3. Speculative bubbles… 4. Tendency for industry competition to evolve into monopolies and oligopolies… 5. Corruption." For all of these he provides recent examples from the U.S. economy, which he considers to be in some respects under-regulated,[26] although in other respects over-regulated (he is generally opposed to Sarbanes-Oxley).[27]
    He believes that an apparently "free" relationship—that between a corporation and its investors and creditors—is actually a blend of "voluntary exchanges" and "coercion". For example, there are "voluntary activities, where each individual makes his or her own decision whether to buy, sell, or hold" but there are also what he defines as "[c]oercive activities, where each individual security holder is forced to go along…provided that a requisite majority of other security holders so vote…" His examples of the latter include proxy voting, most merger and acquisition transactions, certain cash tender offers, and reorganization or liquidation in bankruptcy.[28] Whitman also states that "Corporate Americawould not work at all unless many activities continued to be coercive."[29]
    "I am one with Professor Friedman that, other things being equal, it is far preferable to conduct economic activities through voluntary exchange relying on free markets rather than through coercion. But Corporate America would not work at all unless many activities continued to be coercive."[30]

    [edit]See also


    1. ^ "Free Market." Rothbard, Murray. The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics
    2. ^ Dictionary of Finance and Investment Terms. Barrons, 1995
    3. ^
    4. ^ Hayek cited. Petsoulas, Christian. Hayek's Liberalism and Its Origins: His Idea of Spontaneous Order and the Scottish Enlightenment. Routledge. 2001. p. 2
    5. ^ Smith, Adam, "2", Wealth of Nations, 1, London: W. Strahan and T. Cadell
    6. ^ , by Eugene Walras
    7. ^ Theory of Value, by Gerard Debreu
    8. ^ a b Critical MassBall, Philip, ISBN 0-09-945786-5
    9. ^ Biography of Murray N. Rothbard (1926–1995)
    10. ^ The Machinery of Freedom
    11. ^ COLE, Julio H. and LAWSON, Robert A. Handling Economic Freedom in Growth Regressions: Suggestions for Clarification. Econ Journal Watch, Volume 4, Number 1, January 2007, pp 71–78.
    12. ^ DE HAAN, Jacob and STURM, Jan-Egbert. How to Handle Economic Freedom: Reply to Lawson. Econ Journal Watch, Volume 3, Number 3, September 2006, pp 407–411.
    13. ^ DE HAAN, Jacob and STURM, Jan-Egbert. Handling Economic Freedom in Growth Regressions: A Reply to Cole and Lawson. Econ Journal Watch, Volume 4, Number 1, January 2007, pp 79–82.
    14. ^ AYAL, Eliezer B. and KARRAS, Georgios. Components of Economic Freedom and Growth. Journal of Developing Areas, Vol.32, No.3, Spring 1998, 327–338. Publisher: Western Illinois University.
    15. ^ Who Broke America's Jobs Machine? by Barry C. Lynn and Phillip Longman, the Washington Monthly
    16. ^ The Fictitious Economy, Part 1, An Interview With Dr. Michael Hudson, by Bonnie Faulkner with Michael Hudson, 15 July 2008
    17. ^ This interpretation is advanced in The Language of Looting, Michael Hudson
    18. ^ The Financial War Against Iceland, Michael Hudson
    19. ^ The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith, Book V, Chapter 3: of Public Debts
    20. ^ a b The End of Globalism. Saul, John.
    21. ^ "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices."—Wealth of Nations, I.x.c.27 (Part II)
    22. ^ "Masters are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform combination, not to raise the wages of labour above their actual rate… [When workers combine,] masters… never cease to call aloud for the assistance of the civil magistrate, and the rigorous execution of those laws which have been enacted with so much severity against the combinations of servants, labourers, and journeymen."—Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, I.viii.13
    23. ^ Kevin Carson, Naomi Klein: The Shock Doctrine November 7, 2007
    24. ^ Kevin Carson, The Iron Fist Behind the Invisible Hand: Corporate Capitalism as a State-Guaranteed System of Privilege
    25. ^ social Darwinism. (2009). Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica 2009 Student and Home Edition. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica.
    26. ^ a b Kevin Carson, The Iron Fist Behind the Invisible Hand: Corporate Capitalism as a State-Guaranteed System of Privilege, p. 4
    27. ^ Martin J. Whitman, Third Avenue Value Fund Letters to our Shareholders July 31, 2004 (PDF), page 2.
    28. ^ Martin J. Whitman, Third Avenue Value Fund Letters to our Shareholders July 31, 2004 (PDF), page 5.
    29. ^ Martin J. Whitman, Third Avenue Value Fund letter to shareholders October 31, 2005. p.6.
    30. ^ Martin J. Whitman, Third Avenue Value Fund letter to shareholders October 31, 2005. p.5-6.


    [edit]External links


    Although no country has ever had within its border an economy in which all markets were absolutely free, the term typically is not used in an absolute sense. Many states which are said to have a market economy have a high level of market freedom, even if it is less than some parts of the population would prefer. Thus, almost all economies in the world today are mixed economies with varying degrees of free market and planned economy traits. For example, in the United Statesthere are more market economy traits than in the Western European countries (an exception being the UK, which is considered, even by Greenspan, to be a freer market than the US).[6]


    Main article: Capitalism
    Capitalism generally refers to an economic system in which the means of production are all or mostly privately owned and operated for profit, and in which investments, distribution, income, and pricing of goods and services are determined through the operation of a market economy. It is usually considered to involve the right of individuals and groups of individuals acting as "legal persons" or corporations to trade capital goods, labor, land and money.
    Capitalism has been dominant in the Western world since the end of feudalism, but most feel that the term "mixed economies" more precisely describes most contemporary economies, due to their containing both private-owned and state-owned enterprises, combining elements of capitalism and socialism, or mixing the characteristics of market economies and planned economies. In capitalism, there is no central planning authority but the prices are decided by the demand-supply scale. For example, higher demand for certain goods and services lead to higher prices and lower demand for certain goods lead to lower prices.


    Main article: Laissez-faire
    Laissez-faire is synonymous with what was referred to as strict capitalist free market economy during the early and mid-19th century as an ideal to achieve. It is generally understood that the necessary components for the functioning of an idealized free market include the complete absence of government regulation, subsidies, artificial price pressures and government-granted monopolies (usually classified as coercive monopoly by free market advocates) and no taxes or tariffs other than what is necessary for the government to provide protection from coercion and theft and maintaining peace, and property rights.
    Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek stated that economic freedom is a necessary condition for the creation and sustainability of civil andpolitical freedoms. They believed that this economic freedom can only be achieved in a market-oriented economy, specifically a free market economy. They do believe, however, that sufficient economic freedom can be achieved in economies with functioning markets through price mechanisms and private property rights. They believe that the more economic freedom that is available, the more civil and political freedoms a society will enjoy.
    Friedman states:
    • "Economic freedom is simply a requisite for political freedom. By enabling people to cooperate with one another without coercion or central direction it reduces the area over which political power is exercised" Friedman, Milton and Rose Friedman, Free to Choose: A Personal Statement, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1980, p. 2-3
    • "Capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom" Capitalism and freedom

    Studies by the Canadian libertarian think tank Fraser Institute and the American conservative think tank Heritage Foundation state that there is a relationship between economic freedom and political and civil freedoms to the extent claimed by Friedrich von Hayek. They agree with Hayek that those countries which restrict economic freedom ultimately restrict civil and political freedoms.[7][8]
    Generally market economies are bottom-up in decision-making as consumers convey information to producers through prices paid in market transactions. All states today have some form of control over the market that removes the free and unrestricted direction of resources from consumers and prices such as tariffs and corporate subsidies. Milton Friedman and many other microeconomists believe that these forms of intervention provide incentives for resources to be misused and wasted, producing products society may not value as much as a product that is valued as a result of these restrictions.

    [edit]Social market economy

    Main article: Social market economy
    This model was implemented by Alfred Müller-Armack and Ludwig Erhard after World War II in West Germany. The social market economic model is based upon the idea to realise the benefits of a free market economy, especially on economic performance and high supply of goods, while avoiding disadvantages such as market failure, destructive competition, concentration of economic power and anti-social effects of market processes. The aim of the social market economy is to realize greatest prosperity combined with best possible social security. As a difference to the free market economy the state is not passive, but actively takes regulative measures.[9] The social policy objectives include employment, housing and education policies, as well as a socio-politically motivated balancing of the distribution of income growth. Characteristics of social market economies are a strong competition policy and a contractionary monetary policy. The theoretical fundament is build on ordoliberalism, Catholic social teaching and Democratic Socialism.[10]

    [edit]Market socialism

    Main article: Market socialism
    Market socialism refers to various economic systems in which the state owns the economic institutions and major industries but operates them according to the rules of supply and demand. In a traditional market socialist economy, prices would be determined by a government planning ministry, and enterprises would either be state-owned or cooperatively-owned and managed by their employees. The distinguishing feature between non-market socialism and market socialism is the existence of a market for the means of production, and the criteria of profitability for public enterprises; which can either be used to reinvest in production or finance government and social services directly.
    Libertarian socialists and left-anarchists often promote a form of market socialism in which enterprises are owned and managed cooperatively by the workers so that the profits directly remunerate the employee-owners. These cooperative enterprises would compete with each other in the same way private companies compete in a capitalist market. An example would be Mutualism (economic theory).

    [edit]Socialist market economy

    The People's Republic of China currently has a form of market socialism referred to as the socialist market economy, in which most of the industry is state-owned through a shareholder system, but prices are set by a largely free-price system. Within this model, the state-owned enterprises are free from excessive micromanagement and function more autonomously in a decentralized fashion than in planned economies. A similar socialist-oriented market system has been implemented in Vietnam following the Doi Moi reforms.


    Robin Hahnel and Michael Albert
    "(...) claim that markets inherently produce class division" {divisions between conceptual and manual laborers, and ultimately managers and workers, and a de facto labor market for conceptual workers}. Albert says that even if everyone started out with abalanced job complex {doing a mix of roles of varying creativity, responsibility and empowerment} in a market economy, class divisions would arise. Without taking the argument that far, it is evident that in a market system with uneven distribution of empowering work, such as Economic Democracy {the model of market socialism David Schweickart has developed and refers to as "economic democracy"}, some workers will be more able than others to capture the benefits of economic gain. For example if one worker designs cars and another builds them, the designer will use his cognitive skills more frequently than the builder. In the long term, the designer will become more adept at conceptual work than the builder, giving the designer greater bargaining power in a firm over the distribution of income. A conceptual worker who is not satisfied with his income can threaten to work for a company that will pay him more (...)".[11] Therefore according to this critique class divisions would arise inevitably.

    This section does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (May 2011)

    Another practical objection is the claim that markets do not take into account externalities (effects of transactions that affect third parties), such as the negative effects of pollution or the positive effects of education. What exactly constitutes an externality may be up for debate, including the extent to which it changes based upon the political climate. Some proponents of market economies believe that governments should not diminish market freedom because they disagree on what is a market externality and what are government-created externalities, and disagree over what the appropriate level of intervention is necessary to solve market-created externalities. Others believe that government should intervene to prevent market failure while preserving the general character of a market economy. In the model of a social market economy the state intervenes where the market does not meet political demands. John Rawls was a prominent proponent of this idea.

    [edit]See also


    1. ^ Altvater, E. (1993). The Future of the Market: An Essay on the Regulation of Money and Nature After the Collapse of "Actually Existing Socialism. Verso. pp. 57.
    2. ^ Altvater, E. (1993). The Future of the Market: An Essay on the Regulation of Money and Nature After the Collapse of "Actually Existing Socialism. Verso. pp. 237–238.
    3. ^ Tucker, Irvin B. p 491. Macroeconomics for Today. West Publishing. p. 491
    4. ^ "market economy", Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary
    5. ^ "What is capitalism?". World Socialist Movement.
    6. ^ McKinney, Michael L. Environmental Science: Systems and Solutions. Jones and Bartlett Publishers. 2003. p. 481
    7. ^ Heritage Foundation study
    8. ^ Economic Freedom of the World Report by the Frasier Institute
    9. ^ keyword "social market economy" = "Soziale Marktwirtschaft" Duden Wirtschaft von A bis Z. Grundlagenwissen für Schule und Studium, Beruf und Alltag. 2. Aufl. Mannheim: Bibliographisches Institut & F.A. Brockhaus 2004. Lizenzausgabe Bonn: Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung 2004.
    10. ^ Gabler Wirtschaftslexikon: Eintrag: keyword "social market economy" = Soziale Marktwirtschaft
    11. ^ Weiss, Adam (2005-05-04). "A Comparison of Economic Democracy and Participatory Economics". ZMag. Retrieved 2008-06-26.

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    Categories: Capitalism | Economic systems | Economic ideologies | Economic liberalism | Economies

    Free Market Economy

    The term free market economy primarily means a system where the buyers and sellers are solely responsible for the choices they make. In a way, free market gives the absolute power to prices to determine the allocation and distribution of goods and services. These prices, in turn, are fixed by the forces of supply and demand of a respective commodity. In cases of demand falling short of the supply of a respective commodity, the price will fall as opposed to a price rise when the supply is inadequate to meet the growing demand of a good or service. Free market economy is also characterized by free trade without any tariffs or subsidies imposed by the government.

    The role of the government of a nation is only limited to controlling the law and order of a country and to ensure that a 'fair price' is charged by the sellers. That is to say, the government, having no role in administering the price of a commodity, has to see that the prices taken by the sellers is true and commensurate with the price determined by the forces of demand and supply.

    The basic feature of the free market economy is that only people with sufficient control over resources, and wealth, in particular have the privilege to purchase goods and services, often priced very highly in a free economy. Prices, which are the only allocating and distributing factor in a free market economy, place the poor in an unenviable situation who are gradually thrown out of the system without any access to wealth and the basic needs of subsistence.

    Thus it deems absolutely imperative that a country like India and a few Latin American countries like Brazil, Peru and Nicaragua having a large number of poor have a public distribution system in place with subsidized prices being fixed by the government to protect the poor. Free market economy is considered to the most efficient or optimum device to allocate a country's resources, with wealth or income being the only yardstick.Free market economy is often associated with a Capitalistic Economy with means of production being privately owned.

    On the other hand, totalitarian economies or Socialistic Economies like the erstwhile USSR, China and North Korea, till date, have an altogether government regulated system. The prices of goods and services are totally administered by the government right from the support price fixed at which the government procures raw agricultural products from the farmers.

    Socialistic countries, such as parts of the erstwhile Soviet Republic like Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania are gradually coming out of the Communist shadow and moving towards a free market economy. Capitalistic Economies have the biggest advantage of giving people what they deserve rather than putting everybody in the same plane.

    Success of countries practicing free market is only evident with the growth of the USA, the Scandinavian countries, Germany and France as major world powers. Countries such as India and China, by allowing liberalization of its trade to some extent and practicing free market principles brought about more efficiency among its domestic producers and increased its growth rate markedly.

    Free market existing with the doctrines of Socialism like limited regulation of prices by the government to protect the poor can be an ideal situation for developing countries like India, China and South East Asian countries to attain growth and prosperity.

    Pages from the history of India and the sub-continent

    History of Social Relations in India
    Caste and gender equations in Indian history
    No aspect of Indian history has excited more controversy than India's history of social relations. Western indologists and Western-influenced Indian intellectuals have seized upon caste divisions, untouchability, religious obscurantism, and practices of dowry and sati as distinctive evidence of India's perennial backwardness. For many Indologists, these social ills have literally come to define India - and have become almost the exclusive focus of their writings on India.
    During the colonial period, it served the interests of the British (and their European cohorts) to exaggerate the democratic character of their own societies while diminishing any socially redeeming features of society in India (and other colonized nations). Social divisions and inequities were a convenient tool in the arsenal of the colonizers. On the one hand, tremendous tactical gains could be achieved by playing off one community against the other. On the other hand, there were also enormous psychological benefits in creating the impression that India was a land rife with uniquely abhorrent social practices that only an enlightened foreigner could attempt to reform. India's social ills were discussed with a contemptuous cynicism and often with a willful intent to instill a sense of deep shame and inferiority.
    Strong elements of such colonial imagery continue to dominate the landscape of Western Indology. A liberal, dynamic West embracing universal human values is posed against an obdurate and unchanging East clinging to odious social values and customs.
    It is little wonder, therefore, that India's intellectuals have been unable to either fully understand the historic dynamics and context which gave life to these social practices or find effective solutions for their cure. Many historians and social activists appear to have tacitly accepted the notion that caste divisions in society are a uniquely Indian feature and that Indian society has been largely unchanged since the writing of the Manusmriti which provides formal sanction to such social inequities.
    But caste-like divisions are neither uniquely Indian nor has Indian society been as socially stagnant as commonly believed. In all non-egalitarian societies where wealth and political power were unequally distributed, some form of social inequity appeared and often meant hereditary privileges for the elite and legally (or socially) sanctioned discrimination against those considered lower down in the social hierarchy.
    In fact, caste-like divisions are to be found in the history of most nations - whether in the American continent, or in Africa, Europe or elsewhere in Asia. In some societies, caste-like divisions were relatively simple, in others more complex. For instance, in Eastern Africa some agricultural societies were divided between land-owning and landless tribes (or clans) that eventually took on caste-like characteristics. Priests and warriors enjoyed special privileges in the 15th C. Aztec society of Mexico as did the Samurais (warrior nobles) and priests of medieval Japan. Notions of purity and defilement were also quite similar in Japanese society and members of society who carried out "unclean" tasks were treated as social outcasts - just as in India.
    Amongst the most stratified of the ancient civilizations was the Roman Civilization where in addition to state-sanctioned slavery, there were all manner of caste-like inequities coded into law. Even in the Christian era, European feudalism provided all manner of hereditary privileges for the knights and landed barons (somewhat akin to India's Rajputs and Thakurs) and amongst the royalty, arranged marriages and dowry were just as common as in India. Discrimination against the artisans was also commonplace throughout Europe, and as late as the 19th century - artisans in Germany had to go through a separate court system to seek legal redress. They were not permitted to appeal to courts that dealt with the affairs of the nobility and the landed gentry. (For instance, Beethoven wrote numerous letters to German judicial authorities pleading that he not be treated as a second-class citizen - that as Germany's pre-eminent composer he deserved better treatment.)
    A common pattern that seems to emerge from a study of several such ancient and medieval societies is that priests and warriors typically formed an elite class in most medieval societies and social privileges varied according to social rank; in settled agriculture based societies, this was usually closely related to ownership of land.
    For instance, we find no evidence of caste-like discrimination in societies where land was collectively owned and jointly cultivated, or where goods and services were exchanged within the village on the basis of barter, and there was no premium assigned to any particular type of work. All services and all forms of human labor were valued equally. Such village communes may have once existed throughout India and some appear to have survived until quite recently - especially in the hills, (such as in parts of Himachal and the North East, including Assam and Tripura), but also in Orissa and parts of Central India. In such societies, we also see little evidence of gender discrimination.
    In India, caste and gender discrimination appear to become more pronounced with the advent of hereditary and authoritarian ruling dynasties, a powerful state bureaucracy, the growth of selective property rights, and the domination of Brahmins over the rural poor in agrahara villages. But this process was neither linear nor always irreversible. As old ruling dynasties were overthrown, previously existing caste equations and caste hierarchies were also challenged and modified.
    In many parts of India this process may have taken several centuries to crystallize and caste rigidity may be a much more recent phenomenon than has been commonly portrayed. The impression that caste divisions were always strictly enforced, or that there were no challenges to caste rigidity does not seem to square with a dispassionate examination of the Indian historical record.
    It should also be emphasized that caste-distinctions were not the only way, or even the most egregious way in which social inequities manifested themselves in older societies. In ancient Greece and Rome, the institution of slavery was at least as cruel a practice, if not worse. (It is therefore quite ironic how the slave-owning Greek states are revered by Western intellectuals as the world's first "democratic" societies but ancient India is denigrated for it's incomprehensible social ills.)
    Levels and degree of caste discrimination in India have varied with time and there has been both upward and downward mobility of castes and social groups. Going by the strictures outlined in the Manusmriti, one might conclude that caste distinctions were set in stone, rigidly enforced and the possibilities of caste mobility completely circumscribed. But a closer examination of the historical record suggests otherwise.
    Already in the Upanishadic period there were tensions between Brahmins and Kshatriyas, and there are explicit parables in the Upanishadic texts illustrating how an enlightened Kshatriya was able to exceed a Brahmin in spiritual wisdom and philosophical knowledge. In the Mahabharatha, there are references to a Brahmin warrior suggesting that caste categories were not entirely inflexible.
    There is also criticism of parasitism amongst Brahmins in some of the texts from the Upanishadic period, and social commentators emphasized how those who reneged on their social obligations were undeserving of their caste privileges.
    This is an important point because it suggests that there was an implied social contract that involved both privileges and social obligations. The monarch might have enjoyed immense power and prestige, and exacted numerous rights over the common people, but also had the obligation to defend the people - to protect them from invaders, to dispense justice in an unprejudiced manner and assist in the development and preservation of irrigation facilities and roads. Failure to meet such expectations could and did lead to revolts, and dynasties rose and fell within a matter of few generations.
    Challenges to Brahminical hegemony and caste-rigidity
    In the Upanishads, there is also recognition that conceptions of god could be quite varied, that Brahminical rituals were not essential to spiritual release, and that individuals might choose different deities or methods of worship. This ecumenical outlook facilitated the growth of alternative viewpoints not only in the realm of religious practice but also on norms of how society ought to be structured.
    Social challenges to absolute monarchical rule and the immense power of the priestly class probably led to a crescendo during the Buddhist period when Brahmin hegemony received challenges from several quarters - from radical atheists such as the Lokayatas, from Jain agnostics, and heterodox Hindus and Buddhists who wanted to reconstruct society on a less discriminatory and more humane basis.
    Although it would be wrong to romanticize the Buddhists as being completely against caste distinctions {since there is evidence that they accepted caste distinctions in society outside their sanghas (communes)}, Buddhists along with other social critics undoubtedly played a powerful role in ensuring that caste was not the sole or even the dominant factor in shaping Indian society of that period. This is borne out by how so many ruling clans arose from a non-Kshatriya (and also non-Brahmin) background. The Nandas, the Mauryas, the Kalingas and the Guptas are just some of the more illustrious of India's ruling dynasties that did not arise from a Kshatriya background.
    (Of course, once some of these clans established themselves as ruling dynasties, they took on the Kshatriya mantle, and over time, the radical changes that accompanied their ascent to power gave way to social conservatism and a decaying of the radical currents that had contributed to their rise to power).
    It is also worth noting that the classical four varna division of Hindu society (as described in the Manusmriti) does not appear to have had much practical significance if one were to go by the accounts of the Greek chronicler, Megasthenes. In his accounts of Mauryan India. Megasthenes appears to list a seven fold social order in which he differentiates between the priest and the philosopher (who he ranked much above the priest, and who could have been a Brahmin, Jain or Buddhist) and also gives special attention to court bureaucrats such as record keepers, tax collectors and judicial officials. He also ascribed to the peasantry a higher status than might be inferred from the Manusmriti and noted with amazement how the peasantry was left unharmed during battles.
    According to Megasthenes, philosophers - whether Brahmins or Jain/Buddhist monks also had obligations in terms of offering advice to the ruler in matters of public policy, agriculture, health and culture. Repeated failure to provide sound counsel could lead to a loss of privileges - even exile or death. Thus, although many Brahmins may have held on to their privileges by being shameless sycophants - others made significant contributions in the realm of science, philosophy and culture. Social mobility was possible since learning was not an exclusive preserve of the Brahmins and both the Buddhist and Jain sanghas admitted people from different social backgrounds and also admitted women. (Jyotsna Kamat points to a Karnataka inscription from 1187 A.D. that suggests that Jain nuns enjoyed the same amount of freedom as their male counterparts.) The more advanced sanghas enforced a separate quorum for women to ensure that a largely male gathering may not take decisions that did not meet with the approval of the women members of the sangha.
    Over time, it appears that the sanghas degenerated, losing their intellectual vitality and egalitarian spirit allowing the Brahmins to gradually consolidate their power and influence in the Gangetic plain. But even as late as the 6th-7th C, Gupta-period inscriptions describing land grants in Bengal appear to corroborate Megasthenes' view of how Indian society was structured. Social rank of senior court administrators (who may have risen from different caste backgrounds) invariably exceeded the rank of ordinary village priests.
    (In Orissa, Rajasthan and parts of Central and Southern India, this pattern prevailed till even later. Moreover, as society headed towards caste-ossification, it was the court administrators who after acquiring hereditary caste status, became the most privileged agents in society. In some instances, these administrative castes simply merged with other privileged castes such as Brahmin or Kshatriya, or else they were treated as equivalent, and the historic distinctions between then became blurred or obscured.)
    In a sampling of Gupta period land grant decrees, it is intriguing that caste identities are omitted more often than explicitly included. Had caste been as important or dominant a social category, one might expect otherwise. Some of the most important figures appear to be officials involved in tax collection and land measurement. Various ranks of officials are mentioned without any explicit mention of their caste. Villagers are also frequently named without reference to their cast. Only occasionally, there are references to villagers who are also mentioned as being Brahmins. Some of the land grant records indicate that before land grants were made, certain categories of villagers - perhaps those considered more important - were consulted by the higher officials. Although Brahmins are mentioned in the list of those consulted, there are equal references to other categories of villagers such as kutumbins and mahattaras who may have been village officials or important landholders in the village. {Vishwa Mohan Jha (see ref. below) describes the kutumbins and mahattaras as varna/jati nuetral categories (i.e. caste-independent categories) that included Brahmins and non-Brahmins alike.}
    Other references point to consultative committees that included the chief artisan, the chief scribe, the merchant and the guild-president of the town. It also appears that administrative changes led to the creation of new posts, the merger or elimination of older posts, and changes in ranks of various officials over time. An examination of the land grant decrees over a space of three centuries (5th-7th C Bengal) points to such changes and others - such as changes in procedures, or changes in the constitution of consultative committees, perhaps to reflect changing political alliances or changes in the economic status of different groups of townspeople and villagers.
    In a land allotment plate from Paschimbagh (Bengal) Brahmins are mentioned as tax payers, and the status of ordinary Brahmins does not seem at all exceptional. For instance, it points to a teacher or a Vedic scholar as being entitled to 10 patakas of land, but other Brahmins were entitled to only 2 patakas - a share less than that of a Kayastha (record-keeper) or Vaidya(medical practitioner). Carpenters, smiths and artisans were also put far above other service communities in terms of their share of land.
    The Paschimbagh inscription also describes the grant of plots of land to florists, potters, carpenters, masons, blacksmiths and sweepers for serving a matha (monastery) indicating that when land was granted for a temple or monastery, priests were not the exclusive beneficiaries of land grants. (Two Bhaumakara charters from Talcher/Dhenkanal in Orissa similiarly refer to donations of land for a Buddhist temple, and allocations for its maintenance.)
    A study of land grants from 12th C Rajasthan (Pali) and Karnataka (Kalikatti) suggests that land grants had a limited life tenure even when initially decreed to be for life or for perpetuity. Beneficiaries of land grants were subject to transfers, and grants to a particular beneficiary were transferred to another beneficiary five or ten years later. It also appears that the beneficiaries were selected based on administrative rank rather than any particular caste-affiliation.
    It is also not at all apparent that administrative rank was limited by birth. In Orissa, there is explicit evidence to the contrary. Ordinary peasants were able to rise up in the ranks of the military, and it is likely that a similar situation prevailed in the administrative ranks. Mayadhar Mansinha (see ref. below) suggests that a combination of factors such as training, merit and personal determination played a role, (in addition to social standing and political connections) in determining rank and promotions. In Karnataka, there is evidence that some of the chief administrators were women. (See Jyotsna Kamat, ref. provided below)
    Brahminical Ascendance
    Nevertheless, the seeds for a more privileged role for the Brahmins were also being sown through the process of land grants to Brahmins. In some instances, thousands of Brahmins were granted rights to hitherto uncultivated land. In other cases, Brahmins were appointed as the local representatives of the state authorities in what are described as agrahara villages where Brahmins presided over small peasants, who in Bihar were mostly landless sharecoppers or bonded labourers. These agrahara villages were typically small villages and sattelites of bigger villages that included members of several castes and bigger land-holders. In Bihar, such agrahara villages proliferated and it is quite likely that in such agraharas oppressive social relations and some of the most egregious patterns of caste-centred discrimination and exploitation may have developed.
    (While early Gupta period records indicate the existence of rural consultative councils that mediated between the rulers and the artisans and peasants, it seems that such consultative councils became less important or were phased out with the growth of the agraharas. Thereafter, the Brahmins became the sole intermediaries between the village and the state, and over time, this may have enabled the Brahmins to exercise social and political hegemony over other inhabitants of the village.It also appears that the greatest incidence of the practice of untouchability occurs in conjunction with the growth in the power and authority of the Brahmins in such villages.)
    But these developments took time to spread elsewhere in India, first spreading to Bengal and eastern UP, and very gradually elsewhere in India. However, this pattern was not necessarily replicated in identical form throughout India and some parts of India virtually escaped this trend. In agrahara villages in other parts of India, Brahmins did take on the role of local administrators and tax collectors, but the status of the small peasantry was not always as miserable as in Bihar. The degree of exploitation and oppression appears to be related to the extent of alienation from land-ownership.
    For example, evidence for Brahmin domination in Kalikatti, Southern Karnataka emerges after the 13th C. when villagers were instructed to pay taxes to the Brahmin assignees, leading to constant tensions and disputes, but without dramatic changes in the overall status of the tax-paying villagers.
    Although Brahminization was an important factor in leading to caste ossification, it was not necessarily the sole or even the most important factor in the mix. The impact of the Islamic invasions, colonization by the British and ecological changes played an equally crucial if not decisive role in many instances.
    For instance, in Orissa, the ossification of the bureaucracy and its conversion into a group of privileged and exclusive castes appears to take place after the 14th-15th C. when we begin to see a general decline in its overseas trade due to the silting up of its rivers. At the same time, we see the growth of Brahminical hegemony in the realm of religion and military defeats at the hands of the Mughal armies led by Raja Man Singh of Jaipur. All these factors may have played a role in destroying the vibrancy of Oriya society and encouraging caste conservatism.
    (See the essay on the History of Orissa for more on this subject.)
    Impact of the Islamic Invasions
    Unfortunately, many social historians have studiously ignored the effect of such external factors in the shaping of social relations in India. But we know that the Islamic invasions led to monumental changes in the political and cultural life of the sub-continent and especially so in the Gangetic plain - so it would be exceedingly odd if the invasions had no impact on the social structure of Indian society. While some social analysts have tried to analyze Hindu society during the period of Islamic rule as though it had been untouched by the Islamic invasions and left to stagnate in a cocoon of its own making, others have succumbed to illusory simplifications such as Islam was an egalitarian faith whereas Hinduism had caste divisions.
    Because Islam first arose in those parts of the world where settled agriculture was not possible - i.e. in the desert sands of the Arabian peninsula - social divisions had not yet emerged in quite the same way that they had in long settled agricultural societies like India. For the warring nomadic tribes of the desert, Islam may have been a tool for the upward mobility of clans that may have  earlier survived on petty thievery and by raiding the wealth of settled urban societies (and later for those who joined the ranks of the military in the Islalmic states), the upward mobility of some came at the expense of enormous human rights violations against others. In the hands of expansionist conquerors, Islam became more an instrument of devastation and terror rather than a vehicle for social equality or social justice.
    Taken in its entirety, the period of Islamic rule in India cannot be seen as furthering social equity or social harmony in the subcontinent. As a faith-based ideological system Islam could at best guarantee equality before "God" - i.e. equality after death. However, a closer study of the Quran dispels even such notions, for even amongst believers, there is gender discrimination and rank based on the "quality" and "type" of service provided to the Islamic cause. In any case,  on earth, the plight of Muslim converts depended more on social realities, on political equations - than on the abstract and remote promise of equality offered by Islam.
    During times of heavy political and economic oppression, the only option for the poor was complete and total submission to the will of "God" which in effect meant sacrificing all their autonomy in favor of the clergy, (who rarely challenged political authority), and more often than not, were largely beholden to the rulers who chose to support and promote them. When the clergy did resist political authority, it often tended towards social conservatism and reaction rather than social progress.
    By and large, social inequities widened with the onset of Islamic rule in the sub-continent. Land revenue records clearly indicate that with few exceptions (as in Kashmir and Bengal for a time), Islamic rulers taxed the peasantry at significantly higher rates. If the average rate of taxation during the pre-Islamic period varied between 10% to a maximum of 20% - averaging around 15-16%, it had increased to 33% or even more under the Mughals. (Note that even the Manusmriti limited the tax rate on the peasantry to one-sixth - about 16%)
    While all Islamic rulers may not have insisted on the discriminating jaziya, many of the earlier invaders insisted upon it, and more than one court chronicler of the Delhi Sultanate describes the violent means taken to suppress peasant rebellions and extract the high taxes from the crushed peasantry. Urban revolts were also not uncommon and the Arab chronicler Ibn Batuta mentions how such rebellions were suppressed with great cruelty. Punishment for those who rebelled could mean loss of adults (particularly young women) and children to slavery, massacres or forced evacuations of entire villages and small towns, pillage and destruction of places of learning, of temples and other symbols of cultural identification, and denial of job opportunities in the courts. In the early centuries of Islamic rule, the distrust of the locals was so intense that virtually all the important administrative positions were kept in the hands of foreigners.
    (Romila Thapar has pointed out that prior to the Islamic invasions, Hindu rulers also invaded or pillaged the temples of their rivals, especially since these temples were repositories of great wealth. She has also indicated that the management of some of these rich temples was extremely corrupt. Plunder of temple wealth was definitely a factor in the destruction of such temples during raids and attacks by Islamic invaders and conquerors. However, during the Islamic invasions, this practice accelerated both in frequency and intensity.
    It should also be noted that not all temples were storehouses of great wealth or under the management of corrupt Brahminical trusts. The majority of temples had considerable cultural significance for the local populations and many were built and maintained by non-Brahminical cults. For instance, in Bundelkhand, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa, there are a sizable number of surviving temples that not only escaped the path of the Islamic invaders, but were obviously left untouched in local battles between rival Hindu kings. There are even scattered remains from the Gupta period. But in the Gangetic plain, virtually nothing from the region's pre-Islamic past has survived. Clearly, there were important political dimensions to the destruction of Northern India's cultural wealth. One might speculate that the political subjugation of a reluctant and possibly even hostile population required the physical elimination of cultural symbols that instilled pride and self-confidence, and thus threatened the authority of the alien rulers.
    In any case, the smashing of facial features, genitalia and breasts on sculpted figures has no parallel to earlier practices. There is also little evidence that those defeated in battle were killed or enslaved on the scale of what happened during the Islamic invasions.)
    For instance, the Afghanistan region (which once had a sizeable Hindu and Buddhist population) acquired the reputation of being a land where Hindus were slaughtered and hence took the name Hindu-Kush, and references to wanton destruction occur with boastful regularity in the records of the triumphant conquerors. However, in the Gangetic plain the Hindu population was essential in maintaining the tax base for the rulers and therefore, it was only necessary to break the autonomy of the Hindu population and crush their resistance to higher taxation. This was largely achieved through the almost complete destruction of older centres of culture and learning, burning of libraries such as in Nalanda and Vikramshila, the widespread conversion of Buddhists to Islam, and violent acts of reprisal against those who resisted.
    One of the most deleterious effects of the Islamic invasions on social relations in India was the practice of slavery, which was introduced on a scale hitherto unseen in the subcontinent. Unlike the societies of the East, slavery appears to have played an important role almost throughout the history of the Western world and the Quran has passages that endorse the practice of slavery. During the Islamic period, in sub-Saharan Africa, slaves labored in the salt mines and copper mines and served as a vital link in the trans-Saharan trade routes acting as porters where camels and donkeys could not go.
    Scott Levi (Univ. of Wisconsin) points to judicial documents of medieval Samarqand (and other Central Asian sources) that disclose the presence there of many thousands of Indian slaves throughout the medieval period. A number of Indian sources make it clear that, from the early Ghaznavid raids to the Mughal period, hundreds of thousands (if not millions over the centuries) of men, women and children were marched over to the slave markets in Iran and Central Asia, i.e. beyond the northwest frontier of India, and out of the reach of their familial support systems.
    (Although state sanctioned slavery came to an end with the dawn of the Christian era in Europe, a slave-owning replica of ancient Rome arose in the American South, and slaves were employed throughout the Caribbean and South America. The Portuguese were notorious for their slave-markets in India. Even as slavery was banned in Europe, the European trading companies made huge profits from the slave trade. Slavery was not a practice confined to the Islamic parts of the world.)
    The practice of slavery probably led to the growth in the custom of Jauhar and Sati amongst the military castes. Prior to the Islamic invasions, there are very few records to indicate that such practices were widely followed. But the onslaught of the Islamic invaders had led to a complete breakdown in the implementation of war ethics. Whereas in earlier wars, it was required of both sides to protect the peasantry, to leave women, children and the elderly at peace, and there were injunctions against the enslavement of prisoners or of harming those who surrendered in battle - the invaders had few if any compunctions in unleashing all manner of torments on the defeated population. In such an environment, it is not surprising that for the proud Rajput societies, the act of jauhar, or mass suicide was a more honorable option.
    (It should be noted that such acts of mass or individual suicide are not unknown elsewhere in the world. Sometimes these acts were voluntary (as was usually emphasized in the Indian tradition), at other times they were entirely coerced. Amongst the Vikings, it was customary for a warrior's young concubines to join the funeral pyres of dead Viking warriors. In ancient Nubia (upper Sudan and lower Egypt) there are records of mass suicide upon the death of a warrior king and Nubian burials of warriors indicate practices quite similiar to Jauhar / Sati . There are also parallels in the Japanese tradition of Harakiri'(suicide for honour) or Sepukku amongst the Samurai - warrior nobles of Japan. Voluntary suicide of widows (although rare) also took place in China during the reign of the Qing dynasty. There are also records of the Celts and the Romans practicing human sacrifice. Amongst the Aztecs of the 15th C, the custom of human sacrifice of the defeated does not appear to have any voluntary character, and was seen as a legitimate rite in the celebration of a victory in war.
    Western feminist indologists who see the practice of Sati as a unique form of gender oppression peculiar to India might note that in the Christian world, the scourge of witch-burning was a far more dangerous threat to the lives of women. The mere charge of being a "witch" could lead to public hanging, and the Salem-witch trials in America were part of a long chain of witch-burnings that took place throughout Christian Europe and carried over into New England)
    Nevertheless, Islamic rule in India did not prevail entirely without benefits for specific social classes who chose to collaborate with the invaders.
    Trading communities probably benefited from the installation of Islamic rulers whose policies of lower taxes on trade, and state support of local traders and financiers was in their interest. Scott Levi suggests that from the end of the thirteenth century, and throughout much of the Delhi Sultanate period, the Muslim nobility were dependent upon heavily capitalized indigenous banking firms (identified in the Tarikh-i Firuz Shahi as 'Sahs' and 'Multanis'). These domestic financiers loaned seeds and other necessary inputs to peasants and village-artisans and manufacturers (such as textile weavers) in return for a share of the produce. The rest they bought in cash, and a part of that cash was then recovered by the state treasuries through taxation.
    It should also be noted that, (by and large), Islamic rulers born and raised in India relied less on violence and sheer terror, but sought alliances with sections of the local population, especially with those amongst the Hindu elite who were willing to collaborate. Although some of these alliances were coerced, others led to tangible material benefits for the royal collaborators.
    Alliances were forged through marriage, or simply from political convenience. Military alliances with Hindu rulers were crucial in maintaining the power of many Islamic rulers. After Akbar, the Mughals relied heavily on the Jaipur and Bikaner Rajputs, who in return were given rights to a share of the taxes extracted from the Gangetic plain. And although Hindus were numerically discriminated in jobs at the courts, by skillfully playing off different caste communities against one another, the Mughals were able to win over a section of the Hindus in maintaining their position of political preeminence.
    Hence, it would be wrong to see the many centuries of Islamic rule in India purely from the prism of religious antagonisms. But it would be equally wrong to see the long period of rule by Islamic-identified rulers (even those that were born in India) as entirely benevolent or benign, or no different from the rule of earlier Hindu kings. Since most were heavier taxers, the distance between the ruling elites and the peasant and artisan masses tended to widen and there were other aspects of Islamic rule (particularly during the rule of the more oppressive Sultanates) that limited social mobility.
    For many of the Islamic rulers, the Brahmin dominated agraharas were highly suited to efficient tax collection and the might of the Sultanates came down very heavily on social challenges that weakened the ability of the state to collect taxes. The fear of enslavement and the denial of equal access to job opportunities in the Sultanate courts led to Hindu society becoming extremely inward-looking in large parts of the plains. With opportunities for jobs in the administrative ranks shrinking, caste loyalties were in all likelihood strengthened, not weakened. Thus, rather than shake up the caste system as some might expect, Islamic rule (by foreign invaders who distrusted the locals) may have actually helped in its crystallization. Neither is there any evidence that Islamic rule helped end the practice of untouchability.
    (In fact, the problems of untouchability and caste-discrimination are especially notable in states like UP and Bihar where Islamic rule held complete sway for five centuries. In Sindh and Western Punjab, where almost the entire population was converted to Islam, it is important to observe that janitorial workers were never converted, and to this date remain a highly oppressed and discriminated group. There is also evidence that Muslims developed their own versions of caste. Romila Thapar points out how foreign-origin Muslims such as Syeds, Sheiks and Ashrafs kept themselves consciously apart from Muslims who came from artisan and peasant backgrounds. Language was another divider. In Bijapur district, the elite Muslims spoke Urdu whereas the ordinary Muslims spoke Kannada. Zarina Bhatty in an essay on "Social stratification among Muslims" describes caste differentiation amongst Ashraf and non-Ashraf Muslims and notions of impurity that closely parallel caste cleavages and attitudes in Hindu society. Sandra Mackey in the Caste/Class System in Iran describes patterns of social differentiation remarkably similiar to India's. Also see note below)
    Over time, Islamic rule in India created a much stronger and more unified elite, which made it more difficult for the ordinary masses to resist regressive social changes, particularly in the realm of philosophical choice, religious pluralism, regional and local autonomy in matters of religion, gender equity, freedom of sexual expression and sexual orientation. For instance, prior to the arrival of Islam, women enjoyed greater freedom of movement and dress. 11th C chronicler of Indian life, Al-Biruni expresses puzzlement at how the Hindu men (of Punjab) took the advice of the women "in all consultations and emergencies". But in a matter of few centuries, Islamic notions of gender separation and sexual prudery had infected Hindu households as well. A weaker version of the Purdah system and a more conservative dress code became the custom even in Hindu homes, especially so amongst those of the trading community that had frequent contacts with Muslims.
    Although in sime passages, the Quran states that their ought to be no compulsion in matters of religion, in other passages, the Quran leaves no doubt that force and coercion are acceptable in furthering Islamic practice. Consequently, the practice of Islam conformed more to the passages advicating force and coercion. In Mali, the Tunisian chronicler Ibn Batuta noted that children who were neglectful in learning the Quran were put in chains until they had it memorized. Regarding India, he commented how newly converted peasants had a very lackadaisical attitude towards attending regular prayers and how the Imams had to cane non-attendees to force attendance. He also describes how he personally led a battle against the reluctance of women to cover their breasts in the Maldives.
    In the Indian tradition, moral codes concerning dress were more in keeping with the natural environment. Clothes were light and simple, consistent with the generally hot climate. And in matters of religion, there was greater diversity, and much more personal choice. It was often up to the devotee to visit a temple at a time of his or her choosing. Which deity to worship involved an element of local choice and different jatis might worship different deities. Local versions of the epics such as the Ramayana and the Krishna-Leela were popularized and recent research points to hundreds of different versions in circulation. Unlike in Islam, pilgrimages were undertaken under less pressure and with greater individual volition. Al-Biruni also noted how the Hindus were remarkably flexible and willing to change customs and traditions they no longer felt to be relevant or essential.
    (Although notions of Dharma played an important role in determining the boundaries for social conduct, these varied with time and were also adapted to suit the individual needs and preferences of different regions and localities.)
    Pluralism in Indian History
    In religions that paid tremendous stress on "revealed truth" (such as Christianity or Islam) there have always been strong tendencies towards dogmatic rigidity. But even at the peak of their influence, India's Brahmins were never quite able to impose any comparable sort of rigid uniformity in the practice of Hinduism on a national (let alone, international) scale. In some localities, the lower castes did without the Brahmins entirely while elsewhere, especially in the South, or in Central India and Orissa - Brahmins often felt obliged to give due deference to dissenting and heterodox cults, and incorporated their belief systems into mainstream Hinduism.
    T.K Venkatasubramaniam (see ref. below) describes how in Tamil Nadu, Brahmins begin to play an important role in politics and society only after the 7th C., when the Pallavas began to challenge the authority of the previous ruling clans such as the Chera, Chola and Pandya. Because the Pallavas did not rise from an aristocratic background, they used the Brahmins to validate their right to rule through a combination of persuasion and coercion.
    At that time, Tamil Nadu was a hotbed of a variety of non-Brahminical traditions, (such as Buddhist, Jain and many others) - hence, a synthesis of these different traditions took place between the 7th and the 11th centuries. Vajrayana Buddhism, Shaivite Tantrism and Hata-Yoga were amongst the trends that became integrated. The Bhakti tradition in which the devotee is held in a higher status than the Brahmin had it's impact as did the ideals of the Siddhis whose supreme ideal was freedom, perfect health and immortality - all to be gained on this earth through magic and yoga. The Kalamukas, Pasupatas and Kapalikas were popular practitioners of Yogic and Tantric cults - the latter helped assimilate the ecstatic tribal cults of earlier times. This was also the period when the androgyne forms of the Hindu gods (the Ardhanarishwara) became popularized.
    The existence of these numerous cults was partly an expression of the struggle for social equality and freedom from exploitation, but for some, it was also a means for accessing greater social privileges . The Brahmins of Tamil Nadu (along with the rulers) attempted to manage these social tensions through co-option, philosophical accommodation and synthesis.
    In Andhra, folk religions played a powerful role in mediating Brahminical influences, and a vibrant example of the deep penetration of folk influences in popular religion is to be seen in the sculpted array of folkloric panels in the temple of Srisailam (sponsored by the Vijayanagar rulers in the 14th-15th C.). In neighbouring Karnataka, the Bhakti ideal and Jain influences put their stamp on prevailing religious practices.
    Religion in India thus developed in a much more organic fashion than is commonly realized, and it was never completely divorced from popular inputs. Both male and female deities drew followers, and while goddesses were sometimes displayed in demonic warrior roles, gods were sometimes displayed with feminine qualities. In the Yogini temples, all the deities were women and although today, there are only a handful of surviving Yogini temples, (mostly in Orissa and Madhya Pradesh) it is not unlikely that many more may have been in existence.
    (See the essay on the History of Orissa for more on Yogini traditions.)
    In the 8th-10th C Pratihara era temples, men and women were sculpted in identical heights and proportions - perhaps implying that male domination had not yet fully come to pass. Tantric ideas on sexual liberation found their way into the grand temples not only of Khajuraho and Konarak but also in temples in Rajasthan, the Jabalpur and Raipur regions, in Telengana and elsewhere in the South. Unlike Islam where entry into mosques was curtailed for women, and separate zenana areas were constructed, restraints on the entry of women in temples were not commonplace. Contrary to the suppression of female sexuality in the Semitic religious streams, temple architecture from the 11th-13th C appears to revel in the eroticism of both genders - and there are even displays of same-gender interaction.
    In this relatively liberal atmosphere, philosophy continued to flourish and while some tendencies drifted towards religious idealism, others emphasized the rational and worldly. The slow but steady record of scientific progress up to the 12th-13th C points to the toleration that atheist, agnostic and rational currents may have enjoyed in Indian society in contrast to the violence meted out towards "heretics" and disbelievers in medieval Europe and the Middle East. Religion in India developed in a relatively secular atmosphere where all manner of religious variations coexisted with the abstract and all-inclusive monotheism articulated in the Upanishads and later emulated in the various Bhakti streams of worship.
    At the grassroots level, these relatively more liberal tendencies had their impact on the practice of Islam as well. Sufism, the worship of pirs (saints), the practice of the Urs were attempts at forging some sort of a compromise.
    (Romila Thapar points to peasant and artisan Muslims of Bijapur who continued to celebrate Hindu festivals. To this day, Muslim peasants of Northern Karnataka celebrate Islamic festivals with folk dances that have Hindu origins - quite unlike the orthodox practice of these festivals where singing and dancing might be frowned upon. Such hybrid Muslim communities exist elsewhere in India too.)
    But in the Madrasahs, (with few exceptions) conservatism and orthodoxy were the norm; attempts at providing a secular education never really took off, and over time this had a distinctly illiberal effect on how social relations matured in the sub-continent.
    The Sikh Renaissance
    Just prior to British rule, Mughal rule had virtually collapsed and power had gone into the hands of Sikh rulers in the North and the Maratha kings in much of Central and Southern India. The Sikhs had been at the forefront of powerful social reforms as they fought against the into