Bane of middlemen

Source : Google photo of middlemen

Synopsis: Between you and me, there is always a middleman who makes a profit. He is everywhere and has his finger in every pie but he exists only as a parasite who sucks the blood of his victims who are both producers and the consumers worldwide. Now some countries are trying to protect the producers and the consumers by enacting laws. Such laws are long overdue and welcome.  

Once I was caught by surprise when a person I had known for years asked me where I was planning to visit in India to which I answered very innocently that I would like to visit Jaipur, Rajasthan. He then immediately called a driver who would bring me and my family to Jaipur the next day for a fee to which I agreed so we all drove to Rajasthan the very next day.

The surprise came later when I paid the driver who then handed over to this person his share of the money in front of me that he glibly pocketed. It is called a commission that made my trip to Jaipur more costly than if I had dealt with a driver directly.

I see this phenomenon called commission worldwide when a person takes a part of the money of a transaction as his rightful share for a service he provided that was not solicited.

There is a word people in India use for such person called Dalal whom they avoid at all costs because they extract a heavy price from anyone who seeks their service wittingly or unwittingly as was my case. It left a bitter taste in me that brought about an end to my relationship with that person because it was at least to me so unfair.

These middlemen are everywhere. They will entice you with a huge sum in black money for your property for sale so that they can take a mighty chunk of it as commission. What you do with your black money is not their problem. It is illegal but so many people are motivated to do such transaction with these middlemen because of greed and their immoral nature.

India is a country that is rife with corruption at all levels of the society where the middlemen are everywhere sucking the blood of the country and getting fat like leeches at the expense of others. The politicians take millions of dollars as commission from any contract they sign as middlemen so the country loses huge sums of tax payer’s money this way but the loathsome practice continues unabated because it is a source of easy money for them.

Recently the government of India passed a bill to help the farmers so that they could be assured of a better price for what they produce but the middlemen provoked the farmers with false and deceptive idea that the bill was against the interest of the poor farmers. Thus thousands of farmers started to protest against the bill creating huge problem for the public. They blocked the roads, railway lines and threatened to block even the parliament building because they were misled by the middlemen who were the losers when the bill became the law.

The middlemen who paid the farmers a low price for their grains sold the grain at a much higher price to consumers thus raking in huge profit for their own pockets so the farmers remained poor and debt ridden while the middlemen got richer. The new law to help the poor farmers who can now sell their produce directly to anyone including the Government has put an end to the middlemen who are very angry so they are making false claims.

Now it has come to light that these middlemen share their loot with the politicians and give to their party huge sums of money so that the politicians will not enact laws against them and protect their interests. In the USA, it is called lobbying where the big companies put pressure on the politicians through their lobbyists to enact laws to protect their interests that run counter to the public interest. They do this through outright bribes to powerful senators and congressmen and by donating hefty sums to their campaign funds to fight the next election.

But the government of India has not backed down under the pressure from the middlemen and has declared that the money will be sent directly to the bank accounts of farmers for anything the government buys from them to eliminate the middlemen completely. The farmers can now sell their produce in the Internet to any buyer at a much higher price than what they used to receive so they are now free from the hated bondage to the grain market run by the middlemen or dalals.

Any country where the curse of middlemen is endemic can only blame itself because they do not take any action on them so the public suffers. One reason for high level of inflation anywhere is due to this factor of middlemen who pay a poor price to the producers and sell at a higher price to the consumer so everyone suffers. It takes moral courage to enact laws that benefit the farmers and producers of things we consume but very few governments show such moral courage to make laws that benefit the poor.

In Europe we often see the farmers dumping their milk, fruits and vegetables on the road because of very low prices they receive but the store prices remain high due to the middlemen there. If the farmers try to sell their produce directly to the consumers through the farmer’s markets, they are often beaten and chased out by the middlemen.

The farmers find themselves in a terrible bind because they do not have storage facilities so they are forced to sell their produce through the middlemen. They also borrow money from them to buy the inputs they need to produce crops, live stocks, fruits and vegetables that the middlemen deduct from the price they pay to the producers plus hefty interest on the loan so the farmers suffer.

The manufacturers of defense equipment price their products that include the amount they have to pay the middlemen to procure a contract and the bribes they have to pay the politicians who must approve such contract. This leads to scams of massive proportions that leaves no industry unaffected. Ultimately what the government buys from any source anything must be paid for by the revenue earned through tax remittances so we the people suffer and pay for all the corruption.

This is the bane of the system where the middlemen have become an integral part. We see it in the pharmaceutical industry that rakes in billions of dollars from consumers because the middlemen keep the price of drugs high to reap huge benefits. The poor people who can’t afford costly medicines die of sickness that can be otherwise treated because the remedy does exist for many diseases.

That is why the pharmaceutical companies hate the generic drug makers who sell the same drugs at a much lower cost to the poor people. Now they are against any country that makes cheaper Corona vaccine and gives them away for free to poorer countries like what India does because it hurts their lucrative business of making Corona vaccines.

When Nikola Tesla proposed free electricity for everyone, the businessmen in America were greatly alarmed because  they had invested heavily in the infrastructure and the power generation plants so they hated the idea of Tesla and forced him to die in poverty in a New York hotel room with his dreams unfulfilled. His scientific papers, notes and formula were confiscated by the government and hidden away in undisclosed places.  

The idea of taking commission has now become an integral part of the capitalistic society anywhere that has given rise to extraordinary level of corruption that continues to wither away the moral soul of any country.

When you have no choice but to buy the things you need through a middleman, you only bolster their position and make them more entrenched. They are not ashamed because they claim that they provide a service for which they must be paid. They protect themselves by creating unassailable conditions so the producers have no choice but to accept their demands. It is because the farmers of this world do not have the resources to put up huge storage facilities, do not have access to loans to do so and do not have crop insurance to protect themselves in case of calamities.

Those who do are rich farmers or very large corporations with deep pockets that can afford to put up facilities to benefit themselves. The small farmers suffer the low prices they receive for their hard work so they remain poor and in debt. Thousands of such poor farmers in India have taken their lives because they could not feed their families even after all the hard work.

In the so called developed countries, the small farmers are being marginalized by the rich corporations that are increasingly taking over the production of food. We now see this trend in less developed countries as well where the poor farmers sell their land and move to cities in search of jobs. To work so hard and still remain poor is the fate of millions of farmers so they migrate but the cities do not provide them the alternative they seek. This continuous migration only swells the slums in all major cities of the world where the poor congregate.

Therefore I salute the Indian government that has made beneficial farm laws to protect and help the poor farmers who feed the whole nation. Without them we will all starve and the government will be forced to import food from somewhere. Many countries even today suffer because they do not produce enough to feed themselves so import the food at higher cost.

I am fundamentally opposed to middlemen who take advantage of others to benefit themselves but it is very hard to get rid of them unless the government steps in to protect the poor. Such efforts are labeled socialistic by the capitalists but who cares if it helps the poor?

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