Net Gain

“I sold my site in Shanti Nagar when the real estate prices were at peak and bought a flat in Frazer Town when the prices were the lowest. I am lucky.”

We congratulate the relative for his luck and appreciate his wisdom. What about the wisdom of the person who bought the site and found the prices tumble in a couple of weeks? How about the luck of the one who sold his flat who felt cheated by the situation for the low price he got? Some friends family members would pour advices on the hapless “unwise and unlucky” for several years. Criticism for the foolish acts at times is passed on to the generation next.

Over a long period, prices of properties and commodities are expected to rise and fall. A few commodities may show much steeper rise than others – like the price of gold and black-gold. However, when the prices fluctuate randomly in short periods, we get a sharper sense of gain and loss. Gradual rise and fall don’t make us feel as bad. When we buy a computer or electronic gadget, we know that it would be half as costly in months eighteen.

When a neighbourhood grocery shop sells in retail, the price we pay includes the cost of services. Value is added by making the commodities available next door, at convenient time of the day, saving our time and cost of travel. If a shop charges a little more than the others in the neighbourhood it is not cheating – there is no breach of promise. The cost of their services is higher, which they are free to set. The customers can choose the shop they want to visit.

Some jobs may be more paying than others with similar challenges. This is governed by the supply and demand situation for the talents. With a flat world, a demand elsewhere can create opportunity at home. Whereas this creates some disparity and unhappiness in the “less fortunate” people, those who get well paid deserve what they get for being in the right place at right time. The employer who pays well does so because he gains from the services of his employees. No one loses.

When we trade in shares, there are gains and losses. But the money spent in stocks fuels the industry and creates wealth. It is not a gamble.

Spending a few nights at Vivekananda Memorial Hospital (VMH) at Saragur, I heard bleat of sheep from a farm nearby.  The sheep were let in the enclosed farm for grazing through the night, paying the shepherd for the services. The shepherd gained by getting feed for the sheep and cash, in addition. The farmer gained by the fertilisation of soil with the droppings of the sheep – manure delivered onsite. This is a classic win-win situation with a systemic gain!

 “He won a lottery!”

A lottery is a form of gambling. Agencies conducting the lottery take money from masses and give to a few individuals. The one who wins the lottery has not worked to deserve the amount and it is not a just reward.  The organisers have not created value – but there is net loss to process the money from many to reach a selected few. The whole system works on greed of people to desire something for nothing. It is sad that many governments too are in the business of lotteries to raise money. The entire system is leaky and lossy.

Unexpected huge gain is intoxicating. The earning for which one has not worked is undeserved and not worthy of celebrations. Often the wealth so received is squandered and affects the virtue of the receiver. In a transaction if we gain at the loss of the other person it is an unfair deal. A win-lose ultimately leads to lose-lose situation.

In several trades and transactions, we see the spirit of winning and losing. A good transaction is one where both the parties gain, creating a Net Gain leaving the system richer than before.

“My desires are many and my cry is pitiful, but ever didst thou save me by hard refusals; and this strong mercy has been wrought into my life through and through.

Day by day thou art making me worthy of the simple, great gifts that thou gavest to me unasked – this sky and the light, this body and the life and the mind – saving me from perils of overmuch desire.

There are times when I languidly linger and times when I awaken and hurry in search of my goal; but cruelly thou hidest thyself from before me.

Day by day thou art making me worthy of thy full acceptance by refusing me ever and anon, saving me from perils of weak, uncertain desire.”

–          Tagore

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About pgbhat

A retired Naval Officer and an educationist. Has experience with software industry. A guest faculty at different institutes and a corporate trainer with software development companies.
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2 Responses to Net Gain

  1. Anonymous says:

    PG, nice description on Net Gain. But as you rightly said, greed of people makes them run after something which they don’t deserve.

    Like

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