Negating a zero-sum mentality

1932: Lyons Sports Girls testing their pulling power against a tree, in preparation for a tug-o-war competition. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)


The statement made by Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of and Farmers Welfare, that farming and industry are complementary to one another demonstrates how far economic thought in our nation has advanced. There was a time when the two main economic sectors were frequently placed against one another, almost as though they were engaged in a brutal struggle. A zero-sum mentality that was fostered by socialism and related ideologies was the cause of this fictitious hostility.

Rich people gain weight at the expense of the poor, owners get money by taking advantage of employees, and so on. This way of thought feeds on the numerous forms of polarisation intellectuals peddle, such as the struggle between the affluent and the poor, the contradiction between capitalism and proletariat, the gap between urban and rural areas, and more recently, the digital divide. The proponents of socialism, communism, etc. cannot see a society in which individuals can work together and cooperate to produce prosperity that is shared, albeit unequally, by all. Everyone, with the exception of the orphaned offspring of Marx, Lenin, and Mao, is aware that money is created, and that this process benefits all facets of society equally.

They all advance and succeed together, not at each other's expense. Tomar meant this when he argued that farmers without industries cannot function, and vice versa. He discussed a dialogue programme between business and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research during a special session of the Confederation of Indian Industry's (CII) 28th annual Partnership Summit-2023 (ICAR). In our country, ministers are expected to praise their respective chief ministers and prime ministers. Nonetheless, Tomar's observation regarding Prime Minister Narendra Modi's comprehensive vision for the country's overall and balanced development is significant. Tomar claimed that Modi continually makes an effort to transcend the departments because all of the government's initiatives are for and its citizens. He brought up PM Gati Shakti, a programme that aims to eliminate silos in infrastructure projects. The Minister stated that , research, and industrial support are necessary for agriculture, which is a priority area for all of us. This will enhance the agricultural industry and bring prosperity to farmers, he continued. Another claim that merits praise is the one that defies conventional thinking, which holds that the agricultural sector should be kept out of anything, including research, technology, and significant policy changes. Science and technology are beneficial to all of us, but genetically modified crops will bring about the end of the world. Economic changes benefit the nation and should be implemented in all sectors, but they should not be implemented in agriculture. The movement against the three pro-prosperity farm laws of 2020 was born out of such muddled, prehistoric public discourse. It is encouraging to see the Agricultural Minister reject zero-sum reasoning.