India – The Largest Car Manufacturer

Thought it was Japan? Nope, not even Toyota can compete with the Indian industry. We have an excellent set-up. We also have a distinct advantage over the Japanese. Here, the cars themselves want to be made and be sold in the market. No, I am not talking about the Maruti 800s or the Tata Indicas. I have a completely different picture of the “car”. The industry that I am referring to is not the traditional car manufacturing industry, but the highly lucrative Education Industry which produces ultra-sophisticated cars. Make no mistake, these cars have the self-motivation to be perfect and advertise for themselves to be sold.

We keep hearing the garb about education being commercialised, being commoditised, losing its value, what not? Wait a minute. Consider those statements for a moment. All that is crap, isn’t it? Of course it is. We are missing the all-important point: It’s not just education which has been commoditised, it’s the students themselves who have been commoditised.

We are manufactured. We are sold. We are driven by somebody else. We are filled with fuel. We are turned into products which can be sold in the market.

One might ask, is that not what education is supposed to turn us into? According to Education Theory, these are the aims of education:

  • Preparation for political participation
  • Preparation for economic participation
  • A product for use as social capital
  • Fulfillment of self-development
  • Development of character

I was about to ask for an introspection. But hey, intros what? We have no time for all that shit. I leave it to the conscience of the reader.

Coming back, I have the burden of justifying the atrocious comparisons and accusations I made. Let me plead my case.

Are we manufactured?

Ever heard of assembly line production? The concept, introduced by Henry Ford (yes, the founder of Ford Motors), was a revolutionary concept in the manufacturing sector. It allowed for the mass production of commercial motor vehicles.

The concept is simple. Instead of assembling all the workers and building the car at one place, we shall place the workers in a line. The about to be manufactured cars are sent in a queue. The first worker in the line does the initial job of fitting something, then the car moves to the second worker where he fits something else. This process continues till the car is finally manufactured. Each worker focuses only on his part of the job. People familiar with computer science might recognise this as the concept of pipelining.

The present education scenario is strikingly similar. We go through a similar assembly line where we are fitted with the required skill-set. However, I do not say that this in itself is wrong. I find nothing wrong with the process. But look at the words in red. Skill-set required by whom?? Who requires those skills?? Is it the student who consciously wishes it or is it something else??

These skills are required by the industry and if you have a different skill-set, then you are junk to the industry.

Are we sold?

Of course. Cars are kept in showrooms, customers walk-by, look at the car, its features, inquire the sales person about the car and then decide whether to buy the car. The case with the products of our colleges is somewhat different. Remember, they produce cars which can speak. So the necessity of a sales person is eliminated. The customer directly inquires the product,viz., the student. This process of sales inquiry is politely termed “interview”. Better the features, higher the price offered. A BMW is costlier than a Maruti 800.

And we have some advantages over the normal cars. We have some degree of freedom in choosing our “master”, a master who then appoints a driver to drive his brand new car.

Are we driven by somebody else?

For a normal employee, the statement does not need much of an explanation. We do not choose where to go. We simply go wherever our driver wants us to go. We obey his orders. We are afraid our master might throw us out as junk if we apply our own brains. So, we switch them off.

The argument that we apply our brains while doing our job is moot. Today’s cars apply intelligence as well – ABS, Electronic Driving Assistance, Electronic Climate Control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution System, etc. Surely, we won’t be applying anymore brains than they do. And they apply their intelligence when they do their work – carry their masters.

The real question comes not from an employee but from an entrepreneur. A person who does not wish to join any company but starts his own company. Is he also driven by somebody else? If I were to use the “liberty” of quoting the libertarian Milton Friedman, the entrepreneur is driven by the market forces.

Whereas the fuel for cars is petrol, the fuel for us is money, the salary that is paid to us in huge amounts in order to keep us running and in order to keep us from complaining.

Be honest with yourself. How many of you are studying because you chose the field and not driven by the jobs and salaries? How many of you loved the field before you took it up? I do not say it is a mistake of the students, rather it points to a fundamental flaw in the system. A system which forces and coerces us leaving us with no options. With no freedom. With no love towards our field.

It will be unrealistic of me to urge the students to come out of this mould. I cannot ask them to become jobless for the sake of some ideals. However, it does not hurt us to think. It does not cost us to spread the word.

Why is it that the job market so polarised to a single industry? Why don’t we see multi-nodal growth? Why can’t a person pursue his field of choice and still earn his bread? Why should he be forced to choose something which he does not love?

P.S.: This is purely my opinion. People are free to disagree and are welcome to air their views.


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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I think this is an extreme view with little justification…
    How would a developing country like India provide education with ‘freedom’ to its growing population with its limited resources.(assembly lines would increase the efficiency if not freedom, if that is what Indian system is) And even if government provides the fore mentioned education then who is responsible for providing employment….eventually people have to find employment in the sector that needs them(not the other way around)…i.e, Market forces.In the compromise between efficiency and freedom in education, i’ll surely favour assembly lines according to the present conditions.
    Entrepreneurship means earning your bread by doing the things you like. You can only earn when there are people to buy your products/services….i.e,Market forces(oh, not again!!)..
    like it or not education(compared to other options) is currently considered by many middle class Indians as a path for good standard of living and it makes sense to design a part of the system to suit their needs….But care must also be taken to leave enough room for people who pursue education based on the tenets of ‘education theory'(have to say its very ideal and far from reality)

    • Hmmm.. first things first. I never said the govt is at fault and hence should provide the necessary freedom in education. I pointed to a flaw in the system, not the govt.
      And, I stressed the point that I am not going to ask people to become jobless for the sake of ideals. I do not know how we can find a compromise between the ideals and the practical world. I did not offer a solution. Rather, I pointed out what I feel are the defects.
      Coming to the market forces, I guess that needs a re-think on my part on how to address that particular concern.
      I do not say people have to pursue education based on the education theory. I only ask, why is that the market so polarised as to drive in limited directions? Why do the market forces not act in every direction?
      Sachin plays the game he loves and earns billions. An economist works in the field of his love and still earns his bread. But is that the case with every field? Don’t the market forces exert their force in every field?

      What drives the market forces?

      • But is that the case with every field?

        yes it is. India today has education in practically all the available fields of science and arts(expect for which it lacks infrastructure/funds). If u are choosing an unconventional field u will obviously have very few institutes offering them…

        What drives the market forces?

        This is fairly is the aggregate of the demands from all sections of the community. And the popular choice may not be morally right…

      • I guess you got the question wrong. I did not ask whether India has some educational institute which offers courses in all the fields. Read my question again. I did not even speak about non-mainstream courses. I was simply asking whether one can still earn enough to sustain a family by choosing the course he likes? Do you believe all the people who chose a branch say, OT, chose it bcos they love it? Or is it because they were not able to get into CS or EE or Mech(in no specific order 😉 )?? Even those who got into CS or EE, did they love the field before they took it up??

        And, to repeat my phrase, Sachin plays the sport he loves and earns billions. Dhanraj did the same but ended up not scoring as many zeroes in his bank balance. One might say this is because of the popularity of the sport. Ideally, I would not want to take the entertainment industry to illustrate my point. I shall try and get a better example.

        That popular demand drives market forces is a very naive interpretation. Is it the demand that drives the production or is the production that drives the demand?
        What was the demand for console video games in the market BEFORE they were produced. I do agree there is some demand in the form of entertainment demand. But the demand increased multifold along with an increase in production. In fact, I take the side which says demand is created by those who produce.

        P.S: The replacement of supply with production was conscious.

  2. well ; intelligent ppl brood nd come p wid ideas — mostly they get divided into two flip sides of the coin .. nd ppl who cant brood jus read nd deduce what dey can frm da material.. its not dat evry has got their own choices in this world .. if sum1 wants to make a difference he has to strive on his own nd make ppl blive his ideals .. How many ppl evn understand when u say dey r being driven or dey r being forced by the competitive environment to the world whch has no alternate options .. ? most of dem r lyk lambs .. few of dem wid der own set of ideals get to b da shepherds .. If u truly feel dis is an injustice u gotta provide a solution or strive to change it for da least .. say ‘ lets start wid not taking up a job nd startin a company wid ur flair nd ur strategic ideas . nd wen u say market forces ; evry field has a saturation limit .. say physics was pretty hot topic in da early 19ths wen many drastic inventions ver possible nd theories ver established .. now it has come to a stage whr it seems to hav hit a foot of da mountain nd needs a long tym to climb .. so how many ppl wud chose dis harder path ovr da easier option of being a technical engineer .. ideals r not always da solutions my friend ,.. PEACE !!

    P>S : i worte a mini blog thr my self 😛

    • intelligent ppl brood nd come p wid ideas

      and what’s your solution??

      evry field has a saturation limit .. say physics was pretty hot topic in da early 19…

      hmmm… i do not think what’s obstructing the progress of physics today is saturation. but i cannot comment on it right now, i need to get more clarity on that issue before i do.

      ideals r not always da solutions my friend

      i did not propose the ideals as a solution. and more importantly, i do not consider this in itself to be the problem. rather, i consider them to be the symptoms of an underlying problem. a head-ache is only a symptom, not the problem by itself.

      lets start wid not taking up a job nd startin a company wid ur flair nd ur strategic ideas…

      that seems a good proposal. may be we can take it seriously.

      P.S. The comments section for this should have been renamed ‘blogs’. Most comments are blogs by themselves.

  3. pretty good “commented blogs”

  4. Reblogged this on Matters that Matter.

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