Sunday, March 13, 2016


An agency to ensure fair and just exchange, with the aim of ensuring
sustainable livelihoods and a dignified life for all members of Lokavidya Samaj


All characteristics of inter-relationships are primarily (and in the main) determined by interactions between individuals and between collectives, and governed by an evolving worldview that 'oversees' these processes. (There appears to be some boot-strapping going on all the time). Concepts of equality, fraternity and collective governance evolve through such exchanges (economic, social, cultural etc). The capitalist-market worldview that influences ALL relationships today will have to be make space for Lokavidya dharma , the basis of Lokavidya Bazar, that should (henceforth) influence ALL relationships within and without Lokavidya Samaj. This is the agenda for the Lokavidya Bazar movement.


  1. The equality of all human beings is inherent in and is an integral part of Lokavidya dharma
The concept of dharma has NO equivalent in non Lokavidya-based societies and it has, therefore, been all along subject to 'Wittgensteinian silencing' by commentators and analysts trained in other knowledge traditions. Lokavidya dharma incorporates equality and 'democracy'(recognition of the fundamental rights of an individual) as an axiomatic principle. Gandhiji's reference to Sanatana Dharma seems to indicate, among other things, his desire to bring such principles of 'correct living' to the fore.
Public discourse should be in the vocabulary of vidya and dharma ; their meaning is commonly understood by ordinary people albeit in different ways; however, such understanding should not be (has not been?) in conflict with principles of equality and freedom and strives to ensure the protection of fundamental right to life and livelihood of individuals.

  1. All inequality, social and economic, has its basis in knowledge hierarchy.
  1. The march towards the establishment of an egalitarian order, based on social and economic equality, begins, in this 'knowledge era', with the relegitimization of Lokavidya and ensuring the Right of individuals, individually and collectively, to live by Lokavidya.
  1. Within Lokavidya Samaj too, equality will be re-established/achieved only when the hierarchy of knowledge, the basis of the heirarchy in the varna/jati system, is removed; concomitantly with the acceptance of the inherent equality of knowledge and livelihood practices of the various jatis and varnas.
  1. One of the important means of actualizing the 'ideal of equality' enshrined in Lokavidya dharma, would be the establishment of a Lokavidya Bazar; because the Bazar is the place (both conceptually and physically) where there is continuous and purposeful inter-dependant interaction between the various constituents of the Samaj.
  1. Lokavidya Bazar is the process of supporting and sustaining Lokavidya-based livelihoods and establishing new concepts of 'value' and norms of exchange.
  2. This should lead to a new political unity within Lokavidya Samaj, which is essential for building a new socio-political order.
Lokavidya Bazar : The concept

The market place(Bazar) is where commodities are exchanged between, broadly speaking, producers and consumers. It is also the place where secondary accumulation of wealth takes place by the nature of the exchange-activity i.e commodities are traded(bought and sold); while the primary accumulation takes place at the production site(of raw materials and/or products of consumption and service). The Bazar is thought to be , primarily, intended to facilitate this form of exchange-activity.

Lokavidya Bazar, on the other hand, is primarily intended to make available products and services to the local community( of producers and consumers) and facilitate exchange ,of such commodities and services, to help sustain and perpetuate life and livelihood with a minimal level of equality and dignity of members of the community. This is the underlying dharma of Lokavidya Bazar. This is the cardinal difference bewteen the(now recognised)Bazar and Lokavidya Bazar.

The inequality of the exchange-activity, in a capitalist dominated market system, leads to economic and social inequality and exploitation. In sharp contrast, Lokavidya Bazar, will be charcterised as a humane exchange-activity process that is dominated by a constant zeal to promote welfare, dignity and equality of the members of the community it serves. There are no over-riding motives save that of upholding and promoting its dharma.

Lokavidya Bazar is therefore a collective activity and effort at sustaining equality and fraternity among the various participant communities. Its dharma, through practice, pervades the philosophical, social and economic space of Lokavidya; each enriching the other across space and time.

The aspect of inequality arising from the exchange-activity process has to be addressed by redefining the concept of value(of a commodity) by incorporating the idea of knowledge-based value. In a knowledge paradigm, that recognises the fundamental equality between all knowledge and knowledge-based activity, the sustenance of a concept of knowledge-based value and the social and economic equality that it engenders, will not prove beyond the new political imagination that governs society.

The Lokavidya Bazar (conceptually) will dominate all productive and distributive activity of the Samaj. This activity would be supported by communication systems such as roadways, railways, waterways and airways as physical aids to transportation and market activity. Non local-market activity will be facilitated by mobile/non-static marketing using ICT(the current trends in e-commerce will expand and become all pervasive and redefine the role and necessity of small marketers).

Knowledge basis of Value
  • The value of goods and services are determined, in the main, by three factors:
(i) Knowledge/skill input in the production of the goods or rendering of service

(ii) Labour power input- this is measurable in terms of socially necessary/accepted time required for production/rendering(this would also apply to naturally derived inputs/raw materials)

(iii) Market/Exchange value- determined by factors such as supply(availability in the local market) and demand(need as determined by the local-market constituents)
  • The equality between all forms of knowledge/skill input is inherent in Lokavidya dharma
  • The value of Labour power is dynamic and determined by constituents of the local Lokavidya Samaj in proportion to the time necessary for production/rendering(this precludes 'forward trading' in goods/commodities/services)
  • The exchange value is dynamic and determined by constituents of the local Lokavidya Samaj in proportion to the extant supply/demand situation and would never adversely effect the equality of knowledge or labour-power inputs or the sustenance of any Lokavidya-based livelihood/activity.
The value of a commodity(we use this term to denote ALL goods and services which are produced by and through human labour for self-comsumption and/or exchange) is neither pre-determinable nor pre-assignable i.e. there is no intrinsic value to any commodity. A value accrues to a commodity as a result of it being essential to life and/or during the process of social exchange and is by nature a dynamic variable.

There are broadly two 'types' of value that accrue to a commodity; use-value and exchange-value. Both these 'types' of value are determined, in the main, by the knowledge-content and the labour-content (in relatively proportions which could change with time and place) of their production and/or availablity. Supply and demand factors would only temporarily 'modify' the value and, in an equal society, would never assume commanding heights in value determination. While knowledge-content is a local, collective and society-dependent entity, labour-content is a continuously evolving entity and, as can easily be seen, would depend on the extent of technology infusion in productive and service activities of society. Knowledge-content derives from Lokavidya and, as Lokavidya evolves and strengthens with infusion of new ideas, data and creativity; knowledge-content also changes accordingly. So, the value that accrues to a commodity is neither static nor market-determined; it progresses with Lokavidya and is continuously assessed by the (local) Lokavidya Samaj and mediates all transactions of Lokavidya Bazar.

Instances of Knowledge incorporation in value

Until about 100 years ago almost all production (of food, goods and commodities) and service activities were carried out locally i.e within the village or panchayat area. Every community(jati and upajati) was engaged in this production and service activity . It served as the basis of their livelihood and was in turn based on specialised knowledge of the production process or service activity. Such production and service activity was, by and large, year-long activity with nature-induced breaks for rest, recreation, pilgrimages, festivals, social celebrations etc. 'Payment' for contribution/involvement in any and all such activity was normally made at the time of harvest, with each section of society receiving its payment in terms of (food)grains. Everyone got a 'pay' commensurate with the(largely locally determined) yearly minimum-requirement for living a dignified life.There was an inbuilt equality in the knowledge-content of value of a commodity/service. Bonuses/Inams were distributed on special occasions for special services/ inputs from different sections of society. The value was not obviously measured merely (or only) in terms of labour-content i.e. socially necessary time for production/rendering. There must have been a socially/culturally mediated method of value-accretion based on equality of the knowledge-content of the input. Quantification of this knowledge-content in terms of measurable space-time variables is probably not possible; and also indeterminable outside a local socio-cultural context. Lokavidya Samaj determined this knowledge-content of value , it was part of its dharma.

To quote a recently reported instance by S Harpal Singh,Adilabad:
    'About 80 families-strong artisan community (the Ojhas, also known as Wojaris, based by and large at Jamgaon and Ushegaon in Jainoor and Keslaguda in Kerameri mandal) makes brass objects exclusively for the Gond tribe to be used in agriculture and religious events. Until the crucial time when the Ojhas got alienated from the Gonds, every Adivasi village in the district had boasted at least one artisan family catering to its need all through the year.
    In the wake of governmental intervention in the mid-1980s, seeking greener pastures at the national level, the brass metal casters had shunned their traditional market, which had the Gonds ignoring them and even opposing their recognition as a Scheduled Tribe in turn.
    Now however;For two years, we are visiting Gond villages with our ware and have found the Gonds quite receptive” . “The local market has ensured food security and the outside markets are fetching good income,” indicating the differentiation between the period which accounted for losses and the current phase.'
Wage and Cost/price

The cost of a goods/commodity/service to (or the price payable by) a consumer is related to its value

The minimum wage/pay/compensation accruing to the producer of goods/commodity/service is related to the cost (as above) and would, at all times, be consistent with the inherent equality of the knowledge/skill input in the production of the goods or rendering of service and the socially determined minimum required to live a dignified life.

The cost of labour-power(wage) is measured in terms of socially necessary time required to carry out a productive/service task. However, using merely a time-measure can result in several 'inequalities' . For example, the relative preparation time and execution time may differ vastly from activity to activity( growing a crop requires a month of preparation followed by 2-3 months of actual production; whereas preparation of a meal or a piece of cloth would involve relatively much less preparation time and less execution time; while both activities are known to be equally important, necessary and valuable.

If in 'socially necessary time' we also incorporate 'preparation' and 'waiting' time , during which the pertinent knowledge process continues(sustenance of labour-power), and hence incorporate the cost of maintaining a life of dignity during these relatively activity-lean times, then we put, for example, the cost of artisanal labour in a dharmic relationship with that of agricultural labour; resulting in a more equal method of costing and price determination.

Re-establishment of Lokavidya dharma through the practice of Lokavidya Bazar

It appears that the re-establishment of Lokavdiya dharma, as a guiding principle in a Lokavidya-based 'Art of Living” through the practice of Lokavidya Bazar and through various Art forms should lead to a path of emancipation for humanity from the current quagmire of rottenness and defeatism.

March 2016

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