Plato and his allegory of the cave.

Credits – thoughtco

Plato was born in Athens, Greece, around 429 B.C. He was expected to become a politician by his family but he chose not to for two reasons and took the road of philosophy and mathematics. The first reason was the Peloponnesian War where he found out that some of his relatives were part of a dictatorship and were removed for corruption. The second reason was the death of Socrates who was the biggest influence in Plato’s life. Socrates was executed by the new Athenian government. Plato started writing and became a philosopher. He studied under Pythagoras in Sicily. After returning from there, he founded The Academy, a place where he and other people discussed philosophy and mathematics to come to better conclusions.

Plato’s allegory of the cave proves the power of reasoning over the senses. Personal human experiences will not amount to the truth. Proper philosophical reasoning is the only way to find the truth. To understand his allegory of the cave, you first need to understand his theory of forms. So Plato states that reality exists on two specific levels. First is the visible world which has sight and sound. Second is the intelligible world which gives the visible world its being. For example, when a person sees an ugly face he’s quickly able to identify its ugliness of it. Because in his mind he has an idea of ugly that allows him to point out ugly. He was able to spot the ugliness because he has an abstract idea of what ugliness is. The current state of that ugly face might change in the future because everything keeps changing in the visible world but the form of beauty, ugly etc is eternal and never changes. This is the theory of forms.

Credits- Amelia

Coming onto the theory of caves, The allegory of caves was a conversation between Socrates and Plato’s brother, Glaucon. Socrates asks Glaucon to imagine a world where illusion is believed to be reality. To prove his point further, he asks him to imagine a scenario where there’s a cave and 3 people are locked up inside the cave since their birth. Their necks and legs are chained and cannot escape from the cave. They can only see what is in front of them. Behind and above the prisoners is a fire, and between the fire and prisoners, there is a low wall from where people walk with objects in their heads. Now, these prisoners can only see the shadow of the object and therefore they believe the shadow to be the real form of the object. Because the prisoners have never been exposed to real objects, they start to believe that the real form of that object looks like a shadow. If a shadow of a hammer were to appear, they’d believe the shadow of the hammer to be the real hammer. They are not saying that it’s a shadow because in their reality no shadows exist. They think it’s an actual hammer. One of the prisoners will eventually be able to understand the nature of this illusionary world and would be able to guess what shadow will come next. This will lead to him being praised by the other 2 prisoners.

Suppose, one of the prisoners is set free. He escapes the cave and gets to see the world. He gets angry and frustrated after seeing the real world because he believes the cave illusion to be his reality. When his reality is disproved, he becomes angry, sad and frustrated because he is now forced to believe something else and step out of his comfort zone. Eventually, he’ll be able to make sense of what he has seen and accept that the cave illusion was not his reality. He has now accepted that his past was based on a lie and that is not the way he should perceive things going ahead because he has now found out that it was all an illusion. He goes back to the cave to tell the other prisoners about the real world. When he tells them whatever he has witnessed, they don’t believe him and threaten to kill him if he tries to free them. They are so comfortable in their fake reality that they don’t even want to make the effort of exploring a new possibility because that might lead them out of their comfort zone and face chaos. People mistake what is in front of them as reality and choose to live in ignorance. And when parts of the truth start to emerge in front of their eyes, they get frightened. Because that threatens their ignorant reality. However, a person who pays attention to these flashes of truth and is open to the idea of exploration will always have a better understanding of the world around him. Always aim for reasoning rather than simply believing what seems easy to believe.

Credits- steemit

*I was influenced to write this article after coming across the book Philosophy 101 by Paul Kleinman*

E-commerce – Market Trend of the 21st Century

Even today, some considerable time after the so called internet revolution”, Electronic Commerce (E-Commerce) remains a relatively new, emerging and constantly changing area of business management and information technology. Speaking in layman’s terms, E-Commerce refers to the entire process of marketing. selling, delivering goods and servicing customers over the Internet. It has revolutionized the way companies do business. Consumers can buy almost anything online 24 hours a day.

In the 21st century, the rapid development of information technology and the rapid increase in information exchange have brought new drives and innovative ideas to the whole society. The wide adoption of information technology by the community has led to great changes. These changes are not simply in the context of data processing or computing. They are changes which affect how we communicate with each other, how we organise our daily activities, how we educate the younger generation, and how we run business. The great development and acceptance of information technology, computer networks and the Internet have transformed the mode of operation of many businesses, and at the same time have brought along unprecedented business opportunities. Businesses are now able to conduct transactions across geographical boundaries, across time zones and at a high efficiency. E-Commerce has become the market trend of the Century.

Life has become very busy these days. Odd working hours, hectic schedules and time constraints have changed how people shop these days. Hence, E-Commerce has become the preferred method of shopping for many people. They love the ease with which they can shop online from their home at any time of the day or night. Purchasing options are quick and convenient with the ability to transfer funds online. Consumers save time and money by searching for items and making their purchases online. It can take several days of physically going from location to location, costingtime and fuel, to purchase a hard-to-find item. Moreover, E-Commerce is an retail method for business transactions. Start-up costs for establishing an E-Commerce business is far less than expanding your business with more brick and mortar locations. Fewer licenses and permits are required to start an online business than that of a physical store location. You will also save money by using fewer employees to perform operations such as managing inventory and billing customers. You won’t have to search for an appropriate geographic location or worry about paying high utility costs for the facility. efficient

Advertising done well on the web can get even a small firm’s promotional message out to potential consumers in every country in the world. A firm can use electronic commerce to reach narrow market segments that are geographically scattered. The web is particularly useful in creating virtual communities that become ideal target markets for specific types of products or services.

The prospects are, in no doubt, great for E-Commerce and its followers. But still, there are some consumers who are reluctant to embrace E-Commerce because of privacy issues. Making an online purchase often requires disclosing personal information such as an address, telephone number and banking or credit card account information. While many people feel making an online purchase does not compromise their personal information, some still prefer not to take a chance of having their account information accessed by a third party, and will only make their purchases at a storefront operation.

Then there is the issue of inability to feel the product physically or check it with your own hands while buying. When making a purchase at a brick and mortar business, you get the product when you pay for it. On the web, there may be a time lag from purchase to actually being able to consume. The consumer will have to wait for delivery of physical goods.

Also, some businesses are less suitable for electronic commerce. Such businesses may be involved in the selling of items which are perishable or high-cost, or which require inspection before purchasing. Most of the disadvantages of electronic commerce today, however, stem from the newness and rapidly developing pace of the underlying technologies. These disadvantages will disappear as electronic commerce matures and becomes more available to and accepted by the general population.

Not only the new generation, but also the older generation is getting a hold of technology. They are adapting to the changing technologies and try to be up-to-date. Therefore, E-Commerce is also making its way into their lives. It is true that going to markets or malls to shop will never go out of fashion but E-Commerce is also here to stay and become more and more popular as people realize its advantages and get comfortable with it.

Decentralisation

Decentralisation can be defined as “the dispersion of decision making governance distribution of functions and powers from a central authority to regional and local authorities.”

There are various forms of decentralisation. Privatisation is a type of decentralisation. Privatisation and deregulation means shifting responsibility for functions from the public to the private sector. Privatisation can range from public-private partnerships to allowing private enterprises to perform functions the had previously been monopolised by the government. Usually, though not always, privatisation and deregulation are accompanied by economic liberalisation and market development policies.

India’s fiscal deficit during 1990s, spectacular growth by economies of Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia due to the indulgence of private sector; integration of world trade changes in China and dissatisfaction with the performance of public sector-all factors collectively contributed to the initiation of privatisation in India.

To begin with, in 1992, India opened up cellular and basic services to private players and then the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) was constituted in 1997 as an independent regulator in this sector. Till 1986, telecommunication was a public utility owned by the Government of India.

Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) was created in 1986 as a Public Sector Enterprise (PSE) to facilitate telecommunication services in the cities of Delhi and Mumbai. In all other places, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) was formed as a PSE on 1st October, 2000 as a telecom service provider.

These state-owned incumbents with a large existing subscriber base dominate the fixed line service. However, with the entry of private players, today the Indian telecommunication industry is the world’s fastest growing industry with 826.93 million mobile phone subscribers, as of April, 2011, as liberalisation led to the entry of private players such as Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices. Idea Cellular and Aircel.

Privatisation of banks began in 1994 when the Reserve Bank of India issued a policy of liberalisation to license limited number of private banks, which came to be known as New Generation tech-savvy banks. Prior to this, SBI was in existence since 1955, apart from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) established in 1935, which controlled the central banking responsibilities.

Thus, Global Trust Bank was the first private bank after liberalisation, which was later amalgamated into Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) and Housing Development Finance Corporation Limited (HDFC) was the first bank to receive an in principle approval from the RBI to set-up a bank in the private sector. At present, there are many private banks in India including leading banks like ICICI Banks, ING Vysya Bank, Jammu & Kashmir Bank, Karnataka Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, SBI Commercial, Dhanalakshmi Bank, Federal Bank, HDFC Bank. Karur Vysya Bank, UTI Bank and YES Bank. Privatisation of insurance sector in India happened around the year 2000 when the government allowed private players to enter the Indian market. Although in the year 1993, a road map for privatisation of the life insurance sector was laid, but it took another six years before the enabling legislation to pass the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act in the year 2000.

s that Resultantly, the newly appointed insurance regulator-Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA)- started issuing licenses to private life insurers. At present leading private sector life insurers are SBI Life Insurance, Metlife India, ICICI Prudential, Bajaj Allianz, Max New York Life Insurance, Sahara Life Insurance, Tata AIG, HDFC Standard Life, Birla Sun Life, Kotak Life Insurance, Aviva Life Insurance, Reliance Life Insurance, ING Vysya, Shriram Life Insurance, Bharti AXA, Future Generali, IDBI Fortis Life Insurance, AEGON Religare and Star Union Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co. Ltd.

In the electricity sector, the new wave of policy reforms designed to promote private participation has been driven by the need to expand the capacity and increase the reliability of systems, public sector budget constraints and the positive results of the private participation in other countries. Although in India electricity sector is still largely under the domain of public sector, but the inclusion of private sectors for capacity additions has also begun.

Major PSUs involved in the generation of electricity include National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC), National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) and Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCI). Besides PSUs, several state level corporations are also involved in the generation and intrastate distribution of electricity. In the private sector, major capacity additions are planned in Reliance Energy, Tata Power and RPG Group-CESC.

Decentralisation is an answer to the problems of the centralised sector. Decentralisation in the government sector helps to solve problems of economic decline, lack of funds, performance issues and reservation for minorities. In the area of politics, its objective is to vest more power with citizens or elected representatives. Economic decentralisation brings about privatisation of public institutions, through deregulation, abolition of restrictions on business competing with government services, such as postal services, school etc. Decentralisation has also been executed in various technologies like water purification, waste disposal, agricultural technology and energy technology.

Internet is a good example of a successful decentralised network. Wikipedia, the online Encyclopaedia, storing information on a plethora of topics, is also decentralised as it allows users to add, modify or delete content via the internet. Social networking sites are also decentralised systems that have greatly changed our lives. Information technology used to facilitate interactions of the government with the citizens, is referred to as e-Government.

petroleum are some of the other sectors that have been decentralised and are among It is indeed a good initiative to boost democratisation. Education, health care and the fastest growing sectors of the economy today. Thus, decentralisation of public sector enterprises that began with the economic reforms of the 1990s has yielded angible benefits to the country.

However, dangers of decentralisation loom large. For example, if the technical capacity or functioning of a system is weak, it will definitely result in poor quality products and services. Coordination for national policies can become complex and resource distribution can become uneven. A few local elites can grab power and hindrances in proper decision-making can surface. In the absence of a higher competent authority, monopoly and anarchy can give way to chaos and suppression of public interests.

Thus, decentralisation is both a boon and a bane to the economy. It is to be used as an ‘instrument of change and empowerment of the masses’ and not to earn quick money by few individuals pursuing their selfish interests.