01 Oct 2014


Scotts give the message to the World..

September the 18th, 2014 shall go down the annals of the history as a historic day. An event unfolded on that day which would define the world's political architecture thereafter. Scottish people decided stay on with the kingdom at the expense of their political freedom. Even though a good 45% of the Scotts wanted to travel down the freeway and two thirds of their largest city Glasgow voted for the same not only the UK but also the whole world took a sigh of relief with the final outcome. Had the outcome been the opposite it would have become a catalyst for stoking the aspirations for independence across the world leading to a possible balkanization and therefore inviting conflicts which come along naturally with any separation. While the outcome of the referendum for freedom itself is historic but more profound are the messages which the event has given to the whole world community to shape its destiny going forward.

Rohit Sarin

Freedom is oxygen for every soul
Since times immemorial all conflicts on our planet have had one central theme – protection of liberty. If that wouldn't have been there then all aggressors from the Greeks and the Romans to Hitler and Saddam Hussein would have been welcomed by the natives and there wouldn't have been any wars. Whether it has been individuals, ethnic groups, communities, societies or nations mankind has fiercely aspired for and therefore resisted any aggression on its turf. Psychologists may term these as the territorial behavior of the carnivores however the root cause of this effect is rooted in the very fundamentals of the human nature – Freedom. The very ethos of some of the modern nations likes the US and France is based on this. Its not very surprising then that France gifted the statue of Liberty to the US which has now become a symbol of the very identity of the most powerful and prosperous nation of the world.

Why Freedom is such a big deal? Wouldn't it been a proud statement for India to be a part of an Empire on which the Sun never sets? Wouldn't different ethnic states have been more secure as part of the USSR – one of the pole powers of the Cold War era? Wouldn't Bangladesh been able to counter the big brother India better as East Pakistan?

Yes Freedom is a very big deal and the reasons are embedded in both economic and social threads. City states of the ancient civilizations were at constant war with each other for want of capturing the larger share of the trade. However, the captured state would end up filling up the coffers of the aggressor and its citizens would end up accepting the economic disparity. The reasons are the same even today and therefore no sovereign nation would want to trade its economic freedom which becomes evident on the floor of the bilateral summits. 45% of the Scotts thought they would be able to better allocate their resources for their economic growth than the current deal they have as part of the UK.

Economic aspirations are only one of the legs which carry the body of a complete nation, the other one being – Socio-cultural bonds. City States of the ancient civilizations consolidated into empires of medieval times which then galvanized into modern day nations which define the political map of the world today on the basis of the congregation of common social and cultural threads in a contiguous region. Cultural differences create conflicting values leading to differential aspirations and therefore Vision for the Future. Therefore, even though it makes economic sense to stay part of the UK platform cultural difference between the Scotts and the Brits motivated the former to pursue the path of their own destiny in their own way and style. Both have been like chalk & cheese and Scotts have never relished the snooty behavior of their Brit cousins.

The political boundaries which the modern history has seen over the last 2 millenniums have remained imperfect as they are manmade with cultural overlaps remaining on the edges and therefore history has seen constant conflicts to even them something which is not going to change in the future as well.

Collaboration instead of competition is the way forward
Despite conflicting cultures 55% of the Scotts decided to stick to the UK as probably economics took over cultural priorities. For a globalised world which is getting defined more and more by economics the need of the hour is consolidation and not fragmentation. In an ever increasing competitive environment the smarter have realized that its wiser to collaborate than compete. In not very surprising then that the fierce rivals – India & China – could join hands against the global community at the Copenhagen climate summit and even Obama wasn't able to charm either of them to break away. Don't we see this blatantly in the comity of the rich and richer nations in the form of G8 or G20. Or for that matter in the EU where the siesta lovers like Spanish and Greeks could co-exist with precisionist like the Germans.

Our times have validated that the Telangana model is more pragmatic than an independent Scotland and no doubt that the latter got rejected. Federalism is a modern society's political solution to co-exist aspirations of an individual state freedom within the collaborative platform of the larger nation state. While Russia has progressed as the emerging economy even though in a skewed manner none of the erstwhile states of USSR which broke away have made the economic cut and rather have become a supplier of low cost human resources to the richer world. The best example of political collaboration is the United State of America as the nation calls itself. Each of the 50 states has its own constitution, citizenship and tax laws but together they come to form one country which has become the superpower of the world.

We must thank the pragmatic and relatively more rational 55% of the Scotts who have saved the world from potential fragmentation and therefore destruction of wealth.

Equitable growth will only sustain
Even though Scotts have given a new lease of life to the UK but the larger message of realizing their aspirations has not got lost to the whole nation. One of the most positive outcomes of this event as a whole has been a somewhat bridging of the gap between the two cousins. One of the fundamental principles underlying the very foundations of the Federalism has been equitable growth. If the constituents feel that they are being marginalized in the journey towards a better future and that too at their expenses it is bound to create cracks in the federal glue. We have seen this in India with smaller regions demanding an independent statehood to Bangladesh breaking away from Pakistan. If the constituents see that the cost of staying with the Union shall be bigger than the benefits which come from it they are bound to seek their freedom as most of the colonies of the Imperial powers like India did despite being part of the global empire. It's a law of nature that unfairness eventually gets filtered out and therefore the moral of the story is that families, societies and nations will stick together if all of them grow together and not just some of them.

Thanks to 55% of the Scotts which have given a reason to the rest of the world to collaborate, stick together for a better collective future

Best wishes for the festive season.

By: Rohit Sarin

Reach at: rohitsarin@clientassociates.com

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