Friday, January 22, 2010

The Power of Frugality

I have a seen a lot of life having spent over 28 years in the corporate sector. I have spent my career in building up organization, organizational transformation, meeting profit objectives and create wealth for the organization and the employees, I have learnt that while this approach is required for the functioning of the economic wheel, a true manager also should also pursue the policy of minimalism both for the corporate benefit as also for seeking personal happiness. We have had a great tradition of minimalism in the Indian life style in the past, the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi being the true brand ambassador for it. Mahatma demonstrated the power of simplicity and minimalism over the mighty British Empire. Most of the political leaders of the yester years also demonstrated the same. It is unfortunate that most of our political leaders, except a few who lead a austere and honest life style, most of them bask under the glory of the looted wealth from the coffers of the government and the public, with no reluctance to display the same. Unlike today, we as a nation clearly united in many difficult situations. I still remember the call for skipping a meal once a week to combat food shortage, which was practiced with a lot of zeal. We perhaps require the same degree of zeal today to combat the food shortages and increase in global food prices as also benefit the large masses of poor.

We have to build in frugality and non consumerism as a way of life. I think it fits in with two of the major developments in the recent past which has rocked the world, i.e. the global financial crisis which as also the environmental issues and global warming. Frugality in food habit is also a healthy life style particularly for the rich, wealthy but unhealthy. If the haves of the country decide to skip one meal in a week and donate the same to the poor and the have nots, we would move a step towards removing hunger and make a further step for inclusive growth. The minimalism can also be extended for water consumption. This requires implementation of effective methods also market pricing of water. The effective methods include drip irrigation in commercial agriculture and horticulture as also redesigning of taps and flushes for more economical water consumption. Even the ability to recycle water used for bathing and washing for usage in toilet flushes can reduce water consumption by 30 to 40 %. I have seen the island country of Male having effectively used this method for quite some time. A similar frugality can be brought in transportation. Providing walking friendly pavements as also cycle tracks to ensure safety of pedestrians and cyclists will not only save substantial foreign exchange in import of crude as also reduce vehicular pollution, it will build a healthy nation. How about frugality in power consumption. Usage of compact fluorescent bulbs in place of the traditional incandescent light bulbs will generate substantial power savings. Resetting the default air conditioning temperature at 25degree centrigrade instead of the standard 22 degree centrigrade will also effect further savings. The government can further encourage building of eco friendly houses and buildings as also usage of solar power for domestic and commercial usage.

With small changes in our life style we will save substantial amount of money, be more eco friendly as also stay healthier without sacrificing our life style. Countries like Holland demonstrate that development does not mean disturbance of ecology and doing away with healthy habits.

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