The Market as a Social Institution

The Market as a Social Institution


Discuss the rise of middle class in the phase of globalisation in India with reference to causes of rise and growth including positive and negative prospects of Indian society framework.


Rise of the new middle class in India

The evergence of the new middle class is an interesting development in the era of economic liberalisation in India. Academic studies had earlier focused upon the character of Indian middle class in general, but it is only recently that the rise of the new middle class has attracted Indian sociologists. Members to this new middle class are government servants, lawyers, school and college lecturers and doctors. The body of merchants, agents of modern trading firms, salaried executives in banking and trading concerns, the middle grade of peasants, proprietors and renters have also been included in this new category.

Causes of rise and growth of a new middle class

(i)    The contemporary culture of consumerism has given rise to the new middle class. The economic liberalisation initiated in India in the 1990s portrays the middle class as a sizable market which has attracted the multinational corporations (MNCs).

(ii)    Images of urban middle class in the print media and electronic media contribute to the prevalence of images of an affluent consumer.

(iii)    The spread of the consumer items such as cellphones, cars, washing machines and colour televisions has also consolidated the image of a new middle class culture.    

(iv)    We are living in an era of advertising. Impressive advertising images has further helped a lot in increasing the image of the new middle class.

Positive and negative prospects of the new middle class.

(a)    Positive Prospects.

(i)    The new middle class of India has left behind its dependence on self-restraints and protection from state.

(ii)    The newness of the middle class of our country rests on its embrace of social practices of taste and consumption and a new cultural standard.

(iii)    The new middle class is promising and progressive sector of the society. It is always ready to adopt a new ideology for progress of society and that of the country as a whole.

(b)    Negative Prospects

(i) Critics of new middle class of lndia have pointed out the negative effects that middle class consumerism holds in the terms of environmental degradation and a growing indifference towards socio-economic problems of the country.

(ii) Due to growth of liberalisation and globalisation, this middle class has became self-centred and is not caring for the lower classes of the society viz commodification and status symbol are at rise and resulting in varied way detriment to society.

Conclusion : The waves of liberalisation and globalisation have disturbed socio-economic balance and the theory of the 'Survival of the Fittest' propounded by Charles Darwin in his the Origin Of Species is in full swing. The middle class in India is miles away from theory of Sustainable development and the Welfare Economics' composed by Nobel Prize winner Amartya sen. MNCs thrust in an intervention with social institutions and values of India. The situation so formed is in no ways less than that of during East India Company in the beginning of the eighteenth century.

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