Wed, 26 Jun, 2019

Goans & the project of self-production - III

Goan society exhibits non-productive expenditures that protect our Goan-ness. Unfortunately, some elements are commoditised and exist in commercial avatars

Story: Fr. | Victor | 11th June 2019, 02:35 Hrs

Fr. Victor Ferrao

Goan society has stepped into a political-economy of use-value.  The order of use-value audits our society. Everything is perused for  its utility. We are all collectively producing a profit driven society.  Such societies ban excess and only allow its  forms that have use-value. Thus, pleasure-seeking becomes both excess  and pathological. This means the pleasure principle is filtered by  limits of its usefulness. We can see it in a flourish in our tourism  industry where excesses are outlawed. But these  excesses  exist where the law is blind or its sight is deflected  through monetary means or political influence .  

There is another area  where the  audits of pleasure principle afflict us. Our migration into  the economy of  use-value has limited  our reproductive  ability and it maybe regarded as the chief cause of our thinning  demography.  

More children or the growth in human capital is  viewed  among us as loss and hence, Goans today are on verge of extinction.   This is why we have to deal with our dwindling demographics  when we are raising the issue of production of the self among Goans.   

Driven by an economy of scarcity that thinks that our collective growth  as people will make us poor as individuals; we have put the axe unto  our feet. 

This view is consolidated by a perspective  that sees pleasure as only a mode of transgression and one has to make  concessions to it as long as it does not add up to our numbers. We have  indeed stepped into a contraceptive society.  

  All actions have the compulsions to be justified by a utilitarian  principle in our society. 

Even what is construed as loss is calculated  on a use-value register and is evoked only if it is felt that it will  produce utilitarian dividend.  

This gives no  room for non-productive expenditures.  

Maybe we might have to  understand how colonization, Christianization, English education at the  primary level, etc are being evoked as losses. Although, these issues are  complex and resist such reductions, we have seen that  they are being used to divide Goans from time to time.  This economy of  loss itself provides useful benefits for those  who use it in our  society.  It does provide political capital for some and it is being  evoked precisely for that reason.  

All this shows  that we in Goa produce our society both collectively and individually  on the basis of the principle of utility.  

All our being and becoming  Goans / goanising  is determined by it, although all our life is not  confined to it. There are still residues of the  non-productive expenditures in Goa. 

These can be traced  in the modes  of celebrations of excessive events like feasts, weddings, funerals etc.  It is these indulgences in  giving without counting cost that binds us  to non-productive expenditures of our ancestors  and also provides glue of bonding to our society strangulated by crass  individualism irrupting from our enslavement to the principle of utility 

  Today these unproductive expenditures are also being used to derive  utilitarian dividends to oneself, one’s caste, political party and  community. 

Fortunately, Goa is not a society that indulges in excess of  non-productive expenditures like building of  extravagant statues of heroes and Gods. 

But what we have seen for some  time is that major developmental projects like a bridge and the stadium  were/are being named after some national political leaders. 

Goans have  silently rejected these national appropriations  and called these bridges by the name of the rivers and the stadium by  the name of place and left the official names for official purposes. 

 This manifests that we do have a way restoring the economy of  unproductive expenditures which seems to be the  real basis  of our society. 

The way people in the villages have embraced carnival  floats might also be another instance of attempts to contest the  commercialized as well as politicized floats in the four major cities in  Goa. 

Although, these floats at the village level  may offer some concessions for the politicians and become effectively  the last nail in the coffin our old modes of celebration with masked man  and women, we can still consider them  as people’s indulgence in the  economy of unproductive expenditures in opposition  of the reigning economy of use-value. 

  Goan society like other societies does exhibit modes of  non-productive expenditures that protect our distinctive Goan-ness.    

Our Goan-ness lives and breathes in these generous modes of  non-productive expenditures. Unfortunately, some elements of Goan-ness  are commoditised and exist for now in commercial avatars.  

The Goan  Mando, Karvi or Kunbi dance thus have exited our life and have moved on  to a commercial stage provided by our tourism industry. There are  people who still indulge in these activities for a  price.  

Often, these commercialized avtars  are dis-incarnated from the  real communities and those who enact these performances have little or  nothing to do with them in their personal as well as community life.  They embrace them for their commercial value.   

There are several questions that we might raise about the modes of  production of self and our society in Goa. Indeed, we can save authentic  Goan-ness  through these unconditional expenditures. 

This is why it is  important that we understand and carefully discern  as well as promote  the role of excessive unproductive expenditures  that would build Goan society both individually and collectively.

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