The Cows Are Leading A Charge Against Capitalism

October 7, 2013 in Daily Bulletin

The Economist writes that cows are attacking some of the most central principles of capitalism:

  • Cows are valuable in India. They produce milk, dung and calves. But they also require ₹10,000 in food a year, veterinary attention, and labour to maintain.
  • According to one study, all things considered, the return on a cow is -64%.
  • Why then do Indians continue to buy cows? For Hindus it might be about spirituality. Families might also prefer producing high-quality milk at home rather than buying cheaper milk in the market.
  • It might also be a form of control. By sinking money into a cow a household sinks money into an asset that isn’t easy to sell. This prevents them from using the cash on impulsive purchases instead.
  • Since only 7% of Indian villages have a bank, there are few other avenues for Indians to create savings accounts.
  • This has implications for anti-poverty programmes. Perhaps they should focus on mobile banking and “commitment savings accounts” that prevent clients from withdrawing funds for a certain period of time. This will ensure the poor divert their funds into higher-return accounts.

Read more here.

Source: The Economist