Our leadership is a product of a democratic system, a system of populism and demagoguery, not a system of philosophical Kings. – Jayant Bhandari
Spencer Cain: Joining us for a conversation is Jayant Bhandari. He’s the founder of Capitalism and Morality and a highly sought after advisor to institutional investors. Jayant, how are you, sir?
Jayant Bhandari: Hey, Spencer Cain, thank you very much for having me. I’m very well.
Spencer Cain: Oh, that’s great to hear. Jayant, we’re living in challenging times. And I want to know how your philosophy has shaped your experiences and perspective of the world and how you assess global markets.
Jayant Bhandari: So, Spencer, yes, as society has progressed over the last 70 to 100 years, Western society has become increasingly unhinged from its philosophical rules. Now I grew up in a society where materialism was the dominating factor or probably the only factor in life. People talked about food, celebrities about pleasurable activities, but there was no concept of ideas. There was no concept of discussions and negotiations and argumentation. If at all, there was anything like argumentation. It was about a verbal fight or a physical fight. And if you had higher moral values, people would make fun of you.
Jayant Bhandari: So if you said something, talked about compassion, or talk about something nice or something that elevated the human psyche to a higher level, people would laugh at you. And this was the society of India where I grew up in. And as I was growing up, I was obsessed with the fact and this used to happen right from my early single-digit age. I was always wondering, what was it about India that kept it such a wretch and backward society?
Jayant Bhandari: And of course I knew something about America, about Western countries, those days. And I look forward to what was to learn what was happening in the West, which made it such a progressive society were people had equality. People had a sense of adventure, a sense of passion for life. And that was the reason I came to the West. And I have been living in the West on and off for the last 30 years.
Jayant Bhandari: What I have seen, Spencer is that as time has gone by Western society has increasingly become unhinged from its philosophical roots. And it has become over-reliant on the same things that did not work in India. Which is what in Western society, you will call progressisme. Which is the leftist, which is about the sense of entitlement and grievances that the Western society now inculcates, in a lot of people, particularly the underclass, which has created a huge amount of vicious cycle of immorality in the Western society.
Jayant Bhandari: And that is the foundations for what you see on the streets today, the right thing, and a general dislike of the masses towards Western civilization. Which will actually undo the whole of the construction of civilization we have done in the last two and a half millennia. We will revert to a dark age if we don’t stop this now
Spencer Cain: Jayant, why is it important to have a system of values in a world where there’s a lot of confusion and hate?
Jayant Bhandari: It’s very important, Spencer for us to be able to negotiate for you and me to negotiate, argue, and talk about things. To have a system that we both believe in. We have to have the concept of reason. Now, if you do not have the concept of reason, the only possibility is the concept of mitis, right? And that is the concept that ruled all of the worlds until not very far in the past.
Jayant Bhandari: The Western society in Europe was the first society and the only society that developed the concept of reason and amalgamated that with Christianity, a kind of culture that Europe developed and the philosophical structure of this honey combo of all the factors verge together to create Western civilization. Something that is unique and continues to be unique. And unfortunately, it’s diminishing. Now this Western civilization, this attitude, and the understanding, the subliminal, understanding that people in Western society have resulted in a kind of culture when we can in a civilized way, discuss, argue, and negotiate. Something that does not happen outside Western society. Now it does happen in East Asia, but that’s all because they copied the Western ways of running their lives.
Jayant Bhandari: Now, as time has gone by, you can increasingly see that emotions are reigning Supreme on the institutions, and they are reigning Supreme on the institutions in the western world today because we have allowed the irrational people to dominate the public discourse.
Jayant Bhandari: We are too sympathetic about the underclass. And I’m not saying we shouldn’t be sympathetic towards standard class, but we should not incur, let them keep developing the sense of entitlements and sense of grievances.
Spencer Cain: I was thinking today and the word confirmation bias popped into my mind. And you were speaking about emotions. Now emotions are a signal. They should be in signal to let you know that something is unsettling to you but you should not act upon those emotions. And just as you stated people use their emotions as a driving force to make decisions, which is completely irrational.
Jayant Bhandari: So Spencer, this is very interesting. We are animals. The only reason we don’t call ourselves animals is because we develop consciousness and we learned a bit rational as slowly, more, and more rational as time passed by. We developed consciousness and we agreed that there were ways that were not appropriate for human beings as animals if we wanted to develop into a civilization. This meant that if we wanted to have a higher quality of life, we had to develop a certain code of conduct. This meant that if I feel lustful does not allow me to go and rape someone. Or if I feel greedy, it does not mean I should go in and steal from someone.
Jayant Bhandari: And these are the things that we were taught in rational societies to reign in on the irrational emotions which is that. And this is what the 10 commandments are based on. And this is where I think Christianity did a great job. It created a web of moral infrastructure for society to operate through that. Reigning on emotions is what makes us a human being, not an animal because animals just operate through their instincts and emotions.
Spencer Cain: You and I are having this conversation. And a lot of people are not, why do you think that’s so sir?
Jayant Bhandari: There is a lot of conversation happening, but I would say that in the Western world, what I have seen over the last 30 years is the crippling of the conversation. People no longer discuss some of the key aspects because those key factors are politically incorrect. So we have been disabled in our discussions.
Jayant Bhandari: Now you cannot have half a pregnancy. You either have no pregnancy or full pregnancy. Once you hinder the free flow of ideas and free flow of freedom of speech, you destroy it completely. And that is what has happened in the Western world today. People no longer want to discuss some of the key aspects. And there are many reasons behind this. Everything results because so many other factors work together to lead to where we are today.
Jayant Bhandari: Clearly there has been intellectual laziness that has developed in the Western world. People are more worried about their lifestyle and the size of their kitchens, and they want to make sure that they stay on good terms with everyone. And they have started to believe that it does not make much sense to rock the boat much.
Jayant Bhandari: So they are more accepting of bad behavior as time has passed by because they want to live and let live rather than fight to do what is right. And without fighting entropy kicks in and civilization, it starts to fall apart. And that’s, what’s exactly what’s happening. We lack the intellectual leadership required in Western society. Now, Western societies are the best part of the world and I love being in Western society.
Jayant Bhandari: But remember it is great even today for only one reason and that is inertia because it was created great so the inertia has kept it great, but you can see that the foundations have fallen apart, particularly in the US side. And the US is probably the first country that will go even though it is the best country on the planet, even today
Spencer Cain: In terms of groupthink, in your opinion, how can frustrated segments of the population have their message delivered more constructively?
Jayant Bhandari: It is extremely important that we do what we are competent to do. If we do things that we are not competent to do or have a view on something we have no understanding of, we will be operating out of emotions. We will be operating out of our competencies. Now, a plumber does his plumbing job and an electrician does his job. If a plumber tries to do an electrician’s job, he is going to mess things up. Similarly, there are people who understand medicine. Now, if I have an opinion on medicine, then I am going to start messing things up even though I might be correct once in a while compared to a doctor.
Jayant Bhandari: Similarly in public policy space, if you don’t understand public policy, you should stay out of it. What we have done, however, is that we have made the world increasingly democratic and democracy is the very worst form of running a society.
Jayant Bhandari: What you have in a democracy is governance of the masses. The government is run by and for the masses. The masses are not interested in what creates the spine and foundations of civilization. Masses are interested in bread and circuses. And as time has gone by democratic societies have increasingly become bread and circuses society.
Jayant Bhandari: So the first step that should never have been taken was that the US should never have given the right to vote to so many people. Now, virtually everyone has the right to vote as long as that person is above a certain age in the US. Whereas when America became an independent country, only about what I know about 6% of people had the right to vote.
Jayant Bhandari: Now, nothing is perfect in life and we can argue about why only those 6% of people had the right to vote. But the fact remains that what you want in a governing government appointing system is that you want a statistical outcome to improve. And democracy inherently leads to the worst kind of statistical outcome.
Jayant Bhandari: So yes, the lower class underclass, the oppressed people should have a voice, but they should not be allowed to rule on the streets of and loin and the situation should be such that anyone who creates violence of crime on the streets should be heavily dealt with.
Jayant Bhandari: Now, I’ve watched a video yesterday in Louisville. A bunch of demonstrators and rioters were troubling one white car and his car was ambushed. His car was badly damaged. People chased him, a truck, chased him. The guy must have been petrified in all this sequence of events. And when he finally managed to run away from this rioting goons, what happened was that the police arrested him. Now, in my view, he was a hero, he was the victim, but instead of arresting the rioters, this guy was arrested.
Jayant Bhandari: And this is where civilization, it starts falling apart because you are now doing exactly the opposite of reason. So yes, oppressed people should have a voice but my first question is, are people in America really oppressed? I don’t see any sign of it. Are our people in Western society, oppressed. I mean, this is really as good as it gets in nature. I mean, I can’t even imagine how it can get better than what it is in America today.
Spencer Cain: Jayant, I was having a conversation with someone who was attached to one of the movements. They felt as if the people had a right to damage these businesses because they didn’t feel like a part of the community. And in my mind, I was thinking, well, if you want to be a part of the community, why don’t you contribute? If you want a business, you have every right to start one. Providing a product, a service that will enrich those around you. And by destroying someone else’s business, that’s counter-productive, it’s irrational and nothing’s accomplished. And it just further divides the cause. And there’s no ground for communication.
Jayant Bhandari: Exactly, Spencer. And these are anti-civilization forces. If you let these people keep doing operating out of this belief that you just mentioned, they will completely destroy the society and we will revert to subsistence living. Which means that half of us would be starving. We would be living in caves and we would be running from living from hand to mouth, out of hunting and gathering. And these are the kinds of people who have this massive sense of entitlement and sense of grievances.
Jayant Bhandari: Now, the fact is that if someone doesn’t give you a job, no one has the duty to give you a job. Look for a job and if you can’t find a job, is develop skills to get a job. And in America, Spencer, really anyone can get a job for five or $6 an hour. Even if it’s illegal, you can walk into a Chinese store and get a job for less than the minimum wages. And he will give you a job. And that is the great entrepreneurial-ism in America. You can get a job for five or $6 and five or $6 is a huge amount of money for me. If I, knew that’s all I was going to make, I can easily save half of that money and grow my net worth as time passes by.
Jayant Bhandari: But these people have this sense of grievances that think that businesses and wealth and welfare checks exist in nature because that’s how they have grown up. They think that for the last two or three generations, probably money has come from the government and they think it’s still right to get that money.
Jayant Bhandari: And because businesses have provided services to these people, they think it’s their natural right to get those services. But because of the way of thinking that they have developed the immoral thinking that welfare checks and the lack of self-responsibility and the lack of criminal prosecution against these people has created, has meant that we have given them a higher level of authority in destroying the civilization. And that’s what America is going through right now.
Spencer Cain: I can’t help, but think about how people’s psychology is being affected. If they’re able to get a check from the government, sometimes in the excess of thousands of dollars while sitting at home and watching television.
Jayant Bhandari: Okay. So, Spencer, that’s actually very interesting. If I have an apple tree in my house and if it keeps giving me apples all the time, I start to believe that apples exist in nature and the tree provides for me, and I expect the tree to provide me apples.
Jayant Bhandari: Now, if I grew up in a society where for two or three generations, welfare checks have kept on coming to me, and if I don’t look after my health, if I drink a Coca-Cola and Pepsi all the time, if I eat chips all the time, if I have bad lifestyle, I drink and healthcare takes care of me for free. I would start to believe that these things exist in nature.
Jayant Bhandari: Now someone has to either challenge them and say that these things don’t exist in nature. And that to provide for these things, someone has to work very hard to create the capital and wealth required to provide healthcare and welfare checks for you.
Jayant Bhandari: However, if no one challenges you, which is what has happened in Western society because people are too politically correct. But also the whole subliminal message of welfare checks, which go on forever is, and free healthcare is that these are my rights.
Jayant Bhandari: People have come to believe in that and particularly those people who are not interested in ideas. And these are usually the leftist forces, almost always the leftist forces because leftism, Marxism, and socialism is the belief of materialism. They are only interested in the material. How can I get more? They are not interested in ideas, they don’t discuss ideas at home. They don’t have friends with who they discuss ideas. They meet their friends in noisy places so that they don’t feel alone and they can drink their days and nights away or watch TV.
Jayant Bhandari: Now, these people who have no interest in ideas, if they keep getting welfare checks. Their behavior will become immoral, although they were not going to be moral anyway, you have to provide them a system within which they operate, what the outsider perceives as moral. And that is the job of leadership in any society. But again, we do not have those kinds of people running our societies anymore because our leadership is a product of a democratic system, a system of populism and demagoguery, not a system of philosophical Kings
Spencer Cain: Jayant, I would like to wrap things up and ask you what some of your influences in life have been to form your philosophy.
Jayant Bhandari: Spencer, the biggest influence for me was India. I grew up surrounded by what I would say nonstop stupidity. And that system, those people, that society, and that culture made me uncomfortable growing up in that society. And I was always thinking about what was wrong about it that it was such a dysfunctional inhuman place. And once a friend of mine in New Delhi told me that I spoke things which were very similar to a couple of books that she had with her. So I borrowed those books from her and those books were cathartic to me because those books told me that I was not alone in having the kind of belief I had. And those books were books of Ayn Rand and Frederick Hyatt and George Orwell.
Jayant Bhandari: So those were some of the best books I have read. I have read a lot. I have let’s say in the recent past met people like Stephen Cox of the Liberty magazine, Doug Casey, who was my employer at one point of time, a great philosopher, Adrian Day, Rick Rule. There are many people that I have come to know. Lew Rockwell of the Mises Institute does a fabulous job of promoting reason and rationality to humanity. The list goes on. There are many people in Western society that I have come across who have helped me understand objectivity, reason, and understand the world.
Spencer Cain: Mr. Bhandari, you run a philosophical forum by the name of Capitalism and Morality, which I’ve had the honor and pleasure to attend. And the ideas that I have received there, have stayed with me until this day. Would you mind providing more information about that to the listeners?
Jayant Bhandari: I run Capitalism and Morality seminar in Vancouver, Canada, every year. I’ve been doing it for the last 11 or 12 years. And this is pretty much my way of re-convincing or showing to the Western world somehow precious the Western civilization is. How precious some of the underpinning factors of Western civilization, particularly to do with reason and morality are. And that’s why I gave it a name, capitalism, and morality. The next one will be on the 24th of July, 2021 in downtown Vancouver, Canada. And if any of your audience wants to participate in it, they can use a coupon to get a 10% discount rate, which I will send to you later, which you can link in this podcast,
Spencer Cain: Mr. Bhandari, for the listeners that would like to get to know more about you and the work that you do in the world. How can they get in contact with?
Jayant Bhandari: And everything I write or speak on goes on that website www.jayantbhandari.com.