Alum Author: IT Killed Capitalism. Thank You Mr. Gates. – Prakash Jagannathan, PGP 1977
When you speak to someone as profound as Mr. Jagannathan, you are ought to start looking at things with a fresh pair of eyes. His wisdom exudes through his opinions and facts. An avid blogger, voracious reader with an experience of decades, his book – IT Killed Capitalism. Thank You Mr. Gates is bound to make one rethink. Remystifying false narratives, his book is a refresher among the scripted tales.
In an exclusive interview with Mr. Prakash Jagannathan.
Please tell us something about yourself.
I am an Electronics and Communications engineer and a PGDM from IIMB. I worked in a few corporates like IBM World trade Corporation, Greaves Cotton, Best and Crompton Engineering and in NICCO Group of Companies where I held top management positions including that of a Board Member in a NICCO group of companies. All these happened before I was even 40 years old.
At the age of 40, the desire to start my own business took over and I set up an IT company. Made a lot of money and lost it all. Net gain was a lot of lessons. Thereafter, I started training corporate executives on Enterprise Architecture. The experience from then on resulted in my writing this book.
Can you please tell us about your latest book: IT Killed Capitalism. Thank You Mr. Gates.
This is my first book and hence the latest. When my publishers wanted to classify my book among the list of `genre’ provided by them, I was looking for `Common Sense’ for my book. I didn’t find it. I was forced to search for the next best fit. I chose `Business and Economics’. You must understand that in this book, I have argued that there is no subject called `Economics’. The book is all about how our common sense is numbed through crafty narratives and how so-called `Icons’ and experts were/are cultivated and nurtured to execute the process of numbing. We the people salivate before these experts/icons, effectively surrendering our common sense and in exchange, receiving their narratives. These narratives never truly have any scientific basis. Since they come from so-called experts, we accept them as guides for our betterment. We must observe that even the nomenclature is craftily designed. Why is it called common sense? Why not essential senses, which they are? These are true more in the case of life sciences than in the case of fundamental sciences. In my book, I am trying to break down such misconceptions.
My book is a collection of my blogs that I have written between 2013 and 2021. I have given at the beginning of a chapter, each reproducing a blog, the date of publishing the respective blog. This was essential because, the reader can appreciate that I was as naïve as a common man, venerated the experts, accepted all their narratives and had the desire to achieve what those narratives prescribed. Being a good observer (lucky to have this god given trait), I started to observe the con game. As my thoughts evolved, my blogs evolved. Every blog was triggered by some event around the date of that blog. The reader can understand the context as well as the evolution of my thoughts.
I must also confess here that, lately, several other writers have started to express that some things are not happening as per the scripted narratives. But all of them end their stories saying that don’t understand the `Why and How’. That is why I make a claim that I am the only one to have identified the link between unhindered and uncontrolled growth of `IT’ and the paradigm shift that has started to take place, a shift that is happening now and will happen till a sustainable new paradigm gets established. I have also given my own prognosis for the future, based on my observations.
In my book, I have not given any ideas or recommendations. Correction – I have given a few recommendations to the political leaders who run our governments, purely with an intent to minimise any possible pain during the transition from the earlier paradigm to the now evolving paradigm. I have not recommended anything to the common man. I have also meticulously avoided classifying the earlier paradigm and the evolving paradigms within the binary of `Good’ and `Bad’.
What audience will most enjoy your book most?
Every person. All that a reader should not do is to see it as a book on economics or book on IT. It is all about common sense (essential sense to me). Read it like a story book.
What kind of research went into writing this book?
This book is essentially on common sense. I lived my life for 73 years. The research is only my life experiences. Thanks to technology, I get access to a plethora of information from which I needed to just pick any information that I felt would help me explain my views. For example, to prove that we are being dished out cock and bull stories everyday, I need to just open any financial newspaper of that day. Among the first 4 pages of that paper, at least on 4 different items, there will be conflicting information. I don’t need some super research for that.
What have you enjoyed most about putting the book together? Any special experience that you would like to share.
As I was writing my blogs, I used to share them with at least about 1500 to 2000 of my contacts. Any author, in my opinion, should have self-doubt about the veracity of what they write. I too had self-doubt and hence I shared with others. People above 55 would uniformly reject my views. I used to be called a radical mind, irresponsible thinker, what have you. All in good faith as they are all my friends and well-wishers. At the same time, the millennial readers used to show excitement. They used to wonder how well I understood them and their thinking. I knew I was doing it right.
The most special experience in all these was that N Kumar, the Vice-Chairman of the Sanmar Group of Companies and former President of CII, would reject my views summarily, would say not worth the read, unrealistic and so on. But he would end those mails with a request asking me not to stop writing! He would say that I was making him think and would thank me for that. Quite rewarding. Similarly, my friend Mohan Eddy would always say, “Prakash, I find it difficult to accept your views. But this is original thinking, so please don’t stop writing.” I did not need any other reward than these.
What is your favourite chapter in the book and why?
The chapter titled “Common sense is inversely proportional to level of education”. I mentioned earlier that vested interest, who are rich and powerful, create crafty narratives. But their narratives must be taken to the common man and his ability to use common sense must be numbed. Who would do that? Experts! Therefore, identify some group of people, pump their egos, call them icons and reward them with perquisites. The education system was so designed to enable this process. The chosen group of people fell for the bait and strove hard to reach the position of expert /icon. Their egos were continuously pumped up to make them believe that they were real life Superman born with their red underwear worn outside their blue body suits. To such people, anything remotely referred to as common is unacceptable. Their main job is to negate anything that is considered common sense. Prevent the common man from raising questions. Let me give an example. The Europeans wanted to come to India because, they had come to know that India was a prosperous land. We never asked who told them that. Whoever told them had no route map to reach India. We never asked if that was logical. Those who told them had either seen India, therefore would have had a route map or they were guessing. Now the Europeans start travelling in search of India. On the way, they misread the traffic signal and turn right instead of left. They reach a land, which they later on named as America, thinking that land was India. They even call the natives of that place as Indians. Then suddenly they realise it is not India. How? We never questioned it. We readily accepted whatever the so-called experts in history told us. We accepted whatever was given as proof for some of the averments by the experts. If we question these averments, immediately a few more narratives would be dished out, in the hope that somewhere we will show trust. But, how do we know that these are the proper averments to trust? We were never allowed to question.
I deliberately chose this seemingly trivial example because, anything of current importance would evoke a similar response, unnecessarily diverting attention. Suffice to say that whatever we are told today about economics, econometrics, GDP, Growth, Green energy, Climate change, Carbon footprint, vanishing islands, impending devastations, Share market, share valuations, charity, philanthropy, etc, etc, are all a bundle of lies. My book points out the end game for the lies. The new paradigm has come to exist.
What can expect of your next book? Will it be on similar lines?
One thing is definite. I will keep writing my blogs exposing the false narratives. Whether they will get collated into a book, I am not sure. I am not sure because, according to my prognosis, we are becoming a thought society moving from the current knowledge society. The Gen Z, do not want to know any information. They consider forced information to be a nuisance. They want to think. In their process of thinking, if they feel that they need information to support their thinking, they will access the internet to get the relevant information (I know, this will not be palatable to those of us above 55 years old. But this is how it is.) So, if I publish my thoughts as another book, how will I sell it?
As one of the earliest members of the institute, you know IIMB much differently and closely than most. Can you please share some memories of the old days.
Wow! You touched my soft nerve. `Those were the days. My friend!’. We were the second batch. 1975-77. The institute did not have any infrastructure of its own. We had rented the St. Josephs evening college building for the classrooms, a few faculty rooms and a small library. As the institute grew, more faculty joined. More rooms were needed. The institute used to hire any building that fell vacant in the radius of half a km from the institute. So, literally, we were on the streets most of the time.
Being an organisation that was just evolving, the relationship between faculty, the students and the staff of the institute was more friendly than official. A group of about 5 or 6 students would land up in Prof. Balaraman’s or Prof. Gopal Valecha’s residence unannounced. We would tell the Prof’s wife we had come to have dinner at their place. They were only happy to cook some food for us and serve. Served with such happiness, those moments were priceless. Those interested in music used to land up at Prof. S K Roy’s residence. Students used to visit Profs. Vinod Vyasulu, Vijay Padaki and others. Professors were not the only ones to serve us free food, even the staff used to be so friendly and generous. I remember landing up several evenings at Sarojini’s residence with a few of my classmates. All unannounced. As soon as we reached, Sarojini’s husband would rush out, buy a few bottles of beer to go with the dinner. We used to offer to pay for the beer (only). But the offer would get rejected because we were students and couldn’t afford it.
I mentioned about buildings being hired around the institute. Some professors would have their rooms allotted in the 4th floor of a building. Elevators were not a concept in those days. If one had to meet the professor, one had to climb 4 floors. On reaching the 4th floor, gasping for breath, you would find a friendly secretary. By the time you went into the professor’s room you would have forgotten the question to ask the professor. Professors being understanding humans, would allow you to collect your thoughts and then slowly ask about the purpose of your visit. `Those were the days. My friend!’.
Any words of wisdom.
Simple thoughts + Simple actions + Simple life = Happiness (Stable state of equilibrium of life).