The age of conflict

Source: TOI on Line

Call it conflict. Call it confrontation. Or call it simply the dialectic of growth. Whatever you call it, clashes take the world ahead. We may talk endlessly about peace and stability, how crucial continuity is. But what brings about change and opens up new ideas, new markets, new opportunities is always conflict. It breaks the status quo, creates the momentum for change. In the process, the world transforms.

Yes, every time a person, a brand or an institution comes under threat, the world changes. It forces us to think afresh. The classic example is when Pepsi challenged Coke, we all recognised for the first time the amazing elasticity of demand for a fizzy drink. Or when Penthouse challenged Playboy and converted what was till then a niche business into one of the world’s biggest industries. To take a recent example, when Anil and Mukesh fought, it appeared self defeating and long dirges were written about the demise of the great Ambani empire. Two years later, we found just the opposite had happened. The conflict had quadrupled their collective wealth. Similarly, if there is one thing that can resuscitate our moribund politics, it is Anna’s aggressive campaign that has woken up a lazy, corrupt Government to its responsibilities. As indeed it has woken up an equally lazy, corrupt Opposition to its opportunities.