Growing a group of unearned income

The price spiral hurts low and fixed income groups more, while the middle class is also struggling. High-income earners are not feeling the pinch, although they are slightly affected due to a surge in basic necessities. This means that the majority of people bear the brunt of it, albeit to varying degrees. Nevertheless, a part of the population does not see any problem despite the constant increase in the prices of food, transport and other goods and services. They are those who illegally and forcibly share the income of others.

Although it may sound strange, it is a harsh reality in this country. Not that this is a new or recent phenomenon as such people have always been in society. What is significant is the proliferation of this type of income group, particularly over the past decade, profiting from economic growth coupled with poor governance. They have also consolidated their presence and are ready to resist or overcome any legal action against them. Having a strong political link, they extend their spheres of influence and develop their good nature with the forces of order.

These people illegally extract money from small and large businesses, street vendors and shopping malls. They have a shared network to collect and distribute unearned funds.

Many work in jobs and services, some do business, and some have no visible work. They force people to share their legal and hard-earned income with them in various forms. They can be referred to as extortionists, illegal toll collectors or so-called chandabaj. As the scope of their extortion is quite diverse, it is not easy to categorize them into a narrow category. Moreover, they are a mixed group of people in terms of income, which means that not all of them earn the same amount. Among them are both high-income and low-income people.

Regardless of their income level or amount, they can adjust to market prices for the cost of living almost immediately. For example, they are used to collecting more money from reluctant payers under duress. They don’t care whether or not payers can pay a supplement without an increase in income.

What they do has some similarities to the practice of rent seeking. In strict economic terms, “rent seeking refers to the attempt to increase one’s share of current wealth without producing or creating additional wealth”. In flexible terms, people who forcibly and illegally seize shares of another’s income or resources are also a kind of rent seekers.

Since the legality or morality of income does not bother these extortionists, they can go to any lengths to get their undue shares. Likewise, they care little about expenses due to the rising prices of necessities in the market. Instead, they want to make the most of it. It is therefore not surprising to learn that these people also play a role in the price increase. Thus, a revenue group dependent on shady deals has already emerged in the country, and for them the bell is not ringing – or so they think.

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