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STUDENTS CORNER - 43

The next point in discussion is the relationship between GDP and economic and physical safety.

What do we actually mean by safety? And safety always goes with security, and what do we mean by security? Search for safety and security has always been the endless activity man is engaged in. If we probe a little deep into the feelings and acts of any individual to find out what he craves for, it will be for safety and security.

Safety, to put it very simply, refers to a state of existence which is free, if not completely free, at least relatively free from danger to oneís life. Danger can be immediate like being caught in a flood or it can be in potential form, like an electrician working on a live wire. Even a fall from a palm tree while collecting some fruit may injure the person. All such situations point to the fact that man must take precaution so that he remains safe under any circumstances.

Safety to the property is also very important.  House should be protected from any accidents of fire; jewels must be protected from any theft and so on. Therefore, safety can be considered on two planes, to begin with: physical safety of the individual and by extension, of his relatives, his family, and so on.  And on another plane, his properties must be protected from damage or theft so that they can be safe.

And safety costs. A hut keeps one safe from sun and rain and a million dollar bungalow also protects one from all kinds of harm of sun and rain. We can feel the difference between the two. Here, the money comes as an important factor of bringing and assuring safety. In a country of higher GDP, more people will have more money to spend towards safety.

Next, there is psychological safety. Being safe is one thing and feeling safe is another thing. Feeling safe does not necessarily depend on external situations alone; a poor man can feel safe while a wealthy man may not feel as safe as the other one does. Psychological safety is a complex matter which actually falls outside the scope of this paper except pointing out that there is one more aspect of safety which is more psychological than physical.

One could have heard often people always talking about safety and security. In fact, these two words have become almost synonymous; they are inseparable. In a way, these two words bring out the fundamental aspect of manís attitude to life. Let us just see what these two words mean and how they naturally go together.

Safety indicates a state of being free from any possible threat or danger to oneís life and also to oneís property. Life includes primarily intimate relations like husband, wife, son, daughter so on. Property includes what one has acquired, namely, any assets like houses, cars, shares and things that money can buy.

This safety gives one a sense of security. Security means that what I have I must continue to have. No unforeseen dangers must rob me of my objects of safety.  So, you want all those things that protect you from any harm to you which is safety and you want all of them continuously which is security.  If possible, let me have more of my safety-objects and in case it is not possible to have more of them, at least let me not lose what I already have. It is clear, how safety and security always go together. 

If you go a little deeper into this demand of safety and security, you come across one of the most ancient feelings man has suffered from despite his enormous efforts to win it: Fear. Again, fear is a very big subject and we need not go into the vast realm of fear and its impact on man. So fear, safety and security --- all three are inseparable; in fact, fear can be considered the basic of the three.

Now, it is very easy to see the fact that money can buy things of safety as well as guarantee continuity of safety. The more money you have, the more you feel confident that you are safe and secure. And, higher GDP means, in a country, or in a region of higher GDP, more people will have a sense of safety and security since they have access to money.  One simple example will make it clear how money reflects the status of an individual.  We know people sell one of their kidneys to those who can afford to buy them. Please go into this statement, you will easily understand how money and social status are twins.

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