Binary thinking such as good/bad, white/black, in-group/out-group, north/south, rich/poor, and right/left is very common in all societies. Binary oppositions such as nature/nurture, rationalism/irrationalism, in-group/out-group, etc., are collectively known as binary conceptual systems. These binary concepts are operational in every- day life. Can we remove such thinking from our mind? Scientists are trying to erase certain unwanted memories from our brain. It may be possible in the future. But it will be a real task to find the region in the brain where the binary thinking comes from. It seems that the binary thinking is genetic. It has stuck to our mind through evolutionary process. Differentiating became necessary for evolution to progress. The early organisms needed to know whether it was food or not, safe or dangerous, fight or flight, etc. It was necessary for survival. Genes that are responsible for some good functions are used for some bad functions too. It is how the biological evolutionary process works.Everything existing on earth is for the use of humans is one way of thinking. The opposite is everything existing on earth has certain purpose and therefore it should not be disturbed. When something disturbs the very existence of humans then we are habituated to blame one of the concepts. We are not the masters of natural system in its true sense. The evolution is under work-in-progress. We do not know many of the workings of natural world. It is due to the limitations of our brain. Our vision sensory has got limitations. What we see need not be the very essence of what it is. We are not able to hear many sounds produced by the animals. We are living within a boundary. Yet some of us are trying to cross the boundary. The risky crossing sometimes delivers good results and many a time setbacks. It is the way we have been living for thousands and thousands of years. In the beginning humans did not produce food which was found. How many years it took for the humans to produce food for their own use? Only our thought experiment can tell any story about how we learned cultivating food crops. So people will continue to search for food; they either produce or buy it. People will continue to kill animals. People will cut trees for fuels if they don’t have alternatives. Survival is somehow encoded into our DNA. People will do anything to live. They are driven by self-interest. It is instinctual. But humans are also social and rational. Values, beliefs, norms, ethics, etc., are creations of human mind.Value is a word with several meanings. In statistics, it is the score or figure observed on a particular variable for a particular case, that is, it is a quantified amount. In economics, the labour theory of value states that commodities are exchanged according to the amount of labour embodied in them (Marx argued that value did not always correspond closely to actual price). In attitude research, values are ideas held by people about ethical behaviour or appropriate behaviour, what is right or wrong, desirable or despicable. In this article we use values in the third sense. Belief is a principle or idea accepted as true, especially without proof. For example, if you accept that God exists then it is a belief. In sociology a norm is a shared expectation of behaviour that connotes what is considered culturally desirable and appropriate. It is prescriptive, although they lack the formal status of rules. Ethics means moral principles that control or influence a person’s behaviour. It also means a branch of philosophy that deals with moral principles. In this article we use the word in the first sense.The idea of values, beliefs, norms, and ethics occurred to humans as a necessity in maintaining order or cohesion of society. But they are always debated. For example, poverty was once considered providence; now it is generally considered a social problem. Some might say poverty is an individual problem; yet some others would say it is due to economic deprivation. What is normal once is not considered as normal now. Similarly, inequality persists for centuries. We are not able to tackle it. Poverty and inequality are results of human nature. Are they inevitable or avoidable? Wealth is either earned and/or inherited. Earned wealth is by the result of an individual’s actions; it is cumulative. Similarly, poverty is also either earned and/or inherited. It is also by the result of an individual’s actions and cumulative too.Vilfredo Pareto discovered a principle known as Pareto principle or power law which states that 80% of the wealth is controlled by 20% of the people and the remaining 20% of the wealth is controlled by the remaining 80% of the people in any country. It means the total wealth of the top 20% of the people is 300% more than the total wealth of the remaining 80% of the people; at the same time the average wealth of the top 20% of the people is 1500% more than the average wealth of the remaining 80% of the people (for your information, 80% of the world cup food ball tournaments is won by just 20% of the participating countries). The difference in the average wealth of the distribution is a bit shocking. Inequality can be removed, if the rate of return is kept at 45.2% approximately for the average wealth of the 80% of the people and at 10% for the average wealth of the top 20% of the people, in 10 years (for 20 years it is 20.5% for the 80% category). If the rate of return is kept at 0% for the top 20% and at 32% for the 80% category then also inequality can be wiped out in 10 years (for 20 years it is 14.9% for the 80% category). How do we ensure a rate of return in the range of 32% to 45% for 10 years or 14.9% to 20.5% for 20 years per annum for the poor? Who will provide the required financial intelligence to the poor? Which political party does have the above value in its election manifesto? Even if a political party has the will to execute such an action it cannot wipe out inequality entirely for we have considered only the average wealth of the categories. Still the difference will persist. But the gravity of the problem is largely reduced. Well, let us assume that we have eradicated poverty and inequality. Now everybody is possessing equal amount of wealth. What next? Whether the government will fix a constant rate of return for everyone or leave it to the market forces. We will have to take a decision and it depends upon what value is considered as desirable. The idea of progressive tax system is one such solution though it has not wiped out poverty and inequality. Direct cash transfer to the needy poor is another solution. But if the poor do not invest the money properly it will not give any result. Here come the values held by political parties. Whether the poor need constant monetary support from the government or they should be provided with opportunities or they must be left to the forces of market. The combination of the above three values gives us many options to choose. However, the issue cannot be solved within a term of 4 or 5 or 6 years. Issues which require a longer time to produce any desired result should bind all the political parties. Value consensus (Durkheim) on certain issues which have to be solved for the good of the humans is necessary. While binary thinking was acquired through biological evolution, value consensus is acquired through social evolution. While biological evolution is slow social evolution is not that slow. Why do parties do not have value consensus?
A political party consists of three components, viz., leaders, activists, and supporters. It is an organisation for representing the aims and interests of its supporters. In a multi-party system environment, there are different socio-economic forces. The means to achieve goals are different. People who think similar means to achieve a particular goal will form a group. Different means mean different values. So groups have different values. A political party may consist of several groups with different set of values. Value consensus is not achieved because of the incompatibility of the values held by different groups.Adam Smith, the father of economics, believed that self-interest drives an individual to work efficiently to achieve the greatest happiness. He further argued when every individual allocates the resources efficiently the whole nation’s resources are put to efficient use and maximum benefit is achieved with minimum use of resources. But we have a problem. People are not always rational when they take decisions. Rational thinking is relative. It depends upon existing information and how the relevant information is used to take decisions.In a zero-sum game (game theory), one person’s gain is another person’s loss. For example, in a foot-ball match only one team can win; there can be no two winners. In a non-zero-sum game there are two or more than two players, they have a goal, a strategy, a set of rules to map the strategy, and a set of pay-offs (rewards) for the players; cooperation among the players leads to some greater gain for the group. In a zero-sum game the sum of pay-offs is zero. In contrast, in a non-zero-sum game the sum of pay-offs is not zero.Within a political group, the members play a non-zero-sum game through cooperation in order to achieve pay-offs for everyone. At the same time the whole group plays a zero-sum game with another political group. Consequently, one of the political groups will be the winner and the other a loser. This goes against the argument of greatest happiness for the greatest number. Instead, if the political groups play a non-zero-sum game both groups earn the pay-offs. The next question is how do the group distributes the pay-offs among its members? In a corruptive country, the pay-offs are appropriated among the leaders and a small portion goes to the activists. The supporters get nothing. Ideally the entire members should share the pay-offs equitably. Values are very important in any society to achieve the greatest happiness for the greatest number. We need good leaders who understand the values of self-interest and common-good and yet take balanced decisions.To sum up, binary thinking is genetic. It led the humans to identify concepts which are in binary oppositions. Our beliefs need not always be correct. What we believed in the past is not correct now. For example, once we believed that the earth was the centre of our universe and we had been thinking that that was correct for many centuries. It took many years to wipe out the belief from our brain. That is the power of belief system. Similarly values which we hold need not be always correct. Values held by people are different in different societies. Certain values are universal and certain values are particular and unique only to certain societies. Individual values are also different from person to person. The binary opposition of values creates socio-economic forces which run in opposite direction. These opposite forces in turn create social tension in societies. Individuals, groups, and nations play zero-sum games in which some people gain and others lose. We should learn to play non-zero-sum games for which cooperation is essential. Cooperation gives greater benefits to all players.