As democratic nation states reorient themselves to being accountable to global financial markets, non-democratic bodies such as the World Trade Organization, and trade agreements such as General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and Trade in Services Agreement, they will necessarily become less responsive to the aspirations of their own citizens. With overt repression not always the most felicitous or cost-effective policy option, it has become imperative to find ways and means to ideologically tame the economically excluded. This is critical because growing discontent could lead to political instability.
This paragraph starts on the premise that democratic nations holding themselves accountable to non-democratic bodies will necessarily become more indifferent to their own citizens. And because undisguised force or clampdown is not appropriate or cost-effective, they look for ways to “ideologically tame” the “economically excluded”, i.e., the unemployed and the poor. It becomes clear here that though the writer says “citizens” in general in the first line of the paragraph, he is specifically referring to the economically excluded as bearing the brunt of efforts to be tamed ideologically. The penultimate line states that “this” (ideological taming) is necessary because growing discontent can lead to political instability. Let us now look at options to complete the paragraph. Option A states that this is where behavioral economics in monitoring and ‘nudging’ the behavior of the financial elite comes in. We can rule out this option, as the paragraph is about measures sought to repress the economically excluded. The financial elite, or the wealthy, are not discussed here. Option B talks of the “new focus” on the “minds and behavior” of the poor. This makes a fitting concluding sentence to the paragraph. Democratic nations holding themselves accountable to non-democratic bodies become less responsive to their own citizens and seek ways and means of ideologically taming the economically excluded, because growing discontent amongst this group can lead to political instability. Hence the focus on the minds and behavior of the poor. Option C talks of the drive to find market led solutions to socio-economic problems. It is tempting to think of this as a possible conclusion for the paragraph. This is because the paragraph has discussed “market-led” democratic nations and their need to address their socio-economic problems differently. However, an important idea in the paragraph is that overt repression of the economically excluded is neither felicitous nor cost-effective, and so ideological solutions to “taming” them are being sought. Ideology refers to the thinking or beliefs of a group. The solutions looked for are ones that are based in ideology and can bridle the thinking of the economically excluded. Option C, which talks of market led solutions to socio-economic problems, is hence not correct. Option D tells us that development is about freeing prices and making markets efficient. This is an unrelated idea, and does not add to the given paragraph. Hence the correct choice to complete the paragraph is option B. Correct Answer: Choice (b)
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