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Category: Politics

Addressing a concern regarding state funding of elections

Someone wrote to me about a few things, including a view that he doesn’t support state funding of elections. My response:
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Thanks for this. Much I can agree with, but your opposition to state funding of elections is ill-founded.
Without it (in the manner described in BFN) there is absolutely no chance of any honesty in India’s governance.
People like me (presumably among those you may be willing to pay for) am not able to afford to even go to Switzerland to promote basic concepts. No one is out there to pay for good people, Gurcharan. If I was corrupt, I’d have been a hugely well funded man by now. All the big industrialists are busy funding mega-corrupt Congress and BJP. The liberal party has received virtually no funding to date.
With great difficulty, I’m assembling a competent team of people, but these are all middle class people and can never contest elections on their own funds.
State funding is the only incentive-compatible solution. Please re-read the section in BFN. The terrible situation is that most people in India don’t even bother to understand it. For instance the Law Commission in 2015 published the most atrocious report on this subject: http://www.sabhlokcity.com/2016/11/the-ultra-bogus-report-by-law-commission-2015-on-electoral-reforms/
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Make no a mistake: Modi is 100 per cent responsible (as PM) for ALL corruption in India

There are just too many ignorant Indians who neither understand liberty nor the basics of governance.

All incentives for corruption in the Indian system of governance arise from the centre. SBP’s manifesto, its executive summary, its press releases, make clear that the current system (with the IAS, the electoral system as currently designed, the current Constitution, etc.) is 100 per cent responsible for India’s hopeless mess.

Once these incentives for corruption are changed, corruption will disappear almost overnight from India (within 3 years).

All these things need to be changed from the centre. The PM is directly and squarely responsible for ALL corruption in India. Period. There is never any question about that.

Modi controls the centre today (earlier it was MMS, etc.).

Today Modi is 100 per cent responsible for ALL corruption in India, since he is not interested in changing the system.

When he became PM I wagered that he will TOTALLY AND COMPREHENSIVELY FAIL in eradicating corruption.

Today, corruption is so rampant across India it boggles the mind. It has INCREASED, not decreased. The life of the common man is more pathetic than ever before.

And it will ever be thus – till the system is changed.

Sadly, there are a lot of Modi devotees (bhakts) who pretend to be “liberals”. Sorry, people, you are the CAUSE of India’s problem. Your TOTAL ignorance about India’s governance incentives is costing India very dearly. You never speak out once about system reform. You make silly noises that “Modi is doing everything he can” or “Modi is very popular”.

What nonsense! The man is both corrupt and ignorant, and you are so easily taken in by these corrupt socialists!

I won’t name anyone here, since such “pretend liberals” are just too many and too confused. They are not liberals at all. They are 100 per cent socialist in their basic approach to incentives.

ADDENDUM

DON’T FORGET TO READ THE RESPONSES OF FOOLS TO THIS POST:

The flood of fools in India – some illustrations.

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There is absolutely no scope for prior consent in a liberal political party

In 1998 I started a draft article, called “From Economics to Action“. I never got to review/ finalise this article due to many reasons. But the key question remains: how does one get from the theory of liberty (economics) to actual liberty. This is something for which there is no manual, no guide, not even preliminary thoughts on how it can or should be done.

Over the past 18+ years I have done many things and learnt a few things in this direction. One day I may finally finish that article.

But this one can say: it is no trivial task to bring liberty to any country. The task of bringing liberty to the a country like India involves – at a minimum – the following skills:

  • high level of knowledge of the principles and policies of liberty, and of liberal governance. This basically means having an open mind to innovations from across the world; it means having a research bent of mind. The liberal has an mind that is constantly open to new learnings. Most “liberals” do not understand the basics of governance; they have an extremely shallow level of knowledge and do not pay attention to detailed incentives of the democratic/ bureaucratic system. Their policies amount to hand waving, and are essentially worthless for ensuring real change.
  • high level of communication skills. This involves the ability to write/ speak and otherwise explain ideas to the general public, including to the experts. The range of messaging is quite vast and diverse; but there needs to be high level of proficiency in these skills, if an liberal political movement is to take root.
  • high level of management skill and attention to detail. This is a key requirement which involves the ability to creating various organisations and ensuring they are compliant with relevant laws. It involves attention to the detail of how funds are managed, audits/ tax compliance, etc., and how website/ social media is managed, etc.
  • high level of respect for others. This involves complete trust in others unless they prove to be untrustworthy. This also involves the commitment to building democratic processes and institutions, but being careful not to disable individual enterprise in this process.
  • working towards a long term goal – of building the kind of DNA that will grow the organism (e.g. a liberal party) into a viable outfit for the future. This involves building systems that will foster innovation and initiative at all levels, even as everyone is held to account for their actions. It involves finding and building leaders.

The package of skills needed to start and run a political liberal movement does not exist in any single individual. So the key skill involved is the capacity to find and bring together people with the relevant skills, so the organisation, as a whole, has the relevant skill set and capability.

ROLE OF NATIONAL EXECUTIVE OF A LIBERAL PARTY

In this post I will raise a few points regarding building the DNA of a sustainable liberal political party.

A  party usually will have a representative body at the top, a National Executive (NE). The role of the NE is to oversight the development and growth of the party. Its job is to ensure that overall systems are in place.

It, however, has no business in the day-to-day affairs and actions of the party or its members. It is like the Board of Directors of a company, that meets periodically to agree to the broad principles, but after that the company acts. It doesn’t revert to the Board for advice. There is no micro-management by the Board. There can be no micro-management by an NE.

For instance, the NE must retain total control over the party’s ideology and manifesto. It must set systems in place for the selection/ election of office bearers. It must have a system to investigate disciplinary matters where any member acts in violation of the ideology and manifesto.

But it can have no role in prior approval of political actions taken by any individual member.

In any event, we are talking about a party of liberty, not a “high command” where everything is micro-managed.

The way of liberty is to fully empower all members to act. Members should not be held back with a leash, even on a matter that potentially violates the party’s manifesto. NE members can raise any concerns or provide advice, but they cannot pre-approve (“licence”) any action. They have no preventative role, only a punitive role should an action violate the party’s constitution or manifesto.

The NE are not puppet masters, and individual members are not puppets. They are free citizens who must be free at all times to act according to their best understanding of a particular situation.

Liberty involves experiments. It involves taking risks. No one knows what will happen when someone takes an action. Even the best laid plans of people can be laid waste; and totally unexpected success can be achieved from unplanned and random action. This is the nature of the world. We can never know in advance about the results from any action.

NE members cannot be a control freak who want zero risk. They cannot start imagining consequences and risks and block action. They are not Gods. They do not know the future.

The liberal party’s constitution must allow total freedom of voting to its parliamentary members except on a few critical bills.

This freedom must seep into every part of the party’s operational DNA. No one is required to seek any prior “approval” to act. By all means people should feel free to discuss their idea and seek improvements/ inputs. But EVERY individual member must be respected and treated like an adult.

Each action is an experiment. Let there be an infinity of experiments – each of these consistent with the party’s ideology and manifesto. Let there be freedom in the party that claims to bring freedom to the people.

Freedom also implies accountability. Therefore, every member should be accountable for his/her actions. But there is absolutely no scope in a free society for PRIOR CONSENT from any “wise” people.

Only through internal freedom can members of a liberal political party understand freedom and bring freedom to the people. If they become control freaks then the party will never grow.

Growth is ALWAYS related to the level of liberty.

Of course, if any FINANCIAL implication arises, there is a need for prior consent. But for saying something or doing something that doesn’t involve taking money from the party’s kitty, there is absolutely no need for prior consent.

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