Thoughts on economics and liberty

First step in removal of corruption: State funding of elections

Indians don't read books. BFN has been sitting out there in the open (fully downloadable, for free) in addition to the approximately 1000 hard copies sold and found in many libraries in India and the West. Approximately 20,000 copies have been downloaded so far, and at least 60,000 people have heard about this book, but I don't know how many have cared to read the book.

Also, while I have re-published my articles on corruption that I wrote for Freedom First in the last few years on this blog, I'm not sure if many people have the capacity to read and understand blogs. 

It appears to me, from what has been going on, that Indians can only understand ONE thing at a time. They can't understand complexity and inter-relationships. Therefore, meaningless things the Lokpal Bill excite them (they even threaten to fast to death) despite it being guaranteed to have ZERO impact on corruption without the other underlying reforms needed to address the CAUSES of corruption.

But Indians can't understand anything as complex as "causes" of corruption. Their mind gets lost when faced with complexity. They are likely to babble and utter inanities that display their totally confused thinking. Utter confusion is displayed in the writings of most of our top journalists, academics, and of course this useless incompetent man MMS who currently runs India, who says:

Black money exists, but if you look at all European countries also the average amount of black money which is talked about is at least 25 per cent of the economies of a large number of European countries.

These are transactions that are not taxed and intended to avoid social security payments. But this is a reality. We can deal with corruption, we can deal with black money but quite frankly it is wrong for anyone to assume there is a magic wand which will lead to an instant solution of these difficult societal problems. [Source]

or the fool Digvijay Singh who believes this:

1. Aren't there poor people in London?

2. It's just over six decades that India has been Independent.

3. India has too many people we need to control the population. [Source]

Given this inability to think among so-called "educated" Indians, I'm decided to promote just ONE (state funding of elections) out of the many vital parts of the overall reform package that I have outlined in BFN.

Let this become the MAIN plank of reform. Then hopefully people will read about and understand the other reforms that are needed.

This reform, that I'm now proposing is the first step is merely one part of the overall reform package towards change. State funding of elections – by itself – will only reduce corruption and incompetence by a small amount, say 25 per cent.

However, compared with Lokpal, which will reduce corruption by ZERO, that's a big thing! Indeed, through state funding of elections, even the Lokpal will start making a difference. Without it, there is simply no hope.

Note (once again – provided you have the mental ability and patience to understand such complexity) that a total of at least 50 different reforms are needed if India is to totally eradicate corruption and misgovernance. But since our "educated" classes can't understand 50 things, I'm just offering them one thing.

I hate being a one trick pony, but if at all any "trick" has to be promoted, it is this: state funding of elections.

And so let me suggest this to IAC (assuming that the socialists who constitute this organisation can understand anything that is even slightly complex) – that once their hoopla about Lokpal is over – could they just ask for ONE thing: State funding of elections (in the manner proposed in BFN).

Why is this such an important first step?

I've written extensively on this subject elsewhere and so won't repeat the argument here. Please do take the time to read the details in BFN, for instance (particularly chapters 4 and 6). State funding of elections – in the manner proposed in BFN – WILL start the ball rolling towards better policies and reduced corruption. Lokpal won't. It can't change anything on the ground.

For a summary of more details please also read this blog post.

Sorry to sound a bit irritated, but I am. I'm very disappointed at the EXTREMELY LOW quality of thinking exhibited by "educated" Indians. If our "leaders" can't think clearly then how can the "masses" think straight?

If you are able to look below this irritation and use this blog post as a challenge to begin reading about and understanding the details of good policy making I will be most grateful and pleased.



State funding of elections on the agenda? A great opportunity to fix corruption at it source

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20 thoughts on “First step in removal of corruption: State funding of elections
  1. Vishal

    If 70% of our elected people are corrupt or criminals then no Lokpal or any bill can remove corruption. There has to be framework of having right people contest elections. No sane person will want to blow his hard earned money on elections. What is required is state to fund elections. Let us move away from mindset of only checks.

  2. Vishal

    If you have a cricket team which cannot play cricket then where do you focus your energies on ? getting the right team or putting checks on what cricketers are doing. You need a good cricket team and then have balanced checks. Having only checks will never win world cup.

  3. Aditya

    Sanjeev, state funding will not be possible till corporates provide X% of their profits to EC, we simply don't have that much money, from what I am aware off they spend 50cr per Lok Sabha elections per candidate. 
    Another step we immediately need is to subside TV, computers,mobiles, radio etc plus create constituency level channels for radio/TV. Far fetched I know but in the long term we need to penetrate majority of our population and also reach people with local content aswell, this will bring transparency and awareness. Once people are connected to mass media, EC could use those medias to provide candidates a platform to reach to their constituency in a cost effective way, the huge rallies, the dharnas, banners, TV ads are just wasting tax payers money.
    But even before that we need to slap Mayawati and congress for wasting our money on those useless TV ads, government seems like the biggest ad spender in India. Care for a joint PIL in supreme court? if yes email me!

  4. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Aditya

    It would be good if you read what I have proposed before making wild claims that I’m suggesting that Rs.50 crores be reimbursed to parties. Rs.15 per vote for 10 lakh votes is Rs.1.5 crores IN ALL. That is enough to encourage honest people to enter the scene. Second do read everything else re: electoral reforms – such as total accountability of political party (and candidate expenditure) – etc.

    I’m afraid lots of people exist in India who keep jumping like jumping beans without even pausing to understand what the other person is saying (and I’ve been saying/writing this for 13 years now – but virtually no one cares to read and understand. What can I do??)


  5. Aditya

    @Sanjeev I can understand your irritation. I had visited your site for the first time and didn't read anything else at that time for lack of time at hand.
    Downloaded BFN, will comment after reading that, I am assuming other things you have written on are included in BFN.
    Will be back.

    Also I wasn't suggesting that 50CR is required or you suggest 50CR should be given, It was mentioned by chief EC somewhere that some candidates spend as much as 50cr on election, obviously they recover that money with profit after that.

  6. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    The whole idea of electoral limits violates liberty. Hence I discuss and discard the idea of electoral limits. Doesn’t matter if a candidate spends Rs.50 crores. What is important is transparency and the use of legal money (not black money). The socialist laws (restrictions on freedom) in the electoral system have enabled ONLY corrupt people to contest elections. Do read BFN. Thanks.

  7. sinthuja

    sir……………i want to join in removel of corruption team……..i want help&take step to safe  my country in any time… what do to

  8. Munish Raizada

    Here are my observations:
    1. I support State funding of the elections. This will encourage well-intentioned people to contest elections. No doubt about that.
    2. However, I do have reservations about not putting a ceiling on the (legal) election expenses. You call it against the principles of liberty, which I understand. However, this is also true that money alone may not win elections, but extra-money can make you a winnable candidate along with other factors. Take an instance of USA: Mr Obama kept fuming against super-PACS in last 3 years of his Presidency, but seeing that Republicans super-PACS are just pumping money for the forthcoming 2012 elections, Mr Obama took a U-turn a few weeks back and is now busy raising funds through super-PACS (clearly, he is not a reformer). Such is the power of money. I would still say that election spending limits is a good idea.

  9. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    All “limits” are by default anti-liberty. The justification has to be VERY strong, and enforcement FOOLPROOF. Neither of these two conditions exists. So, unfortunately, I am unable to accept limits on electoral funding.

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