I recently finished reading C.K. Prahalad’s Fortune At The Bottom Of The Pyramid. The book challenges the assumptions one has about the people living in remote areas with a small disposable income. What I derived from the book is that we are the product of goods and services we consume. It can be consumer goods, quality education, access to healthcare, transport and communication etc. He stressed upon the idea how quality products should reach the bottom of pyramid and why it is so important for producers as well as people living at the bottom of pyramid; and in turn for the Gross Domestic Produce (GDP) of the country.
Now for the rest of this piece, i am making a sweeping assumption of things that fall outside of market failures, i.e where demand and supply don’t control prices, as not being discussed and referred to here. One can argue that what is the point of the blog then? Especially given that i currently work in the civil society space, whose entire existence is because of this precise market failure! I believe, in an ideal situation, the civil society should not have been required.
I have always believed free market to be a mechanism to attain efficiency. What if this free market mechanism could be applied to the governance of the country? The idea seems weird (and given we are headed towards the general elections in less than five months from now, also an opportune time for this piece) but it is not very much different from our current management system of the country. India is a democracy – political parties with different ideologies contest election to form the government. Every party issues a manifesto, which is their blueprint of development. The problem is not with the system, but with the fact how people view this system. In elections, we have seen various political parties doing vote bank politics by dividing people into various segments and capitalizing on them to force their stake in the business of power.
It is very similar to the corporate world, where mergers and acquisitions take place to get a bigger share of market. Collaborations occur after elections to attain required stake to run the country. Every political party focuses on the interest of their target audience, like any business enterprise should. If that is the scenario, then why not have companies to come forward to contest elections? The problem with political parties is that they don’t accept the fact that they are in this business for their livelihood. If this understanding would be clear between parties and voters, then people will vote rationally to maximise their social welfare.
This is where, the idea of political enterprise needs to come into picture. It should be an entity which would participate in the process of development of country for their economic interest. As voters know this, they will choose that political enterprise which would make government facilities comfortable for them at minimum cost i.e. levied through taxation. Every political enterprise will have to present their model of development of the area where they are contesting for elections.
The idea is not to change the system of the country by writing this blog, but to change the perception of people and how we view political parties, traditionally. We as citizens need not to be very emotional with any entity who is contesting. We need to be rational as we are, when we buy any product or service. We should vote for the parties who are courageous enough to take ownership of their actions. When we choose a network operator for our mobile phone, we simply try to workout which company is offering us maximum benefit at minimum cost. Why can’t the rationale be same while choosing the government?
Every political party who contest elections shows that they are doing a favor to us by coming to this process and they are not at all interested in their livelihoods. We as citizens want responsible people to run the country, they should consider this as their livelihood for which they are answerable to the people of the country. As an extrapolation of this idea, what if service of governance is brought under Consumer Protection Act, 1986.?
I believe, this is the need of the hour. Professionalization is highly required to govern this country as it will lead of efficient utilization of resources. Elections are at our doorstep again, we must choose if we want to vote on the basis of caste, community and gender or we want to be like demanding consumers who want value for the services we are paying for.
*The thoughts expressed in this piece are of the author and not an ideology the website or program wishes to promote. But the attempt is to put forth the idea of a political enterprise.
*Feature image source.
Brilliant. You seem to ignore the majority of the country who don’t directly pay for the services offered by the government. Does that explain why such a perception of political parties far in the future for our country? Would love to discuss this over a beer!
They don’t directly pay but they pay in the form of indirect tax, even if this is not adequate people are letting the party rule, this can also be counted as cost.
Yes, it is true most people don’t pay directly but they pay in the form of indirect tax even bearing this cost is not sufficient, we as people are letting the political parties, which I believe is a considerable payment😀.