Saturday, November 29, 2008

Professionalize politics

Right now we are all angry. We want something to be done. Something that will protect us in future. That will prevent a recurrence of what has happened.

And then we look at the people that we have elected to do something. That sends us into a new bout of despair. How can these people be expected to perform? These people are the dregs of our society. Remember that someone said that "politics was the last refuge of the scoundrel". That someone was right. Just look at them, their backgrounds and their track records.

So what is to be done? Clearly better people need to join politics. But why would better people join politics? What's in it for them?

Today politics is a career that does not pay if you are honest. The assumption is that you already have a career and having achieved all that you wanted to, you are now willing to work for the good of the country. Or that you are so selfless that you are willing to work for society without worrying about your own comfort.

This is clearly not working. This idealistic model is precisely what has led to the scoundrels ruling us. And that leads to the kind of disastrous situations that we have gone through.

So are there any better models that we can think of?

Plato said that the ruling elite were a different kind of a breed and suggested that they be identified when young and bred separately. They would be educated in a special kind of a way to ensure that they were good leaders. They would not marry, not would they need to earn a living, but their needs would be taken care of by the state.

Plato has been condemned as being idealistic and impractical. So his idea has never been seriously considered.

But is there something in there somewhere? Can we modify it to suit modern needs?

I think we could easily evolve an aptitude test that tests competence of people to be national leaders. Every politician should be required to take such a test before he can file his election papers.

Having identified a core set of people who have the interest and aptitude to rule, we need to find a way to ensure that they can make a living without being corrupt. Each politician who has passed the exam must get a salary that enables them to live comfortably while focusing on social work. There must be incentives to make these people rise up the hierarchy and ultimately become national leaders.

That way we would ensure that the country is ruled by a set of competent and professional people. People who we can trust to do a good job.

This idea is simplistic at this stage. But I think there are elements that are interesting and deserves to be developed into a workable system. Clearly the country needs it.


ofparadoxes said...

agree with the thought. singapore is an example where something like this happens. they identify people early enough. they are then sent to the best schools. most of them are harvard/stanford alumni. they are then paid well to do a great job. The prime minister of singapore for example gets 3 million dollars as a salary. ruchika, my wife, for example used to work for the tourism board. and it was common for employees to take back a 6-12 month bonus depending on performance. so a plausible idea. the question. how?

narendra shenoy said...

Singapore is different. More mature, and led by very strong leaders. We are WimpMart. Weenie-Land. The kingdom of the spineless. We cannot wish away the possibility of incompetent, corrupt or both coming to power by restricting election. What we can do is make the process more accountable. Direct election of the top offices such as president and c.m., as was brilliantly suggested by one of my close friends might be the answer. You just select the PM. He appoints the rest. The parliament is there, to keep a check on him (or her), impeach him if required, but there will be no nitpicking, armtwisting, legpulling and other interesting moves common in the political environment these days.

Eventually, we will land up with a strong and good leader. Atleast more likely than the current system .

Alevoor Rajagopal said...

I agree with you Suman but all good things like the one you suggested will need a starting point which unfortunately lies with these same scoundrels. Secondly, all good ideas I have been reading over the net are somethings that reach only those who hardly care to vote thus reducing the validity of their own selves to mere rumblings of frustrated minds (Should I call them escapists?) Did you know that the majority of non voters are those urban educated that only talk?

Finally, have you gotten into politics yet?