The Economic Model of Politics as a Career
Can Politics as a Career be a viable option?
How does a politician make money for his livelihood legitimately? The truth is that there is no way a career in politics can yield respectable legitimate returns. Even for those politicians that finally become Ministers, society does not reward them with commensurate remuneration which can make the profession attractive. The investment of resources that are mandatory to pursue a successful political career would just not achieve a financial breakeven in any transparent accounting projection.
Therefore professionals from any stream of learning would find it crazy to jump into the political fray where economic failure would look guaranteed.
Doing it as a hobby or social service is also difficult as public life sucks up enormous resources in cash, time and effort and is beyond the capacity of normal disciplined industry white collar office going species.
Therefore it is logical that only those who have learnt the ropes while serving apprenticeships during college days as Student Union activists actually graduate into full fledged career politicians. Only they seem to have cracked the code on generating a stupendously high ROI without any legitimate avenues of income streams in sight.
The model for making a living from politics is a closely guarded secret known only to the followers of the cult. The general public suspects that the model envisages unregulated brokering in one form or the other, but does not understand the intricacies of execution or implementation and how accountabilities are ensured in the shadowy verbal communications based environment in which the system works.
We see only the external manifestations of the success achieved by the practitioners of this art, the farm houses and swank properties, children getting educated abroad, lavish marriages, fancy cars and so on, all without any visible sources of income. However there is no educational institution that has a curriculum designed to deal with this interesting though mysterious subject and therefore the know how remains outside the public domain.
There is a lingering suspicion that members of the bureaucracy understand the mechanics of the model well, after all they would have to participate in the delivery and implementation mechanism at least if not in the conception and design itself. For some reason they also seem to opt not to share their secret knowledge with people outside the pale. Taking a closer look this also seems logical as many of that species too seems to enjoy the fruits of a system whose roots, trunk and branches are invisible to the lay observer.
Indeed the full intellectual might of the Bureaucrat is harnessed to ensure that the system continues to flourish. Look at the complexities of our tax laws. There are categories and categories and then there are exemptions and exemptions. As if that was not enough, there are discretionary powers to deal with doubts which are generously created by such complex sets of rules. This did not happen by default. It surely is designed that way.
The easiest way to improve the financial well being of a traffic cop is not by giving him a higher increment but by inserting a new clause in the traffic violations list which he can then happily exploit. Well meaning rules regarding helmets and cell phones are ostensibly for public safety and are difficult to quarrel with but it can be argued that the same rules are a source of rich pickings for the police establishments and there is no knowing how the collections are distributed up the adminstrative and political heirarchy.
Any average bureaucrat would easily foresee the potential and keep drafting rules to maximise returns which would be honestly shared with the political masters. For the politicians this would ensure handsome payback for all the investments that have been ploughed in earlier and the more brazen ones amongst them of the Haryana variety could even set collection targets for the administrative machinery garnularly broken to enforce accountability.
It is difficult in such a setting to motivate an intelligent honest hard working office going professional to sincerely participate in the maelstrom of our uniquely adapted democarcy.