Legalize Electoral, Governance & Political Corruption? Elections are not in the news just, the media is dense with it, and the soundwaves are jamming our 4G-hot, rock’n move ‘Play’ videos! India is once again sponsor to the grand show – bigger than the Kumbh or the IPL TV audience, and rivalling some other mass gathering, even globally.
But this column is not about how exactly, or why these elections are portrayed as ‘Vote-now-for-your-Diwali-tomorrow’ event. It’s about the financial ethics behind this constitutional requirement that empowers people of this country to choose their Political Government for another term. Running a successful pan-India advertising campaign to elect 545 reps to the low House is not an everyday task, even if that event is financed and given in part by the purportedly independent Election Commission payment of India.
The stakes are significant and substantial. The mad rush for politics support and funds is all too apparent in within-party offers and races for electoral seats, in pre-poll Coalition bargaining, post-poll ministerial and bureaucratic horse-trading, and indeed Corruption over the entire political term. Whom then do we blame for political corruption – whether ministerial, bureaucratic, in political appointments to various diplomatic and other visible posts, in the drafting of various regulatory plan reforms1 even?
True, the EC applied Electoral Bonds toward incrementing transparency in Politics. But achieved it solve any of the various tones of grey politics deals? Rafale and Nuclear submarines? Investments in TAPI and through OVL India, MSP & Farm Loan Waivers? Alas not. Truthfully, nobody, but also for a few Consulting Houses, Ministry Bureaucrats, top-rung Defence and Political market leaders, the CAG, and those bravehearted Investigative Journalists, are in all alert to the size of problem that the Indian Polity accommodates.
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What over-arching strategy could we adopt that goals these various kinds of political (and Bureaucratic) corruption? This column proposes a straightforward expansion of the EC-implemented Electoral Bonds Scheme to a broader strategy including market-capitalization and trading of their Private and Public political support. The proposal has the potential to monetize politics opportunities, legalize removal of political, economic and diplomatic policy rents, and serve as a deterrent to politics Problem thus.
Political corruption has always been at the center-stage of modern society. What was an intermittent opportunistic lottery has, with an exacerbation of the polar Nominal economic paradigm, come to roost as a regular event camouflaged in Government secrecy and Fiduciary confidentiality. The chance of corruption in higher magnitudes associated ministerial and bureacratic appointments has heightened the shadow values of holding political offices, and spread the computer virus of political greed directly into our polarized society deep.
EPS investments at the ECPX would provide many functions – from diplomatic, political and economic signalling by the ongoing party, the elicitation of ancilliary, non-monetary aphysical streams, to gauging Public reactions to its various political stances, strategies and statements. Much as fleecing, poisoning and violence is attenuated by legalizing drugs, so too legalizing the monetization of political rents, stances, statements and strategies sanitizes Politics. Much like snake-venom is an antidote to fatal snake bites potentially, so too is the trading of EPS at the EC Political Excange a necessary evil to augment the efficiency associated with democratic governance, and also to strengthen our democratic fundamentals.
2That Political Exchange could be co-ordinated online by the EC, and may co-opt the foreign and local Press as Observers. 3Unlike Electoral Bonds that want incorporation and citizenship within the nation, Electoral Party Shares could be traded, free from such restrictions, to any qualifying entity that has pre-registered with the EC. It may however, be necessary to take cognizance of affiliations and so improve disclosure norms under RTI. Interestingly, both the high-denomination Private EPS and the low-denomination Public EPS exchanged by Political parties at the ECPX, could be held as Political Capital by companies shown at the Nominal exchanges.
Such Political Capital, representing the intents and goals of the Private and Public, would then notify and guide the company in leveraging them toward making the most of its earnings. 4All beneficiary Political Parties could have the right to trade Private and Public Electoral Political Shares at the ECPX anonymous of who had voted where, who experienced contributed how much in donations, or even to whom they’d be exchanged to. 5This rather simplistic strategy might favour those ongoing parties whose Private Donations lag Public Votes comparative other celebrations. Such parties would be issued more Private Shares than they deserve.