The Democracy Paradox

The incentives of a party fighting elections are straightforward: they want to win the elections. The spoils of power are tempting, and everyone works hard. But once they come to power, their incentives are not quite so straightforward.

Consider the two things they needed to come to power: money and votes. Let’s start with money. All democratic politics is about the interplay between power and money. You need humungous amounts of money to win elections. Special interest groups or wealthy individuals provide this money. They do it as an investment, not out of benevolence. And when their horse wins, they want an RoI. They used money to buy power; now they want the power to be used to make them money.

Amit Varma looks at the symbiotic relationship between money and political power in an exploration of why ‘democracy’ is of the special interests, by the special interests, for the special interests.

Bonus, Amit’s review of the Prashant Jha book How the BJP Wins Elections. (Which I read earlier this week, and will recommend as a primer on the Indian political process and how the BJP plays it to brilliant effect).

2 thoughts on “The Democracy Paradox

  1. I am sure you have read this.
    A bit optimistic (wishful thinking, rather) but the first part is a pretty good summation of the phenomenon that came up in 2014. I can only argue with the conclusions. The dissipation of the gung-ho politics is far from imminent, methinks. And the effect on the masses, I think it is being exaggerated here. (Not because it is not true, but because the public has still not weaned away from the Dhatura and the opiate that was fed them in the last few years). What do you think?

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