February 26, 2006

Miracle Workers.

You just bought a car. You are lazy and want to employ a driver. How do you find one?

You will talk to some friends and generally institute enquiries. If necessary, you will also put an ad or two in local news papers. When someone shows up you will want to ascertain if he can drive well, if he has a licence, and if he is responsible.

Driving is no rocket science. Still, you look for some personal qualifications and skills.

Now think of governing a country. As most people think of governance, it is rocket science.

Just think what your job consists of.

You need to make people safe. You need to make them healthy. You need to make them learned. You need to make them busy. You need to make them happy. You need to make them good. You need to solve yesterday's problems. You need to solve today's problems. You need to solve tomorrow's problems. And so on.

In short, you need to work miracles.

And what personal qualifications do we require of these miracle workers? None.

What personal skills do we demand of them? None.

Two things stand out on contemplation.
  1. It is meaningless to fault our politicians. The process which put them there is simply not designed to ensure desirable results. If any occasional good does come out, it is only by chance.

  2. It is irresponsible to demand much from these miracle workers. In other words, they should not be asked, or indeed allowed, to work miracles.


At 10:20 PM, February 27, 2006, Blogger Amit Kulkarni said...

You need to be able to accodomate everybody who gave you money to fund your election campaign.

And incidentally depending on your mood, grudgingly say yes to the pesky bureaucrat, who has been advocating some nonsense proposal for years.

That is the only qualification needed for governing for the really powerful political jobs :)

Anyway, the bureaucrats who really slog away never get credit, instead it is the politicians who hog the limelight.

At 1:59 AM, February 28, 2006, Blogger Krishna said...


You need to be able to accodomate everybody who gave you money to fund your election campaign.

Exactly. The concept of democracy as a tool of for the people is effectively nullified by this role of money.

As for bureaucrats, I believe that they have at best an indirect role in policy-making and policy-making is the job of the politician alone (and that is how it is supposed to work too in a democracy).

I do not know if you read Yes, Minister or Yes, Prime Minister. There one gets the impression that bureaucrats have immense influence in policy-making in ministries. I do not know how much of that is true in general, or in India.


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