Can good economics ever beat good politics???

It is my observation that the position of any country on the global landscape is the result of an (ever-continuing) battle between good economics and “good” politics…

Where good economics can be defined as the mass mobilization towards economic and social upliftment of all, today’s “good” politics (or atleast most of it ) can safely be defined as mass mobilization for individual(s) benefits/goals…

I believe that the stature of any country in the world today depends upon which of these two forces actually influence the denizens of that country.

To create an environment of debate, lets take up the following scenario….

In October 2009, there was a natural disaster of enormous proportions that hit the states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The rivers Tungabhadra and the Krishna had their worst flood in the last 100 years leaving behind a trail of destruction.

Taking into focus the state of Karnataka (needed for this blog), the districts of Raichur, Koppal, Haveri, Bagalkote, Bijapur, Gulbarga, Bellary, Belgaum and Gadag faced devastating floods in the first week of October 2009, while they were just recovering from the severe drought. With about 18 million people directly affected by the floods; one million people rendered homeless; more than 3,55,000 people in over 1,200 relief camps and the death toll crossing 200, the October 2009 floods in North Karnataka was the worst in recent history.

It was heart wrenching for me as I had just completed a bike ride across these places; having just enjoyed the natural beauty as well as the fantastic NH4, it was indeed very sad that think of what could have been and what it was…

Later on, pondering on this question in my mind, I come up with a seemingly crazy hypothesis…

Let’s assume that the Chief Minister of Karnataka at that time, lets call him Mr. Y (no pun intended) looked at this calamity and was contemplating on the possible ways to avoid such destruction to his people.

As this was a flood caused by a sudden increase in rainfall, it is quite possible to assume that the same could happen again as the world moves slowly but surely towards an inevitable global meltdown. In order to ensure the better channelling of this excess water, he decides to create a reservoir/dam in the middle of the state, one that he could possibly connect to River Kaveri (a southern river in the same state).

The minister realizes that this idea of his not only allows for the creation of a state-wide irrigation system, that can possibly avoid future droughts, but also create a possibility of settling bigger political issues;

The excess water could simply be given to the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu with whom they have been at logger heads for sharing the water of the Kaveri !!!

This gesture could be labelled as one of goodwill, possibly paving the way for enhanced cooperation between the two states and what was once a source of heartache and financial losses to the state (the flood) could simply be converted into one that has benefits in a myriad of ways… (At this juncture I would have to admit I have no clue if the above idea is practically feasible, if found otherwise, I request the reader to just take note of the intent)
Now to connect this crazy hypothesis to the title of the blog…

How would “good politics” react to such an example of “good economics” in action?
It is natural to assume that such an attempt, though mutually beneficial, will have to withstand the attack that will be launched on it by all opposing political parties.

There would be an uproar from the opposition that the sovereign property of the state has been handed over and there would be umpteen conspiracy theories as to why the minister decided to “pander” to the neighbour’s demands…

There would be a loud hue and cry by “Karnataka loyal politicians” who will oppose this idea as a mark of their loyalty to their state… There would be dharnas, riots and protests towards protecting the honour of their state…

Will the common man, who is witness to both, realize that the idea was actually intended to save and protect the citizens of the state thereby making it an example of state loyalty or will this facet of the truth be lost in the political angst of having shared a resource with the neighbour?

Will this stroke of genius be appreciated by extending his license to put economics to good use (aka victory in the next election) or will it be the beginning of his political exile as a traitor, can only be another hypothesis.

Sadly India neither boasts of ministers ready to experiment with “good” economics nor does away with “good” politicians who will not allow the modern Indian minds to see it, if and when it happens…

I would like to ask the reader to contemplate if it is possible for good economics to work in India, whether we as someone who is erudite enough to either accept/rubbish this blog, be ready to be an agent of change; whether we are ready to be part of a revolution that gives economics in India a chance…

Closing this blog with the hope that India strives towards becoming a country where it is able to choose the better force in order to gain her rightful position in the global picture…


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