When I first started out writing this four part series, the hypothesis at the back of my mind was: All Parliamentarians, and by extension, all others in the state legislative assemblies are supreme (how supreme? Click here) and are God’s gift to this country.
Unfortunate as it may be for a few of those supreme souls who scream the loudest when Team Anna or anyone else goes on the offensive, Parts 1, 2 & 3 established – with some degree of certitude, I am hoping – that this particular hypothesis is a load of double-distilled balderdash. So now, one can safely say “vanish” to that particular hypothesis – and please, this is not a murder conspiracy!
I am aware I may have dragged things a tad too far, and hence this final piece will focus on just 2 aspects:
1) Dark Clouds – What is the difference in assets between a contestant, winner and an office-holder (Minister)
2) Silver Lining – Do informed voters make better choices (is lack of information repeatedly leading us to elect the wrong kind of people?).
Firstpost dug up two incredibly fascinating research studies, which I will lean on heavily. If statistical analysis could ever be termed sexy, these two reports are right up there with the best of them on this subject. Those of you who don’t fall prey to hallucinations about monsters under your bed when you encounter esoteric terms like regression analysis, standard deviation, 4th order polynomials, kernel density, randomization inference p-values & scatter plots, can click on this hyperlink straight away and ignore the rest of my write-up.
As for the rest of you, I am glad that I am not the only mathematically challenged idiot around!
Jez Kiddin’. No offence – anyway, there already has been too much of it taken in the corridors of power lately….
Dark Clouds -The Payoffs & the Endgame
In Parts 2 & 3, I touched upon the quantum of assets which most of our politicians declare in their affidavits and returns. It would be naïve to assume perhaps, that kind of wealth to have been accumulated just from their salaries and/or ancestral property. However, those issues have already been dealt with; let us now see if there is any statistical evidence which points the needle of suspicion towards this endgame (culmination of the race to the bottom of the cesspool, if you please) being actually fuelled by ambitions for adding the “M” word – Mister/Madame Minister – before one’s name.
“Private Returns to Public Office”, a research study (May 2012) by Raymond Fisman (Columbia University), Florian Schulz (UCLA Anderson) & Vikrant Vig (London Business School) takes a deep, hard look at this phenomenon.
“Models of politician behavior suggest many reasons for seeking office, including non-pecuniary benefits of public service, financial gains that accrue after leaving office, and both salary and non-salary earnings, legal or otherwise, while in office. Understanding politicians’ motivations is crucial for modeling the pool of candidates – both the number and quality – that will seek office, and is also important for designing policies to constrain politician behavior while in office……In this paper we look at the understudied though widely discussed issue of non-salary earnings of public officeholders”, they write in the introduction.
Being research scholars, their language is guarded and politically correct – what they really may mean is more on the lines of “How on earth do some of you achieve such high CAGR on your personal wealth, you wretched beings”?
Without getting into the full details of the study which centers around Indian Parliamentarians and not surprisingly lacks any embedded encomiums, let me share with you the key findings:
(Click here for full report)
So then Dear Supreme Ones, you were saying…..whatever! Let us now move to the ray of hope, the silver lining….
Continues on the next page
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