Archive for January, 2009

The Lost Generation

A good message…

January 29, 2009 at 10:02 pm Leave a comment

Corruption, Population, Government

It would be interesting for some to note that there is a ‘Bribe Payers Index‘ (BPI) and a ‘Corruption Perceptions Index‘ (CPI), prepared each year by an organisation called Transparency International.

The methodology is not difficult to understand – All sources measure the overall extent of corruption (frequency and/or size of bribes) in the public and political sectors and all sources provide a ranking of countries. Sources include country experts (business leaders, risk agencies, country analysts) and few internationl organisations (Economist Intelligence Unit, World Economic Forum, etc).

The CPI ranks 180 countries by their perceived levels of corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys. The BPI ranks the likelihood of firms from 22 top exporting countries to bribe abroad.

Some scores from CPI & BPI 2008 are:

scores-bpi-cpi

On looking at the bribe payer’s index, the last few countries on the list are also some of the most populated countries on the planet. Though the correlation seems obvious, I wonder if there is a cause and effect relationship between corruption and population.

Though I firmly believe that corruption in itself is wrong, I also feel that many nations have realized that they need to firmly stamp down on it. Despite a good conscience, some of the more populated nations are unable to tackle the problem as fast as others expect them to. For example, if one was entering India and was asked to pay a bribe at the customs area in the airport, they have the option to complain to higher authorities and make a legal case of it – take the wrong doer to court. However, as is known, court cases in India – at every level, Supreme Courts, High Courts, Magistrate Courts – take a long time to be heard and resolved. There are cases which are pending a hearing for over 10 to 15 years! So, if this person at the customs is asked to pay up, will he or she actually want to get involved in potentially such a long drawn process?

The fact that it’s a long process to get justice, could in some ways be reflective of the government and constitutional set-up. In the case of India, as the largest democracy in the world, a person guilty of crime would have a number of legal options to seek a delay in judgment. (This framework also indicates the time and opportunity given to the innocently accused to prove their innocence.)

Not to be too critical, but I feel that the Indian government has come a long way in trying to tackle corruption. A few bad apples like the recent case of Mayawati (Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh) taking bribe, and the Satyam scandal only divert attention to a nation that has historically been plagued by this problem. Under a hypothetical scenario, if say the leaders of one of the ‘least corrupt’ nations were put in power in the India, I do not think they would be able to do any better a job than the current leaders. If this is accepted, then the source of corruption boils down to the constitutional set-up.

I wonder if it’s worth trading a free democratic environment for an authoritative pseudo-democracy like some of the ‘least corrupt’ countries.

January 26, 2009 at 5:30 pm Leave a comment

100-Word Election Speeches

In a humourous attempt, Ramesh Srivats writes 100-word election speeches for some of the prominent faces in Indian politics. From Advani’s Ram Rajya, Sonia’s Rome Rajya and Mayawati’s Scam Rajya, to Vijay Mallya proposing a Rum Rajya, read the 3 posts (links below) as politicians in India gear up for the upcoming elections. Laloo, Karunanidhi, Prakash Karat also find ‘serious’ issues to propagate their agenda, but the best by Srivats is reserved for those stealing the limelight – Sanjay ‘deep conviction’ Dutt, Raj ‘annihilate Pak’ Thakray, Mamta ‘farmer/ no industrialization/ strike’ Banerjee and Barkha ‘TRP’ Dutt.

The 100-word election speeches: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

January 26, 2009 at 1:40 pm Leave a comment


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