Friday, January 15, 2010
He who hoodwinks the public most, unfortunately comes to power- the case for a smaller bureaucracy
Truth is the first casualty in a democracy. This is because obtaining the majority of votes or seats in parliament are the prerequisites for power, and doing or saying that which is necessary to obtain the vote is the all consuming game.
If I say that I will cut the bureaucracy in half, and pay the remainder an extra Rs 10,000 a month on average which is performance related, none of the government servants or their families (4 million voters) will vote for me as they all know they would be in line to lose their jobs. Those that don’t get the axe will have to do the work of the rest and be more productive to earn extra and even that is not enough incentive to vote for me as lethargy and job security is the preferred option.
As one in the private sector I know how hard it is to earn one’s living as all my remuneration is performance related, and if I fail to sell enough products, I will not be able to meet my payroll and essential overheads. What more incentive does one need to work when doing nothing is not an option when one has commitments and obligations to others.
It would be so refreshing to put out a manifesto for growth and real development which is honest and clear, so that we do what is necessary to attain the country’s true potential and not pussy foot about the greater lie. The problem with Sri Lanka as is common with countries in this stage of development is that power is the all consuming prerequisite for effecting change as well as providing and acquiring largesse. This is due to Government forming a large part of the economy, both in the provision of infrastructure and in the disbursing of welfare to those who support the party in power.
One hopes the electorate will finally realize that promises of handouts is a self defeating prophecy that has bedeviled this country over the past 60 years, and promises only of infrastructural development will only set the stage for private sector driven structural long term sustainable growth based on sound economic and financial principles.
A master plan of short and longer term intentions will assist in setting up a visionary policy framework to follow, not a jingoistic Mahinda Chinthana or the rudderless policy statements of the Sarath Fonseka campaign. The problem with an honest plan is that political opponents will create a fear psychosis based on areas like job losses, where the true intention of net job gains that arise out of cutting bureaucracy and red tape is more difficult to explain to a doubting electorate than real cuts in recurrent expenditure by downsizing the oversized bureaucracy.