Karti Chidambaram is justifying the use of SOPS in the article “Elections and the art of giving” and how addressing the needs of people who are not like us, not from our background, does not mean it is bad politics or bad economics.
SOPS are used to mainly play swing politics. Political campaign is like marketing, making your point in 30 secs. Indian politicians are not dare devils. Lot of their personal interest is at stake and thus loosing is not a part of their game. Politics should be played in such a way where the players and the nation have nothing to loose but the voters do.
Herewith is my take on Karti’s article.
The kind of elitism that does not call reducing the cost of aviation fuel, slashing income tax from 30 to 10 percent or giving a Rs 45 crore tax waiver to the ICC (to conduct the World Cup in India) as sops. Addressing the needs of people who are not like us, not from our background, does not mean it is bad politics or bad economics.
>>>> Any incentives can be called SOPS if they are used to influence the voters.
>>>> Looking at micro level, it is a win-win situation, thus not a bad economics. But addressing the needs in this way is little overstretching and corroborating the real essence of Politics, the collective decision and Government behavior.
Sops are not just part of a vote-catching exercise. In Tamil Nadu, parties started it as a way of fulfilling their socialistic agenda. Like any successful welfare scheme, it eliminates the middleman and cuts through the stodgy bureaucracy.
>>>> If this happened the way it is said then it is a welfare scheme. But, do the people really needed this welfare scheme is intriguing.
In that sense, every election promise has an ulterior motive. It is a bribe.
>>>> It depends if it is used to corrupt the voters or influence the voters.
When markets were soaring, the smart investment bankers on Wall Street derided State intervention, but in the end, they needed the US government to bail them out with taxpayers’ money.
>>>> This is an excellent point. This is one of the drawbacks of the market Economy. Bail-out is used to provide temporary relief to protect the jobs as eventually the market is going to shift.
I do not believe for a moment that sops are the only parameters people keep in mind while voting. People look at candidates, alliances, local issues and the overall track record of the administration.
>>>> This is an under statement as it doesn’t explains the existence of the criminals in the Politics.
People are realistic, let us not underestimate them. They do not expect us to transform their world overnight with a magic wand, but they do expect us to be truthful. People will remember and reward a promise met, just as they will punish ruthlessly if you default.
>>>> This statement conflicts with itself. This doesn’t explain the phenomenon of the people voting for a change.
||namO Bhaartam, namO Sanskritam||