Thursday, June 28, 2007

democracy and governance

It appears that there are very few democracies that are truly representative of the population that they purport to represent. The party in government appears to be elected by fewer than half of those who voted in the election, not counting those who don't vote.

Additionally, during the course of the tenure the popularity levels go up and down depending on various factors. We cannot therefore say that the system is representative, but that it is the best we can achieve bearing in mind the ground realities.

Those in power must realize that the represent not just those who voted them in but also those who voted against them. This reality is almost absent from democracies in developing countries which lead to decisions that retard economic growth and also the well being of the nation.

In Sri Lanka it is almost expected that all the party supporters of the winning party are rewarded with sinecures, as the payback for their support. This creates antagonism amongst a great majority of people. It is common that this also occurs in western countries but not at every level of local government. When the gramaseveka system is also politicized then there is no hope for impartial governance at that level.

It would be so much better for good governance that all these politicised levels are peeled of and are restricted only to a few positions. It is most destructive to see 100,000 or more jobs changing hands as a result of a changing government, where the learning curve of those already in those jobs are done away with and a new set of people appointed. Of course the earlier lot also try to financially benefit from their positions and therefore the incoming party seek to exchange that benefit creating a cycle that hinders the proper operation of government.

One has only to look at many of the privatisations to see how much more efficient things have become. Instead of privatising, I believe like in the case of telecoms, more competition is allowed. What then happens is that if the state institution does not become efficient they squeezed and best practices are the result. The telecommunication sector and the banks are a case in point here where this level of competition has benefit ted the consumer.

No comments: