The Game of Governance


Ever since human beings started living together as a society the old rule "Might is Right" was replaced by "Social Rules" to bring some order and enable people of different though processes to co-exist.

As societies grew in size there was a need for leadership, administration and organized law enforcement machinery, all of which boils down to the idea of "Governance". So we needed a Government to govern us. All the egg-heads of that primitive society sat together and brain-stormed on the best form of governance. After centuries of breaking their heads, our ancestors gave us monarchy, dictatorship, communism and democracy to choose from. All these forms of governance were tried out in different countries with different experiences. Each succeeded in some aspects and failed in some.

In modern times, monarchy and dictatorship are looked down upon as they are not representative of the people’s aspirations. We still have some countries with these forms of governance in the modern times. Most such experiments have yielded power hungry, corrupt and vicious leaders who have brought little good to their nations or the societies that existed in them. I do not abjure the idea that some countries benefitted from even these forms of governance. We have examples like Singapore, Bhutan etc.

Communism and democracy took over much of the world. Both remained at loggerheads with each other and competed to bring good to their respective people. Each had a cogent philosophy, communism promised equality while democracy promised opportunity. However, both promised to exterminate each other and their acrimony resulted in the decades long "Cold War". Both sides amassed weapons of mass destruction and left the aspiring non-aligned nations no choice. The philosophy was either you are with us or against us. Soon the entire world split into two camps, pro-communism and pro-democracy.

Over the decades, it became clear that communism as a concept could reduce social disparities but it could not generate wealth. It did not make markets compete and grow. The same went for industries. Democracy won as it was more effective at wealth generation.

As the others did not perform as well, let us focus our microscope on the most successful form of governance, Democracy.

The idea of Democracy was conceptualized based on certain very basic assumptions. The very first assumption was that people would be largely honest and leaders would be people selflessly dedicated to the good of the people they represented. In other words, leaders would be people with exemplary qualities like honesty, dedication, selflessness, caring for people etc, etc and etc. That is where things went broke. Right at the very first assumption on the drawing board!!!

Just after independence we witnessed the division of the country to accommodate the political aspirations of netas of both sides. We witnessed a poison filled society cutting each other’s throats. We witnessed netas hiring goondas to rig booths in elections. We witnessed goondas becoming politicians. We witnessed rampant, institutionalized corruption with its tentacles spreading from the very top to the very bottom of our governance system. We became a dirty, scam ridden, poor country.

Similar ills of Democracy are visible in other democratic countries. USA is rich only because it became independent centuries ago and was in the race long before the others grew legs. Going by the ills that exist in that society even today one can hardly give credit to democratic value systems. Even as a sole super-power it is besieged with problems of its own making, both at home and outside.

If this be so, we have discounted all the forms of governance and what are we left with? Nothing. No form of governance has given its people a happy, stress free life. We have created a world of social and religious intolerance. A polluted world with global warming, ready to self destruct. All our political and social scientists have failed in understanding and containing human greed for power and wealth.

So it is back to the drawing board with a new set of assumptions, new formulae, and new equations to evolve a new system or modify the existing one. We can take inspiration from the very few relatively successful governance systems that we see around us but the design has to be original factoring the true nature of humans as created by the Almighty.

Question here is, who does it? Our present system of governance depends on the beneficiaries of the present system to design better systems. Who will bell the cat?



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