Response to “The Acorn – FAQ: Why Anna Hazare is wrong and Lok Pal a bad idea”Posted: August 17, 2011
There are clearly two camps: one says Lokpal is the right way, another says we should restructure the existing organizations. Whichever way you go, you need structural changes. They both will have pros and cons and no approach is going to be perfect. At the same time, I don’t see how Lok Pal proposal is a bad idea. It just has different pros and cons.
If I get into the specifics of points made by “The Acorn” in its “faq”:
Adding one more, huge, powerful layer to an already complex system will make the system even more complicated. Complexity creates the incentives for corruption; both on art of the bribe giver and the bribe taker.
Anyone who has designed systems knows that complexity arises not because of layers but because of interfaces that you design. It’s upto the design of the Lokpal (or any other layer for that matter) which will determine the efficacy of the same.
In fact, data show that perceptions of corruption are lower in some sectors of the economy, usually those that have been liberalised.
I don’t know the source of this data and how the survey was conducted. Of course, there are areas where things have improved as a result of liberalization but not everything (like land records) is going to be liberalized. You can’t register a property in Bangalore unless you pay 0.5% of property price as bribe. Period.
We have not really demanded them at all, actually. If we did, they are bound to register in the national political agenda. We should persuade politicians that their political future is linked to implementing economic reforms.
This is a fallacy. The current battle started with a demand to remove corruption but it has turned into a battle to be heard by the government.
Easy to say, but how can we do this? By voting.
Another fallacy. This is a variation to the “Everyone should be honest” line of thinking. Moreover, voting requires options. While you & me can vote, what are the options in front of us as of today? There is no data to show that middle class doesn’t vote. Ensuring that a good candidate wins is far more complicated in this country than what can be influenced by a single person.
Does anyone seriously think we can hire tens of thousands of absolutely honest officials who will constitute the Lok Pal? Who will keep watch on them?
The same question holds for other structural changes proposed by the author in the beginning (i.e. make other agencies independent). The way you ensure honesty in those agencies is the way you ensure it here.
Pilots don’t design aircraft. Practicing doctors don’t discover new drugs and treatments. These jobs are usually done by armchair inte
Should I laugh at this? Armchair intellectuals don’t design aircrafts or discover new drugs. There are practitioners and there are designers. And well, there are armchair intellectuals who are neither practitioners nor designers.