Politics, Bureaucracy and Business – Fatal Triangle

Politics, Business, and Bureaucracy - A Fatal Triangle: Rajesh Sridhar Politicians are a class of people who represent the citizens of a country. Their agenda is the agenda of the people they represent; rather that should be the case. They serve the people at the highest level. An able politician is one who understands what people want, one who is in tune with the cause and stands up for that cause, and serves unconditionally. In ancient India, in the Vedic age, the Brahmans advised the Kshatriya Kings on how the state needed to be ruled. The advisor was called a ‘Rajarishi’. Although the king was the ruler, he ruled as per the Brahmans’ advice. One such advisor was Chanakya. 

Businessmen represent the class of people who provide employment to fellow citizens. Their motive is to make a good living for themselves and society at large. They help facilitate trade between countries and ensure equitable justice to all employees at work. In ancient India, the Vaishya community represented this class of people. They were traders, inherently, generation after generation. Books like Arthashaastra describe how trade needs to be carried out, the economics involved and the business, and the ethical aspects of it. Bureaucrats are those who facilitate the politicians in Governmental work. They are basically Government servants, and as the name suggests, facilitate the politicians in serving the people.

The duty of the bureaucrats is to be receptive to both the citizens and the master and help the latter in the process. More than being receptive to the master, he is supposed to follow the orders and carry out the activities in the redressal system. In ancient India, the Brahmin advisors were shrewd and advised the kings on how the bureaucrats could best serve the people. This pattern helped conduct the administration smoothly to ensure equitable distribution of resources, welfare, and justice to all sections of society. The fourth class of people in ancient India were the Shudras who did menial jobs and helped the above three classes of people carry out their activities. 

The ancient caste system in India – the Brahmans, the Kshatriyas, the Vaishyas, and the Shudras – were divided on the basis of character and quality and not on the basis of birth. The traditional Vedic system of determining the caste to which a child belonged was determined at a young age. Four objects – a book, a sword, a pot of gold coins, and a bowl of grains – were placed in front of the child. The choice of objects, representation of the classes, determined the child’s class. A book, representing knowledge, for the Brahmins, a sword representing valor for the Kshatriyas, a pot of gold coins depicting business sense for the Vaishyas, and grains representing the need to gratify the senses for the Shudras. For many thousand years, it so used to happen that the child of a Brahmin had the characteristics of a Brahmin, the child of a Kshatriya possessed those of Kshatriya, etc. But after a period of time, the above attempt was stopped from practice and the choice of caste became a birthright without taking one’s innate ability into account. There started a period of the tumultuous breakdown of the system; wherein, anyone could educate anyone, anyone could

 The supposed Brahmins started an autocratic rule and began looking at the Shudras with contempt and started to mistreat them. It was greed and want for money for self-interest that pervaded the minds of one and all. And, the level of greed was at such a height that people could involve themselves in activities even if it was at the expense of someone else. The earlier mentioned triangle – equilateral – aimed at ensuring equitable distribution of resources, welfare activities, and justice to all – started to become fatal for the system. The 18th-century Industrialization in the British colony was an upsurge against the above. It seemed to have all answers to the existing impoverishment, unemployment, inequitable distribution of wealth, and the low standard of living. Formulation of labor laws, the Human Rights Acts, etc… followed. People were made to believe that money is meant to be ‘the-be-all and the end-all in life. It was appreciative that steep unemployment and impoverishment rates were addressed by the 18th-century Capitalists. With this, the West proved its upper hand over the Czars’ Communism. 

The quantitative distribution of wealth and resources in a Capitalistic society exceeded the one of the Communistic. Although the former never emphasized the ‘equitable’ aspect, workers remained indifferent and started to glorify the Capitalistic method of business administration for improving their standard of living. Efficiency and productivity significantly improved, sometimes by the exploitation of labor. Frequent strikes, hartals, etc. ensured proper labor laws were promulgated and at times amended. This is one area where the Capitalists won over the Communists in terms of satisfying people. Due to the intense competition that followed among the Capitalists, with the French concept of Laissez-faire being glorified, the need for businessmen to collaborate with the political aspect of the system arose. This was facilitated by the bureaucratic route to it. With monetary benefits on the minds of everyone, breakdown of the qualitative caste system once prevalent, and the need to gratify one’s senses alone making sense to all, there was chaos – lack of principles and digression of what one carried out at work/service from what one was supposed to do. 

On the minds of every citizen was money, which could be achieved through employment in business. The motive of the politician was to serve people and the only way his service could be honored as if he assured employment, which was a means to prosperity. Partnering with businessmen was one such way forward. While the politicians had self-interest beyond service, it turned into ‘collusion’ with the help of the bureaucrats. Rampant corruption is what it has led the world to. In the United States, it has been observed that around 99% of the country’s wealth is shared by just 1% of the population. This is a euphemism to saying that the above wealth has been wrested by 1% of the population. ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests have been making headlines calling out for a more equitable distribution of wealth. The Anglo-Saxon philosophy which emphasizes the non-interference of Government in business has been wiped off with the US Government’s bailout of companies like CitiCorp etc… as a result of the sub-prime crisis in 2008. In eastern economies like India, where there is a not-so-tight

 Capitalism and Communism, Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) seem to be the way forward. Basically, the fatality associated with the triangle has been due to the fact that the mentality to serve is lost. The mentality to rule has become the order of the day. Businessmen want to rule with money, politicians with power, and bureaucrats with authority. This is a free-handed favorable triangle for its above-mentioned occupants but a fatal one to the people they rule – the ordinary citizens. The initial paragraphs of the essay address the issue at the root level – how the caste system really made sense, ensuring proper governance and administration, and how a digression from that path has made things worse over the many thousand years that followed its breakdown. The belief that money is all in life, intentionally or unintentionally inculcated in people by the Capitalists has been proven wrong. In a recent survey conducted by Nielsen to study the joy quotient in people, it was observed that the lesser rich countries like Bangladesh and those in the Sub-Saharan regions in Africa, etc. topped the list. To make people understand that it is by service one achieves happiness is a challenging task. Humility is another important trait that needs to be cultivated. 

A reversal of times to Varnasrama Dharma may sound utopian but actually not. The eternal religion of one and all, Sanatana Dharma, ensured integration of all, devoid of collusions. It provided an integrated quadrilateral (beyond the triangle) of the Brahmans, the Kshatriyas, the Vaishyas, and the Shudras, wherein coexistence happened for the welfare of one and all. It’s important to take this topic beyond a triangle, to a quadrilateral, involve the common man who always seems to be at the receiving end. Reversal to the above ambitious practice starts with respecting people for what they are, providing equal opportunities to all, and bringing into practice a voluntary service attitude. It is said that ‘God helps those who help themselves.’ This has actually been misinterpreted as self-interest. The only way to remain happy is by serving others. Let’s bring in the service attitude and thwart the fatal triangle!

The great Roman civilization which has experienced Gloden years had disappeared. The biggest and the largest manufacturing hub of the world - “DELTORID CITY”, now it is termed as “DESERTED MANUFACTURING HUB OF THE WORLD”.

Even in India, from the collapse of the great Mughal empire to the persistence of poverty and breeding of corruption (According to the world bank report   Still 21.9 percent of the total population lives in poverty and India is known as the home of 2nd most poor population of the world, and according to the transparency international’s corruption index, India’s position is 81st place respectively) even after 71 years of independence.

The reason for the above-mentioned circumstances and situations is THE FATAL TRIANGLE .i.e. Politics, Bureaucracy, and Business.

Before becoming this triangle into a Fatal triangle, one has to know,  “How this triangle (General relationship) converted to VICIOUS TRIANGLE?”  And “WHAT MAKES VICIOUS TRIANGLE AS FATAL TRIANGLE?”

Now let us discuss these questions in detail one by one.

According to Aristotle, there are two governments, one is known as a legitimate government and another is known as perversive government. The difference between them is Legitimate government works for the public and Perversive government for their vested interest.

When the country is ruled by the Perversive Government then the values such as integrity, honesty, commitment, etc will be unfollowed by the leaders of the country in governing the country.

When the leaders of the country uphold narcissism, either they will influence/inspire the government servant or put pressure on the government servant, to be loyal to their masters instead of being loyal to their office or to the public. Thus, it will break down the code of ethics and code of conduct of the public office.

These types of political structures and administrative structures (bureaucracy) act as breeding grounds for laissez-faire capitalism, where businessmen will turn as predictors because they will be given free hand to administrate market activities.

Thus, this General triangle converts to a VICIOUS TRIANGLE.

Corruption through bribes will increase, which will increase nepotism in the allocation of projects. This will fetch huge excess to the government. Example: Recently the biggest scams unearth are the 2G spectrum scam, and the Coal scam in India, which are classic examples of nepotism and bribes. Thus, this vicious triangle will become FATAL to credible investors.

This vicious triangle relationship will create an environment to the capitalist to influence government policymaking. Thus, the government policies will be failed to inculcate humanistic values in it. This will result in the breakdown of the welfare concept and concept of sustainability. Thus, this vicious triangle will become FATAL to the welfare and environment. For example: in many parts of the world such as Congo, Amazon, and S-E Asian forests have been cleared for minerals and plantation crops. These have been affecting indigenous people and the environment ( Amazon is known as the lungs of the earth)

In this vicious triangle society, the government will not be able to control the process in the market. Thus, the prices of basic needs such as education, shelter, and Health will be exorbitantly high. Thus, it becomes FATAL to the aspirations of the poor population of the country. Example: commercialization of education and health sector In India, which is the reason for higher drop rates in higher education (28 percent among boys and 32 percent among girls).

The high rate of corruption and nepotism will make the accessibility of the government service difficult. Thus, the poor will become poorer, and the rich will become richer. This will increase inequality, which WILL LEAD TO FATAL CONSEQUENCES such as hate, crime, and revolts in society. For example: in India in the 1980s, the top 1 percent of the total population owned only 6 percent of the total country’s wealth, now they own 58 percent of the total country’s wealth.

This vicious relationship will breed forces like Naxalism, Extremism, etc,. Thus, the nexus among these three will bring a threat to internal security also. Thus, it will be FATAL TO Th security of the country.

Thus, from the above, it is clear that HOW VICIOUS TRIANGLE WILL TURN TO FATAL TRIANGLE.

However, not always the relationship among the bureaucrats, politicians and businessmen lead to fatal to society or fatal triangle.

If politics uphold public interest, then bureaucracy will be forced to uphold the public interest. This will make businesses follow professional ethics. For example: though India inclined towards capitalism, it has never neglected welfare state objectives. India has allowed private investment but hasn’t allowed exploiting labor through its strict labor laws.

The government of India by realizing, observing and analyzing, the impact of the vicious triangle. It has taken initiatives to avert the relationship among these three from becoming vicious. There are e-governance, social audit law, and decentralization (73rd and 74th constitution amendment). Like this, the government trying to bring accountability and responsibility in the administrative process.

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