Prostitute of Democracy

The Nation of the Mahatma and the Scams

The idea of democracy is not as easy as most people think. If I ask any person at random in the streets of the world’s largest democracy – India, about what is democracy and how has it helped them, I am certain to get passionate answers like “Democracy is by the people, of the people and for the people”, “We enjoy independent voting rights”, etc. These answers are not quite wrong per se, but they cannot satisfy a rational mind. Although there can be debates about the exact characteristics of democracy and how much freedom it can or should effectively ensure for its citizens, most people will agree with me when I claim that the strength of democracy is certainly not limited to universal adult franchise. There is much more to it – freedom to ventilate one’s thoughts and viewpoints on a socially significant matter (without the fear of facing the wrath of the State if by chance the views turn out to be anti-establishment), being well informed and well briefed (through free media), engaging with dignity in public deliberations, seeing one’s suggestions being reflected in the policy-making procedure and above all participating actively in the development process of one’s own community (through elections, referendums and the general use of civil rights).

Nevertheless, though we talk about democracy being the ‘rule of the people’, it still entails the eternal struggle between the State (comprising of the democratically elected Legislative, the Judiciary and the Executive) and the common man, who has himself cast his important vote to make his State ‘friendlier’ to himself. We must therefore not say that democracy is the political form of a society governing itself, in which the government is spread throughout the milieu of the nation. Such a definition is a contradiction in terms. It would be almost as if we said that democracy is a political society without a State. In fact, the State is nothing if it is not an organ distinct from the rest of society. If the State is everywhere, it is nowhere. The State comes into existence by a process of concentration of power that detaches a certain group of individuals from the collective mass. Thus, in Gandhi’s words, “the individual has a soul, but as the State is a soulless machine, it can never be weaned from violence to which it owes its very existence.”[1] However, the State should not detach itself from the society so much, that its epicenter of power would be in search of that very society.[2]

Thus, we understand that democracy, if it is adequately participatory, should not be after-all a very bad form of political structure to have in a country, particularly if it is seen in comparison to other forms of governance like autocracy or oligarchy. However, the moment the custodians of such a democratic government are elected as representatives of the people to be ruled, there appears, quite naturally, dissociation between the ruler and the ruled. This intrinsic quality of Parliamentary Democracy to dissociate the agents from the institution, probably led the Mahatma to call the Parliamentary system of representative democratic governance as a “prostitute”. What Gandhi proposed in place of parliamentary representative democracy was “enlightened anarchism”, which effectively asks every individual in a society to be self-dependent, self-motivated and self-interested in a manner that does not let individual pursuits come in collision with the actions of others. (Notice how close this idea is to a capitalist philosophy in the sphere of economics, to which Gandhi opposed vehemently.) Evidently, this was too much being asked from the millions of illiterate Indians, or for that matter, populace of any random country. What Gandhi failed to understand is that before his idea could be put into practice, many centuries must pass by to ensure that people actually have the required resources to participate meaningfully in their lives and thereafter.[3]

India’s Tryst with Parliamentary Democracy

The debate as to whether we should have representative democracy is, however, far more practical than philosophical. In a vast country such as India, it is logically imperative that representatives of people be sent to the institutions of democracy (equivalently, offices of governance), who in turn, will help promote and try to ensure the well-being of those who elected them. The sheer size of the Indian populace renders the idea of having a perfectly inclusive decision-making process implausible, even when all the citizens have the required functional capability of meaningfully participating in the deliberations of governance. Thus, the only alternative left for India to ensure simultaneously well-oiled civil machinery and a fair degree of individual freedom, is to have Parliamentary representative democracy (with obvious time-bound revisions) as the governing order.

Once one has understood that one will have to be content with representative democracy then the question arises as to how this existing system of governance can be made more effective. Before I provide the solutions, we must take a quick look at what exactly are the drawbacks of the current democratic system in India.

The prerequisite to the task of finding the drawbacks of any system is to understand and arrive at a consensus regarding the exact objectives that the system is supposed to deliver. Quite amazingly, this prerequisite is conspicuous by its absence in the Indian context. By this, I mean that there is hardly any coherent and consistent effort to understand the goals that the Indian democracy can attempt to achieve, let alone the failed attempts to align interests of diverse groups of Indians. Nevertheless, people, at large, do seem to have a roughly fair idea about the bare minimum that democracy should ensure in their lives.[4] In general, they demand the physical necessities of life (the illusive trio of food, clothing and shelter), security of life and private property; and probably an iota more intellectual of the lot will demand a treatment of equality from the government, at least on grounds of religion, caste, gender, place of birth, etc. That is, in short, for all practical purposes, the set of fundamental rights of the Indian citizens seems to be an upper bound of what an average Indian would probably ask from the coveted Indian democracy. However, unfortunately, the Indian democracy, in spite of its lofty ideals, has until date failed to ensure even these fundamental rights for its citizens. Though Indian democracy has done a reasonably good job as far as issues like secularism are concerned, a lot remains to be done on the developmental front. The reasons for this abysmal performance of the Indian democratic system are multifarious. Many would argue that the prime ingredient in India’s failure to meet the basic developmental milestones has been rampant corruption throughout the social milieu. Multi-layered pilferages, bureaucratic hassles, bribery, public fund embezzlement, nepotism, informal markets and expropriation of public resources for private gains – corruption in almost all its possible garbs presented itself in the Indian democratic system. Even after we accept corruption as one of the most significant malice that plagues developmental initiatives of the Indian democracy, we must clarify to ourselves the causes and effects of such widespread corruption. Only then can we hope to reign in corruption effectively.

Interestingly enough, the existing literature on the nexus between democracy and corruption appears to suffer from indeterminacy regarding the answer to the question that whether corruption essentially draws its vitality from democracy itself. In other words, theoretical research fails to conclusively state whether or not corruption thrives well in the cradle of democracy. While some researchers show that corruption is characteristically predominant in autocratic or oligarchic set-ups where governing power tends to be concentrated in the hands of a few, others, however, are not willing to accept this explanation at mere face-value. According to them, democratic systems of governance inevitably entail an elaborate system of multi-layered bureaucracy, which in turn serve as the breeding ground of corruption. Whether or not corruption thrives better in a democracy, we must acknowledge the astonishingly wide range of incidence of corruption across the democratic countries themselves. Consider the example of Indonesia as pitched against that of Singapore, both being democratic nations but widely varying in the incidence of corruption. While Singapore ranks 5th in the list of 182 nations across the world in terms of the Corruption Perceptions Index, Indonesia ranks 100th in the same list. This glaring contrast is an eloquent pointer to the fact that political regimes may not be the significant factor that determines the degree of corruption in a country. Moreover, this example also serves the purpose to show that the incidence of corruption also cannot be quite well explained along the lines of shared cultural and historical mindsets. Singapore and Indonesia, South East Asian neighbours, share a lot of socio-cultural commonality between them, but surprisingly people in Singapore appear to be largely less corrupt than their Indonesian counterparts.

What is clear from the above argument is that one cannot study the nature and causes of corruption in India formally without understanding why India is so corrupt in the first place. Then one can analyze why corruption persists in India, once Indians are exposed to the ill effects of corruption. The successful analysis of these two crucial questions will finally lead us to understand the possible methods of curbing corruption.

Why is a majority of Indians corrupt?

Interestingly enough, academicians have elaborately discussed different methods of battling corruption out from India, but seldom have they talked about the a priori question that why, on the very first place, is a majority of Indians corrupt. Among the social scientists, probably only the economists have put forward a general theory as to why widespread corruption exists in any society. The essence of their argument lies in the incentive compatibility. In other words, economists are largely of the view that Indians (or for that matter, people in general) are corrupt because they have private incentives to be corrupt, that is, the private gains from indulging in corruption is high enough to outweigh the moral and/or legal discomfort from such a “wrongdoing”. For example, if a government official accepts bribe to move a pending file faster or a politician in power accepts bribes from a corporate giant to strike a tacit deal in favour of the latter’s firm, then they both are trying to maximize their personal gains. Unfortunately, the channel through which they are pursuing their self-interest[5] is not legally sanctioned[6] and we call it “corruption”. Though the explanation seems convincing, yet a careful scrutiny will reveal that incentives cannot be the only reason behind existence of corrupt practices. This is because, according to the incentive-based approach, when people decide to indulge in corruption they have implicitly done a cost-benefit analysis to conclude that if they can somehow grab the opportunity of making money then they can be better off, even after discounting for the cost of immorality. The lacuna in the argument is that incentives tend to be similar across the globe but still we find one particular country being more corrupt than the others are. This obviously means that something other than the incentives is important in determining the level of corruption in a society. Here we present that other cause, especially for Indians to be corrupt – a reason so obvious that it often escapes the eye.

Apart from the incentive-based argument, the reason that has contributed in making Indians corrupt, according to me, is colonial subjugation. Almost two and a half centuries of colonial subordination has taken its due toll on the Indian social structure and psyche of the people. Prolonged exposure to moral decadence and a sense of bondage has shaped the Indian mind to naturally depend on bribery and nepotism to meet private benefits. In spite of the lofty ideals of British administration and governance, the relationship between the Indian subjects and their British administrators remained that of a master-servant. That obviously meant that the Indians became accustomed to pleasing their rulers with gifts and favours, and getting personal rewards in reciprocation. Many will try to argue that even before the British rule Indians were exposed to such royal favoritism through their pre-colonial rulers. However, such argument is refuted because many provincial governments under the single umbrella of dynastic rule did ensure some primitive forms of political democracy for their people, and in general, a majority of people’s lives were precariously detached from the autocratic proceedings of the handful of the ruler-class. Therefore, what is important to note is that democracy can have some intrinsic values that can deter at least certain forms of corruption like nepotism and bribery. On the other hand, feudal systems of colonial governments can instill these same negative virtues in people. This is true not only for India but also for other countries across the globe, cutting through socio-cultural barriers. Instances where prolonged colonial subjugation has led to eruption of corruption in a society are the host of African countries, other Asian countries like Pakistan, Nepal, Vietnam, etc. This is enough evidence to show that countries sharing the common history of colonial subjugation tend to have a more corrupt populace for reasons just discussed.

Thus, we see that majority of Indians are prone to indulging in corrupt acts because a history of colonial rule has weakened the value system of their entire social structure. Therefore, even when the colonial rule is long over, Indians fail to move out of their legacy of being a ‘corrupt race’. This brings us to the logical corollary of the vital question that why the present-day Indians, despite their common feeling that corruption is doing them no good, are still corrupt.

Why Does Corruption Persist in India?

The answer to the paradox, why Indians continue to be corrupt even when they believe that corruption is a major bottleneck in the path of the country’s developmental aspirations, lies probably in the shortsightedness of the general populace. What exactly I mean by ‘shortsightedness’ will become clear through the following example. Consider a typical middle-class urban Indian working as a bank-staff in a private-sector bank. Suppose that at some point of his life, he had to pay a bribe to his local municipality official to get a tube-well or a street-lamp installed in his locality (which otherwise falls under his civic rights to legitimately demand for such amenities) or maybe, for getting a bed in a government hospital[7] during a medical crisis at his home. Evidently, at the time of giving this bribe, the person did not feel good. He must have felt, even if he did not express publicly, that because of these malpractices India is lagging behind on the development front. Nevertheless, when this same person enters his workplace, he often accepts bribes from his clients to illegally sanction bank-loans to potentially defaulting candidates. However, while receiving this bribe, he probably consoles his pricking conscience by making himself believe that had he not grabbed the opportunity of making this extra bit of money then probably his peers would have achieved more in life, at least materially speaking.

The above example of a typical Indian shows how the network of corruption continues unhindered even when every Indian feels, at least while in the shoes of the bribe-payer, that corruption is bad per se for this country. Another form of ‘shortsightedness’ arises from the fact that people mostly dissociate their private interests from the larger social interest, thereby often giving rise to the unwanted situation where the private gains are exactly in conflict with the social benefit.

All said and done, if one needs to formalize the concept of persistence of corruption in India as discussed above, nothing can be more suitable than the famous multiple equilibria model developed by the Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman in his famous paper “History versus Expectations” (1970). Krugman developed his model to explain a completely different economic fact, which is of no interest to us in the present context. However, the main structure of the model is helpful in understanding the persistence of any “bad” or “inferior” situation in a society when a “good” or “superior” equilibrium state is always available. The crux of the argument is that people are initially stuck in a “bad” equilibrium (here a society stuck with high corruption level). As more and more people shun the path of corruption, the incentive from corruption goes down (that is, people find it more and more profitable to become honest). After a critical number of citizens has moved out towards the “good” equilibrium, virtually everyone in the society finds it profitable to move out and hence in this dynamic process the “good” equilibrium is ultimately achieved by the entire society. Thus, what we understand is that a society may be initially stuck at an inferior situation due to “historical” factors, but it is certainly possible to move to the superior state by forming self-fulfilling “expectations”. However, for such a desirable change of equilibrium to happen one must recognize the crucial role of the “mavericks”, that is, the people who will initiate the move of becoming “honest” and be followed by others in the society. Therefore, we understand that creating the mavericks for India is very important if we hope to move India out from this low-level equilibrium trap of high corruption. The next sections will shed light on the modus operandi of creating such mavericks in the society.

Law: A Necessary Evil?

Once we have understood how the mesh of corruption can be ended in the Indian context, we must look forward to a cost-effective methodology for the execution of that solution of finding or creating the mavericks. As one can understand, this is one zone of discussion, which has ignited spirited public debates in India. The debates revolving around the Lokpal Bill, or the Whistle-Blowers’ Act or other laws that aim to reign in corrupt practices in India have at least one characteristic in common – that is, they all try to find not only a feasible but also an affordable solution to keeping corruption in check. In fact, the importance of many obvious solutions like widespread usage of electronic financial transactions in public and private offices (thereby reducing the dependence on human discretion for such matters), or popularizing the use of close-circuit-television-cameras in offices of importance, etc. can never be undermined even if some iconic law like the Lokpal Act gets passed in the Parliament. Thus, one has to understand that the plane of debate is not the validity of a solution but the affordability of it. In other words, we must devise a solution (legal or otherwise) that can ensure a critical amount of honesty in the system. Before the final solution can be stated, one must be aware of the limitations of other feasible solutions; otherwise, the argument for a particular solution becomes ad-hoc and weak. Therefore, we begin by analyzing the reaches of the legal system in changing corruption levels in a country.[8]

To understand the role of law in curbing corruption, consider the following hypothetical example. Suppose the government of a country feels that, there are too many irregularities in the distribution of ration-cards in a particular region or state. That is, it is often found that ration-cards are created in the names of the well-off people in the village, rather than those below the poverty line (whom the government actually wanted to help by providing free rations). As a result, the government, obviously with good intent, introduced a law, which prohibited the issue of any further ration-cards in the region by the local Panchayats. Meanwhile, the government set-up an expert committee to probe into the situation and granted this committee special power to issue ration cards to the Below Poverty Line people in the region according to the committee’s discretion. Many would believe that this solution is perfect to end the corrupt practices rampant in the villages. No doubt, this solution would have been the best if the committee comprised of robots (not humans with the intrinsic urge to satisfy their own private interests). Thus, we find that the legal solution by the government, in spite of its best intentions, effectively replaces one group of corrupt Panchayat officials with another, probably more sophisticated but nonetheless equally corruptible group of committee-members.[9] Thus, we understand that laws are crucial in curbing corruption as far as creation of incentives to be law-abiding is concerned. Apart from this incentive-creating role of laws, there is hardly any ground to believe that laws can help abolish corrupt practices. This is certainly not to say that law itself is not useful. For instance, one may be tempted to think that without any law there would be no law-breakers. However, evidently, one cannot leave the entire society (particularly a society with potential incentives for law breaking) to anarchy. Therefore, we no doubt require law, but the question remains how that law should be designed so that we can avoid the risk of creating an additional layer of bureaucracy without any effective impact on correcting the incentive schemata of the society.

Thus, we understand that law should serve as a signpost in a world of commotion. To elaborate what I mean by “signpost”, let us consider the following simultaneous one-time game.[10] Here, each of the two players 1 and 2 can choose between the two actions A and B. They have no prior communication with each other before they play the game. Evidently, one can understand from the payoff matrix below that there are two equilibria possible in the game: one is where both players choose action A (the “bad” equilibrium, as discussed earlier) and another is where both players choose action B (the “good” equilibrium where both players are better off). Obviously, every player would want to choose the action that the other player chooses to maximize his own benefits. Since the players are ignorant of the other player’s choices before the actual play of the game, therefore both actions are probable for both players. In other words, without any further information to the players, it is highly probable that the best situation of (B,B) equilibrium is not reached.

Figure No.: 1: The Assurance (Coordination) Game[11]

PLAYER 2

 ACTION A

ACTION B

PLAYER 1

ACTION A

(2,2)

(9,1)

ACTION B

(1,9)

(10,10)

Now consider efficacy of the proposed Lokpal Bill in the light of the game described above. Grossly speaking, the Lokpal law aims to build a separate constitutional body, which will probe into the allegations of corruption labeled against any public servant.[12] This evidently entails the creation of another undesirable layer of bureaucracy (who can become corrupt themselves) but does not deliver on the front of creating incentives for the honest. Instead, consider the Whistleblowers’ Act. This rewards those agents who complain against the wrongdoers without creating a separate layer of bureaucracy. The working process of this kind of law can be understood through the following game-theoretic formalization.

Suppose a layman approaches a government official to get his routine job done. However, the corrupt official, as usual, asks for a bribe, saying that if he does not pay the bribe his job will be delayed. At this decision-node, the common man can decide not to pay the bribe and remain content with a delayed completion of his job. Alternatively, he could have agreed to pay the bribe. Nevertheless, once his job is done, he always has the option to report this corrupt action of the official to the police.

The payoffs of the government official and the common person are shown in the sequential game-tree (Figure No.: 2), in the form of ordered pairs. Note that since the payoff of the layman is less if he reports to the police than if he does not, therefore the corrupt official gets away and corruption persists in the economy.

Figure No.: 2

Untitled

This gloomy scenario can be changed quite easily, if there is some legal reward provision for the common person (whistleblower) who reports about an act of corruption. In this way, his payoff can be increased in case of reporting and then the official’s payoff falls to -10, thereby rendering bribe-seeking non-profitable. In this way, protection and reward of the whistle-blower in the society can help reduce corruption. This case is shown in Figure No.: 3 below.

Figure No.: 3

3

One must note that the success of the Whistleblowers’ Act also depends on lowering the cost of legal hassles that the plaintiff has to bear after lodging a complaint and increasing the rewards for lodging a true complaint. While the Whistleblowers’ Act is definitely a step in correcting the incentives scheme, the Lokpal Bill, in spite of its lofty ideal of giving greater democratic power in the hands of the common person of India, fails to achieve that, let alone the extra administrative cost of setting up and running the Lokpal and the Lokayuktas.

Now, I turn to yet another logical flaw that we often make while depending too much on laws to curb corruption – the question of whether the government itself will be willing to enforce a law that does not serve the personal interests of its own members. It is rife to find members of the government being linked to corrupt activities, and hence may be unwilling to enforce a law that comes in the way of their pursuit of self-interest. After all, if the majority of the population of a country is corrupt then how can the elected representatives be anything different? Thus, creation of thoughtless laws is not only a burden on the already resource-constrained country but they may even turn out to be corruption promoting in the long run by creating additional layers of more complex bureaucracy.

Democracy and Corruption: Role of Media

From the ongoing platitude discussed so far, what we can safely conclude is that the hype created about the Lokpal Bill, particularly by the civil society and the popular media, should not be accepted without a pinch of reality. Much of the debate that revolves around how to make India corruption-free sadly lacks the rigor of rational thinking, rather these debates on media platforms have increasingly become emotionally and politically motivated. Nevertheless, what we do require from the media is a commitment in spreading mass awareness against corruption. It is exactly for this reason that present-day India requires many more people in the likes of Anna Hazare to educate the mass to demand a corruption-free society, but not to debate with the government regarding the nuances of a single Bill or Act: matters that are exclusive prerogative of the parliament. Another significant role that the media can play is in bringing forth the acts of corruption to greater public knowledge (thereby effectively playing the role of an organized whistleblower). Nevertheless, the media, mostly controlled by the corporate giants may in turn, have their own vested politico-economic interests, in playing the role of a society’s whistleblower; though entry of more media firms in the industry will help in reducing the monopoly of a handful of media houses that potentially controls public view. Thus, a sufficiently competitive media of a country can contribute significantly in the crusade against corruption by furthering the democratic ideals, thereby in turn creating a greater demand of transparency from the grassroots level.

Another World Is Possible[13]

I conclude by a disclaimer that whatever methods I discussed so far in the essay may be neither necessary nor sufficient but they can surely clear the mist of misunderstanding surrounding the problem of tackling corruption in a country as diverse as India, and that too with severe resource constraints. We all do sincerely hope that one day India would be as much corruption-free as any of her developed counterparts. India’s clamour for a ‘new world order’ at different international platforms will not be fully justified unless we mend our own house properly.


Reference

  • Abdulraheem, A. (2009): “Corruption in India: An Overview”
  • Acemoglu, D.; Verdier, T. (2000): “The Choice between Market Failures and Corruption”, The American Economic Review, Vol. 90, No. 1 (Mar., 2000), pp. 194-211
  • Bardhan, P. (2006): “The Economist’s Approach to the Problem of Corruption”, World Development, Vol. 34, No. 2, pp. 341-348
  • Bardhan, P. (1997): “Corruption and Development: A Review of Issues”, Journal of Economic Literature, Vol. 35, No. 3 (Sept., 1997), pp. 1320-1346
  • Basu, K. (2010): “Beyond the Invisible Hand: Groundwork for a New Economics”, Penguin Books India, 2011
  • Chang, ECC; Chu, YH (2006): “Corruption and Trust: Exceptionalism in Asian Democracies?”, Journal of Politics 68.2: 259-271
  • Emerson, P. (2006): “Corruption, competition and democracy”, Journal of Development Economics 81 (2006) 193-212
  • Guha, R. (2011): “Delhi Delusions”, The Telegraph, Kolkata, India, June 18, 2011
  • Johnston, M. (1999): “Corruption and Democratic Consolidation”, Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies, Princeton University
  • Krueger, AO (1974): “The Political Economy of the Rent-Seeking Society”, The American Review, Vol. 64, No. 3 (Jun., 1974), pp. 291-303
  • Krugman, P. (1991): “History versus Expectations”, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 106, No. 2. (May, 1991), pp. 651-667
  • Macrae, J. (1982): “Underdevelopment and the Economics of Corruption: A Game Theory Approach”, World Development, Vol. 10, No. 8, pp. 677-687
  • Mogiliansky, A; Majumdar, M; Radner, R. (2008): “Petty Corruption: A game-theoretic approach”, International Journal of Economic Theory 4 (2008) 273-297
  • Pani, M. (2009): “Hold Your Nose and Vote: Why Do Some Democracies Tolerate Corruption?”, International Monetary Fund
  • Saha, S.; Campbell, N. (2007): “Studies of the Effect of Democracy on Corruption”, 36th Australian Conference of Economists, Tasmania, Australia
  • Stiglitz, JE. (2006): “Making Globalization Work”, Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd
  • wikipedia.com (accessed on 29th October, 2012): Corruption Perceptions Index, Jan Lokpal Bill

 


 

[1] Therefore, the scenes that flash on the news channels – police firing on a group of unarmed farmers to acquire their land, lathi-charge on agitating students, etc, should not startle us. However, what is certainly distressing to note is the rampant abuse of State power in the guise of law enforcement. The rise in the number of incidents of politically motivated and State-sponsored terrorism throughout the country is a matter of great shame.

[2] According to the Tamil economist S. Guhan, Delhi is a capital, which is continually in search of its own country.

[3] Resources mostly do not mean wealth, and particularly not in the present context. Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has extensively argued how the lack of capabilities leading to reduced functionings of individuals can severely restrict meaningful participation in personal and social life. At the very beginning of Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle has noted that “… wealth is evidently not the good we are seeking; for it is merely useful and for the sake of something else.” This “something else” is freedom to pursue the life people value or have reasons to value. Amartya Sen has thus quite aptly reverberated the Aristotelian view that “expanding the freedoms that we have reason to value not only makes our lives richer and more unfettered, but also allows us to be fuller social persons, exercising our own volitions and interacting with – and influencing – the world in which we live.”

[4] Unfortunately, the Indian people at large do not seem to be learned enough about their individual role in making the democratic system work better. In other words, democracy to most of the Indians mean nothing more than a government, which they have elected to power, taking the responsibility of meeting all their demands.

[5] Note that this perspective of understanding “self-interest” is surely not the Gandhian perspective, as discussed earlier.

[6] We will return to the issue of how to enumerate the effects of the legal structure on corruption.

[7] In fact, beds in government hospitals are effectively often in the sole control of the government officials or more frequently under the aegis of the local supporters of the political party in power.

[8] Obviously, this analysis of legal frameworks to deal with corruption will include the effectiveness and costs of implementing the much-awaited proposed Lokpal Bill in India.

[9] While discussing the reaches of law in changing societal patterns, Kaushik Basu, in his recent book, “Beyond the Invisible Hand: Groundwork for a New Economics” (2010) discusses about how the introduction of speed-limit laws may turn out to be futile because the traffic-police on the roads may not be having the requisite incentive to lodge complaints against the rash drivers. Moreover, the senior police and administrative officials may also be lacking the incentive to catch hold of the non-performing traffic-police on the roads; and so on.

[10] The remaining part of the essay will use elementary concepts of game theory, which I have introduced without the conventional mathematical rigor (e.g., concepts like Nash equilibrium, Subgame Perfect Equilibrium, etc.) to keep the flow of the main theme unabated.

[11] Developed by Amartya Sen (1967)

[12] The final draft of Lokpal Bill will clarify on details regarding whether all or selected public servants will be under the purview of the Lokpal, whether private players like the corporate and the NGOs will also be taken into consideration.

[13] This subtitle is taken from Joseph Stiglitz’s famous book, “Making Globalization Work” (2006).

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