Here is my ideal vision of India, and in my opinion, the right political set-up for a country. It is the “Classical liberal model of governance“. Any country could uplift itself from the lowest level of poverty to the highest degree of affluence, if it were to follow this set-up. This formula is based on tried-and-proven models that offer the best results.

Of course implementing them is beyond the capability and intelligence of that huge colossal jackass of a PM — that corrupt mass-murdering psychopathic hindutvadi fraud named Narendra Modi. Swarna Bharat Party is the only Indian party I’ve come across which says all the right things and even better, has the right set of policies to bring about such an India; all founded on solid economic principles and a sound understanding of liberty. Whether it becomes successful remains to be seen.

The blueprint for a prosperous free society when reduced to their individual components are as follows:

(1) The ideal political system would be a Westminster-style parliamentary democracy with separation of powers between the executive, legislature, and judiciary; secularism (i.e., separation of religion and state); multiculturalism (i.e., equality of all races, cultures, religions, and languages)a decentralized political structure (with maximum decentralization of powers from the centre down to the city councils, town panchayats, and village panchayats); First-past-the-post voting system; and aspects of direct democracy (citizen-initiated referendums, ballot initiatives, and the right to recall governments, ministers, and law-makers) but circumscribed to protect individual liberties from the tyranny of the majority.

This is the best possible system which ensures that the politicians we elect don’t become our overlords and are held accountable for their actions, as they can’t impose their whims and are forced to do only what the people want; for better or for worse. It also ensures that the state is representative of all its citizens and doesn’t violate individual liberties. This system also enables strong local self-governance, which is essential for solving most governance issues such as city / town / village infrastructure, sanitation, etc.

Additionally, cities and towns should be required by law to set up a comprehensive planning system and to create a master plan. They must also be required to become “Garden cities”, with high green coverage and allotment of a specific percentage of total land for parks, gardens, and reserves. Singapore and the cities of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand fare well in this regard.

(2) Strict rule of law is a critical and vital ingredient for a society’s success, without which all of the other components can’t function. Rule of Law means that social rules are made according to principles, and not according to personal whims, arbitrary notions, or legislative caprice. The rule of law means that laws apply to everyone equally. No one is above the law. And justice requires that the law privilege no person or group, or create special laws for ‘special’ groups of people. Everyone has equal rights. Furthermore, the functionaries of government should comply with, and disclose precisely how their decisions are compatible with the general rules.

A functioning rule of law necessitates separation of powers. It divorces legislative and judicial functions from the executive, and hands them over to the legislature and judiciary respectively. Maintenance of the rule of law requires ensuring that laws which are implemented are simple to comprehend; limiting the personal discretion of government officials to move resources and make decisions; efficient enforcement of laws and contracts; harsh penalties for violation of laws; legalization of vice such as drugs, gambling, prostitution, most kinds of firearms, etc; abolition of stupid laws which don’t make sense; zero tolerance for corruption and abuse of power; protection of property rights; effective maintenance of law and order through an autonomous, non-corrupt, and impartial police force; and quick delivery of justice through an independent, non-corrupt, and impartial judiciary.

The legal system needs to be world-class. English Common Law is reputed to the best for private enterprise and economic prosperity. Seven of the 10 most economically free countries in the world have a common-law legal system.

(3) There must be constitutionally mandated limits on the size and scope of government. The government should be prevented from wasting its energies and precious taxpayer revenue on unnecessary and irrelevant things. In other words, it must not waste money on running public enterprises and wasteful social programs; or providing freebies to the electorate and subsidies to private entities. The government must only be allowed to perform functions which can’t be undertaken by the private sector, namely:

  • External defense (military, cyber security, border control, and acquisition of intelligence against external threats);
  • Internal security (police, emergency management, acquisition of intelligence against internal threats, immunization programmes, workers safety, consumer safety, and environmental protection);
  • Securement of justice through the provision of a legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected, protection of property rights, enforcement of contracts, adjudication of disputes, prevention of fraud, and punishment of crimes by the judiciary;
  • Supplying a monetary medium;
  • Ensuring reasonable equality of opportunity through the provision of high-quality primary and secondary education for poor children, high-quality basic healthcare for the poor, high-quality emergency healthcare for all, and a frugal social minimum for the destitute. The government should not directly provide education and healthcare, but fund them through vouchers for schools and basic healthcare; as well as loans for emergency healthcare. Additionally, the government must co-regulate schools, universities, and vocational training institutes with private associations of educators for quality by setting mandatory minimum standards. In order to develop the human capital, the government can facilitate the creation of schools, universities, and vocational training institutes through subsidizing long-term or perpetual leases on land, but subject to its purpose use never being changed.;
  • Facilitating the creation, maintenance, and repair of public infrastructure by the private sector. The government should only finance those public infrastructure projects that are too risky for the private sector to finance on its own, for instance, due to long gestation periods that do not provide timely and quick returns.;
  • Foreign diplomacy and negotiation of free trade agreements.

Furthermore, governments below the federal government should be prohibited from providing social insurance and perquisites.

These limits on government scope and size must be further reinforced with constitutional amendments mandating fiscal prudence at all levels such as a ban on borrowing, tax limits, list of permissible taxes, the compulsory presentation of balanced budgets; and a spending cap limiting spending growth to average revenue increases over a multi year period.

(4) The quality of our political representation needs to be subject to the most stringent regulations in order to maintain a very high quality of political representation. Meritocracy in political representation is absolutely crucial in ensuring that only our best and brightest become our elected representatives. This involves:

  • Offering attractive incentives to bring in the best people (for instance, high salary without perks, reduction of election costs, compensation on a per-vote basis for electoral expenditures incurred, etc);
  • Outrightly excluding the criminal and corrupt as well as creating disincentives to keep them out (for instance, fast-tracking of corruption and criminal cases of political candidates, strong checks and balances against corruption and misuse of authority, and constitutional limits on the size and scope of government);
  • Creating incentives for good performance and accountability (for instance, tying a major portion of politicians salaries to performance);
  • Preventing as well as creating disincentives for corruption, cronyism, and bad performance (for instance, transparency and other checks and balances, harsh penalties, Right to recall elected governments, ministers, and law-makers);
  • Ensuring political equality of citizens which means that the state is blind to one’s race/ethnicity/religion/gender and thus doesn’t allow for reservations in political representation;
  • Banning identity-based parties as well as parties that advocate a role beyond the limited functions stipulated by Classical liberalism. Disqualifying collectivist and racist political candidates of all hues;
  • Making it mandatory for laws and regulations to pass rigorous impact assessment in order to qualify for approval in parliament. The SBP policy framework is a world-class framework for designing policies.

Real-world examples include Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand.

(5) The government machinery at all levels must be incentive-compatible in order to ensure that the bureaucracy and other public institutions such as judiciary, police, military, etc, are honest, accountable, possess high standards of competency, and are constantly performing at top efficiency. The public institutions of Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and United Kingdom are exemplary models for India to follow.

(6)  A free-market capitalist economy is the engine of prosperity and innovation. It can uplift a nation from the worst kind of poverty to the highest degree of material affluence.

As such, we need well-regulated free markets wherein taxes are low; regulations are minimal and aimed at ensuring consumer safety, worker safety, environmental protection, and high quality of schools, universities, and vocational training institutes; free banking is the prevailing monetary arrangement; precious metals are the standard economic unit of account of the national currency; and both natural resources as well as the environment are managed and harvested by the private sector.

(7) A nation which seeks to become prosperous must unilaterally pursue a free trade policy with the rest of the world, with no investment barriers and no trade barriers including zero tariffs and no customs duties. Free trade makes local industries highly competitive, and boosts our purchasing power by making high-quality products from around the world available to us at cheaper prices.

(8) We must uphold the sanctity of individual liberties. In simple words, everyone should be left alone to do what they want and live as they like as long as the individual doesn’t violate the rights of others and doesn’t damage public property. This simple golden rule precludes hate speech laws, nanny state laws, and criminalization of or stupid restrictions on vices and lifestyle choices.

A civilized and free society is distinguished by its respect for individual freedoms. This makes life livable, and encourages critical thinking and innovation; thereby significantly boosting economic productivity and improving living standards for everyone.

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Any country that makes these eight points their key priorities shall never experience decline and stagnation, witness poverty, or suffer economic crisis. It shall only see good governance and constantly accelerating prosperity. This holds true for declining advanced nations like the USA and most of Europe, as well as developing nations like India and China.

India in particular would rise to become the world’s richest, freest, and best-governed country if it were to junk its failed “Nehruvian Socialist model of governance” in favor of the universally successful Classical liberal model — a model which maximizes individual freedom and encompasses all available knowledge of what works best in developed countries around the world.

Instead of voting for socialist demagogues like Modi or Kejriwal who promise everything under the sun, Indians should vote for a party which aims to strike at Nehruvian Socialism — the root cause of India’s corruption and chronic misgovernance.

We need a change in our SYSTEMS OF GOVERNMENT, not just a change in leaders! We need rule of law. We need more federalism and subsidiarity. We need more democratization. We need to make our bureaucracy, public institutions, and political representation incentive-compatible. We need free-market capitalism, and imposition of strict limits restricting the area and scope of government functions. We need more individual liberty. A mere change of leaders won’t accomplish anything. Our SYSTEMS need to be fixed. Once our systems are fixed, good people will automatically become public servants and all our governance issues will be solved.

Join and support Swarna Bharat Party, India’s only political party dedicated to fixing our government systems and delivering a powerful and prosperous nation.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Good piece, and I agree with almost everything. The following, however, I find problematic:

    “Banning identity-based parties as well as parties that advocate a role beyond the limited functions stipulated by Classical liberalism. Disqualifying collectivist and racist political candidates of all hues;”

    There are obvious flaws to this. Ideas are best combated with free speech, not with regulations on the same. Granted, collectivism and racism are foolish ideals. Yet silencing them would be a violation of liberty; freedom of speech is meaningless except when applied to those you disagree with.
    It is instead best to aspire to amend the constitution in such a way that it is infused with libertarian/classical-liberal principles. Vying to put fascistic restrictions on who may legitimately hold office on ideological lines is counter productive and unwarranted.

    • I’m not demanding that people be punished for or prevented from voicing their opinions. That would indeed be illiberal. I stand for freedom of speech, with the exception of incitement to violence.

      Freedom exists with a clause. It can only exist if there is accountability. This extends to our personal conduct, and to politics as well. There is only freedom to do good. There is no freedom to do bad. There shouldn’t be any freedom to loot public funds, pander to special interests, misuse authority, infringe on individual liberties, ruin the nation’s economy, etc. Freedom cannot be license.

      Politics should be just about providing high-quality governance and protecting individual liberties. Those who have another agenda have no business being in politics.

      Politics is the most serious profession there is, because it can affect the lives of millions of people. It is in the public interest that the quality of our political representation be subject to stringent regulations in order to prevent morally unscrupulous and incompetent people from becoming political representatives. I’ve always found it absurd that one needs to be highly qualified to practise medicine, but just about any demagogue and crook can become a politician.

      What can be more important than the quality of our governance? It is that which enables prosperity and a high standard of living. It is that which separates Australia and Canada from India and Pakistan. Our present pathetic plight is due to bad governance.

      So yes, we need a new classical liberal constitution which also stringently regulates the quality of politicians. It should be mandatory for political parties and candidates to swear allegiance to the constitution to qualify for registration. If they go against the basic principles of the constitution, they should be disqualified or barred from entry.

      • I get your point, but I still don’t agree completely. It is risky and unethical to give any organisation the power to make character judgements on whole groups of people organised as political parties, often not holding any public office but merely expressing illiberal ideas, and on that basis ban them. It is much safer to let courts adjudicate on the constitutional validity of individual actions by governments. If we were to achieve a libertarian constitution, it is ensured that governments cannot carry out illiberal executive actions, pass bogus legislations or cross certain boundaries (with regard to economic policy and suchlike) due to the counterbalance provided for by the judiciary.

        I do agree however that there should be more regulations on who can run for public office– certain educational qualifications, a thorough lack of conflicts of interest, etc. I would add that installing some requisite qualifications for voters too could be a good idea. Jobs of governance are indeed jobs that need to be handled by professionals.

        • Well, somebody’s got to judge and there should be a proper thorough process. The Election Commission can’t be allowed to just ban on a whim. The political parties and candidates can fight against the decision at the Supreme Court.

          It is always better to nip the problem in the bud, and prevent the unnecessary nonsense from occurring in the first place.

          Contesting elections is not a birthright just like becoming a doctor isn’t a birthright. Both politics and medicine are professions. Politics is not social service. Politicians are our servants. And like permission to practice medicine, permission to contest should be subject to having certain conditions met.

          For instance, we do already ban convicted criminals from entry into politics. I’m just asking that this law be made far more stringent, and extended to anti-freedom elements too.

          Yes, I support a good classical liberal constitution. The model that I advocate cannot be implemented without a new constitution.

          The constitution should be short, crisp, and simple. And whoever advocates going against the basic principles (secularism, multiculturalism, sanctity of individual liberties, free markets, free trade, and limited government) should be barred from entry or chucked out. All our existing problems stem from our politicians acting against these principles. Get that fixed and most of our problems will be solved. The remainder can be fixed through systemic reforms once the political class is cleansed of bad rubbish and we only have good politicians.

          I disagree about requisite qualifications for voters. Voting is a birthright of a citizen. Let the masters choose their servants!

          • Addendum:

            “If we were to achieve a libertarian constitution, it is ensured that governments cannot carry out illiberal executive actions, pass bogus legislations or cross certain boundaries (with regard to economic policy and suchlike) due to the counterbalance provided for by the judiciary.”

            A political party can always change the constitution with a two third majority in the Lok Sabha. It’s better to nip the problem in the bud as I said earlier.

  2. Great article. I agree, that people should look beyond freebies and ludicrous poll-promises and vote for political parties that walk the talk.

  3. Why the first-past-the-post system? If people had the option of placing BJP or AAP depending on their value system as a second option to SBP in a system that allowed them do so (approval, ranked choice – condorcet criterion or range voting), or as a second option after their first options, then a whole lot more of votes come SBP’s way, a lot earlier in the game. If you rely on first past the post, you need a very large minority absolutely committed to the cause.

    • FPTP is the most effective way of representation that has proved its worth, and is also consistent with Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem. There is no logical way to add people’s first/ second/ third preferences.

      FPTP is also very responsive to change in public opinion, since it generally needs only 35% or so votes in a constituency to come first.

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