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.
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.
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.