Of shamans, animal spirits, illusionists and voodoo politics…
“One day everything will be well, that is our hope. Everything is fine today, that is our illusion.” –Voltaire.
It is a challenging time for rationalists in Incredible Earth. The shamans in the governments are working up the animal spirits and the illusionists are in a lather to convince all that the revival in the economy is around the next bend.
Both would like us to believe that all the ills in the economy were caused by flawed Feng Shui. It was not the placement of the chair, but the choice of the men for the chairs that were responsible for the bad vibes in the political economy. The chorus drummed up by illusionists suggests that since some of the men have been moved -uphill, the Story will be back on the screen at global multiplexes. It makes you wonder if seeing is, indeed, believing!
This exuberance triggers an overwhelming sense of déjà vu. Indeed, analysts have exhausted medical metaphors to describe the state of economy, but déjà vu has made a comeback. The illusionists who would have us believe that it was because of voodoo that the economy was going downhill, eventually, will face that even the bugler has to be paid and therefore growth is a necessary condition for current leaders’ political relevance.
The illusionists need to appreciate that it’s manmade institutions, not the lay of the land or the faith of our forefathers, that determine whether a country is rich or poor, and countries are more likely to develop the right institutions when they have an open pluralistic political system with competition for political office, a widespread electorate, and openness to new political leaders.
Keynes says under-employment and under-investment will persist unless active measures are taken by the state. The argument is valid for politics too. The root of policy paralysis lies in the fact that politicians choose to be employed by the financiers.
This must change. Right now. Bad regimes remain in a vicious spiral. Powerful people always and everywhere seek to grab complete control over government, undermining broader social progress for their own greed. Keep those people in check with effective democracy or watch your nation fail.
What is needed in politics can be summed up by three simple propositions. In the twenty- first century, economics should focus:
_ More on realism, less on rigor
_ More on equity, less on efficiency
_ More on humility, less on hubris
It’s about time we invoked those animal spirits, within the real politicians’ caste, for World’s economic growth. Illusions are ephemeral, reality is persistent.
“One day everything will explode, that is my fear. Everything is fucked today, that is our reality.” –Dugutigui.
Voodoo Politics – Dugutigui