Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Politics and Violence - Pakistan

Dear Colleagues

Bennazir Bhutto was assassinated at a political rally in Pakistan as she was campaigning for the upcoming elections to be held in January. Why?

She was campaigning with "democracy" in the forefront of her popularity ... but is the democracy real, or is it merely political packaging that gets support and gets votes, but has little substance.

The United States seems to like politicians around the world that talk about democracy ... and it would appear that a lot of these politicians get more or less substantial financial assistance from the United States. This, I would argue, is a questionable practice and quite problematic.

Why do people run for high office? The ideal is that they are highly competent and are able to do something of value for the people ... but the reality is that there are substantial financial rewards available, and tremendous power.

Why do people get into violence during political campaigns and about the results of elections? It seems that too much money and power is associated with the political system, and the "goodies" that a political winner is able to share with supporters.

Money and power in politics is rarely value adding ... more often it is disastrous value destruction. There needs to be wealth creation from good economic activity ... and a big downgrading of political wheeling and dealing to divert wealth to partisan benefit.

What can be done to get peace ... so that there can be positive economic activity and opportunity for enterprise to generate incremental prosperity. Part of the answer is for a substantial improvement in the sharing of data about economic activities and how resources flows are being used for society's benefit. When people understand how much resources are being used for so little, they can make decisions about how to make changes. This was, I was taught in my youth, part of the responsibility of a free press ... but sadly, this sort of journalism is largely absent today.

More on this in due course, I hope.


Peter Burgess
The Tr-Ac-Net Organization