The Right Carrot grows in the Right Garden

You and I and Pepsi and Apple and Unilever think a consumer is someone who buys that cola, ipod or shampoo. Lee Hsien Loong (thanks to HIS genius dad) and his government think it is the voter. Not just citizens. Citizen CUSTOMER. And I think over there they are onto something.

The metrics speak for themselves. Singapore feels like a manicured zen garden. And I bet its citizens would trade anything for that even if its hard on criticism and chewing gum.

Compare that to what Calcutta residents would feel if they were taken over to Singapore, given a tour and explained the model both over there and the one in they are mired in back home in a system where their political reps view them less as citizen consumers of state services and more as another challenge to prove the adage ‘a fool and money are soon parted’.

And the reps in turn will allow unscrupulous commercial interests to do that since the perverse incentives almost forcefully allow it in that kind of system. Case in point : THE WHOLE DAMN HISTORY OF CALCUTTA!

It’s all about attacking bad governance as Paul Collier over at Oxford argues.

The right incentives emanate from the right ecosystem that automatically breeds it and the metrics ( high per capita income, low infant mortality) follow in its footsteps. Just claiming to mindlessly chase the metrics without a robust delivery model speaks of poor understanding of both.

Remember the famous congress slogan ‘Garibi Hatao’ ?


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