Much has been discussed regarding the ideology, or lack of it of the newest party on the block – AAP. Although AAP has been maintaining all the time that it has no ideology, many have been forcing the brand of communist, Marxist, leftist and what not on it. The propaganda to put AAP in the same league has been quite successful.
And then people are amused that why so many private company employees support AAP! These supporters are called naive and novice, their intelligence is questioned as, a leftist party in power would cause all the private sector companies to close down with the government taking over. It just doesn’t make sense for a private sector employee to cut the same branch on which he is sitting.
You see perception is a very subtle, and still a very powerful tool. When I was in Spain, I asked a stranger about ways to a particular destination. When he replied in crisp English I was amused. Usually Spanish don’t know English and it is only in recent years that they have started to learn it. Curiously I asked how he knew English and he explained that he in fact knows many other languages as well, even a little bit of Arabic. I tried my luck and asked if he knows “Urdu”. He panicked, backing away a bit and asked if I am from Pakistan! I was startled with what reaction the word “Urdu” can have even in Spain.
Another day, I had some work in a bank. The manager asked where am I from to which I replied – India. His eyes glowed with appreciation and asked if I also am a software engineer. I felt quite good about it.
You see, this is the perception about India and Pakistan at least in Madrid. If you even use the word ‘Urdu’, someone might just panic, and if you say you are from India, you get respect. It doesn’t matter if the person knows zilch about you.
A perception is being created that AAP is a leftist party. That it is communist. It is then stretched even further that AAP is with Maoists. It is then stretched that Maoists (eg Sabyasachi Panda) are joining the AAP ranks, and the busy reader has no time to confirm or verify the news. A lady tortured, raped by police – Soni Sori, just because she is alleged to be a Maoist, is given a chance by AAP so that she gets her respectable life back, is not trusted by the readers because he is just not having enough information about her! They just haven’t see these videos:
AAP was being more human than communists in giving the election ticket to someone like Soni. Personally, I believe such people should get a chance.
It is true that communism hurts the private sector. I remember how much I used to frown upon, seeing the Left wing blackmail the UPA1 government against some good steps it was taking. I was infact scared that this Left wing is someday going to get me lose my job. When it was wiped out in 2009 election, I was relieved that this nuisance is finally gone (turned out that their absence made the UPA2 government much arrogant and corrupt, but that’s another topic altogether).
If we look back at 1970s, before I was born, Kolkata was doing fine. It was one of the business hubs of India and growing fine till the Left came into power. Since then, till early 2000s, Kolkata went into cryogenic deep freeze, and almost nothing changed for a really long time. During the deep freeze, the new businesses were difficult to start, prices were kept artificially low, and Kolkata was a metro just for the heck of it. As other metros continued to grow, Kolkata was lost (in time). Although the left parties ensured that life was OKAY without much money, the city stagnated badly, very badly. That showed me how bad are Left parties for economic growth.
An important characteristic of Left parties is that they don’t encourage, in fact they discourage religion. This is very close with the philosophy of Karl Marx who used to call religion as the opium for the masses that hinders the growth of the civilization. Most of the communists don’t believe in religion. And hence in India, communism is seen as anti-Hinduism (I wonder why it is not seen also as anti-Islam, however that’s not important here).
What hurt Kolkata was, all the planning went into the government’s hands. And not only were the hands of the private sector tied, even its mouth was shut. It had no stake in planning. The babus, strongly controlled by the left politicians, and bullied by the violent CPI-M workers, did exactly what communism demanded. This is as per the design of communism.
The communism even abolishes the right to private property. Have a look at China, where for making a road the locals living there just have to move. They cannot say no. This point is important. The government becomes more important than even locals.
The AAP government ensured that whoever has water meters would be allowed to have 700Ls of free water per month. However if it goes even to 701L, the person has to pay for all the 701Ls. AAP government also announced the electricity subsidy which reduced the bills by 50%. Few people have called this a leftist measure. Was it really that?
By the way, have you seen Sicko (2007 movie)? Does it advocate communism?
Water – I was in Chennai for a year or so. We used to get 500L of water everyday and that used to be just enough for the two of us. I cannot imagine how 700Ls would be enough for a family of 4 or 5, which is an average family size in Delhi. It would be a foolish argument that every home would use just 699Ls. And if someone gets careless and uses 701L, he has to pay for the full.
The free 700L scheme was smart business, and not communism for me. Here is why:
- Every family would be forced to install a water meter to avail the offer.
- Every family would try to conserve water below 700L to avail the subsidy.
- The poor (lower middle class) would surely save money if they are smart.
- The rich, who have to wash their cars, who have bigger houses and thus need more water to clean it, would have to pay for the full.
See – smart business! Not only would it push water meters, it would also get more money to the government. Yes, the water rates above 701L were raised and rightly so.
Electricity – Let me guess, you missed this news – Delhi power discoms not cooperating in audit, CAG tells HC somewhere. TV won’t cover it. And from the answer – Anonymous’ answer to Can any Delhi resident testify to the reduction in corruption during Kejriwal’s CM tenure? Read this:
A friend of mine who is currently working in finance department of BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd. told me how they were trying to hide all the documents and make false statements to provide the fake audits results to CAG.
The power companies have been opposing any CAG audit in their accounts since years and the Sheila Dixit government backed their stand that CAG audit isn’t possible. When the audit was indeed announced by the AAP government, the companies went to the Delhi High Court, and thrice has the court rapped these companies and they have come back.
Now, suppose your provider is indeed overcharging you, would you be happy to pay that or till pending enquiry should you be paying what you think is right? This is not about ideology, this is about common sense. Of course you should not be paying the inflated bills. And that is exactly what the Delhi government did. The subsidy is only till the audit is complete. That’s not communism.
FDI in Retail – Okay, I love it. But let us see what have been its effects on other countries. Why don’t we start with how has Walmart affected small businesses in USA itself.
- [Business News Daily] What It Really Costs When Walmart Comes to Town
The research shows that the negative impact is due to the use of the Walmart business model. A new ‘generic’ grocery store does not equal economic harm, but a new Walmart does.
- [City Lab] Radiating Death: How Walmart Displaces Nearby Small Businesses
“No matter which direction you go from Walmart, there’s a very high rate of business closures in the immediate vicinity, and the further away you get there’s less and less,” says University of Illinois Chicago economics professor Joe Persky.
- [New York Times]Study shows Walmart kills small biz
Instead of growing Chicago’s retail economy, Walmart simply overtook it – absorbing sales from other city stores, and shuttering dozens of them in the process. Researchers at Loyola dubbed Walmart’s store a wash – generating no new sales revenue for Chicago, and no new jobs for hard-off residents.
Small businesses are also businesses. And in a truly capitalist economy, they must get equal treatment. AAP was correct in stopping FDI in retail in Delhi. And BJP is no different when it comes to it –Nirmala says no to FDI in multi-brand retail. Do we allege that BJP is communist? Nope.
I would in fact go on to say that AAP is infact economically a truly right wing party. Shocked? Okay, let us first revise what is meant by RW in economical terms:
Right-wing politics: Right-wing libertarianism (sometimes known as libertarian conservatism or conservative libertarianism) supports a decentralized economy based on economic freedom, and holds property rights, free markets and free trade to be the most important kinds of freedom.
Taken from Right-libertarianism:
Property rights – While there is debate on whether left, right, and socialist libertarianism “represent distinct ideologies as opposed to variations on a theme,” right-libertarianism is most in favor of private property. Right-libertarians maintain that unowned natural resources “may be appropriated by the first person who discovers them (the locals, right?), mixes her labor with them, or merely claims them — without the consent of others, and with little or no payment to them.”
The state – There is a debate amongst right-libertarians as to whether or not the state is legitimate: while anarcho-capitalists advocate its abolition, minarchists support minimal states, often referred to as night-watchman states. Minarchists maintain that the state is necessary for the protection of individuals from aggression, theft, breach of contract, and fraud. They believe the only legitimate governmental institutions are the military, police, and courts, though some expand this list to include fire departments, prisons, and the executive and legislative branches.
I am focusing only on the economic aspects, and AAP fits perfectly in the above definitions.
What AAP is against is the crony-capitalism. And even the RBI Governor accepts that crony capitalism is bad for the economic growth of India. Read –‘Crony capitalism hampers economic growth’. Even BJP leader Ravishankar Prasad wrote in 2012 that ‘India is seeing crony capitalism at present’. Also, please read what Arvind Virmani, who is an Indian economist who was appointed India’s representative to the International Monetary Fund in 2009. Prior to that, who was the Chief Economic Advisor to the Government of India have to say about crony capitalism – Crony capitalism or plain corruption?.
Had WhatsApp and Facebook been Indian companies, then instead of Facebook paying $19B to buy WhatsApp, it rather would have paid the cronies in political establishment to amend laws which would have made data messaging illegal :-). But in a truly capitalist society, you cannot kill small businesses by political means. And AAP is the only political party that can do that.
The truly capitalistic economies are very strict against any kind of crony capitalism. From convicting the much celebrated Rajat Gupta in the insider trading case (Rajat Gupta Convicted of Insider Trading), to fining Credit Suisse heavily for helping Americans evade taxes (Credit Suisse Pleads Guilty, Pays $2.6 Billion To Settle U.S. Tax Evasion Charges), these economies are ruthless. And they must be. No business must be given undue favors, no business should be protected if it is indulging in something illegal, or even in unfair practices that may harm young businesses (Microsoft hit with $730 million antitrust fine by EU) so that a level playing ground is created which nurtures entrepreneurship. And only AAP promises that.
Also, the AAP promises to end the inspector raj – Will do away with ‘inspector raj’, will reduce VAT in Delhi, promises Arvind Kejriwal. Even when AAP was in the government, it made the VAT procedures easy – Kejriwal ‘simplifies’ VAT payments.
So, AAP is for reduction of taxes, it is for simpler taxation procedures, it is against the big fishes eating the small ones using political power. AAP is turning out to be the most business friendly political party. Listen to what Arvind Kejriwal had to say at CII
This is what an Economic Right Party must be. And AAP is indeed economically a right wing party.
But again, it is all about perception. the political opponents of AAP would spread the propaganda that AAP is leftist. The crony capitalist would fund the propaganda that AAP is leftist. The corrupt which get the benefit from the current government controlled system would fan this propaganda.
Many other Quorans have also written on the same lines
- Ankit Verma’s answer to Why don’t Indians realize that Arvind Kejriwal (AAP) is just another communist?
- Amit Kumar’s answer to Is India moving towards communism?
- Vikas Jakhar’s answer to Is Aam Aadmi Party communist (extreme left-ist)? And if they are, then why don’t they take pride in being the same?
My advise – Don’t fall for the propaganda spread by those who benefit by crony capitalism. Think yourself as a consumer for your own benefit.
Thanks a lot for reading this. If you like it do share for your own benefit.