Politics is about who gets what when and how

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‘Who gets what, when and how’

politics is about who gets what when and how

political scientist ( harold Lasswell)

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Those who vote have their voices heard: The budget offered proof in spades that this is the case. The more disengaged, the less likely that political parties will believe that a vote will be cast and therefore will seek a response from those in marginal seats who they are almost certain will vote — the better off, better educated and the older cohort of voters. The contemporary problem seems to be that large sections of the public want 'democracy' but without the 'politics'. Apathy doesn't exist, but disillusionment with the current political system absolutely does: We need to find new ways of connecting people's desire for change with the political system, and ensure that politics isn't just about a mass compromise once every four years. Politics has never been popular and never will be: It is about conflict and about power.

Whether you like it or not, politics is to a great extent about money. In the s, Harold Lasswell reputably defined politics as a competition about who gets what, when, and how. The core of politics in developed democratic countries rivets around the money — around the rate of taxation and utilization of collected money. Since the Second World War, we have witnessed a steady rise in the volume of resources countries collect from their citizens through the levied taxes. Politics resolves how such resources will be used.

This has led to much political apathy around the world, along with the corporatization of the state, with vested interests penetrating political systems and having a large say over policy and legislation formulations. This overtaking of the state by vested interests, is a natural outcome of capitalism, with real power being held in the hands of the corporate sector that has the capital weight to fund political parties, the campaign of politicians and to put excessive capital behind lobbying campaigns to ensure their interests are met in formal political circles. This link between capital and politics has been a close one ever since the birth of the Western nation state and the secularization processes, with previous vested interests dominated by the Kings and religious classes being replaced by a new set of vested interests, that of capitalists that were able to create much more surplus value through economic enterprises and heightened colonialism in the 17th and 18th centuries. And this class was able to shape the nature of economic development, through determining where to invest capital, the type of goods produced and urban-rural shifts. The British capitalists in colonizing India did the exact same thing, with the colonialists enforcing a new capitalist development model that would benefit the centre and leave the periphery in a state of continuous economic shocks and crises. A clear example of this would be the series of famines which India would suffer, with millions perishing as basic foodstuffs were not being produced and at the same time stocks were being prevented from being released on to the market, as they were to be shipped to the centre for its needs. At the same time, one saw an emphasis on urban areas, ports and raw material exports that suited capitalist development of the centre.

Development in general, and development assistance in particular, were initially based on trying to solve market failures. Infrastructure—bridges, dams, ports, power plants, etc. Externalities in education meant that schooling should be publicly financed and provided. Infant-industry arguments and capital-market failures led to the establishment of public enterprises. Since these developing countries also lacked savings possibly due to capital-market failures , donors provided the financing, as well as the technical assistance to design the bridge or school system. Note that in this setting, the interests of citizens, the government, and the donors were aligned.

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