November 22, 2006

Ebay for Democracy

A tiny village in India has taken a giant step for mankind. The people of Kottikulam in Tamil Nadu have given a new meaning for direct democracy by auctioning the seats in the village council to the highest bidders. Instead of trusting the politicians to deliver on their campaign promises after they were elected, they have decided to raise the money for the development of their village in advance. For example, a local farmer is bidding over Rs. 200,000 for a seat in the council and a guarantee that he'd be made the Vice President. The candidate is asked literally to put the money where his mouth is. That's progress, we think.

The Chief Minister of the state, however, has vowed to put an end to this practice. "The Collectors have been instructed to probe into this and ensure attempts like this are nipped in the bud across the state," he has said. For a bit of history, this is the same fellow who got elected to the state office a few months ago by promising to distribute free televisions to those who voted for him and his party candidates.

What will fetch a higher price for your votes — a politician's promise or an auction on Ebay? The rational fool believes that there's hardly any contest!

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