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Exellent: the end of the debate nears!



On Wed, 5 Aug 1998, Charudatt wrote:
> I don't care who gets money from whom- 
> as long as there are no strings attached. 
> 
> I believe there always are strings, especially where large amounts of
> corporate money is involved- the purpose of a corporation is to make
> money, not to give it away.

Birla had strings when he gave to Gandhi, but a lot of good came out of it
(India became independent). Different corporations will have different
strings attached, but if you and I as citizens can see each string
clearly, that will help democracy a lot. Finally, don't imagine that all
corporations will give to one party or group. There will be massive
competition there, too. The tobacco lobby contributes to both Democratic
and Republican sides. Leave it to competition and transparency to sort out
good from the bad. And in any case, do not be afraid to look at reality in
the face. It won't eat you up.

What I really liked was what you said above, "I believe there always are
strings attached." You get an A+ for recognizing that there are no free
lunches in the world. Even a citizen will not give without a 'string'
(self-interest) attached. Without strings this world cannot run. A
worker's union receives contributions from workers because of the worker's
self-interest. A string is another name for 'self-interest' in my
dictionary. Self-interest will always find a way to get what it wants. You
and I - mere, poor, mortals - cannot stop big businesses from trying to
influence policy in their favor. I am not in favor of trying to stop the
Niagra falls simply because it hurts some small plant downstream. 

I am in favor of you and I KNOWING what is happening: and in fact,
INSISTING on knowing what is happening (i.e., transparency,
accountability). Then we might be able to work out the right shelter for
the little plant (e.g., women being harrassed at workplaces). Just by
blocking the view of Niagra falls might not be a rational solution to the
problem of the little plant downstream. 

I would like an India with a 0% black economy. Not a 9/10th black economy
as it is today. That will never happen if you try to impose limits on
self-interest. Let self-interests show up openly and COMPETE publicly.

You know, you and I are in unanimity about transparency. Along with
everyone else. Why not focus on that rather than try to set up limits to
human nature. You and I and everyone else here can try to work out
excellent methods to ensure that, and once that is done, I assure you,
you'll feel better about the little plant downstream. 

Accept my 3 points and we can move forward to the next step: designing
transparent institutions for political donation, and fostering powerful
citizens bodies to prevent collusion. We will design incentives for all
sides to ensure that nobody can do the bad things you were concerned
about.

SS

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