India becoming an E-bay (Auction) Republic..

A super column by Haseeb Drabu in Mint. He says India is about to become an auction republic where everything is likely to be auctioned. Even political seats:

Notwithstanding the results of the recent auction of the revoked 2G licenses, Auctionomics could soon become the national economic policy of India. With every other form of allocation and allotment—be it allocation of spectrum or allotment of mines—having been assessed to have caused national losses of staggering proportion, this is the only way out.

And this will no longer be about natural resources alone. As and when the government decides to divest its stake in companies, the same issue will crop up. If, for instance, after a public offering under a government divestment programme, the markets gain momentum, all hell will break loose on how the family jewels were sold at a pittance and how much these could have fetched had they been sold in the right market at the right moment. If private institutions make the mistake of buying into these government companies, estimates of how much the country lost and private companies gained will come from every nook and cranny.
With auctions emerging as the new found panacea for all economic ills—from corruption to inadequate resource mobilization—it may be necessary to effect some enabling statutory changes in the executive as well as policymaking structure. Institutionally speaking, it is imperative to have a formal exclusive alliance with an auction site: eBay Inc. being the market leader, is the natural choice.
In the spirit of making India the first auction republic in the world, the preamble of the Constitution of India, will have to be suitably amended as follows: We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a sovereign auction republic and to secure, through auctions, to all its citizens: justice, social, economic and political; liberty, of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; equality, of status and of opportunity.
🙂
He then points to how Lok Sabha seats can be auctioned as well along with last bit of selecting the PM. There are qs of course which need to be resolved.
This last bit is the most interesting aspect pf this Ebay Republic:
PS: Paul Milgrom who has done fundamental work on the theory and practice of auctions should be the natural choice for the post of the chief auction adviser which can replace the position of the chief economic adviser.

Given the performance of the economic advisers in recent times, this is a hugely welcome idea..

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