Idealist's aversion to work a corrupt system backfires: Raghuram Rajan

Aug 12 2014, 11:36 IST
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SummaryAn idealist, who is unwilling to 'work' the system can promise to reform it, but the voters know there is little one person can do, says Raghuram Rajan.

Against the backdrop of setbacks to AAP, Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan today observed an idealist's aversion to "work" a corrupt system may not resonate well with the larger public and lead to electoral debacles.

"An idealist, who is unwilling to 'work' the system can promise to reform it, but the voters know there is little one person can do. Moreover, who will provide the patronage while the idealist is fighting the system, so, why not stay with the fixer you know even if it means the reformist loses his deposit?" the noted academic-turned central banker said, delivering a lecture here.

"Every so often we see the emergence of a group, usually upper middle-class professionals, who want to clean up politics. But when these good people stand for elections, they tend to lose their deposits. Does the electorate really not want a squeaky clean government?" he wondered.

Rajan, however, did not name the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) or any other political party.

"I did not want to indicate that there weren't well meaning politicians who want to make a change in the system. The government for a variety of reasons wants to improve the quality of public services and wants to improve financial inclusion," he clarified later.

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