Yes you heard it right. All Nepali politicians should be entrepreneurs (or at least self-sustainable). Why ?
Because politics in Nepal has become a career profession. And when a “nation-service” becomes a “career profession”, the country goes down the drain. (As you might have noticed).
Yes this idea sounds controversial but It is exactly the medicine I am prescribing for Nepal. Politics should never be the full-time profession for any Nepali. A politician has to find an alternate way to sustain themselves if they want to engage in Nepal. Politics should be simply what it is: altruistic nation service.
Why should all Nepali politicians become entrepreneurs (or at-least self-employed)?
That’s because most Nepali politicians are very corrupt.
Why are they corrupt ?
- Because they have to take care of their family, their cadres and their party.
- They are strictly discouraged to create an alternate source of income through entrepreneurship or other sustainable ways of income.
- They are asked to give every minute of their time to the party.
- They don’t know how to earn money and make a living.
Thus, they become career politicians.
So Why don’t just we pay them more salary instead of asking them to become entrepreneurs or self-employed?
Well it just won’t be enough will it! Because Jobs in Nepal will never pay enough in the long run to make politicians needs. Even if you give them one lakh a month, it won’t be enough. Learning to become an entrepreneur may actually be one of the quicker ways politicians have a chance to earn money the right way, that will go towards taking care of their big needs. And one other reason, they regain their dignity back, when they know they can make a living even when they leave politics or lose elections.
Can politicians become entrepreneurial ?
Already politicians have some of the skills of entrepreneurs. They know how to organize, how to lead a group and they know how to sell themselves (they are good salesperson of their political group, philosophy and the future), they are very persistent and they fail often. Quite the qualities of any good entrepreneur.
What are politicians doing now?
Politicians now here in Nepal have very few entrepreneurship experience or time so they do the only thing they can do to earn money. Which is to abuse their power to take bribes, get commissions, sell passports, work with crooks, and make easy money to sustain themselves.
Why do you think so many of the 601 go abroad so often? They get easy money (भत्ता). They need this money. If they already had another money source, a legitimate one, would they resort to such crooked self-dignity hurting measures ? I think not. No one wants to be corrupt.
What are the processes of turning politicians into entrepreneurs (or self-reliant) ?
First, educate politicians and their families into becoming entrepreneurs. Make it easy for them to get mentorship, advice, opportunities. On the side, make the punishment ten times severe, if they abuse their authority to do anything illegal. Concentrate on building their skills they can use in the long-term to earn money. As they focus more on creating jobs, generating income, and less on recruiting jobless party cadres, they will not have to take bribes. They can take care of their family and cadres by the income they gain from their entrepreneurial ventures.
What if they fail ? Do remember, an entrepreneur who has failed is actually a better entrepreneur who can learn from his/her mistakes and bounce back. Even Min Bahadur Gurung of Bhatbhateni had his whole shop burnt to the ground after he started his small shop now called “Bhatbhateni super market”. And politicians like entrepreneurs fail often. So they have a natural attribute to become an entrepreneur.
How do we hold politicians accountable so that they don’t abuse their authority in their dual role as politicians-entrepreneurs ?
I know you will say, “but won’t they abuse their authority more ?”
Less incentive : Well, if they already have money coming from alternate source, there is certainly less incentive for them to greed-ier than before.
Harsher punishment: And as for abuse of their authority, making punishments harsh like these could help: “Total assets frozen” including that of their families, stripping of their right to hold public positions, and life imprisonment.
As long as there is no conflict of interest between the politician’s political job and their entrepreneurial activity this arrangement should work fine. And on top of that, politicians will regulate each other since it is political suicide for them to be seen favoring their own business while in office. So it seems the market forces of politicians will regulate the case of “conflict of interest”.
Examples of a politician who are already using this path: Nepali politician Gagan Thapa opening a meat shop. I believe this is a way for him to generate revenue to sustain his family (and of course branding).
Rajendra Khetan comes from an entrepreneurial background. As long as he has no conflicts of interest between his ‘nation service’ and ‘self-service’, he could fulfill both his duties as a politician and a political leader.
Lets rally against Politics as a profession. Lets rally to build leaders who have a sustainable way of income other than from politics.