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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Dynastic politics and Brand identity

Mark Antony, in Shakespeare's Julius Ceaser, while delivering his famous burial speech says,
The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones,
This time, as every other time, there are several electoral candidates who come from a family of successful politicians.

While dynastic politics is talked about in negative light more often then otherwise, there is an interesting article in today's Economic Times Magazine on Dynasty Politics. Today being a Sunday morning, I will give in to my laziness and let you dig up the article online.

When the children of doctors, lawyers and accountants go on to become doctors, lawyers and accountants, absolutely nothing negative is said about it. But this is not the case when the children of politicians go on to become politicians.

This was the argument provided by Mani Shankar Aiyar as well, when he was asked a question on dynastic politics in India, a couple of years ago when he spoke at IIM Calcutta. This seemed a valid argument to me at the time and continues to do so today.

Borrowing from the ET article, if we were to invest in a start-up, we would likely choose one that already has a positive brand identity (be it through famous founders, investors, etc) as opposed to one that has to build it from scratch. We perhaps end up doing the same on election day.

The children of successful politicians already bring with them a positive brand identity as opposed to unknown new-comers.

The key is positive brand identity. This brings me back to the initial quote from Julius Caeser. It is much harder to leave behind a positive image than it is to leave behind a negative one.


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1 comment:

  1. Dynastic politics is not an issue, ineptitude is. Dynastic politics is used as a catch phrase to depict scenarios where 'bad products' get promoted in the name of 'good brand name'.

    Think about Sachin Pilot or Milind Deora, no complains so much. They might just mention it, but that can never be the main argument against them. Rahul Gandhi on the other hand has demonstrated tremendous ineptitude and reluctance to be involved in politics. It feels as though he is being retained to en-cash on the 'brand name' than for any personal worth he may have.

    I agree being against dynastic politics is silly and not possible, but being against ineptitude is not. Making an equivalence with lawyers and doctors is very silly( it is about public and private costs and risks).

    I will give you another example. Jayant SInha son of ex-FM Yashwant Sinha, went to IIT-Delhi, got admitted into the Ivy league colleges on his merit( his father had not acquired public office by that time), had a successful career in business and consulting and now he is contesting elections on his father's ticket. Yes, he got a ticket because because he is Yashwant Sinha's son, but his prior achievements are not because of his father. I have no objection to such candidates, and I am sure the majority would not either.

    Now compare this with Rahul Gandhi's case, the difference and ridiculous act of clubbing all such people under the umbrella of dynastic politics will become apparent.

    Conclusion - Dynasty is never the problem, ineptitude is. Dynasty is probably the reason for the ineptitude. The people, in general, use Dynasty as a catch phrase to refer to this phenomenon, of dynasty causing the ineptitude.

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