Your ABC & 123 of Political Economy by Sarjo Bayang Part 5:
By Sarjo Bayang, UK
With their crafty hands they design the superstructure and put a mechanism in place where all operatives fit the parts to keep resources flowing one direction.
Elites take advantage of confusion shrouding politicians who play the front line big people of society in the good name of leadership and keepers of instruments for governance. In real life scheme of things invisible hands that organise and operate the economic superstructure belong to elites.
Without any consultation thereby considering real choice and priorities of key stakeholders like tax payer public, elites choose to decide how the national cake is allocated. They hold meetings in boardrooms which now goes smoother with teleconference facilities at hand.
High profile intellectual attribution; low level resourceful contribution
Entry level for top positions in organisations and institutions are designed in a pyramid structure. That is the beginning of alienation against those who gathered all the dust through storming, forming, and norming. Yet, everything that is earned by bitter sweat of the toiling lot, counts to nothing when it comes to selection.
It will be misleading to assume that all those occupying top position at institutions and organisations wear the same size elite cap. There are progressive elites who anchor well enough in doing what it takes to be industrious and resourceful.
The rest prefer to feed on title without the rightful occasion of meeting their obligation. They feed on resources and not compensating the cost of what keeps them in that seat.
Progressive elites know the difference and do what it takes to create value adding results. They help not just to spin the wheel but equally ensure proper delivery with utmost commitment to increase collective gains optimally.
Institutions, organisations, and even governments fail largely due to high maintenance cost of least resourceful elites who remain as high resource cost without much benefit.
Uneven distribution of the national cake
Planning and budgeting is done behind closed doors without representation from tax payers as key stakeholders. Once they fit and fix all figures neatly on the accounting table, nobody cares how much goes to marginalised sectors of society.
Elites bear utmost contempt for the general tax payer public. From narrow and biased perspective of elites, anyone without book knowledge cannot hold valid opinion. On that wrong drive, critical decisions are made without asking key members of the tax payer public.
Distribution of the national cake during planning and budgeting is designed to keep exploitation of tax payer public by allocating elites lion share. This is done with clear aim of sustaining the economic superstructure as supply chain for values directed at the few leaving the many to suffer in tongue biting silence.
It would have been fair enough in situations where tax payers are not only represented from their lot but also to ensure budgetary allocations cater for highest priority felt needs of those who matter most. Elite manipulation of planning, budgeting and allocation of gains is a global menace that needs urgent remedial solution.
At end of day, governments come and go leaving behind crafty elites in charge. The economic superstructure stays the same. Regime change does not readily translate into system change. Old wines are put in new bottles as we all see one government replacing another in a succession of unending musical chairs. Those who play the tunes continue dancing all along.
Lack of value adding capacity
Operating cost of elitism is a deep cut on the national economy. Sadly, such costs seldom bear any gainful returns.
Unproductive and least resourceful human capital is a condition that cause failure for organisations, institutions, or government all over the world. The extent to which human capital performs at utmost gainful value adding input levels determines higher output on the scoreboard towards progress.
To keep idle human capital on payroll without gainful returns will only create conditions for failure in whatever way of looking at it.
While elitism is sometimes defended with claims that they constitute the cream of society, that is not always translated in value adding counts.
Organisations, institutions and governments will be doing better where those that are allocated fattest share of resources are compelled to making most gainful contribution in return for what keeps them on the payroll.
By experience of what obtains in many situations, elites strive harder when seeking high paid jobs. Once they get hired, not many of them care about doing the job right. They relate to the job as milking pot for boosting personal finance and economic gains.
A robust system hinged on better conceived and highly relevant policy provisions will easily pick out productive and idle human capital stock; thereby ensure optimal shared gains.
Busy from dawn to dusk without productive engagement amounts to idle human capital as input to the value chain.
Power of words does not always translate in gainful results no matter how long. Plans and budgets are neatly presented on colourful cover page documents or power point screens. Reports are organised to give highest impression with facts and figures only for keen statistical consumption.
In the count of idle and unproductive human capital elites are not alone. Whole bunch of idle hands are kept on the payroll without marking anything on the scoreboard. Failure in orderly dispensation is caused by such underlying elements. Idle and unproductive human capital is major cause of collapse for organisations, institutions, or governments.
Empire building at institutions and organisations
Forming, norming and performing is what team work seeks to achieve. In contrast working teams are far different from interest groups.
Group formation in the manner of empire building at place of work can sometimes be counterproductive especially when everything evolves around personalities rather than getting the job done.
Empire building at place of work or institutions comes about when individuals who do not see eye to eye have separate poles of influence to hang their flag of authority.
Persons of influence and authority operate within a circle of followers. In some organisations and institutions, those responsible for human resources tend to be considered as though commanding different influence from those in control of finances. Other departments also build up into kiosks of individual groupings.
During meetings, those who belong together demonstrate their allegiance by supporting views expressed by their empire building camp mates especially the high seat holder.
In extreme situations, those belonging to separate camps in the empire building system at organisations hardly speak to each other. This can lead to counterproductive negative consequences if not tackled.
Bureaucracy is stumbling block
Elitism requires a platform for sustaining and no other than bureaucracy does it better. What needs doing in limited period gets spread over longer time span thanks to bureaucracy.
Nothing feels so bitterly painful than staying in a long queue as prevails with officialdom. Even more distressing is the experience of being told that what you require could not be done because the person in charge is on vacation or out of reach.
Bureaucracy extends beyond words. Having entire office stuffed in a briefcase and dumped in the boot of a car is common to elite operations. The office to them is so personalised that certain matters can only be dealt with by the big man or big woman in whose absence everything comes to standstill.
Elites find bureaucracy conveniently instrumental to the extent that it serves to justify their systematic delays and resource misallocation. Getting what needs doing at the right time can cut down on transactional costs. Cutting down red tape bureaucracy enhances the gains in value adding results.
Elitism corrupts education
From elementary school up to higher education, elitism has visible traces. Who says knowledge building cannot be enhanced without giving low or high marks? Why is the education system designed to impose teaching rather than encourage independent learning especially from elementary school? Being taught and having to learn, where does knowledge building take better effect? There are so many other good questions requiring clear answers about system of education imposed to fulfil and sustain elite ideals.
If it is tested and proven that independent learning is enhancing at university or other higher education, what stops elementary school designers encouraging such along the way from early stage onwards?
From the scheme of marking to associated job prospecting, elitism operates a long hand in education by various ways.
Having said this much about challenges imposed on society by elites, eliminating elitism is not by any means the aim. A more enhanced progressive elite will perform better as resourceful human capital so much needed for sustaining the economic superstructure everyone requires.