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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Political Investment: An Empirical Investigation

Political investment is a way to have people deeply engaged and committed to a particular party

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INDIA: What happens when you invest in a stock? You back it, promote it, and you look to find reasons which look to reassure you that your stock will perform well. That’s a normal human tendency.

You don’t want to talk about the negative aspects as you are invested, and you want to overlook why it is possibly not the right stock for you to bet on.

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You stay invested till one fine day, realize it was a mistake, and exit from the stock, maybe in a stop-loss manner or after suffering colossal devaluation. Something similar has been happening in the political domain as well. This is what I call Political Investment.

Political Investment

Since 2012 and onwards, voters have invested themselves in certain political parties. For them, the dynamics have been playing out similarly as they play out in a stock market.

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Since 2012 and onwards, we saw deep political investments from common man, psychologically, into the parties they believed would yield them projected results.

It’s been a decade of investment, and over this period, we have seen the investors demonstrating the same pattern as we see in the stock market. We have seen a spectrum of demography vehemently promoting the party of their choice.

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They promote it as their own, as a shareholder having aligned interests. In public discourse or private chats, the support and deep interest have been evident for this decade.

Political Investment is a real thing, and one can see it around if one starts paying attention to it. However, what this psychological phenomenon has done is that it has diminished rational and objective questioning.

Any question raised is seen as a threat to eroding the valuation of the investment. Those questions are aggressively countered to the extent of evoking the past, which has no relevance in today’s world.

We can see this happening on TV debates, Twitter threads, Facebook posts, WhatsApp group chats, and even daily conversations.

Is Political Investment worth it?

Political Investment is the desired proposition that political parties would want to have, especially because it determines voting patterns and eventual power dynamics.

It is a way to have people deeply engaged and committed to a particular party, overlooking the flaws and only finding ways to see the long-term brighter prospects.

No one knows the long-term duration, and in reality, this long-term keeps changing the goal post to a much bigger return in a much “longer term.”

Why wouldn’t a party want people to back them to the hilt and not be dithered by the obvious follies? This is possibly the highest form of voter engagement that a party can achieve.

But what it does to people is blind them and prevent them from being objective. The moment you are objective, you will want to question, and that is not desirable.

We have seen Political Investment not just from 2012 and onwards; it has existed since independence, and it has only become more obvious now.

It has become quite distinct, and it has become more assertive in its form and shape. It is also a global phenomenon as we see it happening across various countries over the years.

As I mentioned earlier, we can see now that people will stop loss mode. This segment is still much smaller, but the ones who have shifted from Political Investment to Rational Thinking, they have exited their Political Stocks and have taken a rational call.

Emotional and psychological investments have more considerable exit barriers as we do not want to accept that we have been wronged generally. There is a need to re-assess if there is a need to be politically invested or if we would be better off being rational questioners.

The answer to this cannot be familiar to all. It has to be introspected and found for oneself. How long will political investment last?

Only time can tell, but the crux of democracy is to make our voices heard towards improving our lives regarding financial growth, safety, environment, and amenities that make our lives more meaningful. Be it Politically Invested or a Rational Thinker, be the strength that drives the values of democracy forward!

Also Read: Journalist Preserving Democracy By Exposing Ground Reality

(This article is written by Vishwa Deepak Dikshit, Founder, and Director of MusiCulture)

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