Observations, deductions and feelings fueled by tequila, tea and tobacco

Our politicians’ professions

In Education, Management & Leadership, Nation, Observations, Deductions and Feelings, Politics on May 28, 2009 at 02:39

Read this article in Economist a few weeks back about the professions of politicians around the world. India, a graph showed, had around 25% lawyers in the ministerial pool (cabinet ministers and ministers-of-state) in the last government.

Now, from last Saturday’s TO, here’s the breakup of qualifications for the first 19 Cabinet ministers sworn in:

Politicians ProfessionMore than half of them with qualifications in Law! I’m sure this would be diluted a bit after we incude the additional 59 inductees being sworn in tomorrow. However, even then it seems too skewed a ratio.

Is this an indictor of the sort of people who go into politics – lots of lawyers, at home with legalese, debating and slime & grime of realpolitic. This could be one reason also why many technocrats (from those hoards of engineers) and MBAs don’t join politics – too much legalese and too much slime-and-grime, something those use to working on laptops in A/C environments are distinctly uncomfortable with.

Or is this an indicator of what has happened to the profession of law – way too many graduates, too low a quality of output and not many attractive opportunities with formal sector organisations. Thus, everyone who doesn’t see too good a future practising law, decides to take a plunge and try to become a law-maker. This could also be the reason for lack of many technocrats and MBAs in politics – plenty of well-paying, white-collar opportunities across sectors, thus a higher opportunity cost of joining politics.

It could also have something to do with the inherent politics prevelant in the profession due to prevelance of elected officials for the ‘Bar’ prompting most lawyers to take part in a political process all through their working life. There could be many more reasons but the fact is clear, as anyone who’s got friends / relatives in the profession would attest to even without this graph – law graduates dominate our politics.

Interesting – trained to practise law, most money can be made by defending those who break laws or by becoming a law-maker themselves.


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