In social studies, economics and politics are commonly seen as sister subjects. One is always under the pressure of the other. Dissecting and discussing this kinship is not the theme of this paper as it worth a book than a blog page. However, as these two subjects are finely interwoven, I just wanted to examine TPLF politics under elementary economic terms.
As a country’s economic performance projected on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Gross National Product (GNP) value; any political party’s (or governing body’s) strength can also be analyzed based on Gross Domestic Politics (GDP) and Gross National Politics (GNP) value.
Before proceeding any further, the reader must understand that this is neither a case study nor a research paper. It is just a personal approach of politics through simple economics principle.
Regardless of the basic theoretical meaning of GDP and GNP in economics, I define Gross Domestic Politics (GDP) as a total value of a political party’s (or a governing body’s) performance within its members. In other words, it is the practical and perceptual strength of a political party (or a governing body) to meet the aspiration of its own members in and out of the country (including the diasporas.)
Gross Domestic Politics (GDP) value of a political party can be estimated based on the aggregate value of variables such as:
- the sum of members and their demographic characteristics (age distribution, gender ratio, profession and religion composition, ethnic range (to meet TPLF expectation,) and so on)
- the average time period (duration) or years that a leader and/or a member spends in the party before dissociation
- the rate of dissociation. Number of individuals leaving (deserting) the party in a given period of time
- the relative extent (magnitude) of voluntary financial, human, and capital resource investment by members to assist the political party. This can be valued through members’ non-compulsory commitment to organize and run regular as well as demanding meetings, conferences, or other outreach programs
- the democratic nature of methods (practices) administered by the political party to RETAIN the existing members. In other words, what kinds of incentives (or punitive measures) are implemented to retain members in the party (or to discourage those who intend to leave.) Likewise, the intensity (severity degree) of these measures has to be considered to get a better result (guide), … and so forth.
In order to dare the lowest alpha value (high level of confidence) during comparison, the value of the above variables must be assumed under a political “Ceteris paribus;” (i.e. an equal, free, and democratic political environment lest any form of intimidation or threat.)
Even if it is hard to assume this political ceteris paribus for our case, the one tribe nature of the party, the frequent dissociation of leaders and members from the party, the wide spread reality to reward exclusive illegal privileges for members, as well as the severity of measures adopted to punish leaving-members or “defectors” have given TPLF led EPRDF a NEGATIVE Gross Domestic Politics (GDP) value.
Gross National Politics (GNP) is the total popularity value of a political party (or a governing body) among non-member citizens plus other states (countries) across the globe. When I say non-member citizens, I am referring individuals that live in and out of the country, but not registered as members in that specified political party. In other term, I define Gross National Politics (GNP) as the degree of acceptance (worth) of a political party among non-member citizens regardless of their geographical location, plus the value it holds among other states which have a directly or inversely related socio-political interest (such as Egypt on Nile River, United State of America on the “fight against terrorism,” Sudan and Eritrea on border and security issues, China on socio-economic and political interest, etc.)
Like Gross Domestic Politics (GDP), Gross National Politics (GNP) also requires equal and free, democratic political environment to get a better picture. This value denotes how well a political party (or a governing body) is performing and is being perceived in the eyes of non-member citizens and other states diplomats across the world.
There are a number of issues to consider in estimating the Gross National Politics (GNP) value of a given political party. For instance:
- degree of engagement (grade of participation) of non-member citizens on national agendas initiated by that particular political party
- nature, magnitude, and frequency of rallies (demonstrations) administered in a given period of time; pro or against the political party
- kind, and level of challenge that the political party faces to reach and gain new members (methods and degree of difficulty to RECRUIT new members)
- consumption rate in potential members market (amount and demographic diversity of newly registered members per month, year, etc.)
- percentage share of seats in regional and national governing councils
- kind, strength, and diversity of diplomatic tie between the political party and other states. Here, it is also useful to look into the nature of relationship (tie) between and among other sister political parties, … and so on.
Simply, by inferring from the existing political reality, it is not hard to assign a NEGATIVE Gross National Politics (GNP) value for TPLF led EPRDF. The unsuccessful “Millennium” dam fund raising programs across Europe and North America, the strong and successful peaceful demonstrations against the Saudi and Ethiopian government all over the world, and the ever strained diplomatic ties among neighboring countries (Egypt, Eritrea, Somalia) and cash cow states (United States and European Union) warrant the argument.
In general, as I mentioned it above, the magnitude of both Gross Domestic and National Politics (GDNP) determines the strength and popularity of a political party (or a governing body.) Given the value of both GDP and GNP, one can tell how well the political party is performing at that particular moment, and predict its the possible outcome in the coming election time.
A political party (or a governing body) with unpopular ideology always face trouble to reach out potential members. This challenge (failure to sell the founding idea of the party) can be considered as a low export value. By the same premise, this political party has to invest a lot of resources (money, human, etc) in a form propaganda not only to hold the already existing members but also to pull in new ones (individuals or states.) I term this event as high cost of import. That is why TPLF led EPRDF bribes and rewards premium privileges (power and position) not only to attract new members but also to retain the old ones. Both low export value and high cost of import result a negative Gross Domestic and National Politics (GDNP) value for the party.
Gross Domestic Politics (GDP) measures the worth of a party among its members located in and out of the country; as Gross National Politics (GNP) defines the overall acceptance value of a party among non-member citizens and other states across the globe.
Under influenced political environment, Gross National Politics (GNP) value seems to provide a more accurate estimate than Gross Domestic Politics (GDP) as it takes a more comprehensive approach to include member and non-member citizens out of the country (the diasporas.) These subjects are, relatively or completely, free from any actual or potential political threat to provide the correct data based on their real feeling and interest. For reference, the Gross National Politics (GNP) value of Workers’ party and Builders of Islamic Iran, in North Korea and Iran respectively, seems to provide a better picture about the popularity and acceptance of the parties than the Gross Domestic Politics (GDP) value.
Under a complete democratic environment and without any exogenous power influence, the aggregate sum of Gross Domestic Politics and Gross National Politics value calculated on individual (“per capita“) level could be regarded as a close vote results during election period (Vote Result = GDP + (GNP – Diplomatic tie value).)
A continuous fall in Gross Domestic Politics and Gross National Politics value result a POLITICAL RECESSION. I define political recession as a party’s charm contraction, or a gradual slowdown of political acceptance among non-member citizens and other states. However, when this loss of confidence reinforced by a party’s own members, it becomes critical to be termed a POLITICAL DEPRESSION. In economics term, recession is less severe than depression. If one uses a term recession to refer the economy “falling down,” depression is a matter of “not being able to get up.” For this very reason, TPLF led EPRDF is on the verge of political Depression.
A political recession or depression generally occurs when a political party faces a widespread drop in acceptance. This may be triggered due to adverse demand/supply shock; such as:
- lack of viable leadership quality. Many of TPLF led EPRDF officials and ministers are little more than brutal simpering thugs with little knowledge of the subject matter they are crowned on. The accidental prime minister who stepped into the deceased shoes has no ability to identify the man on the street and the woman in the grocery store. Every decision is a “vision” taken in a superstition fashion after awakening and consulting the spirit of the ex-leader in the other world.
- loss of confidence from citizens (falling consumer confidence.) Leave aside the marginalized “second” citizens, the privileged leaders and members of the party are feeling ill-at-ease in their position. Individuals’ loss of interest to join the front, as well as the non-stop migration of leaders and members out from the party are good indicators.
- toxic bureaucratic functions and rampant corruption. As the socio-political system becomes so severe, even well-to-do citizens are incapable to cope with the pressure. Marking the case flagged, the recent Ethiopian airlines’ co-pilot action to change the Rome bound flight route to Geneva, Switzerland fits my argument at this point.
- degraded political ideology and stagnant socio-economic policy. This refers inability to tune up policies to the dynamic political wave and scio-economics frequency of the country. What we have seen and heard when Blue Party’s female activists and members took the street on March 09/2014 could be a good example. Referring the chanting words: (አትከፋፍሉን! ውሽት ሰለቸን! ሰላም አጣን በሃገራችን! ኑሮ ከበደን! …,) one can conclude that TPLF led EPRDF ideology and socio-political policies have become obsolete to fit the new generation’s world and the existing realities on the ground.
- competitive market. The emergence of one party with a better political policy is simply a downfall for the other with less favored philosophy. Blue Party has become BIG BLUE. In early and mid 80’s, “big blue” was a slang term to refer the computer market giant IBM. In ours political market, most of the tribe-based parties, including TPLF, are taking a hard hit from IBM – “Intensive Blue Mania,“) … etc.
A political recession is usually accompanied by:
- rise in unemployment. During a political recession, a drop in public support (vote) and an increase in members’ dissociation (unemployment) are inevitable. Here, I can refer the recent Behirdar demonstration where many of TPLF (EPRDF) members took part against their own political front.
- high interest rate. It is common that whoever invested or even interested to invest in infamous political party with poisonous socio-political policies is likely to pay high interest rate (societal alienation.)
When a political party (or a governing body) responds unconventionally to a political recession, political depression starts to surface. The most common unconventional political recession handling techniques are: mass arrest, imprisonment, torture, severe crackdown on civil and religious institutions, breaching of fundamental human rights (freedom of speech and access for free media,) stealing public votes, and the list goes on.
Unconventional political recession handling methods always incur huge human, capital as well as financial chaos. Sometimes, a frantic political party (or a governing body) could embrace almost unthinkable method of revival (like the cartoon I envisaged above to stop hijacking of civil airplanes by pilots and/or co-pilots, +1 air version of አንድ ለ አምስት. ) These measures always mislead to relax a political recession (tension) for a while. However, in economics term, such a force-induced relaxation is nothing more than a DEAD CAT BOUNCE; a concept to argue “even a dead cat will bounce if it falls from a great height.”
Quite often, unconventional political recession handling practices and a dead cat bounce effect SCARE or ALLURE some ex-members to return back or even new recruits to join the party for different purpose. Even if the political environment is unsafe, there are still die-hard ex and new veterans who dare to “fight the tape” (surf against the tide.) They see a mirage of opportunity under the thick cloud of misfortune. They will jump-in to trade the frantic political environment to their own personal interest; to amass a windfall fortune or fugacious political position. In such a political turmoil, under the rule of sham, it is really easy to rob a national bank than a blind beggar standing alone. As of me, these people are political speculators. Pay attention to what Ato Lencho Leta, the former Oromo Liberation Front leader, is up to.
At any point of political recession or depression, the rise of a sleeping beauty is out of question. In economic term, a sleeping beauty might be a new company or an existing one that has a great potential for takeover. Here, I shall leave you alone to predict your own sleeping beauty to takeover the giant awaken beast TPLF led EPRDF.
When a political party (or a governing body) threatened by a takeover, there are measures to be taken in now-or-never manner. In economic terms, one of the last resorts of survival is called a SUICIDE PILL. Suicide pill is a risky move by a company to thwart or frustrate imminent takeover attempt by any means necessary. This measure is an evil self-destruction alternative than a final protection option. In other words, it is a move taken by the management body when it reaches to a final decision that it would prefer to close the company than see it running in the hands of other competitors.
Political suicide pill is the last card to be played by oppressive political party (or dictatorial governing body) that prefers a country destroyed to (than) exist and led by another political party. For our case, I can cite article 39 as one of the prescribed pills in this drug package. Take a close inspection to the motive of the current Ethio-Sudan secret border deal, the imminent Nile dam doom, the extensive land lease move to foreign nationals, and even the city train deal as taking on excessive amounts of debt is one form of a suicide pill. The government is dealing the country in every coin known from Yuan to Rupee and Riyal.
At last I would like to mirror the political FRONT TPLF to the relentless economic FUND IMF. The ethnic federalism (“tribilization”,) the degradation of quality in educational, health and other social policies, as well as the shaggy and cheap foreign investment rewards are TPLF version of privatization, deregulation, and lift of trade barrier programs by IMF. Having said this, if any of TPLF officials demand me a recommendation, I have nothing to write but a few lines from Budhoo‘s letter of RESIGNATION:
Today, I resigned from the staff of the International Monetary Fund after over twelve years, and after 1000 days of official Fund work on the field, hawking your medicine and your bag of tricks to governments and to peoples in Latin America and the Caribbean and Africa. To me resignation is a priceless libration, for with it I have taken the first big step to that place where I may hope to wash my hands of what in my mind’s eye is the blood of millions of poor and starving peoples. … The blood is so much, you know, it runs in rivers. It dries up, too; it cakes all over me; sometimes I feel that there is not enough soap in the whole world to cleanse me from the things that I did in your name. Senior Fund economist Davison L. Budhoo, Enough is Enough … Open Letter of Resignation to the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (New York: New Horizons Press, 1990.)
I must insist those who are destined for the takeover to equip themselves with a better understanding of MICRO POLITICS (regional politics) and MACRO POLITICS (federal politics) principles to normalize the country’s political environment which the regime will completely turn up side down if not rescued soon.