The role of politics

(NOTE: Very recently, NCEE added a standard on the role of politics in the economy. This section in The Invisible Hand, unlike most texts, anticipated that change)

The details of many of the political efforts to seek special favors are usually unappealing. They are the reason why the making of laws and sausage are often lumped together as unfit watching for those with weak stomachs. But playing politics is an important part of our economic system, a part that is often ignored by most books on economics. Any individual or group which does not participate in the messy business of politics is at a definite disadvantage in obtaining a fair share of the world's goods. Whether in tax laws or in the spending of tax revenue, government politics plays a very important role in economic outcomes. And it's just one part of the overall politics that determine how much more or less than our fair share we actually get.



Given that playing politics is an ingrained part of the world, we need to understand that everyone has competitors who are doing it regularly. If you compete only under standard, known rules, you will be at a disadvantage and will end up with less than your fair share. In order to get your fair share of money, rewards, etc., each individual should develop and practice political skills. Some of them that will help in most job situations are:

1. Identify individuals who are important to your success. Don't overlook those who frequently talk to or who have the confidence of individuals whose decisions are important to you. Examples in this category are executive assistants, spouses and family members of key decision makers, media people, etc.

2. Identify some unmet needs of each of the above individuals, then figure out how you can help meet those needs. Look well beyond normal business activities to include personal interests, hobbies, or desires of others. Do meaningful favors for those key individuals as often as you can. Make them look good in front of their peers. Let them take credit for good results in which you had a hand. In short, build up in people important to you a reserve of good will for your efforts.

3. Be likeable. Ask friends to give you input on your personal qualities. (This is in bold text because it anticipates the author's later development of the Social Quotient measure.)

4. Practice networking regularly. Keep in contact with a wide variety of friends, business associates, etc. Let them know what your current interests and needs are. You can't expect others to be of help to you unless they know what really interests you. Follow up on any contacts or references they give and let them know how the contact went. Offer similar networking assistance to your friends. It's surprising how many good paying positions are obtained through personal contacts

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