Chocolate and Gold Coins

Monday, May 23, 2005

Markets in Everything: Rent-a-Crowd

Perhaps Marginal Revolution should copyright their famous “Markets in everything” title but they passed on this item [from Sify via India Uncut]:

A former politician has launched a "rent-a-crowd" company to recruit people to cheer at party rallies and said he has been deluged by would-be recruits, a report on Thursday said.

"When all political parties and organisations are doing it discreetly, why can't we do it professionally?" the Hindustan Times quoted the company's founder Devarajan as saying.

The article goes to indirectly quote one of these would-be recruits:

"One said he would participate in any mode of agitation including violent ones, if he got a bottle of liquor and chicken curry every day," he said.

Note to Devaranjan: feed them before the rally, give them the alcohol after the rally.

I passed this little item to Tyler Cowen of Marginal Revolution to see if he would want to use it as one of his “Market in everything” posts, but he replied that he had posted on something like this before. Marginal Revolution has a nice google search on it. I typed in “rent a crowd” and got 33 hits, but no luck.

Who knows how they described their item and what it was about, but this is fundamentally different than the run-of-the-mill rent-a-crowd story. This Devarajan is openly announcing that he is renting a crowd. No one has done that before…because it’s so very stupid. How could hiring Devarajan’s rent-a-crowd service do anything other than discredit the politician? It would be much cheaper to accuse your opponent of hiring Devarajan than to hire him yourself.

I did a google search to see if there were other rent-a-crowd stories. Oh yes! There were 11,400 hits. From every corner of planet Earth there is a rent-a-crowd story. I did not read every one but I did read the first 15 to 20. Usually, it is some politician getting caught renting a crowd. It never seems to do the politician that rents any good. Here is a nice story from Indonesia in which the politician, in a moment of accidental candor, laments that, in effect, “They will yell for us today but vote for them tomorrow.” Of course. You can hire someone to escort you to dinner but you can’t hire someone to fall in love with you.


  • Michael,
    Thanks for the kind words about SM.

    shows that he can create (or help create) a very professional looking blog with the slickest design in the blogosphere.

    Most of the credit for the design of SM goes to co-founder Manish Vij. He's the one in the group with all the computing brains (as well as the one who most frequently uses puns). The two of us have done the banners but all the slick layout stuff is all him.

    How does he get them to adhere to the Sepia Mutiny style?

    Unfortunately I can't get them to adhere to anything. :) That's the problem with a mutiny. You can't trust even those closest to you.

    In fact, Abhi claims he has never met some of his co-bloggers.

    That's right. I've only met one. With insurgencies its best to keep things compartmentalized. :)

    Does Abhi know something about controlling a global enterprise that others should know?

    Yes. But by the time the secret gets out it will be too late. Unless they pay me one Miiilllion dollars for it.

    Thanks again for the kind comments!

    By Blogger TMB, at 11:43 AM  

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