Find out what Economic Model works for Africa…
Posted by olakunlesoriyan
The world has accepted, practiced and promoted several economic models for a long time in our history. A lot of these economic models were invented by the West. Eastern Europe also expressed its creativity in delivering socio-economic models that equally enjoyed wide spread acceptance. But capitalism has been the most successful as well as the most enduring of all models. That is what is practiced in Nigeria. But clearly, none of these models have been able to successfully deliver on the promise of the fulfillment of the need and aspirations of people around the world. No system has been able to fully meet the requirements for the provision of the value that respects the right of ownership of property; that engenders and rewards personal responsibility, creativity and enterprise; promotes socio-economic justice through principle based and equitable re-distribution of wealth that meets the welfare of communities and peoples. Capitalism has always come close but in itself breeds a socio-economic disequilibrium that appears incapable of eliminating greed, inordinate ambitions, and mass poverty.
Each of the economic models practiced before now had some great components but all had endemic flaws. Socialism essentially denied the right of individuals to own property while destroying the motive for personal responsibility and creativity. On the other hand, unbridled capitalism is a mess because of its emphasis on reward for innovation and creativity that neglects the need for principled and morally sensitive wealth redistribution; and seems only able to underscore the self-serving drive to take advantage of opportunities for personal gain rather than solving demonstrable human problems to improve community welfare. There is a part of welfare economics that popular capitalism seem to be allergic to. And in the nations that practiced it, even excessive taxes with the single-minded focus to close this gap has only moved the world more towards a socialism that has never worked and that attacks the creative potential of the people.
In a capitalist system, compelling individual relevance depends majorly on three things: (1) the amount of personal responsibility the individual is willing to take; (2) the value (skills, services, products, solutions) each individual brings to the table and (3) the weight and quality of the structural capital prevailing within the environment in which the individual lives and works in. The problem with these three is that at their best, they successfully and consistently produce three categories of people: (1) a few big winners, (2) a number of average winners otherwise known as the middle class and (3) a myriad of losers.
Now, it’s simplistic to say that everyone is responsible for his personal relevance and status; yet, there must exist another kind of education that defines the standards that underscores the blessings inherent in our humanity and collective good; that in itself respects the truth that all men are not equal in ability and will never be. And that socio political factors such as access to health care and education and good governance or a lack of it contribute significantly to the people’s ability to express the best their individuality deserves as well as to maximize their full potential. And that the content of history such as slave trade and colonialism has created a kind of dichotomy that a system like capitalism takes advantage of to consistently widen the gap of poverty between nations; such that while some get richer and richer, their continuous growth will be sustained by those capitalism continue push to get poorer and poorer. Africa and the so-called Third World are the obvious victims here. But in the absence of the first-world empathy that can work to bring Africa and the third world the value with the potential to terminate our dependency status, Africans themselves must invest in that needed empathy towards ourselves with the critical goal to move beyond the aids and favors that keeps us small. We need the understanding that defines new strength for us as a people. It’s critical.
African leaders, and especially leading businessmen and women all over corporate Africa, must now begin to define a new kind of economic model that in itself will be a hybrid of the capitalism we have known but with empathy at its centre, and that promotes sound market based strategies of capitalism such as the creativity, innovation, efficiency, management and sustainability culture of the free market, blended with the focus on social engineering for the common good that socialism offers.
However, these will not be necessarily done strictly through legislation, but mostly through value-based education with a focus to teach and lift solution providers to become social entrepreneurs that are passionately committed to placing the common good over and above the desire to amass personal wealth—meaning that wealth will continually be created but is not amassed. Meaning our societies will no longer be filled with people who just have money, rather it will be filled with people who have the money that is allowed to flow to multiply stability for the common good.
We need a robust budget for the dissemination of the education with the potential to govern thinking and govern behaviour in this regard. Clearly, socialism failed because it did not capture and embrace a critical component of capitalism. But capitalism is also failing because it is unbridled, and inspires self-serving gains at the expense of the common good. The global economic crisis the world saw and the ones we are struggling with presently underscore this more than anything. It may not be the last we have seen but Africa can accept and promote a new world economic order in the mould of what is called Creative Capitalism. Continued reliance on transnational socialism in the name of Aids cannot close the gaps, it is why socialism did not work. More than 50% of the aid Africa receives returns to the west as payment for technologies and expatriate skills anyway. Africa gives back about 14pounds for every one pounds received in Aids.
Favour is not free, someone always pick the bills. For every degree of favour you seek, you lose a level of freedom, and a begging bowl is not a pathway to prosperity of any kind. Between socialism and capitalism exists our own peculiar economic order. We need men and women with the guts to study it and the political and corporate character to embrace, practice and promote it. This is the thought each visionary African must consider. This is who we should be. And this is what we must do. Share your thoughts here.
Posted on March 18, 2014, in Smooth-Life*Clinic* and tagged Africa Businessmen, African Leadership, Capitalism, Creative Capitalism, Economic Models for Africa, Socialism, Welfare Economics. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.