All countries are equal so the world wants us to believe, but some are more equal than others. This is a statement borrowed from the novel Animal Farm by George Orwell.
Develop me with Tapiwa Gomo
The statement makes reference to the hypocrisy of the world that claim outright equality of all nations, even when power is tilted towards a powerful few. Such perceived equality has blinded most leaders of developing countries that the world owes them to maintain the equality.
This is surely not a follow up to last week’s instalment which angered a few in the MDC-T party who believe certain people are more equal than others.
It is neither a response to the cyber violence, typical Harvest House style, that characterised the reaction to last week’s instalment, nor is it a critique of their angry view. I am reminded by Mark Twain that “anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured”.
Some of us don’t write to please, but to inform and offer analysis for purpose of creating new ideas. Zimbabwe needs a future and it is beyond discussion that none of the current political leaders offer confidence to that view. We need new names.
My line of discussion this week centres on the difference between creating and managing an economy.
Historically, countries in the South have always been prescribed to adopt the same economic and governance policies that are similar to those in the South.
The assumption in doing so is that all countries operate in a similar context; therefore a blanket policy would suffice. Such approaches, especially to economic growth and poverty reduction, have either deliberately negated the differences in contexts for each country, and so do approaches to address local problems, or it is an approach driven by the desire to universalise economies in the service of the interest of those who decide at global level.
This question underpins some of the discussions on why Africa is poor and yet in the context of globalisation, states are considered equal. It is perhaps this assumed equality that is used to justify adoption of blanket policies that are not congruent to local realities.
Perhaps, most African countries are poor because they lack an economy and as a consequence policies that seek to manage the economy do not apply.
Applying economic management in the absence of an economy simply means managing nothing or poverty. The basic principle then is to start by creating the economy before imposing economic management principles. I am aware that the majority in the field of economics are stuck to the intonation that economics is the management or maximum utilisation of scarce resources to meet the desired ends.
This applies where a society is assumed to have resources, which represents a form of an economy. For a society which does not have, certainly the starting point is to create an economy and doing so is not an act of subservience, but requires radicalism to acquire and sometimes encroach on other societies’ territories or breaking ties with those that suppress intentions to acquire a “new economy”.
I have severally argued in this column that most of the developed countries have achieved big economies by somewhat adopting what seems to be unorthodox means. Part of the Western economy is built on the foundation of slavery, colonisation and expropriation of cheap or free African resources, while China chose to undercut its people as labour. Someone, somewhere, somehow was shortchanged in order to build these economies.
It is from few countries such as Japan that we can derive inspiration for the simple reason that, they too did not have resources in the form of natural resources apart from their brains and labour. In fact, most African countries are in a better position to develop than Japan because they have at least natural resources, which require a functioning mind to utilise them, not to sell, in order to meet local consumption.
To achieve this does not require an internationally derived economic management policy, but a realisation that our poverty is a result of our inability to utilise what we have and what others have. This is true when we consider that our economic policies speak more of selling our natural resources, the earnings of which are used for national consumption which in itself costs more than the selling price of natural resources.
Countries that have developed, have not done so by adopting global policies, but have industrialised, utilised the natural resources they possess and acquired what they do not have, including knowledge. I am yet to see this in any of the different political parties’ policies not even in our national policies. Let’s start by creating national economies.