It is essential during times of perceived transition to comprehend the world from the perspectives of people from backgrounds — and even countries — that are different from our own.
By Beniah Munengwa
Author: Peter F Drucker
Title: The New Realities
Publisher: Mandarin Paperbacks (1990)
ISBN: 0 7493 0355 7
The reader should set their eyes beyond the fictional and expand their consciousness and understanding to the cunning nature of the world polity.
And for that sake, I resorted to a book that was now gathering dust in my personal library, The New Realities, a text that focuses on the American political landscape in relation to its political, social and economic interactions with the rest of the world.
What I find most striking is the author’s provocative stance on his interpretation of government activity. “Some of the problems we face are created by the successes of the past,” Drucker notes.
Drucker’s book reveals how nation states risk being dominated by their act of wanting to exclude themselves from the world. Drawing from historical moments in line with present realities of his time, he persuasively tries to clear a way path for the future direction of American politics.
“By embracing the West, Japan escaped its domination,” he notes and this stands well in line with the way in which Zimbabwe should embrace the world. Japan went through the MeiJi Restoration through which, although it was westernised, it retained some control.
The author defines post-coloniality in a way that is different from the way that we have come to know. He notes that “post-colonialism does not mean a return to pre-colonial state”. Thus, for the growth of the African state, Africa should redefine its scope from merely focusing on a return to the means of the old to openly admitting the need for a new dawn.
He contends that it is now difficult to plan the economy, the people or the forces for both salvation by faith and by society is getting dysfunctional.
The government can only survive if it has a monopoly over a service. Such a comprehension helps us unlock the Zimbabwean dilemma on why parastatals in this state struggle when they face competition. Drucker boldly suggests, “Whatever non-governmental organisations can do better or can just as well, should not be done by government.”
While, “A private business can be liquidated, sold, dissolved. A government activity is finite,” for it does activities for the general moral good of it and rarely does it consider the economic implications of its deeds.
He argues that military forces, whose major task is to the country independent and to make keep it so, were no more than just a burden and drain on the economy. He stresses that no government should claim that it is in control when it receives military aid, for it is the role of an army to protect its own rather than to be protected.
The great leadership guru quotes Oliver Hendell, as he tries to explain some of the effects of heavy taxation on a people. Hendell is of the view that, “the power of tax is to destroy” as increasing government revenue results in stagnation or mounting inflationary pressures.
Such revelations sparked my further interest in the book, as it befits Zimbabwe as heavy taxation on citizens has done little good for the general population, the investor and the government itself. Poverty has remained while the economy has become less productive and consequently, deepened socio-economic inequality.
Such tax structures coupled with the limits of the fiscal state, according to Drucker, lead to the inevitable road of a silent tax revolt as people stop working, for what will be the point in working for an additional income is to be wiped away with taxes even?
This also gives birth to the grey economy, whereby, figures submitted for taxation are manipulated, some funds externalised and so on as the state becomes the enemy of the people in business. Herein lies the answer to why Africa has remained poor.
The rich text unearths how “charisma” as a leadership style is on the verge of collapse for the ordinary citizen has lost trust in the person of the traditional leader. This probably explains why Donald Trump won the last American presidential election.
Although this is an American text, it can help one understand the international landscape, how leadership is being conducted and the impact of the ongoing arms race, as we seek to rise as a new nation drawing from persuasive arguments and realisation.
•Beniah Munengwa can be contacted via email on email@example.com