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Kinachohitajika ili nchi ya Kiafrika iwe ya Kisasa …

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Siasa' started by JohnShao, Jun 5, 2010.

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    JohnShao Member

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    Jun 5, 2010
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    [FONT=&quot]Kinachohitajika ili nchi ya Kiafrika iwe ya Kisasa …[/FONT]
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    [FONT=&quot]Facing up to reality in the 21st century[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]“African nations need to face up to the harsh realities of surviving in a highly competitive global system.”[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]View all articles by Tunde Obadina[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]The fact that billions of people from various cultures in virtually all corners of the globe celebrated the dawning of the new millennium demonstrated the triumph of globalisation. The calendar that has humanity now living in the 21st century is a Christian construct at variance with the beliefs of other religions. But what was marked on midnight of December 31st 1999 was not the birth of Jesus Christ but the ascendance of world culture, made possible by international capitalism. It was economics rather than theology that drove Chinese, Indians, Arabs, Africans and indeed Europeans to let off fireworks in tune to a common global time framework.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]However, many Africans who joined the millennium celebrations and continue to follow the western calendar, remain resistant to the idea of globalisation, preferring a return to an age of cultural separation. This thinking is rooted in the nationalist theories that emerged in late nineteenth century in response to racism, colonialism and imperialism. We need to re-examine this nationalism to develop a new perspective for dealing with the realities of the world in the 21st century. The biggest obstacle to rapid economic development in Africa has not been the lack of physical resources or shortage of money, but the poverty of ideas. African societies lack an outlook on the contemporary world economy that situates them in the dynamics of development. They are floating aimlessly, still anchored to the nineteenth century. [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]In the west, there is growing opposition movement to globalisation. The intensity of its outrage was evident in the rioting that marred the World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks last December in Seattle. Though smaller in scale, the anti-capitalist protests at the World Economic Forum meeting at Davos, in Switzerland, also showed the depth of anxiety in the west about globalisation. The anti-globalisation opposition brings together an ideological mix of people, from communists to environmentalists to trade unionists. Their concerns range from anxiety over job security in industrialised nations to the destruction of the world eco-systems to the impoverishment of poor nations by exploitative and domineering multinationals.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]From the standpoint of the interests of poor nations, the case against globalisation revolves around the argument that world integration has benefited only rich nations and at the expense of poor ones. Opponents often present statistics showing a growing wealth gap between rich and poor nation during the past three decades. Globalisation is said to have brought poverty, increased unemployment, falling state spending on crucial social sectors, particularly education and health; erosion of human and labour rights, and child exploitation. Globalisation is also said to be eroding the power of governments and subjecting nations to the whims of western-dominated global organisations such as the IMF, World Bank and WTO.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Much of contemporary anti-capitalism views reinforce the post-independence sentiments of African cultural nationalism which sees the world divided between the almost perfect and humanist traditional societies and the destructive, materialistic and inhuman imperialist west. Such a black/white pure/profane perspective may have seemed relevant during [anti-] colonialism, but how relevant is it today?[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]The claim that globalisation has widened the gap between rich and poor nations assume that without integration today's poor nations would have been materially better off. There is no evidence to support this. On the contrary, societies that have had least contact with the outside world are also the least materially developed. It would be absurd to argue with respect to any African society that if at independence it had severed all links with the developed world and pursued an insular existence, it would have materially progressed further than it has with linkage.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]The linking of world economies has not impoverished developing countries, rather it has been the source of material growth, with unequal benefits for their inhabitants. The challenge is to fathom how the poor in poor countries can benefit more from globalisation. Indeed, poor Africans need globalisation more than rich industrialised nations need to maintain linkages with Africa.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]The alternative to globalisation would be disastrous for the poor who are shut out of modernity but wish to get in. Globalisation, both as a perspective on life and actual linkage of cultures, can help African countries overcome many of the obstacles currently hindering their political, social and economic progress.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Probably the biggest cause of political instability and chaos in Africa is ethnic nationalism. Many more Africans have died as a result of inter-ethnic conflicts since independence than did at any equivalent time span during colonialism. The future outlook for the continent is of more conflicts, as unscrupulous elites use ethnicity to gain or hinder access to limited material resources. The manner in which European colonialists carved up Africa certainly fuelled tension between its different peoples, but the persistence of these conflicts five decades after decolonisation is due to contemporary politics of competing parasite elites rather than to any intrinsic incompatibility of the nationalities making up Africa's recently created nation-states.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Ethnic nationalism should be condemned and fought in Africa. As long as it thrives there will be little prospect for achieving the political stability and focus needed for rapid economic development and nation-building. Ethnic nationalism is a destructive force that breeds intolerance and parochialism, much in the same way as racial nationalism. It is odd that there exists universal liberal consensus on the evil of racism, but ethnicism, which has caused the deaths of millions of people in Africa and elsewhere, is not so viewed. The ethnic warlords who stirred hatred that caused civil wars in different parts of Africa are as evil as were German Nazis and as are contemporary European fascists. Ethnicism and racism share many common features, including defining a set of people in counter-distinction to other groups and blaming others for problems, particularly economic under-achievement.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Globalisation as the interaction of different cultures could help broaden people's minds, encourage them to view themselves as members of a heterogeneous global community. Without denying obvious differences in their ethnic, racial or sexual roots, people need to learn that their prime identity is as individual members of the human race. Ethnicity, race or sex need not determine where one lives or works, whom one marries or befriends, or one's faith and loyalties. This broadening of self- consciousness can be liberating and lessen the potential for social conflict. [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]The notion that globalisation has resulted in the trampling of human and trade union rights in developing countries can be misleading. Certainly increased competition between nations to attract scarce foreign investment and endeavours to protect such investment have in many places led overzealous states to trample on human and trade union rights. But globalisation has also worked to protect poor people against the tyranny and carelessness of their corrupt rulers. It is unlikely that ordinary Africans would have fared better had their nations not been linked to the international organisations, such as the United Nations and the World Bank. The probability is that people living under dictatorships would have suffered more had their leaders not been constrained by actual or possible intervention from outside forces. Globalisation could and should offer people more protection against abuse by local tyrants. It is an uncomfortable truth that if left alone many African governments would probably spend less on educating and providing healthcare for the poor than they do now under structural adjustment programmes. What is needed is reform of world organisations to make them more democratic and less dominated by rich western nations.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]At the crux of globalisation is economic integration through increased cross-border investment, trade and labour movement. It is essentially the growth of international capitalism, driven by market forces. Globalisation has undoubtedly created unprecedented opportunities for wealth creation and for the material betterment of the human condition. The revolution in communications technology is shrinking the world, producing new and easier accessible opportunities for the transfer of knowledge and the development of skills-based industries.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Though the concerns of many people in developing countries about reducing barriers to trade and obstacles to the free flow of capital are understandable, Africa stands to gain from deeper integration into the international economic system. The corollary of this is that further marginalisation from the global economic system spells worsening poverty for the continent.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]African nations require foreign investment to help develop their economies that are deficient in financial and managerial capital. Internally available resources are grossly inadequate to meet the needs of economic development and poverty reduction, even in the unlikely absence of corruption and resource mismanagement.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Through interaction with advanced wealth creating nations Africans may learn about the nature of wealth and how to create it. The absence of a wealth-creation culture is the major obstacle to African societies realising their dream of industrialisation. They lack wealth-creating classes, either in the form of a bourgeoisie or a socialist bureaucracy. Given the propensity for corruption in societies where the elites are impatient for personal wealth and modernity, the prospect of genuine socialism developing in Africa is small. Therefore, there is no viable alternative to the emergence of local bourgeoisie that can be a driving force for material development.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Integration in the international capitalist system can help stimulate the growth of an African bourgeoisie. This class will be different from the current parasite ruling class in that it will exploit human and material resources to create wealth and produce profit for itself rather than just steal national resources, with no added value and no growth.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]African nations need to face up to the harsh realities of surviving in a highly competitive global system. Some critics of globalisation and market economies present economic development and prosperity as human rights, things that come about simply because people are poor. The impression is created that the responsibility for transcending the poverty of underdeveloped nations lies with rich nations - all the poor need do is demand prosperity and sit back waiting to receive what they are due. This latter-day liberalism has not been helpful.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Many liberal opponents of globalisation harbour disdain for large-scale productive activities and dismiss notions like efficiency, productivity and growth as dogmas of greedy capitalists. But it is difficult to see how poor nation's economies can grow rapidly without striving to become more efficient producers. Similarly, it is hard to fathom how these nations can eradicate poverty without accelerated economic growth. By striving to keep pace with the tempo of globalisation African nations are more likely to develop the productive culture they need to attain their people's dream of modern material prosperity.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Riding the globalisation train does not require poor nations to allow big corporations to ride roughshod over them. As with governments, the activities of big businesses need to be closely monitored and their excesses challenged. Globalisation does not mean that poor nations must follow blindly the tenants of free-market economics nor that they remove all import restrictions. Free trade is an ideal that is yet to be practised by even its staunch western advocates.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]However, in formulating economic policies African governments should endeavour to maximise the possible gains from globalisation. For instance, the tendency to impose high import tariffs to protect slumbering local industries should be re-examined. Often the problems hampering the growth of local industries go beyond stiff competition from cheaper foreign imports. Mismanagement, inefficient use of resources, high energy costs, lack of investment, crumbling infrastructure services and shoddy output are often as important causes of de-industrialisation as competition from foreign imports. And as such, raising import duties does not necessarily result in higher production. The real challenge is to improve local conditions to enable domestic producers lower their production costs and become more competitive on a global standard.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Globalisation is not a new phenomenon. It is the internationalisation of capitalism, a process that began more than a century ago. Over 150 years ago Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels described the process in the Communist Manifesto. They wrote: "The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere. In place of the old and national seclusion and self-sufficiency, we have intercourse in every direction, universal inter-dependence of nations. And as in material, so also in intellectual production. The intellectual creations of individual nations become common property. National one-sidedness and narrow-mindedness become more and more impossible, and from the numerous national and local literature, there arises a world literature."[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]The bourgeoisie has the capacity to spread development globally and take humankind to its highest point of material existence. This is not to say that capitalists are good people or conscious developers. They are not, but morality is irrelevant here. In pursuing their self-interest capitalists create wealth. They are in a sense involuntary promoters of industrialisation.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]While in the immediate sense we should guard against the excesses of capitalism and fight to change some of the rules of the capitalist order to reduce its innate inequities, we need to take the long-term view that capitalism and globalisation can deliver prosperity. The alternative could be regression to nationalism and barbarity.[/FONT]
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