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Why African Capitalism Needs Changing

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Siasa' started by Companero, Jan 2, 2010.

  1. Companero

    Companero Platinum Member

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    We have indeed come a long way since the eminent historian John Illife reviewed the question on whether African Capitalism exists or not in his book 'The Emergence of African Capitalism.' It is now agreeable that African Capitalism exists albeit in a very crude form. Thus it is not surprising that Moeletsi Mbeki, a private business entrepreneur, has written a new book entitled 'Architects of Poverty' and subtitled 'Why African Capitalism Needs Changing'.

    This is a must read book to all champions of capitalism in this forum - a list that include the once avowed socialist Rev. Kishoka - since it provides a strong critique against the current version of African Capitalism from an African capitalist. "The problem with Africa", boldly asserts Mbeki in the preface to his book, "is that it is still locked in the mercantile stage of capitalism." Retaining his capitalist stance that had also been embraced by his brother Thabo Mbeki he thus offers the following recommendation: "The challenge facing the continent is how to modernise capitalism from merchantilism to industrialism." However the socialist sentiment of his upbringing by a Communist father, Govan Mbeki, and a Pragmatic mother, Epainnete Mbeki, betrays him when he rhetorically asks: "Why don't the powerful in Africa ever learn that merchantilism is a road to nowhere? Africa needs new rulers - the people themselves - who understand that the path to a prosperous future lies in hard work, creativity, knowledge and equity"!

    Interestingly, many years a go a leader who championed 'equity' and 'equality' by the name of Julius K. Nyerere realized that industrialization was the way to go and he worked very hard to establish over 400 parastatals many of which were industries. Thanks to a merchantile version of capitalism under the garb of neoliberalism we killed virtually all of them and the chief architect of that, Benjamin W. Mkapa, has confessed his mistake. Today Tanzania is more disindustrialized than when it was when Nyerere stepped down in 1985! The mercantilism road of giving away raw materials in the form of crops and minerals is indeed a road to nowhere. At least the poor Mwalimu tried State Capitalism!
     
  2. Zakumi

    Zakumi JF-Expert Member

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    Ndugu Companero:

    Hayo ya African Capitalism ni yako. Tunachotaka ni Quality of Life.
     
  3. Ab-Titchaz

    Ab-Titchaz Content Manager Staff Member

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    Companero,

    Thanks for this posting that I'm intending to read keenly.

    My quagmire of sorts comes from the fact that the concept of African
    Capitalism is something I dont grasp in terms of its definition.What
    is it really? I have argued against this concept because it is non
    existent and it has not stood the test of time to be heralded as a
    'concept' or whatever word someone deems fit.

    For example what is this?

    Was the concept of Capitalism our own or 'ilikuja na meli' so to speak?
    What kind of economies were practised by the early people of Africa?
    Is Mbeki alluring to an economic or political or social problem when he
    throws this big brush at us (read Africans). I'm asking, because to me,
    the problem with Africa is its inept and incompetent leaders who steer us
    in totally insane directions...be they political,social or economic.

    Then comes this...

    Once again thats not the challenge...its the leaders and the body politik
    that drives a particular nation. What is going to be the bedrock of this
    change? or is he expecting donor handouts from the west to come an
    usher Africa into a period of Industrialism? Can't Africa develop an inborn
    system that can be fine tuned to reflect an originality of some kind?

    Meanwhile these Mbekis can sit on the back burner for a minute maana I
    have not come to terms with President Mbeki on how he handled the
    AIDS/HIV problem while in power.

    The other part of the debate will be engaged later.

    Regards.
     
  4. e

    echonza Senior Member

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    Yes, I strongly agree with your thought. Unless Africa is heavily industrialized to be able to compete in the world markets for goods and services supply, development can remain a dream. Let those already accumulated invest in industries and produce in a manner which will increase our returns from export and finally we can strong foreign reserve to assure stability in production process. However, before that comes in we should first clear the house with a lot of existing complicated sagas like corruption, weak accountability, lack of transparency and good governance and lack of ambitious leadership (based on creativity) should be mocked out first.

    The share of Africa's GDP should go down first in order to realize clear development steps. This means making our population not heavily depend on subsistence farming by making them well-off by increasing the per capita income throughout the continent. The country efforts in potential to steer this goal attainment. Citizens should have much options in their lives, resulting from having much income level (saving increased)! Therefore, let people like RA, EL, and of the likes do something to benefit the Tanzanians by investing in industries whatever they have already accumulated from whosever means!
     
  5. Companero

    Companero Platinum Member

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    What comes first, 'Agricultural/Agrarian revolution' or 'industrial revolution' - Kilimo Kwanza or Viwanda Kwanza?
     
  6. Companero

    Companero Platinum Member

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    Mnataka nani awaletee Quality of Life in a Silver Platter - Hao Architects of Poverty ya Mkukuta?
     
  7. Juma Contena

    Juma Contena JF-Expert Member

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    The core of development is the participation of many in building up a stable economy. This requires people understanding their obligations to their families and their personal development.

    Since the guardian of a nation is the government; and the structure of our political systems is more than pathetic. We are far away from debating these issues under our current political weather.

    You can never create a succesful capital economy if people do not know to fend for themselves nor how to create better ways of improving their life chances.

    No wonder an african who is sorrounded by land fit for farming and a forest a few miles away gets by with inadequate meal and sits on the mat. Yet the forest can offer him a table; a bench; a bed and all other wooden equipments a forest can offer. The land can offer him a very good diet. He only needs a little bit of creativity and hard work to achieve a better life with his sorroundings.

    Now that is a simple example how do you expect an african to understand and exploit other resources that have many process before they turn into valuable items. Its all pathetic africa is lagging behind for one simple reason ignorance. From politicians osmosising all the way to social.

    Last wealthy is knowledge and not money; with knowledge you can acquire material wealth through hard working and set a self limitations.

    Without knowledge you can only picture material wealth in association with lucky no wonder; those in power abuse the social with the never ending embezzelment sagas in our continent.

    To sum up the failure of african economies and modes of development that have succeeded elsewhere is not the theories but rather practicality of the theories in Africa. We only have ourselves to blame therefore we should stop this nonsense scapegoating international aid or any other reason we can think of its us and our never ending ignorance. May be JULIUS is right MIAFRIKA NDIVYO ILIVYO after all.
     
  8. Nyani Ngabu

    Nyani Ngabu Platinum Member

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    It's not a matter of 'maybe' he is right. Julius is dead-on in his take on Africans and the cause of their miseries.

    People who deny (kuwa sivyo tulivyo) do so just because of pride. Nothing more nothing less. They do so in words (talk). They talk a good game. But their talk is just hot air because it is not backed up by any significant deeds. How can one say 'sivyo tulivyo' while little elementary school children sit on the floor while in class or sit under baobab trees that are used as classrooms or schools? How can one say 'sivyo tulivyo' with a straight face when the sick and newly born babies sleep on the floor instead of resting on comfortable beds?

    Things like these have gone on for too long now throughout sub Saharan Africa to the point where some have reached a conclusion that perhaps that's just how we are.
     
  9. G

    Genda Member

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    Prof. John Illife was my History Prof at Mlimani, enzi hizo. He taught how the African was disintegrating and integrating into modern economies...

    He is more a historian than an economist.

    Even his economics is based on the contextual framework of history.

    African capitalism...what a hoax!

    African capitalism when your currency is so dependent?

    African capitalism...whom are you going to exploit in order to make extra profit?

    African capitalism...what are you going to produce (goods and services) which is competitive in terms of higher prices?

    African capitalism...when your currency is so dependent on other currencies, which are the mangers of the world economy?
     
  10. Juma Contena

    Juma Contena JF-Expert Member

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    Now how can anyone argue on that when the evidence is all over africa.

    However; still we have to remember only 150yrs ago europe was in almost similar situation; may be the curse is with our leaders. Because other have developed through their leaders who had wanted to improve the situation of their people. That is the reason for 'may be' giving half a chance due to poor governance.
     
  11. Nyani Ngabu

    Nyani Ngabu Platinum Member

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    Come on JC...Europe of 150 yrs ago was not a mess as Africa is now. And I'm growing weary of blaming it all on leaders. These so called leaders come from the hoi polloi. The hoi polloi is responsible for putting these 'leaders' in those positions. So where is the hoi polloi's accountability in this mess?
     
  12. Juma Contena

    Juma Contena JF-Expert Member

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    Actually im reading a book right know by 'Kathleen Jones' she talks about the madness of how the scots and english paupers had to endure due to government policies towards them.

    One commentator even argued they were parallel to African mbuti's in their behaviours. It took them time to understand how to enable these people to help themselves and what government intervention was needed.

    Those hoi polloi you refer to are the disadvantaged in societies and in africa we have god knows how many. They cant do much its up to us to bring about changes and educate them.

    We are no special its just we had the right chances. So dont expect much from these people too soon. But its up to us to fight the systems of power and so they bring about those changes.
     
  13. Rev. Kishoka

    Rev. Kishoka JF-Expert Member

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    Since I became a "born again" socialist, my dear comrade Companero has made great efforts to question my faith and stand on Socialism. I will gladly participate in his assertion that my "new faith" is flawed!

    Let me start by saying that, Africans as JC or Omega have started what they lack is knowledge and a structure that can ensure that they attain good knowledge.

    The knowledge that we hold dearly is primitive knowledge of production. Gathering few roots and leaves to cook a meal, catch a rat or fish to feed and hence our comfortable lives of sailing well under subsistance economies.

    Hwever the world has changed in our lives. From the traders, missionaries, colonialist and now self governing Africa, things have changed, modes and means of productions have changed and out life styles as consumers have changed.

    The sad thing about this wave of change is that our mentality towards production, innovation, self management, efficiency and exceptional delivery is stagnant, and thus validating Julius Nyani assertion that Ndivyo Tulivyo!

    I have questioned Azimio la Arusha if it created a frame work through policy works and wonks such as Nyerere, without examining Watanzania who are the targeted audience. I have question if Watanzania, cherished the Azimio and its contents, thinking that someone else had to produce and deliver for them, desoite the fact that Azimio talks about Juhudi and Maarifa!

    THe problem that Affrica is facing, is something that I have addressed for so many years! It is about the African Leadership, creating an environement that provides them with an economical upper hand and also empowers them through fallacy ideologies that preach hatred and distaste towards Capitalism and associating Capitalism as a mode of production with Colonialism and the pangs that came out of wounds of colonialism and slavery.

    For instance, in Tanzania, all the political club is filled with people who have managed to use such opportunity to grow their personal wealth and use politics as a modern day way of becoming an entrepreneur and creating entrepreneurship through favoritism, illigeal acts of breach of trust, corruption and exploitation of the mass through sepcial priviledges and entitlements which have been bestowed to the Political elites!

    Rather than toiling like my common subject Mapunda, and aggressively use their Juhudi and Maarifa to create wealth, the Political Cult is using political renumeration benefits such as allowances, a brand new car every 5 years, secondary income through seminars, board membership and most of all corruption.

    On the same token, these Political Elites, have assumed the complete control of production through false political policies which declares that the Government is Alpha and Omega of everything!

    For instance, the intent of Nationalizing through Azimio la Arusha in 1967 was great, however its delivarance, and what followed was purely mess and that has made Tanzania to have backwards development.

    Some of the key issues behind the backwards development of Tanzania through Government control, is lack of knowledge, accountability and proud of ownership.

    During Mkoloni's time, we were hard working because we feared the Mkoloni. When we became independent and declared the self ruling, our productivity drive stoped while we were enjoying the fruits of our Independence or flag independence (Freedom). However we continued to ignore the impontance of being knowledgeable despite several programs to educate the mass. As a result, we are lacking the true efforts of being proud owners of our country, majority do not take ownership, accountability and responsibility of their positions in society and especially in leadership circles.

    So rather than demanding that Capitalism is not a fit module for Africa, Africans are in need to change their mentality towards everything if we want to make progress. We need to tune ourselves and become industrious, attentive, efficient, setting achiavabe goals and create policy and frame work that is efficient and fair. In addition, there is a need fo ridding the political structure that has failed to lead and is self centered.

    But Africans have to desire to have quility life and elevate the definition of quality life. If we are to enter and compete in thye world economy and demand not only respect but voice in the global platform, a change has to begin from our thinking, our laissez faire attitudes, dependency and self assurance that we are comfortable with our abject poverty life. Most of all, we need to stop looking for a foreign scapegoat to blame and direct the blame to ourselves and accept our failures.

    So Mchungaji's new gospel is not denying the Azimio or Ujamaa, but examining why Ujamaa and Azimio have failed and why even Capitalism may fail, if the attitudes do not change and drastic efforts to address our problems are taken care off.

    Tusilaumu Ubepari na Ubeberu, tuu, tujilaumu na sisi pamoja na Ujamaa wetu!
     
  14. Companero

    Companero Platinum Member

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    Mchungaji don't sit on the fence, in fact that is the trouble with Tanzania - lack of solid direction!
     
  15. Rev. Kishoka

    Rev. Kishoka JF-Expert Member

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    I was once on the fence, but now I can see where the problem is and how we can bring the future. Go back on the Mchungaji's intente to start political party Progressive People's Party of Tanzania and then digest what vision does Mchungaji have for Tanzania and then allign it with my discection of Azimio on Utajiri na Kipato, then you will see where Mchungaji stands!
     
  16. Zakumi

    Zakumi JF-Expert Member

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    Sir:-

    Why are you asking me something that I don't know? The word MKUKUTA is not in my vocabulary, and I don't know the architects, and what it stands for.

    Anyway, as I told you several times, direct or indirectly people would work for anything if they see the incentives of their work. These incentives could be grouped into at least three motivational constructs: Self-interest construct, imitation construct and social insurance construct.

    In self-Interest construct, people work for wealth, power, social status and etc. For example, many people think Kwame, Kambarage or Kawawa were only motivated to help their people. But if you digest it closely, their work isn’t exactly messianic. You would probably identify that power, status, and a place in heaven were behind their deeds.

    In imitation construct, people do exactly what others in their social group or community do. For example, even though what they do are pile of crap, in large scheme of thing a Zaramo will imitate a Zaramo, and a Masai will imitate a masaai

    In social insurance construct, certain activities in communities are a form of insurance. For example, you go to other people's weddings or funerals because you expect others to attend yours.

    In all of these three, only self-interest construct improves the quality of life. I know you will call it selfish but people in advance societies put their individual interest first and community interest second.
     
  17. Tumain

    Tumain JF-Expert Member

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    There is something better than capitalism

    There is something better than socialism/communalism

    That is "something inbetween" i guess

    I would'nt like evils of capitalism in my country to continue anymore....

    I would'nt hold anymore evils so far done in the name of socialism either!

    "I want a country were individual is allowed to use his/her talent, skills and efforts to succeed without any limit (sky is the limit), at the same time public resources (land, water, minerals, natural etc) are taken care (governed) properly, shared equally (equity) and a very responsible manner"
     
  18. Companero

    Companero Platinum Member

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    Zakumi kuna ile projekti inayohusiana na hii mada ya enzi zile za DHB ulisema ukiimaliza tutawasiliana tuifanye pamoja, iliishia wapi?

    Kishoka acha longolongo, hivi unajua maana ya 'progressive' wewe maana naona unaendeleza 'reactionary' politics na hiyo PPP yako!
     
  19. Zakumi

    Zakumi JF-Expert Member

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    Ilikuwa ni disaster tupu. Na labda unaweza kusikia tone yangu ya sasa imekwenda upande wa kulia mno kuliko hile ya DHB.
     
  20. The Boss

    The Boss JF-Expert Member

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    nyerere wa dead wrong......
    state capitalism will never work,
     
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