BNW

 

Biafra Nigeria World Weblogs

 

BNW: Biafra Nigeria World Magazine

 

 

BNW: Insight, Features, and Analysis

BNW Writer's Block 

BNW News and Archives

 BNW News Archive

BNW: Biafra Nigeria World

 

BNW Forums and Message Board

 WaZoBia

Biafra Net

 Igbo Net: The Igbo Network

BNW Africa and AfricaWorld 

BNW: Icon

BNW: Icon

 

Flag of Biafra Nigeria

BNW News Archives

BNW News Archive 2002-January 2005

BNW News Archive 2005

BNW News Archive 2005 and Later


« Ozodi Osuji Lectures on Nigeria's Politics #4: Nigeria and Political Ideologies | Main | Ozodi Osuji Lectures #6: Interest Group Politics in Nigeria »

October 09, 2005

Ozodi Osuji Lectures #5: Nigeria and the Capitalist Political Economy

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji (Seatle, Washington) --- Politics and economics go together. Because of their intertwined nature, some observers believe that they should be studied as if they are one subject, political economy. Indeed, Karl Marx tended to approach the two subjects as one and wrote about them as one subject. Many socialist thinkers still talk about the subject as their ancient mentor, Marx, did.

There is no denying that the two fields, politics and economics are related. Persons who want to do a good job managing their economy are certainly well advised to not only understand politics but economics.

One of the misfortunes of African politics is that the first generation African leaders often did not know what politics was all about and certainly did not understand economics. Those of them with some understanding of economics did so in an academic manner. They had training at British schools on economics. Such training was academic and did not prepare them to grapple with real life economic issues.

The type of economics that is germane to the administration of modern organizations is applied economics, finance: business and public finance, accounting, marketing and so on. (Because of the saliency of those subjects, I will devote the month of December to eight lectures on them.)

A leader must understand the nature of the economy. Yesterday, we talked about the communist economy. In today’s lecture, we shall talk about the capitalist economy in general and specifically how that economy, though still incipient, is operating in Nigeria.

The capitalist economy is very broad and complex. We shall not be able to cover the entire field in a one hour lecture. What I will do is highlight how that economy operates in fact, not in abstraction. We are not going to talk about academic macro and micro economics and econometrics, but real world economics.

Most people agree that the nature of capitalist economics is captured in Adam Smith’s book, The Wealth of Nations, published in 1776. All serious public managers ought to read that book, as well as other salient books on economics, particularly John Maynard Keynes’.

Adam Smith wrote his book as if it is an exercise in philosophy. His goal, apparently, was to make an argument for the type of economics that he believed is most productive in the human polity. Apparently, he was trying to show the shortcoming of other systems of economics, particularly the dominant economic system of this time, mercantilism.

Mr. Smith proceeded thus. Human beings seem motivated to grandstand as socially serving persons. They like to see themselves as motivated by social interests in doing whatever they do. Their self-talk would like to convince them that they are serving the common interests of all mankind. This is particularly so for Christian Europeans who were brought up to obey the Jesus dictum of loving other people as one loves ones self. They would like to think that they obey Jesus Christ and love their neighbors as they love themselves. This is their conscious self presentation, but deep down is another reality, what Sigmund Freud later called ID drives to look after their self interests. Edward Wilson, in Sociobiology, in fact, argues that human beings inherited selfish genes and do whatever they do from selfish motivation.

Mr. Smith said that even if men were consciously good (they are not, Thomas Hobbes told us) and were motivated to work for social interests, that empirical evidence shows that they tend not to work very hard when they do so. People tend to work hardest when they are working for their self interest, Mr. Smith said.

In the former USSR, the leaders tried to get the people to work hard on behalf of public interests; the people did not. The Russian worker was the most unproductive and inefficient worker in the developed world. His productivity was less than a half of the capitalist American worker. Why so? Mr. Smith tells us that it is because the communist worker was forced to work for public good, as defined by the soviet Apparatchiki, but not for his own good.

A man is willing to put in fourteen hour days doing his own business, but the moment he is hired to work for a public bureaucracy, he hardly works two hours during the day. It takes ten bureaucrats to change a light bulb, and even then they do such a poor job of it; you may have to hire a private business person to correct the mistake that those self styled ten experts on how to change light bulbs made.

Upon the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, American businesses set up shops over there. They found to their chagrin that they could not rely on the local workers. Those communist trained workers were so inefficient that they had to be retrained to do their job well. Moreover, they were used to being bossy bureaucrats and being in positions where they commanded the customer rather than served him. They were sullen workers who did not gladly and smilingly serve customers. Doing something for customers was like they were doing them a favor rather than serving them, as they should. To the present, Eastern German workers are less productive than their fellow country men in Western Germany. In fact, German businesses often prefer to hire non-German workers than the inefficient ex-communist East German workers. A communist worker is as good as an unproductive worker.

Human beings, Mr. Smith observed, are motivated by self interests and work hardest when they work for themselves. This seems an empirical fact. No person who observes human beings, in fact, rather than merely speculate about them in the abstract, as idealistic communists tend to do, contradicts the fact that people are self interest motivated and work hardest when they work for themselves.

This would seem a negative comment on human nature, but Mr. Smith said that therein lays economic advantages; advantages he wants the capitalist to exploit, which exploiting has transformed the world into a very productive place.

The capitalist economy is the most productive economy known to man; it is, in fact, the best thing that has happened to human beings since the beginning of human history. Since the Bourgeoisie revolution, a revolution that Marx derided, humanity has improved its standard of living by hundreds of times. No other economic system has shown comparative value.

How so? In a capitalist economy, each individual seeks to optimize his own advantages. He works hard to do so.

Being a rational person, the individual recognizes that other persons are doing what he is doing, trying to optimize their selfish goals. He has to deal with other persons who are doing what he is doing. To relate to other people, he must show them that he has something good for them. A man is useless to other people unless he has what they want. An employee is useless to a particular employer unless he has the skills to do what he desires done, and does it better than other employees. It is what the worker can do that is hired by the employer, not his person. The moment the employee is unable to do the job, the employer is unable to produce what he is in the business of producing, hence would not make profit and would be out of business. Therefore, to survive, the employer fires the unproductive employee and hires a productive one.

In a capitalist economy, it is assumed that all persons are selfish and are serving their self interests. In this realistic light, A is a selfish person and B is a selfish person. They enter into a selfish relationship. Each must do what the other wants for their relationship to be mutually advantageous. In the economy, the producer, aka supplier of goods and services, must produce what the people, aka market, will buy. The people will demand what serves their selfish interests. The rational buyer will buy only what serves his good, not what the producer tells him is good for him.

Secondly, people being selfish and rational they want to buy goods and services very cheaply. If one can buy things cheaply, one saves money. The rational person prefers to save than waste his hard earned money.

If two sellers of the same goods present themselves to the rational buyer, the chances are that he would buy from the seller selling his goods and services cheaply. The rational person demands that goods and services be cheap.

These consumer behaviors and producers responses to them lead to the allocation of resources in the economy to where there is demand for them. Producers will produce what there is a market for it. In doing so, they allocate resources to where there is demand for it.

Since the producer must sell his goods cheaply to sell and make profit he is motivated to produce his goods and services in the most efficient manner. He is motivated to find ways to reduce the cost of labor and capital in his production. He seeks ways to increase worker productivity and the productivity he obtains from his capital equipment. He struggles to buy the best machines and other equipments he needs to produce his goods and or services, so as to produce them cheaply and therefore sell cheaper than his competitors.

The cumulative effect of these behaviors is that in capitalist markets, resources are not only allocated to where there is demand for them but tending to be utilized more efficiently. As far as the consumer is concerned, prices tend to be cheaper in capitalist markets.

(In basic economics courses, students are taught the principle of supply and demand; the nature of equilibrium price, that price that buyers are willing to pay and sellers are willing to sell; which is generally the break even price, a price that if goods and services are sold, the business person makes some profit so as to stay in business. We shall not get into school economics here; we are at the present interested in economic philosophy.)

In capitalist markets, Adam Smith tells us, and experience verifies his claim, people pursue their self interests. The blind forces of the market compel both buyer and seller to behave in such a manner that without intending to be of service to each other they end up being of service to each other. Business men are not motivated to help the consumer but they must, nevertheless, do so if they are to sell to him, make profits and stay in business. Consider Microsoft’s Bill Gates. As a capitalist seller, he wants to sell his computer operating software. He is a selfish man. If he could, he would sell his windows operating system $1000 each. But in the nature of the capitalist market, the consumer wants to buy that operating system as cheaply as he could, say $80. Now what? Bill Gates tries to accommodate the consumer or else he will not sell his goods. The forces of demand and supply interact and determine the eventual price (about $100).

One must, however, comment that this apparent equilibrium price seems a result of Bill Gates astute marketing skills. The man is a marketing genius. Apparently, he managed to keep out other producers of the type of software he sells. If other manufacturers of similar software could produce similar products and come into the market and sell them, it is conceivable for the price of that product to come down to $10 or less. (I think that ten dollars is going to be the eventual price of Windows. This would make a laptop computer no more than $100 in price. That way, poor Nigerians could buy them, as they should. Any one without access to computers is deprived of access to the information superhighway.)

Compare and contrast what happens in a capitalist marker, where selfishness rules, and what happens in a communist market, where supposedly altruism rules. Marx had talked sweet talk of “from each according to his abilities and to each according to his needs”. In pursuit of that utopia, communist governments set up central planning committees to plan how goods and services are to be produced and utilized in their polity. They decided, up front, how many medical doctors they want and train them, how many cars they want and produce them.

The human mind is so fallible that no amount of planning takes into consideration all the exigencies there is. By the time the central planning committee had planned for ten doctors and those doctors are minted, may be what is now needed is twenty or ten doctors? By the time that the planned number of cars are produced, may be the population has increased so that there is not enough cars around? No one can anticipate all possible contingencies that can intervene between planning and the realities of the market.

This was what happened in Russia. It literally took five years for a Russian worker’s turn to reach the end of the list before he could buy a car, or rent an apartment. He stood on line for four hours a day trying to buy the world’s most tasteless bread. Soviet economics not only was inefficient but produced the worst quality goods. The very communist leaders who indulged in central planning came to the West to buy high quality goods and services. Indeed, the moment the Soviet Union fell, Russians abandoned their shoddy goods and services and bought well made Western products.

Russian factories closed down, for the shoddy goods they were producing could not compete with the top of the line goods now coming in from Western Europe. In fact, Western business men had to buy the unproductive Russian factories and modernize them to get them to produce buyable goods.

REGULATED CAPITALIST ECONOMY

No one operating from the perspective of reason thinks that communism, socialism and other such nonsense are useful alternatives to the capitalist economy. Be that as it may, capitalism is not an unmitigated gift. As we all know, when people compete, there will be winners and losers. If you get a dozen boys and place them on their marks and asks them to get set and go, the fact is that some will win and others will lose.

In a competitive capitalist market, there will be winners and there will be losers. We see the winners in America making millions of dollars, yearly. We see losers in America making less than ten thousand dollars, yearly. We see this very clearly in New Orleans, Louisiana, where black folks did not even have access to transportation hence could not get out of hurricane Katrina’s way. Some of them died because of this fact.

Obviously, human conscience cannot tolerate this type of situation where some live in multi million dollar mansions and many live in the shacks of inner city New Orleans. So what to do? The economy must deviate from Adam Smith’s and David Ricardo’s classical laissez faire economics and find ways to give some handouts to the losers of society.

In much of the Western world, we now have social and economic safety nets for those unable to make it in the highly competitive capitalist economy. We have old age pensions for those whose savings are not enough to provide them with income when they retire from work. We have unemployment payments that help unemployed people as they look for jobs. We even have welfare money for those who are too poor and for some reasons are unable to work.

Capitalist economies must find ways to help the losers in competition for the allocation of goods and services. This helping of the losers is actually not a sentimental proposition. If the losers are not helped, being capable of antisocial behaviors, they could steal and or even kill the winners. If a polity does not help the poor, the poor could organize and make life difficult for the winners in society.

A callous government is bound to be deposed by society’s losers. Imagine the youngster with limited education that nevertheless can join the military and train to go kill for his country. Now if upon discharge from the military he is unable to find a job, because he lacks skills to compete in the work place, what do you do with him? Allow him to roam the streets unemployed? If you do, how about his skills at killing, what prevents him from killing you?

America recruits high school kids who are hardly able to read and write and trains them in its military. They go kill for Uncle Sam. Then they come home and find that they do not have the skills to compete with Asians kids in the economy. They remain unemployed. Many of them commit crimes. Rational leaders make money available for these folks to go learn employable skills. After the Second World War, the Korean War, and Vietnam War, America made funds available for GIs to go obtain market skills.

We now live in a very complex environment were everything is connected to everything else. Primitive capitalism cannot be allowed to operate unchecked. We know that if a factory emits pollutants into the air that we all could die from the poison it is feeding us. Therefore, we all are invested in what the factory puts into the air. We want manufacturers regulated.

We live in regulated capitalist economy. This is the way it should be, for if what A does affects B, B is invested in making sure that A does it in such a manner that he is not negatively affected.

If a pharmaceutical company produces and sells medications that make children to be born without arms (thalidomide), society is interested in making sure that it produces less harmful medications. Hence we regulate the pharmaceutical companies and make sure that the medications they sell are tested and ascertained to do what they claim to do and are not dangerous to the public’s health.

MIXED ECONOMY

Capitalist economies tend to go through periods of inflation (high prices), depression (low prices) and many things in-between. These economies have boom and burst cycles. Depressions can hit the economy so that manufacturers are unable to sell their goods because the price people are willing to pay for them are too low. At such low prices the producers would not be able to cover their manufacturing costs hence would go out of business. When producers are unable to sell and close shop they lay off workers.

Depression means high unemployment. The depression of 1929 produced over 25% unemployment in the American economy. The multiplier effect of this high number of unemployed is intolerable for the rest of the economy. Unemployed persons are not able to pay their rents and mortgages and the owners of those houses would have less money to repair them. Unemployed persons do not have money to buy from stores and stores lay off workers and close shop. Unemployed persons have no money to save at local banks and banks close shop. Simply stated, during depression the economy collapses.

So what to do about it? Allow the economy to go through its cycles and eventually correct itself? That was the view of laisez faire economists and President Hoover during the great depression. Unfortunately, in the meantime folks were suffering and shuffling from one city to another seeking jobs and food. It would seem callous to tolerate that kind of human suffering.

Let it be said, however, that if let alone that eventually capitalist economies tend to correct themselves. Without the New Deal policies of FDR, the American economy would have eventually rebounded. It may have taken longer, nevertheless the economy would have smoothed itself out, and it always does.

John Maynard Keynes came up with a methodology to intervene in the capitalist economy when its cycles seem to produce intolerable sufferings for the people. He suggested that governments engage in Taxation policies, fiscal policies and monetary policies. Let me briefly explain these measures.

Taxation means taking money from citizens. The money the individual pays in taxes he does not have available to spend as he sees fit. If the economy is in recession, small depression, the government could reduce taxes for citizens. This results in their having more money to spend. They spend that money and, hopefully, it stimulates the economy, increases demand and increased demand leads to increased supply of goods and services and resultant vibrant economy.

Conversely, when there is inflation, high prices, government could increase taxes. This would result in less money available to people to spend. They would buy less and would haggle for lower prices before they bought goods and services. The result would be lower prices of goods and services. Lower prices would reduce inflationary trends in the economy.

Governments use taxation policies to accomplish many goals, including encouraging producers to spend money on new equipment so as to improve productivity. Arthur Lafer suggested that if Taxes are cut, especially for producers, that they would have money available to improve their businesses, hence generate employment. This supply side economics is derided by liberals who point out that all that producers did with their tax cuts was use that money to buy luxury cars, Yachts and mansions. May be. Luxury goods are manufactured and sold hence increase economic activities. Supply side economics has not been proven as the parody liberals make of it.

Governments do engage in fiscal policies. By this is meant that they attempt to stimulate depressed economies by spending money that they may not have. They may borrow money from those who have them (via selling bonds) and using that money to engage in public spending that, hopefully, increases the level of economic activity. Government may build roads, bridges, tunnels, rail roads and so on. These public projects would stimulate the local economy where they are built. The multiplier effect, now of the positive variety, kicks in and improves the economy. If people are employed building roads, they have money to spend. They buy goods and services and pay their rents. That means that those providing those types of services would be in business. The economy takes off.

Governments do engage in monetary policies. This entails having the central banks increase or decrease their prime interest rates (the interest they charge commercial banks and businesses that borrow from them). Low interest rates means that commercial banks can borrow more money and have more money to lend to businesses and to individuals. Businesses borrow at lower rates and improve their business activities.

Conversely, if the economy is experiencing inflation, central banks could raise the prime interest rates. This means that borrowing becomes expensive and people stop buying some of the frivolous things they ordinarily would like to buy. People need food, clothing and shelter. Many of the other things they buy are luxuries that they could do without. When there is money crunch they would not, for example, buy Rolls Royce cars, perhaps, Volkswagens or even bicycles would do.

These days, practically all governments intervene in the economy and regulate it. No governments lets the economy operate by itself without some helping hands. The United States government, as I write, owes over eight trillion dollars it borrowed from those who had that money (mostly Asians). Americans used that money to meet their financial obligations.

Governments borrow money via selling bonds. (Private businesses obtain money via selling stocks.) In the long run, say thirty years, they have to repay the principal sums that they borrowed. In the short run, they pay annual interests on the money they borrowed (say 5%...what is 5% of eight trillion dollars? The US government pays billions of dollars annually for its debt finance. At the rate it is going, it is only a matter of time and the economy collapses. Asian countries cannot go on forever supporting American workers and paying for the American government to fight wars that it does not have money to fund; when governments are unable to repay their debts, they may ask to refinance them or to be forgiven them, as the Nigerian government is currently negotiating with the World Bank, IMF and its European groups of lenders).

NIGERIA’S ECONOMY

Nigeria’s economy is at the primitive levels of capitalist development. We might say that Nigeria is where Britain was in the mid 1700s when it was beginning the industrialization process, and that she is where the USA and Germany were in the 1830s when they began to industrialize.

The Nigerian economy is like what Karl Marx described in his Der Capital, primitive capital accumulation stage of development.

Factories are beginning to be built in Nigeria but working conditions are very poor. Folks thank their God that they obtain any kind of job at all and do not complain about their working conditions. We must remember that in the United States it was not long ago that folks worked 14 hour days in inhumane conditions. Children, as young as twelve, were worked in America’s coal mines for twelve hours a day; those children inhaled coal dust into their lungs and died early of assorted lung diseases. The American life span at the beginning of the twentieth century was 42 years (about today’s Nigeria life span). It was only in the 1930s that America began to improve the working conditions of the people; prior to the Wagner Act, the American workers condition was akin to third world countries current conditions.

The relevant point is that we should not be too harsh on the Nigeria for; after all, it is only beginning taking the first baby steps up the industrialization ladder, steps that the West had already taken. Nigeria cannot run before it can walk, it has to go through the steps Western countries did to become industrialized and developed. (Stalin tried to bypass those necessary steps through brutal means.)

SUBSISTENCE VERSUS MONEY ECONOMY

The Nigerian economy is moving from subsistence economy to money economy. This further compounds the country’s problems. Until the twentieth, the country did not have a monetary economy. Folks, more or less, engaged in bartering of goods and services.

(Even the trading with European slave buyers was not done with currency but with other goods. The slave buyer would give Nigerians, say, alcohol in exchange for Nigerian slaves. Not long ago, digging in my village, folks saw empty bottles of expensive French wines, manufactured in the eighteenth century. Apparently, our folks sold their brothers for French wine. They also sold their people for guns, clothes, swords and other knick knack.)

In traditional Nigerian societies, folks produced their farm products, took them to their local markets and exchanged them for products they needed. This economic system is called bartering. This was largely what obtained in Nigeria until the nineteenth century. At some point in the nineteenth century, folks used cowry shells as means of exchange but those not withstanding Nigeria was not a monetary economy until the British came on the scene in 1914.

This is not the place to write Nigeria’s economic history. Suffice it to say that the British aimed at stopping slavery trade in Nigeria and encouraged Nigerians to sell palm oil, Palm kernel, groundnuts, cotton etc instead of selling themselves. The Royal Niger Company bought these slave replacement goods from Nigerians and sold to Nigerians British products like soaps, clothes, knives etc. Later, during the colonial era, the British began to mine minerals, such as tin at Joss and coal at Enugu, and to buy cash crops like cocoa and coffee.

The British colonial administration set up marketing boards that essentially bought the products of Nigeria’s farmers (such as palm oil, cocoa, groundnuts, etc) and sold those in Britain and other parts of the world. Those Marketing Boards generated quite a bit of revenue for Nigeria, so much so that at independence, Nigeria actually had trade surpluses and was able to feed itself through its local produce. (Now, Nigeria sells oil and uses that money to import food and cannot feed itself through its local farm produces.)

Nigeria gained her independence in 1960. Since then, haphazard efforts have been made to diversify the economy, from selling mostly farm and mined products to manufactured products.

During the post 1973 oil boom (as a result of the OPEC oil embargo that led to increased oil prices and making of profits) Nigeria made half hearted efforts to begin the processes of industrialization.

Arrangements were made with Western and East European countries to establish factories in Nigeria. Peugeot motor company and Volkswagen cars, for example, began to assemble their cars in Nigeria. Indeed, an effort was made to establish an iron and steal industry in Nigeria. (Apparently, Western countries refused to build this mill and Russia agreed to do so. Russian technology, relative to Western technology, is backwards. The Mill’s products could not compete with the more efficient Western iron and steal. The Mill closed shop. At present, efforts are made to resurrect it by having Indians manage it.)

Nigeria made efforts to start all sorts of industries: oil refineries were built, pharmaceutical factories were built, textile factories were built etc.

Unfortunately, as long as Nigeria had quick access to oil revenue it did not see any need to develop good work habits. Oil money funds the various governments in Nigeria (up to 80%). The infant industries were allowed to die. Nigerians build a factory with much fanfare and a few years later it closes its doors. Nigerians build things but they do not maintain them.

Just about every thing built in Nigeria has broken down. We build airports and seem unable to maintain them and in a few months they breakdown. The toilets in the fancy airports are not useable a few months after the airports are opened. The country is a giant mess.

This giant mess calls for persons with managerial skills and who are dedicated to work and productivity to come in and fix things. Unless Nigeria figures out a way to change her present devil may care attitude towards work and productivity, when the oil money runs dry, as it is bound to, someday, Nigeria becomes another failed African country. When that happens, millions of Nigerians will try to leave the country and come to the West. In the West, they do menial jobs and, for all intents and purposes, are no different from those African slaves that came to America during slave times.

Like most third world countries, upon independence, Nigeria embraced the moribund theories of socialism and planned aspects of her economy. Five year plans were made to build this and to build that. The government established what it called Parastatals, government corporations that supposedly were expected to operate on business lines and make profits. Examples are the Nigerian electrical power corporation, the Nigerian railway corporation, the Nigerian telephone corporation, the Nigerian airways corporation, and the Nigerian coal corporation.

These so-called corporations not only do not make profit but depend on getting government subsidy to stay afloat. They provide the worst services known to man. The Nigerian electricity corporation manages to provide Lagosians with only a few hours of electricity on a typical day. Light comes and goes at any time so that you cannot count on continuous electrify. (Imagine what this means to manufacturers in lost revenue.)

To get access to what electricity there is one has to bribe public officials. Do you want to have electricity and water in your house? You have to pay a certain amount of bribe to the respective authorities. Even then you still would not count on having the water and electricity.

The saddest part of corruption in Nigeria is that the people drink from streams and ingest assorted germs and die early death. When villagers levy themselves and collect money and go to government agencies to come build wells or pipe born waters for them, they have to bribe these agencies’ officials that sometimes it takes years before they could get their wells built. In the meantime, the villages keep dying from the impure water they drink.

Does this unacceptable situation bother Nigerian public officials? Do Nigerian public officials have conscience or are they antisocial persons lacking in guilt and remorse? The fact that Nigerians do not feel concerned enough to build wells and give their people pipe born water and electricity and have to take bribes from those who collected money to build their own wells makes them inhumane. As I have pointed out elsewhere, the same spirit that led Nigerians to sell their brothers and sisters into slavery is still operating in contemporary Nigerians.

These people are evil persons. There is no other way to put it. Beating around the bush is a waste of time. People who are not committed enough to help their own people are worse than savages.

During the heydays of romance with socialism, the Nigerian government undertook many projects. Those subsequently died. These days, the government is trying to revive those projects. At the present it is selling off its boondoggles to private businesses. Nigeria recently privatized its electricity corporation. The idea is to see if a private company would give Nigerians electricity for a whole day without the power going out. We shall see.

As I pointed out elsewhere, Nigerians, indeed Africans, seem to have a sickness of the soul. Their sickness began when they sold their people into slavery. They sold their people and do not feel guilty from doing so. To the present, all that they do is blame the white man for buying their people. It is always the white man’s fault.

True, white persons should not have bought African slaves and should not have abused Africans in the Americas. But that is beside the point. When one points two accusatory fingers at other people, three point right back at one. Africans are, at least, 75% responsible for the evil of slavery. They must accept that responsibility and seek ways to make amends to African Americans.

We must ask African Americans to forgive us our past evil behavior. This apology must be followed with some kind of financial restitution, say giving 1% of Nigeria/Africa’s annual GDP to African Americans, for a generation, 35 years.

Sinners must make amend for their sins, otherwise they cannot change. Africans must make amends for their evil past and resolve to become good persons.

I do not believe that any thing will work out well for Africans until they apologize for slavery. It is when they do so that they can then resolve to care for their people.

At present, Nigerian leaders are nothing more than slave traders still selling their brothers to the highest European bidder. They make profits and live well while their brothers starve. They are beneath contempt. They are despicable, really. No wonder many sensitive Nigerians run away from Nigerians and do not want anything to do with Nigerians. Who wants to relate to corrupt persons, to criminals, to hard hearted persons who throw lavish parties for the few haves, while the many are sleeping in shacks in the shanty towns of Lagos?

These people do not deserve other persons respect. At any rate, few persons respects them. Despite adorning their bodies with ridiculous Indian manufactured lace/ clothes, they are still seen as nothing. They are nothing. Literally, they are nothing.

No serious economic thinker outside Nigeria even knows that Nigeria exists. When world economic calculations are made, Nigeria is not part of the equation. The Nigerian economy is nothing to be reckoned with.

Every one knows that only oil keeps things afloat in Nigeria and as soon as the West discovers alternatives to oil, Nigeria becomes another failed African state, a basket case.

We cannot give up on Nigeria. It is because one has not given up that one does ones best to reach out to Nigerians and see whether they can be rescued from the hell they assigned themselves. We must do what we can to develop managerial skills in Nigerians and encourage them to become ethical and moral persons. When this happens, Nigerians would begin to manage their country’s economy as they ought to do, professionally.

CONCLUSION


In this lecture, I have, hopefully, delineated the salient characteristics of the capitalist political economy.

Nigeria has no choice but to develop a mixed economy. It behooves all Nigerians to understand how this economy works.

Not all of us can become experts on the capitalist economy. My goal is very limited, to enable folks to understand the basic nature of the economy. If folks are interested in advanced understanding of the economy they should go seek such knowledge out.

Ozodi Thomas Osuji

Ozodi@africainstituteseattle.org

October 8, 2005

Lecture 6 is on October 10: Interest groups politics in Nigeria/the politics of ethnic groups

Posted by Administrator at October 9, 2005 10:11 PM

Comments

Thank you Sir for your good lectures!

Posted by: ag idris at April 8, 2006 09:42 PM


BNW Writers A-M


BNW Writers N-Z

 

 

BiafraNigeria Banner

BiafraNigeria Spacer

 

BiafraNigeria Spacer

 

BiafraNigeria Spacer

 

BiafraNigeria Spacer

 

BiafraNigeria Spacer

 

BiafraNigeria Spacer

 

BiafraNigeria Spacer

 

BiafraNigeria Spacer

 

BiafraNigeria Spacer

 

BiafraNigeria Spacer

 

BiafraNigeria Spacer

 

BiafraNigeria Spacer

BiafraNigeria Spacer

 

BNW Forums

 

The Voice of a New Generation