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Opinions of Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Columnist: Agbodza, Kwami

Anti-Free Market Nkrumaist Musings

Kwame Nkrumah said, “If Africa's multiple resources were used in her own development, they could place her among the modernised continents of the world. But her resources have been, and still are being used for the greater development of overseas interests.” Despite this, they still tell us freemarket is the answer; freemarket is the solution. However, is it, when this fact remains the case?

One ghanaweb writer said recently to us: "No country has achieved growth without making the private sector the engine of growth and don’t be confused by China because they are where they are principally by opening up their economies to foreign direct investments." Then who ever said that foreign investments must be coincident with the private sector? Is the EEC not investing in Ghana? Is the EEC a private sector actor? In addition, why do people confuse private initiative with private sector? When did any private sector have a monopoly over creative initiative or genius? The origins of key commercial products are in the military, which is not a private sector institution in any free market sense. Yet the lies continue.

The CPP has forever asserted as an ideological and philosophical principle that the private sector can never in principle let alone practice be the engine of any economic growth. There is no country that on earth that was developed by free market private sector. The engine of economic growth in Ghana, in the end, will be ordinary men and women, Africans of the kind Dr. Kumordzi describes as living entities possessing an original knowledge system, convinced they are equal as human beings anywhere, determined to establish a just and free society in furtherance of a peaceful and righteous nation.

We however continue to remind Ghanaians that If they believe this staple diet of Free Market ideology been promoted by IEA,Cato Institute etc., then they should also tell us how the freemarket can solve the economic problems of Ghana.

We talk not of China, Japan, and USA, which Free Market Ideologues always cite…always it is China, Japan, or USA. Therefore, because it works for them, the logic goes illogically,

Therefore, the freemarket lovers end up arguing divergent positions. Some argue in long responses that we are already there; others equally argue in long pieces that we have not got there yet. Therefore, they cannot tell us exactly where we are. One said, “let us be clear about this once and for all: there is NO free-market in Ghana. The key word here is the "free", not the market. Free market means everyone has more or less equal chance to succeed in the market. Human nature being what it is limits this definition but that is why in progressive countries they have active law enforcements so that if one tries to destroy the "free" in the market, they are dealt with promptly and appropriately.” Where are the progressive countries in which law enforcement does not promote the sinister objective of foreign domination in developing countries? They do, so the logic is, there is no free market. They forget that is the primary objective of the free market policy in the first place.

In delusion, they go further, “Ghana does not practise "free" market. The endless bribes you have to pay to get something done and the fact that your success in Ghana depends more on whom you know rather than what you know is anti-free market. Just having $100,000.00 will not guarantee that I can start a business in Ghana through the correct channels, but you can start a business and succeed in America with no money to begin with. That is because if you can produce what people want to buy in America, you will not pay any bribes to start your business. That is what free market means. You are free to sell what you have, and you succeed or fail based on your product.” Such people are so blinded that they fail to see that the situation in Ghana is the result of deliberate free market policy to disable the growth of indigenous global competitive firms nor do they notice “anomalous” market protection such as in agricultural and steel production.

More so, they cannot see the delusional stance in the same statement that “Free market is working for every law-respecting country. Ghana does not respect the rule of law so we cannot have free market.” Anyone with a modicum of intellect including our economic ‘enemies’ masquerading, as donors of all sorts know it will never work for us. Moreover, one thing is clear: the Ghanaian Majority continue to live in poverty. This is the central issue.

How can the Free Market ever solve Ghana's problem? We are Ghanaians, born in Kwame Nkrumah’s Ghana; we are Africans; we want to live just and right lives, eat food to live, sleep in beautiful homes with modern amenities, have affordable healthcare, serve our nation great and strong and bold to defend it forever. In short, we want to assert our right to life and human happiness as Kwame Nkrumah said as far back as 1945 in “Towards Colonial Freedom” and as opposed by the British High Commission in support of the 1966 coup.

Therefore, we ask, how will this Free Market, which they claim, is doing wonders for others do the same for us. For at least 28 years for a fact, we have had free market policies (12 years PNDC + 8 Years NDC + 8 years NPP) but we are more highly indebted and poor than ever. We are no nearer an increasing standard of life for the poor Ghanaian Majority. Work and Happiness for the Ghanaian Majority truncated by the conservatives and liberals who today constitute NDC and NPP is yet to be realised,

So we assert most vociferously, fellow Brothers and Sisters, Free Market is not interested in solving Ghana's problem. The Free Market is only interested in subjecting the political policy of the Ghanaian State to those of Foreign Interests assisted by our Ghanaian free market elites in the form of businesspersons and politicians. It is called crony-capitalism a la Alan Greenspan or if you like socialism for the very rich or the wealthiest in society. The conservative (NPP)-liberal (NDC) state only serves this socialist purpose for our political class to the exclusion of the Majority Poor.

Free market we are told allows “innovation, freedom, competition and efficiency. It is only in a free market that people invent computer, mobile phone and the luxuries we like to enjoy. Can you name some modern inventions from China, Cuba, North Korea or even Russia? Not many! This is because they do not have free market,” we are told. However, was the market itself the origin of these technologies? One said “I dont need to prove this to you as you can see it around the world.” So why do we not have innovation, freedom, competition and efficiency in Ghana our beloved nation if it is so pervasive in the rest of the world. Our leaders cannot even ensure that public gutters are clean and tidy. Right under the nose of the AMA, the CBD is one of the filthiest central business districts we have come across in our international travels. The gutters are choked with solid waste and smell. In Ghana, we do not clean those but build new ones to which await the same fate because the % on such new projects is higher for commissioners.

Some even ludicrously tell us to be “brave and start questioning our stance on free market economy.” The ludicrous position continues with the assertion that “NPP IS MOVING GHANA TO MIDDLE INCOME STATUS BY THE YEAR 2015.” Where on this earth, has the New Patriotic Party, this moribund NPP in which only those with money are allowed to express their views, even the brain capacity to think “in realistic terms” as Kwame Nkrumah would have put it in “Consciencism” – a must read if Ghana is to be saved. We question in other words whether NPP has the capacity to think. The principal reason Ghanaians of yesterday (our parents and grandparents) rejected the UP-NPP tradition has not been understood by Ghanaians of today who are their children. Not having learned the lessons, their offspring continue to vote for the Danquah-Busia-Dombo tradition and economic policy with disastrous consequences for the beloved nation.

Some go further and state that “on the other hand, in dictatorship countries (like what Nkrumah wanted to build in Ghana), the government alone decides who can progress.” Clearly, people who say such things understand neither history nor the present. They simply cannot see this assertion is rather true in a property-owning democracy in which Presidents can fraudulently own property or scream “one man one car” and later own many themselves. It is only in an Nkrumaist Ghana, a just and free society where all are equal as human beings, that a progressive standard of life can ensure all progress because the black nation can never develop until all can equally develop in freedom and justice.

“Where is the link between free market and human rights abuse? America is the mother of free markets and can you say there is abuse of human rights of American citizens?” someone said. Again people either lack basic history lessons or do not think in their wildest delusion that African-Americans, whose human rights were abused in New Orleans for instance, are our brothers and sisters or to say the least are humans too. If such as lack both did not lack history lessons or clarity of thought, how can they credit America with anything positive when it comes to human rights abuses?; a nation that denied that blacks are even human beings and whose foreign policies today still assume this. Indeed the nation was founded on gross violations of the human rights of the aboriginal race of this earth. We continue to watch the Obama race for the White House closely certain it can never alter the wickedness of the freemarket.

The quality of common sense, which should have been common, is seriously jeopardising Ghana’s development. Note this one: “On the other hand, Nkrumah did abuse human rights and was moving against free market. Former USSR, China, Cuba, Burma etc all proves the fact that free market is the only way forward. The facts are very obvious: the more "free market" a country has, the less likely the human rights abuse. China is an example. They are more free with their markets but not as free as in USA, and you can equally see their human right abuses are much more than in USA. And even within China itself, the more "free" the market gets, the more open the country and the less human rights abuse. Hence, it is the complete opposite of your assertions.” This quality of common sense, because it cannot be erudition, is pathetic but equally sad. However, these are the kind of destroyed brains we have leading the nation.

And it must stop. Ghana needs new men and women with new thinking to lead the nation. It must come from our youth who must not conform to today’s Ghana but be transformed by the renewing of their minds fed on the principles of self-determination (freedom and justice), progressive development (economic development and economic justice) and unitarism (Pan Africanism and African unity). In short, Consciencism, which is another word for Nkrumaism.

Kwami Agbodza