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Opinions of Thursday, 26 June 2008

Columnist: Agbodza, Kwami

Free Market Living Crisis

The hellish arrogance of the bankrupt free market is matched only by its spectacular failure to live anywhere close, in any part of the world, to its own hypocritical profession of individual freedom, liberty and equality. Free market ideologues proudly acknowledge its crisis-creating powers.

This is why Ghanaians must end free market economic governance in order to end decisively our permanent economic depression and our life of permanent social crisis.

The possibility of ending Ghana’s permanent crisis and the economic recession under which the majority of people live are remote as long as we maintain free market economic governance in Ghana.

The Free Market will not implement progressive policies for a rising standard of life in favour of the vast majority of the people because it does not champion the peoples’ interests.

Free Market governance can only continue to thrive if society is in a permanent crisis. The generality of the people becomes disoriented and live in permanent crisis justifying more and more free market without end.

This environment is an enabling environment and a consequence for free market economic governance.

Permanent crisis among the vast majority of the people enables liberal-conservative policies to thrive.

The Free Market recognises the possibility of a progressive revolt.

However, this can be contained using security forces in the worst-case scenario and poverty-reducing policies at the frills in the best-case scenarios. The poverty-reducing policies can be sparse. In Ghana, they have included NHIS and the School Feeding Program.

However, how did we get here? The crisis, political economic crisis, that the political Free Market engineered to push anti-democratic policies on Ghana have been coups, two decisive ones, in February 1966 and December 1981 especially. Those coups enabled the Free Market to anti-democratically force Free Market Governance on Ghanaians against their general will.

Under anti-democratic free market governance in the 1980s especially, they forced poverty-inducing policies on us to maximise their wealth for the benefit of a few Ghanaian politicians/businessmen and businesswomen and organised foreign interests. The foreign interests have included Europe, US and Japan.

How does the free market maintain its control over us? It uses five main permanent crisis tools at its disposal in different combinations among the electorate.

The first is the lack of general opportunities for the people for personal development, and growth. In Ghana, the level of economic growth is only high enough to enable poverty reduction and not wealth creation. And yet individualism is supposed to be the most inherent good of the free market; that it will give freedoms to Ghanaians. The evidence shows it is denying freedoms to the Majority of Ghanaians.

A second tool of permanent crisis is eroding any sense of self-respect, achievement, status and recognition. In Ghana, for instance, even foreigners like Embassies and mining companies treat us without respect and dignity. Ghanaians in turn describe other ethnic groups as either “monkeys” or “in-ward looking” or sub-human. The way in which some Ghanaians define their fellow Ghanaians is calculated to destroy all sense of self-respect.

A third tool of permanent crisis is undermining the social fabric of society that enables the people to have a sense of belonging. In Ghana, there is a general feeling that leaders do not really care about the ordinary man. Some constituencies for instance never see their MPs after an election. The duopoly NDC and NPP use ethnicity, religion, money and personalities to undermine any sense of unity in Ghana. The Ashanti-Ewe struggle for power undermines any sense we belong to one nation.

A fourth tool of permanent crisis is the lack of security from basic economic needs to political and economic governance. In Ghana, for instance there is no road safety for the people as a whole. Deaths on our road is higher it appears than death from HIV-AIDS.

A fifth tool of permanent crisis is hand-to-mouth hunger, lack of clean water for all and inadequate sleep. For instance, the prices of utilities for those who have access to them have risen higher than their incomes. The majority of Ghanaians have no access to adequate basic economic needs.

Who developed this free market permanent crisis strategy? A leading thinker, by name Naomi Klein (see www.naomiklein.org), says Milton Friedman articulated this Free Market strategy.

Friedman said, “Only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around.”

He also said “that I believe is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable.”

In democratic political practice, Free Market strategy means politicians wait for a major crisis. When crisis comes is the time to implement politically impossible policies when people are still reeling from shock.

In anti-democratic political practice, the Free Market does not wait but engineers and/or re-engineers crisis. As a result, leaders can implement liberal-conservative policies in favour of a minority of the people or a privileged few.

The Free Market can combine constitutionality with anti-Democratic economic governance. Ghana’s Fourth Republic is an example. Ghanaians voted for a fourth republic even though they were still under an illegal regime. Burma is a recent example. The Cyclone created a crisis, which enabled the Generals to push through a new constitution. Voting took place in the midst of a national tragedy.

Note on Writer: Kwami Agbodza is the former CPP UK & Ireland Regional Secretary, former Ablekuma-Central Constituency Chairman and former Greater Accra Regional Educational Secretary.

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.