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Opinions of Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Columnist: Agbodza, Kwami

Free Market Not Essential for Economic Growth

The three essentials for economic growth in Ghana are democracy, good governance and sustainable development. The historical records (1844-2008) in Ghana show that the Free Market is against all three essentials for economic growth in Ghana that shall transform the life of the majority of Ghanaians. Free Market is the reason the majority of Ghanaians are poor. The Free Market is anti-democratic. The Free Market is anti-good governance. The Free Market is anti-sustainable development. Not just in Ghana but globally.
Most recently, the Free Market institutions of the World Bank and the IMF anti-democratically imposed externally-controlled free markets on Ghana 1983-2008. In the meantime economic growth in Ghana has failed to date to increase the standard of life of Ghanaians. The destructive nature of Free Markets is obvious in the poultry and rice markets in Ghana to take just two examples. The progressive democratisation of markets is therefore the solution and not free-markets that continue to destroy the lives of the majority of Ghanaians.
Although it is true that the freedom to choose, to produce and to exchange is a crucial tool for the development of Ghana as a whole, it is incorrect to say that this is synonymous with a free market economy. And an economy does not have to be a free market economy for it to have the freedom to choose, to produce and to exchange.
According to the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) it is essential to build a free market economy. This assertion of the freemarket economy was the result of a survey it conducted to assess the impact of “two workshops, which were organised in collaboration with the Centre for International Private Enterprises (CIPE) in June 2007.”
The survey was conducted on “a representative sample of the participants” who had attended the same workshop “organised in collaboration with the Centre for International Private Enterprises (CIPE) in June 2007.” “The ultimate goal of the workshop was to build economic platforms in four political parties so that there would be broader support for economic reforms that seek to liberate markets.”
In other words, the aim is to ensure that all political parties in Ghana, should they come to office, pursue the same free market economic policies.
There were three key objectives of the workshop as is the case with all Free Market Liberal-Conservative Think-Tanks. The first objective was to continue to change the mind of Ghanaians towards Free Markets. The second objective was to convince them about the inevitability of the free market freely sweeping everyone willingly before it. The third objective was to ensure that Ghanaians use the Free Market-World View in their dealings with the problems of Ghana. According to a release signed in Accra by Miss Abena Offe, Programmes Co-ordinator, IEA, it worked.
Indeed, the post-event evaluation of the workshop six months after it had taken place, with participants positively expressing “their changing views on free markets and private enterprises”, demonstrates the effectiveness of workshop’s brainwashing training methods.
So effective were the methods that “Mr. Kwaku Kwarteng, Government spokesperson on Finance alluded to the fact that the workshop had strengthened his commitment to free markets and enabled him to increase his efforts in promoting free market ideas.” Incredibly, he has now been convinced that it is free market ideas that will end poverty in Ghana.
Mr. Moses Dani Baah, People's National Convention (PNC) Member of Parliament for Sissala East, acknowledges that it is the presentations and issues discussed at the workshop that had shown that the world was moving towards a free market economy.
Mr. David Tetteh Assuming, National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Shai Osudoku intends to use the ideas gained at the workshop in his dealings with community-based organisations and corporate bodies in his constituency.
This is incredible. The IEA erroneously concludes that “it was therefore essential to build a market-based economy that could be supported by strong institutions, which protected physical and intellectual property rights as well as appropriate interventions by government.” This despite the fact that the same Free Market has failed to support the physical and intellectual property rights of the majority of Ghanaians who are poor.
Background: Free Market Economy is essential for economic growth-Survey Accra, Dec. 24, GNA - The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) on Monday said free-market economy based on the freedom to choose, to produce and to exchange was identified as a crucial tool for the development of the private sector and the growth of the economy. It was therefore essential to build a market-based economy that could be supported by strong institutions, which protected physical and intellectual property rights as well as appropriate interventions by government.
A release signed in Accra by Miss Abena Offe, Programmes Co-ordinator, IEA said this was the outcome of a current survey conducted by the Institute to assess the impact of two workshops, which were organised in collaboration with the Centre for International Private Enterprises (CIPE) in June 2007. It said some of the topics discussed at the workshop included the power of markets and the role of institutions, private sector development and constraints, Information production in a market economy and corporate social responsibility.
It said six months after the workshop, a representative sample of the participants had expressed their changing views on free markets and private enterprises.
According to the statement, Mr. Kwaku Kwarteng, Government spokesperson on Finance alluded to the fact that the workshop had strengthened his commitment to free markets and enabled him to increase his efforts in promoting free market ideas. He said before the workshop, he was of the view that the state must find ways of supporting the poor on the premise that individuals differ on entrepreneurial skills and abilities. Mr. Moses Dani Baah, People's National Convention (PNC) Member of Parliament for Sissala East said presentations and issues discussed at the workshop had shown that the world was moving towards a free market economy. Mr. David Tetteh Assuming, National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Shai Osudoku said knowledge gained at the workshop would help him in his dealings with Community based Organisations and corporate bodies in his constituency. The ultimate goal of the workshop was to build economic platforms in four political parties so that there would be broader support for economic reforms that seek to liberate markets. It brought together some leading members of the country's main political parties, business organisations, academia, and members of the civil society.

Source: http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=136528



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