By Abebe Aschalew
Tigrai Onlne - May 08, 2014
As it can be recalled, since the end of cold war, liberalism politico-economic ideology has been forced on to countries. Since the famous quote of Japanese- American Francis Fukiyama which goes like “liberalism is the end of history”, it has been made for Liberalism and the new form of liberalism to spread to various continents and countries like a wildfire.
I think not many evidence are needed to illustrate the fact that Africa has been made to carry a deteriorating economy and the ideology’s side effect as a consequence of an unguarded utilization of neo-liberalism politico-economy ideology which spanned through the last 30 and 40 years. The fact that the continent is deep in poverty abyss, while having an immense potential; and the resulted civil wars, conflicts and the like problems are a testament to this truth.
Thus, the African countries that disregarded the Fukiyama’s baseless “prophecy” that put history to a standstill, and that withstood the repeated political and economic pressures from neo-liberal institutions have chosen their own path that’s in-sync to their own realities. With this, they are showing to the world, including the proponents of the ideology, that it’s possible to grow outside of neo-liberalism. Nevertheless, the pressure from the ideology camp still persists.
when the ideology proponents and institutions decide to give any kind of aid to developing countries, they ask them straight to execute this same ideology that’s failing even in their country (think of the financial crisis of ‘08).
If this is not possible, they want to hinder (hijack) their development through color revolution.
By lining up ‘Article 19’, ‘Human Rights Watch’ and the likes neo-liberal extremist institutions, they try to crack these countries. So looking at the situation from the point of view of the recent developments, we can see that these forces are either directly or indirectly trying to put up neo-liberalism in our country through a color revolution.
However, as we all know even though our country does not have oil, it is taken as the third fastest growing country next to China and India – by recording 10% economic growth in average for ten consecutive 10 years.
Although the neo-liberal extremists don’t deny this rapid and sustainable economic growth of our country, by intentionally lowering the numbers of the growth, they try to then give suggestion on how to sustain the growth (in its previous pace). And this suggestion usually revolves around privatizing state-owned large institutions like banks, telecommunication, Airline etc…
What this suggestion implies is, as long as neo-liberal political-economy is not executed in Ethiopia, its economy would not grow in even more faster pace. But, as we all can understand, the main thinking behind neo-liberalism is an extremist thoughts of “Everything should be left to the economy; and the government should not be involved in the economy, except for upholding the law and rules”.
What the neo-liberalists wants is for weak governments to reign in each and every country. It wants for the governments to stay out of the developmental works and the very few wealthy people controlling the economy, whilst the rest and majority of the people are not able to do anything about it. The ideology strictly believes’ that the government should only carryout a role of guarding.
This is why they persist; on every opportunity they get, on the aforementioned large state-owned institutions, which can play their own role in the economic growth, to be sold to the private sector.
However, I believe that our country cannot take in neo-liberalism without any reservation for three reasons. First, taking in neo-liberalism; which isn’t fit to us, might be too-broad or too-narrow for us. Secondly, there are many works that can’t realistically be done by the private sector, and thirdly this out-of-date ideology, along with its “countries cannot grow outside of our thinking and if they do they’ll encounter problems” thinking is not only being condemned in the country of its origin, but it doesn’t provide any benefit to us; Basically its ailing as an ideology. So, in order to understand why our country’s government and people don’t sell our large institutions, we have to look deep into the aforementioned three reasons.
The neo-liberal politico-economic ideology does not go hand-in-hand with our realities. This is because we are seeing countries in Africa and other continents; where neo-liberalism created ‘democracy’ in its own spit image, deep in crises caused by the race for rent-seeking opportunities; and struggling to create national consensus within themselves.
Conversely, the developmental and democratic order that’s being established in our country has guaranteed rapid growth and has shown promises that it will continue to do so. With this, it has been able to establish an order that started to build national consensus, and a path that would strengthen this process. So, considering this, I believe neo-liberal will not be in-sync to our realities and needs.
With regards to democracy; although our country’s democracy is not free of neo-liberalism influences, it’s following its own path. As it’s known, liberalism never fought for group rights, except for individual rights. Neo-liberalism, which came after it, has taken individual rights to the limits – as if there is no such thing as group rights.
This has made the ideology and its proponents only to be focused on individual rights. For this we can mention former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s remark which was; “There is no such thing as society, as everything is founded and is based on individuals”. I think this shows that neo-liberalism does not accept the inseparable bond that exists between individual and group rights.
The fact of the matter is, so long as the rights of a sect of a given society (of a country) are not respected, they can’t be free individually. In order to elaborate this further, let me mention women’s struggle for equality and freedom. Women can never be free individually with their personal rights being respected, so long as gender bias is not replaced with gender equality.
So, it’s obvious that its by working as a group that they can guarantee their gender equality right. Especially in a country like ours with more than 75 nations, nationalities and people, where they fought bitterly to answer age old demand of human and democratic rights. It’s by organizing as a group that their rights can be guaranteed – not individually and alone.
Here I hope my dear readers understand that I am not saying individual right is not respected in our country. What I am saying is that individual and group rights have their own areas and one can’t be realized without the other. And I think it implies that taking in neo-liberalism thinking without reservation will be more damaging, than benefitting.
As neo-liberalism adheres to market fundamentalism of “every thing should be left to the market and the private sector”, it’s not surprising that the Ethiopian government is being asked to sell its large state–owned institutions, at every opportunity.
This is because it looks everything from its own benefit (perspective). But this is not the bad thing; the bad thing is it tries to impose its own ideology through color revolution on those who don’t accept their thinking and follow their own path. All in all here we should not forgot the saying ‘ ‘.
Everything in our world is relative. One reality of a certain country cannot work in other country, especially by force. It should also be noted that even if it’s an ideology that has benefited every country, let alone this ideology that has shown its limitations and failings, it does not mean that it’s a perfect fit for us-and will be accepted by us.
Thus, I would like it for the neo-liberal proponents and institutions to understand the reasons why our developmental government doesn’t want to sell those large state-owned institutions – although they are very well aware of it. A developing country and people like us must use their own money, labor and profession in order to fully develop. It should not be fully dependant on foreign finance.
It should be home-based. With regards to this, we can see that our country’s economy current state is still developing and feeble. Even though the private sector is playing its own role for our economy’s growth, its current capabilities cannot be said that is very strong. As it’s a sector of a developing country, it will grow to be strong in time – but not now.
This will force the (developmental) government to get involved in the economy sector that the private can’t carry out; in order for market gaps not to occur. This will play a huge role in filling the market gaps.
So, it should be understood that one of the reasons for the necessity of the government involvement in the economy has to do with getting rid of the market gaps caused by the market deficiencies, and thereby hasten the economy.
Truth be told, with our country’s current state, where 85% of our people live in the rural areas, our country’s wealthiest will not go in to the rural and build schools, clinics, infrastructures etc … due to various personal and psychological reasons. These works not being done is more than an issue of market deficiencies – as it’s an existential issue for our country’s people and government. And to carry out these developmental works, the government needs money (finance).
Therefore the aforementioned large state–owned institutions should stay in the hands of the government and people. The finance that is gotten from them will play and is currently playing its own role in leading the people into a developmental path.
So, since we, like the neo-liberals, can’t cover (fill) the market gaps through the private sector these institutions should stay in the hands of the government and people-as they are playing constructive role in our struggle to win against poverty.
And I don’t think the ideology proponents themselves will deny that this approach together with the governments formulated policies and strategies and the mobilization of the people is showing that we can make poverty history.
In fact I can tell you that I heard these same sides attesting to the fact that, through this approach, our country is becoming a growth model for the Sub-Saharan non-energy based economies.
When the truth is this, why does the neo-liberal institutions and their extremists insists upon these large state-owned institutions being sold, when in fact they are witnessing and attesting to the success our government’s path is bearing?’. Also it’s necessary to raise the question, ‘why are they trying to impose their ideology through instigating color revolution when they encounter rejection?’ In order to help us answer these questions, we should look into neo-liberalism background…
As we all can understand, neo-liberalism politico–economic ideology reached its current state by exploiting Africa’s (during colonialism era) and other poor countries wealth and resources. As far as I can understand, neo-liberalism isn’t concerned about the development (and well-being) of African or the continent’s countries. In fact it’s the reason for their downfall – by forcing upon themselves this ideology which is totally different to their outlook, tradition and innate nature.
Nevertheless the ideology proponents have no remorse for their previous exploits. Instead, just like it was during the colonialism era, it wants to be the chief controller of the natural resource of those poor countries.
As the ideology adheres to an extreme philosophy that gives everything to the wealthy and the market, it lines up the wealthy to take over large state-owned institutions when poor countries decide to sell them. I think this the alpha and omega behind their insistence.
The ideology has gobbled-up poor countries with its thinking by creating very few billionaires. By drowning millions, it has created very few wealthy. Today the ideology is not only not wanted but also controversial.
Thus by opposing neo-liberalism Africans have moved to establish an (economic) order that’s in sync with their own history, tradition and realities and they are becoming successful. What’s angering and irritating the neo-liberal proponents and institution is the fact that their thinking is driven out of the market, while the Africans new thinking is gaining momentum.
This new thinking of the developing countries protects their economy from being rampaged by foreign wealthy men. It doesn’t give suitable condition for natural resources, cheap labor and fertile land to be exploited; it searches for its own way out of poverty.
In contrast, neo-liberalism proponents send in extremists to these countries, under the guise of human rights, to guarantee the ideology’s survival through instigating color revolution. I think it’s plainly obvious that this is indirect way of colonial rule. And as colonial rule, whether its direct or indirect, is a colonial rule; it’s not acceptable.
It’s my opinion the neo-liberal ideology’s sun is setting, considering its failure in African countries. The ideology has also caused havoc in countries outside of Africa. Thus, I don’t think, the existence of the ideology can be guaranteed through instigating color revolutions of course neo-liberalism political thinking is being condemned even by the people of the ideology’s following loyal followers.
As the ideology, by its nature is based on private wealthy men, its social base is this same sect of the society. This same order, which forgets the majority of the public, stands for the very few wealthy men as they are its base.
For this its enough to turn back five or six years ago and look into the financial crises of ’08. During that crisis the American people, by occupying Wall Street, they were shouting and calling for justice saying “we are here to save the majority 99% of the people from the 1% wealthy”. One can see from this how much the neo-liberal ideology is hurting the majority by being unable to set up fair political and economic benefit for all.
Conversely, it can be said that those countries that adhere to a developmental and democratic thinking, where questions (demands) like “we are not able to benefit fairly” didn’t come to their way, looking at the current bankruptcy of the neo-liberalism ideology.
Neo- liberalism; which its ailing are exposed by these internal and external situation, is forced to host the economic crisis. What’s baffling is that the ideology that was heralded as the ‘end of history’ by Fukuyama ending up not able to be the ‘end outlook’ even in the country of its origin. It’s really amazing … so when the truth is this then why the need for instigating color revolution and forcing neo-liberalism on others?
As we all recall, as a consequence of the mess created by few yet large privately owned banks and corporations that used to be the base for the ideology, the financial crises was created. However, the governments instead of pulling out the majority of the public from the crisis, they were exerting huge effort to save very few wealthy men.
This act of the governments have created huge unemployment rate, tax increase on citizens that were crying for social justice on the streets, and other related social crisis on the mass.
It has made for voices like “make sure the few wealthy pay their taxes, we need job, the middle class is not being able to benefit fairly from the wealth distribution” were echoed all over.
It can be said that this is an instance that has made us see that the ideology is even losing acceptance in its country, let alone benefitting other countries. So, is it out of a self-centered outlook of ‘let us all fail together’ or out of a racist thinking of ‘blacks can’t grow or develop outside of our blessing’ that developing countries are made to go through color revolution?
As its known, color revolution is an interfering effort made by extremist neo- liberal forces that don’t want to see or hear others politico- economic philosophy (outside of their own) to put a puppet government or their own lackey that works for their interests instead of the government on the people of the country. The revolution is mainly controlled from the outside; while local power–crazed oppositions or unpatriotic Medias and personalities are made to support it.
‘Expert’ revolutionaries’ are heard saying that the oppositions of the country that has been chosen for color revolution must have a strong unity (working relationship). International Medias that are proponents of the ideology are put to wage smear campaign on that country (notice how major media outlets are amplifying the recent ‘zone nine’ suspected members and journalists situation!)
So, the human and democratic rights handling of that country; whether its political spectrum is too narrow or too broad; and the conditions of the opposition will be put to the microscope in the hopes for ripe condition for a color revolution to be found.
Although color revolution is mostly carried out during election times, it can also be done at a time where the conditions in that country are ripe for it. Of course the power-crazed local oppositions and their masters who control everything through remote control while sitting afar are not concerned about the lives of the many civilians that would be lost so long as they both got what they want.
In fact through their main color revolutionary colleagues; who themselves masquerade as human rights advocacy, uses it for their report consumption, while laughing at the situation sitting from afar.
Nevertheless, it can’t be said that the color revolution campaign waged on many countries has been a success, considering the colossal mess it leaves on the respective countries’ political, economic and social strata. In fact, I believe Ukraine is a main poster child for the failure of color revolution seeing as how its people are still suffering.
All in all, this fact confirms that those countries who are saying ‘there is other options to neo-liberalism’, and establishing a developmental and democratic order that in-sync with their realities, should continue down with this path. The fact that one can develop outside of neo-liberalism has been attested first by looking at the path adhered by those countries, and secondly by the failure neo- liberalism including color revolution.
So, I think its futile on the part of the ideology proponents and institutions to try to suggest to our country to ‘sell its large institutions’; in a way that contradicts country’s economic principle (which is reaping it success), and to lay the groundwork to instigate color revolution in our country, as it won’t work. Why? As our Prime Minister Hailemariam Deslaegn has recently stated to the parliament – there will be no policy change made for fear of loss of foreign aid as the policies that’s adhered by the government is taking the country to whole another level and its people to a renaissance path. Therefore, it’s important to understand that trying to impose neo-liberalism on other countries through a color revolution is not only wrong, but it’s also unnatural.