• Saturday, June 22, 2024
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Continuation from: “Chartered Accountants versus Economists”

Continuation from: “Chartered Accountants versus Economists

Expanding the Institute’s field work:

In 2020, USIP officially established a country office in Abuja. This accomplishment allows the Institute to continue its impactful operations, broaden its regional scope, and sustain its direct action for peace in Nigeria.

(i) “Economic systems and their proponents are based…

(ii) In more recent times

(iii) Thus, any system

(iv) The political liberal order

Mouthing them as autocracies.”

Read also: Chartered Accountants versus Economists

Current situation in Nigeria and possible path to a sure and sustainable recovery:

The Nigerian Federal Government has received a plethora of advice and some threats. Sadly, the majority of counsel, with the greatest respect, is ideological.

i) Economic systems and their proponents are based on preferred political systems. Adam Smith, through adherents such as David Ricardo, represents one school: capitalism and the free market. Karl Marx represents another system, communism, which is the antidote to the ills of capitalism and has only a few countries following his original philosophy, although that’s been refined. Then there is John Maynard Keynes of the Cambridge School of Thought, who advocates for a government role in the capitalist system. Importantly, Milton Friedman of the Chicago School did advocate for private sector dominance over as many areas of economic activity as possible.

ii) In more recent times, these neoclassicals have pushed for free market economics, with the private sector running loose with little government intervention. That philosophy almost caused the global economic collapse in 2008. The central bankers and China had to rescue the system.

iii) Thus, any system is ideological with its adherents and practitioners.

iv) The political liberal order is closely aligned with the Milton Friedman school of economics. The Western democracies push their model as the only democracy. And try to compel others to adopt it by name-calling or badmouthing them as autocracies.

 “The various African countries were befuddled between one political system or the other and the ideology of one economic system or the other.”

Question 1: Which model has brought the greatest benefit to the largest number since WW2?

Response: The PRC, with emphasis on “common prosperity,” India, and I include the USA.

Question 2: Which system has pushed for prosperity and a good quality of life for as many of its people as possible?

Response: The PRC and the Scandinavian countries. The USA is one of the worst performers in a major economy in terms of wealth disparity.

Question 3: Which one country or set of countries have performed worse economically compared to their human and other resources?

Response: The various African countries were befuddled between one political system or the other and the ideology of one economic system or the other. If one takes it from 1960, although one can go back to 1957, the African countries have experienced growth or retrogression, political peace and internal harmony, or political upheavals, conflicts, and killings.

v) Let’s go home to Nigeria. The government with the greatest comparative achievement in economics, education, health, transportation, communication, and quality of life was the Western Region between 1952 and 1969. It encouraged the growth of private capital and government participation. It owned embassies in Britain and the USA (which were taken over by the FGN after the Unification Decree of May 1966). It also lent money to the FGN. It paid its civil servants twice that of another region and one and a half times that of the federal government.

vi) The military administration between 1970 and 1979, with a change of guards twice in that period, experienced great economic and other growth.

However, education, almost always an area of focus for a dear professional colleague, didn’t reach many. The economy also became unequal with the steady increase in the private sector and the decline in the public sector. Thus, education for the rich rather than the majority increased in number and scope. (I’m not sure if even the Western Region achieved 100 percent enrolment).

Read also: FCMB says accountants must champion sustainability

Oh yes, private sector education benefits those with the money. I attended a church school myself, fee-paying but not exclusive. And indeed, there are many papers on the introduction and impact of church schools and education in different parts of Africa.

vii) The disparity in wealth became greater. The “Social Warriors” became the Oyewusi and Anani armed robbers. I hope some readers can recall those characters and the period.

viii) Let me add. The 5-Year Development Plan of 1970–1974, under Chief Awolowo as Federal Finance Commissioner, mentioned the government being responsible for the commanding heights of the economy. It was that plan that propelled economic growth and other achievements from 1970 to 1975, when Chief Awolowo resigned. The approach was no longer followed, and the intellectual capacity and discipline could not be replicated by Alhaji Shehu Shagari. Thus, I acknowledge it’s not just about the economic system; it’s also about the people implementing the systems. Of course, based on an agreed-upon political or military system.