Friday, April 25, 2008

Bingu and Bakili on Economic Philosophy

I try to see the resemblance in the minds of Bingu and Bakili on economic philosophy and draw contrasts.

Bingu and Bakili in the first instance are subjected to common external economic forces like need for structural and stabilisation thinking of World Bank and its cousin, the IMF. How they have reacted to these forces and reformed our economic system reflects their differing philosophies.

Bakili has hard a tough ride with the IMF and World Bank. On paper, though he did what any politician could do for diplomacy sake. However, Bakili is a left wing politician and it is very difficult to implement IMF ideals. You know Chavez? He too is a left wing politician. I would classify Bingu as a centre right politician and so are his economic credentials.

The fundamentals are that Bakili yielded to what was privatisation, a belief that the world bank will defend to the last line. Some success stories have been cited like Dairy board as well as questionable privatisation of Railways. Bakili is a left wing politician who through the poverty reduction strategy, championed welfare of the underpriviledged by direct provision of services to them. Give them money, give them free fertiliser. In other words Bakili's economic philosophy is not really pro-growth economic growth. I reckon his thinking is that growth does not reduce or put it simple, rarely improves the welfare of the marginalised. His current speeches do point to this philosophy in how an economic system should operate. Populits left wing ideas....displaying commodities and massive public shopiing at Metro! Some have argued that Bakili being a business person his ideas are pro-business, I disagree. He is a workers' and marginalised mass grouping folk.

Bingu, is in sharp contrast and i call him an economic liberal. If you follow Asutralian politics, I would call Bingu, John Howard and Goodall Gondwe Peter Costello. The striking difference between the two is that Bingu is more pro-business than Bakili . His belief in the Zambezi Shire water way and committent to cutting budget deficits are ideals of a liberal economic philosopher. Bakili and Bingu differ on how they engage the poorest person in the economic process. By clinging to a starter pack, Bakili is an economic conservative. On the other hand, Bingu and his subsdies stand in the grouping of liberal economists that belive in engaging households in the economic sytem through some effort. Getting them to work to afford a subsidised bag of fertliser. Thats the story.

Well it is difficult to discern which philosophy has an urge over the other. I reckon the ecology in which an economic system operats is crucial. The efficiency of the judicial system, property rights and non-discretionary policies in management remain crucial to successful outcomes. These, to my knowledge, have remained the same and Malawi is still stagnant.

What is the best way? Well, lets reserve it for the "thoughts of the native son" as he goes to the table mountain in a moment.

No comments: