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Tuesday, 22 July 2008

The death of UNIP?

Zambia’s oldest political party, United National Independence Party (UNIP), is apparently on the verge of collapse. The party that dominated the country’s political landscape now has only one parliamentary seat in the 150-seat National Assembly. The party’s continued fall from grace has triggered intra-party wrangles that further threaten the continued existence of the party. Felix Nkinke reflects on UNIP's woes.

71 comments:

  1. The question is: what is the non-neoliberal party that the ordinary citizen can vote for?

    MMD, UPND, PF, etc. - their policies are not very different from eachother. From the PF's mission statement:

    # free market principles in economic management
    # tax and interest rate reductions to spur economic growth
    # reduced Government spending, particularly at the political level


    http://www.pf.com.zm/missionstatement.htm

    The UPND's webaccount has gone into neglect, and UNIP has no website at all.

    Under HH, the UPND is quickly becoming the Tonga Party, which means they'll never break out of Southern Province. He should have distanced himself quickly from the 'we need a Tonga president' crowd, but he didn't and it has cost him and the party.

    What is needed is a party that taxes the corporations to the max, invests in universal healthcare, universal education, infrastructure (in the broadest sense of the word) and agriculture.

    There is a huge political vaccuum for a party that does just that, and presents a real ideological alternative to neoliberalism - which itself is on the retreat internationally.

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  2. There is a huge political vaccuum for a party that does just that, and presents a real ideological alternative to neoliberalism - which itself is on the retreat internationally.

    In politics (like in markets), vaccum are always temporary. So how come that one hasn't been filled ? Why don't you start one ?

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  3. Its an interesting question why all parties are inclined towards certain policies.

    I think this is just a function of political and economic independence. There are many facets to this, but a crucial one is aid dependence and general reliance on external trade partners. Outside influence is a reality any political party has to consider. Just ask Bob.

    For other facets, see the blog on Reflections on true independence…

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  4. I think this is just a function of political and economic independence. There are many facets to this, but a crucial one is aid dependence and general reliance on external trade partners. Outside influence is a reality any political party has to consider. Just ask Bob.

    Hmmm.. "Bob" is a horrible example. Remember all the link I've posted on the chronology ?

    But beyond that, we're back to the fundamental question. How is dependence on foreign aid or external trade partners suppose to prevent the emergence of a party that opposes external trade partners and foreign aid ?

    If they're bad and people think they're bad, people wouldn't mind loosing them, right ?
    That's exactly how you get in situation in which people argue that foreign investment is bad and justify the failure of their economic policy by the lack of foreign investment (Zimbabwe or Cuba).

    My other issue is that it assumes a lot of things about outside influence. As someone mentionned in the other blog, Botswana did manage to play it to its benefit. Or one could think about how places like Ethiopia and Rwanda aren't exactly getting cut off while they're implimenting some quite radical policies (nationalized land?). The fact of the matter is that the IMF or external donors are quite nice ways to avoid taking responsibility.

    Or may be, no one is interested in nationalizing the mines and go on spending sprees because it has been done before.

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  5. Yeah, mentioning Bob was a bad idea!

    With regards to the wider point. I think there's probably a distinction to be drawn between a party in government developing an alternative narrative and a party seeking to be elected.

    In other words, is it possible that parties who want to be elected are more likely to mimic what is accepted convention by donors and trading partners, than a sitting government? I am think here how many people thought that Sata may have lost partly due to his strong stance against China, when clearly people could not imagine Zambian growth without some Chinese investment.

    The other point is that in Zambia courting foreign governments is really essential for funding and political legitimacy for a party seeking government.

    I think it is these sorts of prefers that forces them to adopt such positions.

    The question of course then comes why they can't renege once elected and follow a different policy trajectory.. perhaps because in the process of getting elected they begin to believe the narrative..or become entrenched..

    Alternatively, may be the easiest explanation is that THERE's NO ALTERNATIVE....I mean I can't see a party that would advocate and fund the kind of programme MrK has in mind. The government basically owns everything in MrK's model.
    (MrK, happy for you expand on your model if I misrepresent it)

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  6. With regards to the wider point. I think there's probably a distinction to be drawn between a party in government developing an alternative narrative and a party seeking to be elected.

In other words, is it possible that parties who want to be elected are more likely to mimic what is accepted convention by donors and trading partners, than a sitting government? I am think here how many people thought that Sata may have lost partly due to his strong stance against China, when clearly people could not imagine Zambian growth without some Chinese investment.

    Given the almost permanent insatisfaction African populations have, I really have a hard time seeing how attacking the status-quo is a vote looser.

    But that of course relies on the idea that voters really decide. May be votes are simply all bought and "neo-liberals" have more funding to do so. But as I said before, this means voters value the bribe more than the policy.

    The other point is that in Zambia courting foreign governments is really essential for funding and political legitimacy for a party seeking government.

    Hmm.. Either it's a preference of the Zambian voters (i.e. they actually wonder "who's gonna get the maximum amount of aid") or no one has been willing to argue that the current situation is bad (i.e. politicians are not trying to see some source of income for "productive investments" disappear).

    From my experience in the countries I've been in, both exist. But then again, in case number 1 it would really mean that the Zambian people don't think their interest where many assume it should be.

    The question of course then comes why they can't renege once elected and follow a different policy trajectory.. perhaps because in the process of getting elected they begin to believe the narrative..or become entrenched..

    Or they're corrupt and don't want the money that pays for their cars and villas to go away.
    Or they for the first time take a look at the accounts and quickly realize that there's no way all this can happen without pain and aren't brave enough to defend unpopular policies.
    Or they don't have any policy idea and never had any and just sit and wait for the people at the IMF to tell them what to do.


    Alternatively, may be the easiest explanation is that THERE's NO ALTERNATIVE....I mean I can't see a party that would advocate and fund the kind of programme MrK has in mind. The government basically owns everything in MrK's model.

    Why not ? Mr K would vote for it and many other Zambians would too.



    One issue that is unresolved in this conversation is what do the donors want. I mean we're not in 1980, the WB and the IMF do have some flexibility in their demands and conditions and as Rodrik implies, a concensus on the goals doesn't mean a concensus on the means.
    For instance, there are all sorts of ideas in Mr K's plans that the donors would fund in a heartbeat. Land registration for instance is extremely popular, no one would say "DO NOT IMPROVE THE FRA", access to credit is cool too and so would be pushing for local capitalism. I mean I can imagine the IMF having some issues with higher taxes, higher tarriffs, subsidized credit or limiting farm size but there are ways to get help for the things they like at least.

    As I said before, the foreign influence is really a card our politicians play all the time as an excuse, a way to avoid responsibility or a way to avoid having to even think about policy.

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  7. Cho,

    Its an interesting question why all parties are inclined towards certain policies.

    I think this is just a function of political and economic independence. There are many facets to this, but a crucial one is aid dependence and general reliance on external trade partners. Outside influence is a reality any political party has to consider. Just ask Bob.


    I think it is a function of opportunism, mainly. They all want to be seen as good guardians of the status quo - which is an economy that exports raw materials, lets the corporations keep all their profits and keeps the 'donor aid' from the IMF/World Bank rolling in instead of just taxing corporate profits. (I think the best thing to remedy this - which is why it will never happen - is to just stop all donor aid. That would force the state to tax the corporations.)

    In the process, the tax burdon has shifted to the workers and poverty is not addressed in an sustainable way. And of course those jobs brought by the mining companies will disappear as soon as commodities prices fall and the mining companies relocate.

    That is why it is so important to develop agriculture and do it in a way that benefits ordinary people through land ownership.

    The question of course then comes why they can't renege once elected and follow a different policy trajectory.. perhaps because in the process of getting elected they begin to believe the narrative..or become entrenched..

    Alternatively, may be the easiest explanation is that THERE's NO ALTERNATIVE....I mean I can't see a party that would advocate and fund the kind of programme MrK has in mind. The government basically owns everything in MrK's model.

    (MrK, happy for you expand on your model if I misrepresent it)


    Sure. I don't think the government should own everything, but I think that it has a huge role to play in getting a capitalist society started. It has the lead role in developing major infrastructure and ensuring the ordinary citizen's access to a higher standard of living.

    Government enterprises do not need to remain government owned forever. As soon as they are viable, they can be spun off onto the stockmarket, with some shares going to management, the unions, pension funds, so profits remain in the country for either re-investment or buying local goods. Also, there should be tax benefits for buying locally produced goods and using local suppliers. In other words, most economic activity should be much more bound to the Zambian economy, instead of to export markets. Even the mining sector should not be exporting raw materials but finished goods, which is more efficient if you think of transportation and energy use, creates many more high quality jobs and retains more profits inside the country.

    The mine region should become a complete industrial region, with Zambian manufacturing firms, and all marketing, pr, transportation and other businesses that go with the entire business process. The government should use the law and it's access to finances to create entire economic sectors, instead of just a business here and there.

    I am talking about a platform that would take UNIP's social goals in mind, but is much more SME and economic sector focused than UNIP ever was.

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  8. I think it is a function of opportunism, mainly. They all want to be seen as good guardians of the status quo - which is an economy that exports raw materials, lets the corporations keep all their profits and keeps the 'donor aid' from the IMF/World Bank rolling in instead of just taxing corporate profits. (I think the best thing to remedy this - which is why it will never happen - is to just stop all donor aid. That would force the state to tax the corporations.)

    But what do they gain from that ?
    I mean at election time, Zambian voters decide. And there's at least a large minority (if not the majority) of the voters who would support such a change from the status quo.
    So why do the politicians want to be seen as good guardians of the status quo ?

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  9. And as far as the program, with all due respect, and our disagreement on other topic aside, where is the "could" ? And the "how" ?


    No, seriously, you keep making lists about what government "should" do but you never say how and if they could do it.

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  10. Random,

    But what do they gain from that ? I mean at election time, Zambian voters decide. And there's at least a large minority (if not the majority) of the voters who would support such a change from the status quo.

    Because in essence, they don't care about the electorate. They only want them to vote for them once every 5 years. Levy Mwanawasa talks dismissively about 'the so-called popular will'.

    MPs live too far from their constituents, and the real action is always in the capital, near parliament and state house.

    This is what is wrong with parliamentary democracy as a form of popular representation. Especially in countries where great physical distances are an issue, and too much power becomes concentrated around the head of state.

    The alterantive is local government. And you can go and list the problems with local government, but the essence is that local government politicians have to live in their constituency, and get to understand local problems. Council politicians are highly unlikely to be parachuted in by a national party.

    However, at this moment, the ministry of local government receives more state money than all local governments combined. If we spent 50% of state revenues at the local government level, and got rid of half the 29 ministries, it would be a different country. There would be money available for healthcare, education, local policing, local infrastructure, etc.

    So why do the politicians want to be seen as good guardians of the status quo ?

    MPs want to be seen as good guardians of the status quo, because 1/3 of the budget ($600mn in 2004) comes from 'donor aid'. Which depends on keeping good relations with the IMF and World Bank, which means bending over backwards to implement their policies and make things comfortable for the western corporations which the mining companies are.

    The presence of 'donor aid' is distorting the democratic process. Politicians become more accountable to Geneva than their own electorate.

    No, seriously, you keep making lists about what government "should" do but you never say how and if they could do it.

    That is probably because once the problem is identified, it is pretty obvious what needs and can be done about it.

    The alterantive to donor aid is corporate taxation. Donor aid in 2004 was $600 million. However, corporate profits were about $2400 million, mainly from mineral exports. Tax those profits 50%, and the state ends up with $1200 million without strings attached, instead of $600 million in donor aid that is dependent on IMF/WB approval or the $6 million in total taxes they collected from the mines that year.

    Too much power in the capital at State House/the ministries - constitutionally create a much greater role for local government, their share of national revenues, their rights and obligations. Public service functions like education, healthcare, policing, administration and public utilities should be handled at a local government level.

    Bureaucracy - reduce the number of licenses and levies by creating national licenses and designated national enterprise zones in cities where people with a national license can do business - also a solution to the perenennial marketeer issue. Reduce the number of ministries from 29 to 10-12. Professor Henry Kyambalesa has an excellent list of posts and functions that can be done away with.

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  11. But once again, we're talking about the things they openly say, not the things they do in spite of what they say.

    At election time, what do they gain from out-neoliberal-ing each other ?

    Because in essence, they don't care about the electorate. They only want them to vote for them once every 5 years. Levy Mwanawasa talks dismissively about 'the so-called popular will'.

    Then why do the electorate vote for them every 5 years ?

    This is what is wrong with parliamentary democracy as a form of popular representation. Especially in countries where great physical distances are an issue, and too much power becomes concentrated around the head of state.

    First of all, concentration of power around the head of state is rarely an outcome of parliamentary democacy..
    Secondly, I don't think the distance or the representation itself is the issue. After all, the distances between Washington and Georgia didn't cut off the senators from their constituents needs. And I'm talking about 200 years ago, long before, planes, trains and cars.

    MPs want to be seen as good guardians of the status quo, because 1/3 of the budget ($600mn in 2004) comes from 'donor aid'. Which depends on keeping good relations with the IMF and World Bank, which means bending over backwards to implement their policies and make things comfortable for the western corporations which the mining companies are. 
The presence of 'donor aid' is distorting the democratic process. Politicians become more accountable to Geneva than their own electorate.

    That makes sense AFTER they get elected. But before ? Why are they getting elected ? Why are they getting re-elected ?


    That is probably because once the problem is identified, it is pretty obvious what needs and can be done about it.

    Actually it's not obvious. There are very few problems with only one solution. There is no free lunch and solutions have a cost. And usually choices have to be made.

    So why don't argue more often about why this solution is the best instead of listing things that should be done ?

    The alterantive to donor aid is corporate taxation. Donor aid in 2004 was $600 million. However, corporate profits were about $2400 million, mainly from mineral exports. Tax those profits 50%, and the state ends up with $1200 million without strings attached, instead of $600 million in donor aid that is dependent on IMF/WB approval or the $6 million in total taxes they collected from the mines that year.

    How do we know that raising the corporate tax rate to 50% won't result in less revenue ? I mean because capital is mobile, there is an optimum after which they just leave. How do we figure out at which point it is ? Or do we at all ?

    And beyond that, assuming you actually get $1.2 billions by doing that, are you sure it's enough to finance every "should" ? And why should we except the politicians who manage to waste money when there is so little and the IMF strings to manage it any better when there's plenty ?

    Don't you think that the bureaucracy reforms, the anti-waste iniative ought to be taken BEFORE the state is awash with money ?

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  12. interesting:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_rates_around_the_world

    Zambia is actually one of the highest (as far as corporate tax).

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  14. Because in essence, they don't care about the electorate. They only want them to vote for them once every 5 years. Levy Mwanawasa talks dismissively about 'the so-called popular will'.

    Then why do the electorate vote for them every 5 years ?

    Because they don't have a choice. Right now, the parties of government are going to be MMD, PF or UPND - all of which are neoliberal.

    I have no idea why a viable party has not sprung up to represent an economic alternative. But it most definitely is a failure of democracy by not presenting the electorate with a full range of choices.

    This is what is wrong with parliamentary democracy as a form of popular representation. Especially in countries where great physical distances are an issue, and too much power becomes concentrated around the head of state.

    First of all, concentration of power around the head of state is rarely an outcome of parliamentary democacy..

    It doesn't have to be. Remember that most countries in Africa came out of a colonial situation without any democratic representation at all. There was no actual development of local government institutions subject to local democracy. Upon independence, they inherited the whole colonial machinery, with new democratic institutions grafted onto that.

    Add to that a shaky security situation with external invasion and hostilities and the fear of secession within it's borders, and more power gravitated to the office of the president.

    It is very much because of the emphasis on central government concentrated around parliament and the ministries, as opposed to an emphasis on local government, and that is also how it can be remedied.

    Secondly, I don't think the distance or the representation itself is the issue. After all, the distances between Washington and Georgia didn't cut off the senators from their constituents needs.

    Actually they do. The term "Washington Insider" is a slur against any politician who is considered to spend too much time in the capital and too little with his constituents.

    And that is in a developed country with a lot of infrastructure. Add to that the fact that government in the US is highly decentralized, with all the states having their own senate, their own congress, their own constitution, their own governer, etc.

    The federal government only truly has a mandate for federal issues. For instance one of the mandates of the federal detective/police agency is specifically for crimes that crosses state borders.

    And I'm talking about 200 years ago, long before, planes, trains and cars.

    200 years ago, Chicago was considered 'The West'. The United States was a lot smaller then.

    But even then, the distance in miles and in culture lead to America's bloodiest and most traumatizing war - the Civil War.

    interesting:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_rates_around_the_world

    Zambia is actually one of the highest (as far as corporate tax).


    I think the sales tax is right, the income tax can actually be higher than 30%.

    http://www.zra.org.zm/practice_note/practicenote2005.pdf

    4.10 INCOME TAX RATES

    (a) Personal Income Tax Rates:

    Personal Income tax rates, with effect from 1st April 2005, are as
    follows:

    Income Bands Rates

    First K3,360,000

    @ 0%

    Between K3,360,001 and up to K12,000,000

    @ 30%

    Between K12,000,001 and up to K60,000,000

    @ 35%

    Above K60,000,000

    @ 37.5%

    At least that was the case in 2005. At at K4,000/US$, 60 million Kwatcha is only $15,000.

    However, to come to the core of the issue, because of the development agreements, the mines were largely exempt from paying taxes. I would even like to see a profit tax as high as 50% specifically for the mining sector.

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  15. And beyond that, assuming you actually get $1.2 billions by doing that, are you sure it's enough to finance every "should" ?

    It is enough to halve the amount of income tax collected, and still end up with the same amount of government revenues.

    And why should we except the politicians who manage to waste money when there is so little and the IMF strings to manage it any better when there's plenty ?

    Because at least it would initially end up inside the country, instead of in corporate bank accounts in London, New York, Toronto and Sidney, from where it is unrecoverable.

    Another question would be - why does the IMF sign off on all this donor aid, and not demand financial transparancy and accountability to either parliament or the civil service?

    In fact, they are complicit in the level of corruption to which they apparently turn a blind eye. They are very much aware that their power derives from the possibility of withholding donor aid.

    So I say bypass them altogether.

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  16. Because they don't have a choice. Right now, the parties of government are going to be MMD, PF or UPND - all of which are neoliberal.

    That's only three parties ! What about UNIP ? What about the smaller parties ? Aren't they on the ballot ?

    I have no idea why a viable party has not sprung up to represent an economic alternative. But it most definitely is a failure of democracy by not presenting the electorate with a full range of choices.

    I have no idea what you mean by "failure of democracy" but I have a hard totally buying your claim.

    I mean, are you focusing on "viable" here ? Are you saying that there's no left party or that they don't win enough ?

    (one odd thing about African politics in general is that often ideological differentiation is not really common. all parties mix elements of right and left ideology in a way that increases their rent-seeking potential and at the end, it's all confusing.. may be that's the issue here)

    It doesn't have to be. Remember that most countries in Africa came out of a colonial situation without any democratic representation at all. There was no actual development of local government institutions subject to local democracy. Upon independence, they inherited the whole colonial machinery, with new democratic institutions grafted onto that. 
Add to that a shaky security situation with external invasion and hostilities and the fear of secession within it's borders, and more power gravitated to the office of the president.

    You know the history is more complicated than that. Most, if not all African countries became independent as parliamentary democracies and the damn near all the leaders quickly moved to reinforce their power. While I imagine the fear of invasion was real in Zambia, I doubt Rwanda really faced that issue (although i bet they claimed they did).

    I guess what I'm saying is that while inheriting bad colonial institutions, the concentration of executive power was a choice, one that was openly defended by people as diverse as Nkrumah or Mobutu. The argument was that oppositions made us loose time or something silly like that.

    It is very much because of the emphasis on central government concentrated around parliament and the ministries, as opposed to an emphasis on local government, and that is also how it can be remedied.

    But parliaments, contrary to president are not so much "central". I mean they're a link between local level and national level. They're the stage at which every local constituency debates national policy.

    And beyond that, I think you're confusing the national/local schism with the executive/legislative schism. Taking my favorite example, Nigeria, greater powers for states and local governments resulted in more powerful governors and heads of local governments. Same problems at the end.

    Actually they do. The term "Washington Insider" is a slur against any politician who is considered to spend too much time in the capital and too little with his constituents.

    Actually the term "Washington Insider" has more to do with "newness" than "localness". That's why you tend to hear it more often in presidential campaigns than in Senate campaign.
    And given how hard it is to beat an incumbent Senator and how long States keep voting for them, I'm not sure that they mind.

    And even beyond that, you have to remember how parochial US politics are. Just look at how hard those "Washington Insiders" like Jesse Helms fought to protect their constituent's racism.

    And that is in a developed country with a lot of infrastructure. Add to that the fact that government in the US is highly decentralized, with all the states having their own senate, their own congress, their own constitution, their own governer, etc. 

The federal government only truly has a mandate for federal issues. For instance one of the mandates of the federal detective/police agency is specifically for crimes that crosses state borders.

    yeah I know. That's also why the US government is quite inefficient (compared to other develloped countries), especially when it comes to things like healthcare or education.

    200 years ago, Chicago was considered 'The West'. The United States was a lot smaller then.

    Atlanta, GA which was part of the Union at independence is 1,000 km away from Washington. I think only places like Moliro and Nakonde are that far from Lusaka.

    But even then, the distance in miles and in culture lead to America's bloodiest and most traumatizing war - the Civil War.

    You mean to say that the insistence by local interest in the South to protect their right to keep propriety of African human beings led to the Civil War, right ?

    Don't sound like a Confederate apologist, please.

    However, to come to the core of the issue, because of the development agreements, the mines were largely exempt from paying taxes. I would even like to see a profit tax as high as 50% specifically for the mining sector.

    There are 2 different things.
    As I said before, the DAs and the fact that the mining industry got a favorable treatment were shocking (though part of the problem was that they had to be sold fast).

    But still, Zambia with 35% of corporate tax is the high range. And neither you nor me know if 50% won't actually make at least some mines close and possibly reduce revenue. Can you agree that it's at least a valid concern ?

    It is enough to halve the amount of income tax collected, and still end up with the same amount of government revenues.

    You really don't like the income tax, do you ? When you say halve, do you mean on all brackets or just the lower brackets ?

    And most importantly, what about the other "shoulds" ? How do those get financed ?

    Because at least it would initially end up inside the country, instead of in corporate bank accounts in London, New York, Toronto and Sidney, from where it is unrecoverable.

    Hmmm.. That's just like Cho's argument about embezzlement by the chiefs being not so bad because some of it was use to start companies.

    And I dispute the idea that the money would end up inside the country. Mercedes-Benz, Laurent Perrier and Swiss banks have a long history of cashing dividents of our mismanged public finances.

    Another question would be - why does the IMF sign off on all this donor aid, and not demand financial transparancy and accountability to either parliament or the civil service?

    They don't ?

    In fact, they are complicit in the level of corruption to which they apparently turn a blind eye. They are very much aware that their power derives from the possibility of withholding donor aid.

    Of course, that's their policy stick but then again, I'm not sure turning a blind eye is the exact word.
    Anyway, that doesn't change the main issue. Why would a government used to mismanaging is supposed to discover fiscal prudence when it gets more revenue ? (or why would someone who gambles with $100 refuse to do so with $1,000 ?)

    I don't mean to say that better management is impossible to establish but shouldn't we make that happen first ?

    So I say bypass them altogether.

    Well, yeah. But bypassing them starts with not needing them, you know like Botswana or China.. I'm not sure that happens only by getting maximum revenue when copper prices are high. And somehow it's quite likely that at the end, it involves policies that they would recommend (although at a less crazy pace).

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  17. Random,

    "May be votes are simply all bought and "neo-liberals" have more funding to do so. But as I said before, this means voters value the bribe more than the policy"

    Except Mrk correctly noted that nearly all the parties lean towards the so called "neo-liberal stance". It can't therefore be about "neo-liberals" having more money or bribing people.

    "Either it's a preference of the Zambian voters (i.e. they actually wonder "who's gonna get the maximum amount of aid") or no one has been willing to argue that the current situation is bad (i.e. politicians are not trying to see some source of income for "productive investments" disappear). From my experience in the countries I've been in, both exist. But then again, in case number 1 it would really mean that the Zambian people don't think their interest where many assume it should be"

    "productive investments"..lol!
    I can see you are really going for that phrase!

    I do think that most Zambians recognise that we need foreign aid and generally live in an interdependent world. I mean its obvious from looking down south in Zimbabwe, that the reality is that any new leader cannot survive without IMF / World Bank support. But this still does not fully explain it because one can always renege, though that carries its own costs in the long term. Sooner or later voters will realise you are really a "neo-lib" and will not vote for you.

    I think people get the government they deserve. So we must have to atleast consider the possibility that people think these "neo-lib" policies work....subjects to some caveats I touch on below.

    "Or they don't have any policy idea and never had any and just sit and wait for the people at the IMF to tell them what to do."

    But if the incentives to develop policies where so strong, they would do so. Perhaps the lack of ideological differentiation is simply indicative of poor electroral incentives. I mean doesn't this come down to lack of competition in the political system?

    I think it helps to think of politicals parties like any other company. The extent of product (ideological) differential largely depends on the nature of the market.

    Most innovation takes place in monopolistic competitve markets, where firms are competitive but with some degree of market power either by geography or so forth.

    In Zambia there's some competition but really the MMD has been in power for a long time and may never be dislodged within the current constitution. In short we have no ideological differentiation or innovation because it does not matter. PF and UPND can innovate for all they like, it won't get them anywhere because the political system is geared towards favouring the incumbent. So this has created a sense of hopelessness.

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  18. Random,

    Because they don't have a choice. Right now, the parties of government are going to be MMD, PF or UPND - all of which are neoliberal.

    That's only three parties ! What about UNIP ? What about the smaller parties ? Aren't they on the ballot ?

    They don't have the organisation of the big three parties. UNIP is in total disarray. I think there is some kind of deal going on between Tilyenji Kaunda and the MMD, but UNIP has become an obscure family franchise.

    Just being on the ballot in some places does not give a party the finances to put a candidate on the ballot in all or even most constituencies, let alone also have the finances to actively campaign.
    The state on the other hand has nearly limitless funds, which is why the incumbent party always has the advantage.

    There are plenty of parties on paper, but very few have nationwide organisations behind them.

    Cho,

    In short we have no ideological differentiation or innovation because it does not matter. PF and UPND can innovate for all they like, it won't get them anywhere because the political system is geared towards favouring the incumbent. So this has created a sense of hopelessness.

    Which is a failure of the democratic process and a dangerous one when the MMD becomes exceptionally out of touch with political or economic events. And their elitist attitude certainly shows the beginnings of that (Levy Mwanawasa talking of 'the so-called popular will').

    I think a lot could be remedied by having public financing of elections and extend that to all parties.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Mrk,

    "I think a lot could be remedied by having public financing of elections and extend that to all parties."

    As you know from the Sakism post,
    I am anti-political funding because I don't see how this deals with the lack of political competition.

    Lack of political competition is due to lack of fair play. And that is much deeper than funding.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Wow! I thought this was supposed to the discussing UNIP's sole mp(the last of his kind). Joking! but this is serious, we need to put a monument or memorabilia at the livingstone museum. This is our history. These are the people that promised us an egg a day. Seriously though, we do need a modern conservative party in Zambia; with open minded God fearing leaders. Maybe UNIP is like the Zambezi, there are points that river is minute, then in rejuvinates into the Mosi-O-Tunya.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Cho,

    Except Mrk correctly noted that nearly all the parties lean towards the so called "neo-liberal stance". It can't therefore be about "neo-liberals" having more money or bribing people.

    he said "viable". Now Mr K correct me if I'm wrong but that does imply that there are some small, non-viable, non-neo-liberal parties, right ?

    "productive investments"..lol!
I can see you are really going for that phrase!

    Oh yes !

    I do think that most Zambians recognise that we need foreign aid and generally live in an interdependent world. I mean its obvious from looking down south in Zimbabwe, that the reality is that any new leader cannot survive without IMF / World Bank support. But this still does not fully explain it because one can always renege, though that carries its own costs in the long term. Sooner or later voters will realise you are really a "neo-lib" and will not vote for you.

    Renege on what ? Aid/loans ? I mean the IMF is smart enough to not give you the whole check at once.

    But here's the thing. If most Zambians think aid/assistance/loans are necessary, then it's easy for neo-libs to argue that their policies are needed.

    I think it helps to think of politicals parties like any other company. The extent of product (ideological) differential largely depends on the nature of the market. 

Most innovation takes place in monopolistic competitve markets, where firms are competitive but with some degree of market power either by geography or so forth.

In Zambia there's some competition but really the MMD has been in power for a long time and may never be dislodged within the current constitution. In short we have no ideological differentiation or innovation because it does not matter. PF and UPND can innovate for all they like, it won't get them anywhere because the political system is geared towards favouring the incumbent. So this has created a sense of hopelessness.

    1. I'm not sure political competition means ideological competition. Those are 2 different things. In my country, the political competition was harsh and it got violent, very violent. That didn't create any sense of ideological competition.
    2. African politics are often monopolistic competitive market. Ethno-regional bases are the market power you describe.
    3. In short, you say "MMD is dominant and other political parties aren't trying hard because MMD is dominant". It's sort of circular.
    Furthermore, in politics, there's plenty of examples of the opposite happening.
    ZANU-PF was dominant. It's not anymore.
    BDP is dominant but it doesn't stop the opposition from pushing alternatives.
    ANC is dominant but between the liberals, the leftists and all the loonies (inkhata or white racists) there are plenty of alternatives.

    I could go on...

    The sense of hopelessness just means opposition politicians are short-term minded. Nothing else.

    They don't have the organisation of the big three parties. UNIP is in total disarray. I think there is some kind of deal going on between Tilyenji Kaunda and the MMD, but UNIP has become an obscure family franchise. 

Just being on the ballot in some places does not give a party the finances to put a candidate on the ballot in all or even most constituencies, let alone also have the finances to actively campaign.

    In that case, it's not the system's fault.
    I mean, we lefties are supposed to know how to make shit happen without much financial ressources. After all, we're fighting the rich, aren't we ?

    The state on the other hand has nearly limitless funds, which is why the incumbent party always has the advantage.

    Yes, that explains MMD but not the 2 others.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Anonymous,

    "Seriously though, we do need a modern conservative party in Zambia; with open minded God fearing leaders."

    I do think though that such a party can only emerge has a reaction to something else. In Zambia every politician claims to be God fearing :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. Random,

    ”Now Mr K correct me if I'm wrong but that does imply that there are some small, non-viable, non-neo-liberal parties, right ?”

    Smaller parties are notorious for market oriented ideas! Unless it is a village party… Lol!

    ”Renege on what ? Aid/loans ? I mean the IMF is smart enough to not give you the whole check at once.”

    I meant reneging on the people. Such as promise the people an anti-neo-lib policy framework and then adopt a neo-lib when you get in power!

    ”But here's the thing. If most Zambians think aid/assistance/loans are necessary, then it's easy for neo-libs to argue that their policies are needed.”

    I definitely think that is what is happening. I guess someone like MrK has to promise them that aid is not necessary, in a credible way. A quick delivery without IMF / World Bank support….that is what someone has to demonstrate. I suspect that would involve a lot of intellectual capital…and time to come up with one…lol!

    ”1. I'm not sure political competition means ideological competition. Those are 2 different things. In my country, the political competition was harsh and it got violent, very violent. That didn't create any sense of ideological competition.”

    For me ideological competition is really competition on ideas….on rather competition on innovation to use product language. Political competition is really just competition, like product competition…..how that plays out depends on what people decide to compete on…so in the political context, as you say, they can compete purely by mimicking each others ideas and then just mass market….(non ideological competition or even analogous to price competition in highly contestable product markets) or they can decide to compete on ideas (analogous to oligopolistic non-price competition in product markets).

    So I agree that political competition has many facets…the fundamental question here is what determines the nature of political competition that emerges? That’s the big question…(answers gratefully received..lol!)

    ”2. African politics are often monopolistic competitive market. Ethno-regional bases are the market power you describe.”

    Agreed. This would suggest that perhaps the ground is fertile for political innovation? I mean if you have strongholds that you are unlikely to lose, shouldn’t encourage room for innovation (or ideological differentiation) and experimentation ? To borrow the phrase from our other discussion.

    ”3. In short, you say "MMD is dominant and other political parties aren't trying hard because MMD is dominant". It's sort of circular.”

    Not circular, but self-reinforcing!

    ”Furthermore, in politics, there's plenty of examples of the opposite happening. ZANU-PF was dominant. It's not anymore.”

    Dominance is not the problem per se…its contestability of the system. You can be dominant but in a highly contestable political system. I think you suggest this for the Botwana case in a separate exchange. The party there has been dominant, but its dominance has been largely because of its ability to respond to external scrutiny. So the opposition do not really take over, but they fundamentally affect policy due to the contestable nature of the political system.

    ”BDP is dominant but it doesn't stop the opposition from pushing alternatives.”

    ha…and there it is….

    ”The sense of hopelessness just means opposition politicians are short-term minded. Nothing else.”

    I still think it is the political system. It heavily geared towards the incumbent, in a way that the system in Bots doesn’t. Zambia’s political system is not contestable. This is the point I make to MrK about funding. Its not really a financial issue it’s a structural issue that promotes perpetual incumbency. Even worse an incumbent with no incentives to strongly respond to the opposition.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Anonymous,

    They don't have the organisation of the big three parties. UNIP is in total disarray. I think there is some kind of deal going on between Tilyenji Kaunda and the MMD, but UNIP has become an obscure family franchise. ??Just being on the ballot in some places does not give a party the finances to put a candidate on the ballot in all or even most constituencies, let alone also have the finances to actively campaign.

    In that case, it's not the system's fault.
    I mean, we lefties are supposed to know how to make shit happen without much financial ressources. After all, we're fighting the rich, aren't we ?


    First off, mind the language, thanks. Childproof software can easily make a site hard to access from schools and libraries.

    In that case, it is the system's fault. The main three parties are courting the IMF/WB, the one party that has leftwing credentials is compromised by the party in government, leaving it's membership wondering what is going on.

    Add to that the fact that one of Kaunda's sons was murdered by Chiluba, and that there was a special amendment introduced to the constitution to prevent Kaunda from ever running for president again, I would say that the system is far from perfect.

    The state on the other hand has nearly limitless funds, which is why the incumbent party always has the advantage.

    Yes, that explains MMD but not the 2 others.

    It goes a long way in explaining why they other two are MMD-lite.

    On the one hand they want to say that they would be better at governing, on the other hand they want to ensure the IMF/WB that nothing would change if they came to power.

    Renege on what ? Aid/loans ? I mean the IMF is smart enough to not give you the whole check at once.

    But here's the thing. If most Zambians think aid/assistance/loans are necessary, then it's easy for neo-libs to argue that their policies are needed.


    They could switch from donor aid to taxation. We've seen some of that in the introduction of the windfall tax.

    I think most Zambians were wondering why the mines were not contributing their share of revenues. It is partly or perhaps wholly because of public pressure that the windfall tax was introduced at all.

    Cho,

    Zambia’s political system is not contestable. This is the point I make to MrK about funding. Its not really a financial issue it’s a structural issue that promotes perpetual incumbency. Even worse an incumbent with no incentives to strongly respond to the opposition.

    And I wouldn't disagree with that. I just think that equitable financing fo the political parties would go some way in leveling the playing field, especially for the very small parties.

    Obviously, other things like equal media access, public debates and more would also be good. And the governing party always has the advantage of having more funds or if it is willing to be corrupt (if there's even a law against it), abuse state funds for political purposes.

    ReplyDelete
  25. MrK,

    Whats you opinion on the number of parties? Do you think we have too many foot soldiers pretending to be generals?

    By the way, your post was supposed to be for "Random" not "Anonymous".

    ReplyDelete
  26. Anonymous,

    You also contradicted your self.

    In that case, it's not the system's fault. I mean, we lefties are supposed to know how to make **** happen without much financial ressources. After all, we're fighting the rich, aren't we ?

    And...

    Seriously though, we do need a modern conservative party in Zambia; with open minded God fearing leaders.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Cho,

    Whats you opinion on the number of parties? Do you think we have too many foot soldiers pretending to be generals?

    What I think is that the politicians should decide what kind of system they want to have - presidential or parliamentary. First past the post or proportional representation.

    The characteristic of first past the post is that it creates more dicisive government but less of the population will be represented in parliament and government. Proportional representation will create weaker coalition governments, but the people are more democratically represented.

    So how many parties should there be?

    With first past the post, there should basically only be 2 parties. The UK barely has 3, the US only 2 (ignoring tiny parties that have no hope of ever winning a majority, like the Green Party, the libertarians, etc.). This would mean that the two parties would be very broad churches, containing within them a very broad spectre of political opinion that could roughly divide into 'right' and 'left'. All the parties we see today would disappear, and all the politicians would be left to advance themselves through a single party.

    On the other hand, many political parties can be represented with proportional representation. This would mean that (for instance), the FDD, AfC, etc. could end up as part of a coalition government. Because of political or personal differences, this would result in much less stable government, but one that more accurately represented the actual vote.

    However, with PR, with all votes counted nationally, literally every vote makes a difference. With first past the post, all the votes that do not go to the winning candidate in any particular constituency are discarded. The outcome is always clear, but less democratic.

    So how many parties should there be - I would say it would depend on the system.

    However, what is needed as you have stated, is a diversity of opinion among the political parties.

    I think the lack of diversity of opinion is also reflected in the lack of discussion of issues during election time.

    The people keep complaining about it, but the politicians never seem to respond. Also, they don't seem to ever debate eachother on a public forum.

    I could be wrong, but maybe politics is just a vehicle for personal advancement, not the advancement of a particular vision of what to do with society and the economy, and they all agree on the IMF's prescriptions because it is the road of least resistance.


    By the way, your post was supposed to be for "Random" not "Anonymous".

    Sorry about that. It was intended for both.

    ReplyDelete
  28. MrK,

    ”With first past the post, there should basically only be 2 parties. The UK barely has 3, the US only 2 (ignoring tiny parties that have no hope of ever winning a majority, like the Green Party, the libertarians, etc.). This would mean that the two parties would be very broad churches, containing within them a very broad spectre of political opinion that could roughly divide into 'right' and 'left'. All the parties we see today would disappear, and all the politicians would be left to advance themselves through a single party. “

    In Zambia, we have first past the post.
    And on paper, it is 2 party dominated system, with a supporting third party (UPND) – this is very similar to the UK.

    Perhaps its not a bad such thing that we see the likes of Miyanda, Nawakwi, Nevers and others wasting their efforts. Its just similar to the Green Party or the Loonie party.

    Perhaps we are consolidating.

    Incidentally, we seem to have accepted your rationalisation of Zambian politics as neo-liberal. I would disagree with that I think.

    MMD is essentially a rural party – relying a lot through rural ties of its leaders.
    PF is urban party – they command most of the support in urban areas with some support in Northern / Luapula province. But in essence PF speaks to the discontented and poor urbanite…

    The ground is therefore fertile for some contrast in policies.

    In short, I think the time for new parties has died in Zambia. I can’t see anyone starting a new party and getting anywhere, atleast with the current FPTP system. We are effectively now in 2/3 party system.

    What I think we are likely to see is further reform within PF..more democratic systems set up...Sata taking more and more of a back seat after their convention and a new leadership emerging there…perhaps UPND disbanding or merging with MMD down the line……FDD , UNIP are dead….

    ReplyDelete
  29. Cho,

    Incidentally, we seem to have accepted your rationalisation of Zambian politics as neo-liberal. I would disagree with that I think.

    MMD is essentially a rural party – relying a lot through rural ties of its leaders.

    PF is urban party – they command most of the support in urban areas with some support in Northern / Luapula province. But in essence PF speaks to the discontented and poor urbanite…


    I get that there is a urban/rural drift between the PF and MMD (and with most people being rural and not a lot of information filtering through, that doesn't bode well for the PF).

    The difference in interests between urban and rural people is interesting - I think even Karl Marx wrote about that back the day.

    However, when you look at their vision for the economy, they are all in the low taxes (corporations only)/inflation/interest rates, foreign direct investment, 'free market' school of economics.

    You don't have to go for central planning of the entire economy to see that universal healthcare, universal education, investment in infrastructure, and stimulating SMEs in agriculture and manufacturing would create a lot of opportunities for high quality job creation, wealth retention and material progress.

    It isn't socialism, but a different kind of capitalism than the corporate version pushed by the IMF/WB and the main parties.

    And I don't understand why no party is jumping all over that, especially because it is so popularly appealing. Stimulating manufacturing businesses would be very popular with the urban unemployed, and stimulating the ownership of medium sized farms would be very popular in the rural areas.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Cho,

    Incidentally, we seem to have accepted your rationalisation of Zambian politics as neo-liberal. I would disagree with that I think.

    MMD is essentially a rural party – relying a lot through rural ties of its leaders.

    PF is urban party – they command most of the support in urban areas with some support in Northern / Luapula province. But in essence PF speaks to the discontented and poor urbanite…


    I get that there is a urban/rural electoral rift between the PF and MMD (and with most people being rural and not a lot of information filtering through into the rural areas, that doesn't bode well for the PF).

    The difference in interests between urban and rural people is interesting - I think even Karl Marx wrote about that back the day.

    However, when you look at their vision for the economy, they are all in the low taxes (corporations only)/inflation/interest rates, foreign direct investment, 'free market' school of economics.

    You don't have to go for central planning of the entire economy to see that universal healthcare, universal education, investment in infrastructure, and stimulating homegrown SMEs in agriculture and manufacturing would create a lot of opportunities for high quality job creation, wealth retention and material progress.

    It isn't socialism, but a different kind of capitalism than the corporate version pushed by the IMF/WB and the main parties.

    And I don't understand why no party is jumping all over that, especially because it is so popularly appealing. Stimulating manufacturing businesses would be very popular with the urban unemployed, and stimulating the ownership of medium sized farms would be very popular in the rural areas, as it would lift millions out of poverty.

    ReplyDelete
  31. In that case, it is the system's fault. The main three parties are courting the IMF/WB, the one party that has leftwing credentials is compromised by the party in government, leaving it's membership wondering what is going on. 

Add to that the fact that one of Kaunda's sons was murdered by Chiluba, and that there was a special amendment introduced to the constitution to prevent Kaunda from ever running for president again, I would say that the system is far from perfect.


    No it's not a systemic issue.
    The fact that the three main parties are courting the IMF is not a systemic problem. If voters minded that situation that much, they would vote for the first challenger to the status quo.
    And Kaunda, his son and whatever don't explain much. Not only the Left is supposed to make s**t happen without financial ressources but we're also supposed to be truly democratic and all that. Candidates don't matter.

    On the one hand they want to say that they would be better at governing, on the other hand they want to ensure the IMF/WB that nothing would change if they came to power.

    Why is ensuring the IMF/WB that nothing would change more important than catering to Zambian voters ?

    They could switch from donor aid to taxation. We've seen some of that in the introduction of the windfall tax. 

I think most Zambians were wondering why the mines were not contributing their share of revenues. It is partly or perhaps wholly because of public pressure that the windfall tax was introduced at all.

    Yes. So when Zambian actually demand something, they get it from those evil neo-libs, don't they ?

    ReplyDelete
  32. And I don't understand why no party is jumping all over that, especially because it is so popularly appealing. Stimulating manufacturing businesses would be very popular with the urban unemployed, and stimulating the ownership of medium sized farms would be very popular in the rural areas, as it would lift millions out of poverty.

    May be, just may be, you should think about this statement.

    What I mean to say is that if a policy was really so popularly appealing, I believe someone somewhere would have jumped all over it.

    May be what seems obvious to you ("as it would lift millions out of poverty") is not that obvious to most Zambian voters. Or may be it's just a question of time. It did take 50 years of a partially corrupt and partially unefficient consensus for Venezuelans to finally reject all the existing parties and vote for Chavez.

    You don't have to go for central planning of the entire economy to see that universal healthcare, universal education, investment in infrastructure, and stimulating homegrown SMEs in agriculture and manufacturing would create a lot of opportunities for high quality job creation, wealth retention and material progress.

    Oddly enough, the only self-declared Liberal (they've been liberal for too long to be called "neo") government on the continent did all of that: Botswana.
    And so did the reformed lefties in Mauritius (and possibly Rwanda).
    So why would Zambian politicians who should only as neo-lib as the IMF requests them to behave be some sort of basket case ?

    (I personally believe that incompetence is more of an issue than ideology in African politics but that's me)

    ReplyDelete
  33. Mrk,

    ”I get that there is a urban/rural electoral rift between the PF and MMD (and with most people being rural and not a lot of information filtering through into the rural areas, that doesn't bode well for the PF).”

    Yes, the lack of appeal of PF in many rural parts is surprising. On the other hand the MMD’s dominance in those areas may simply be a product of their funding capabilities (which is also linked to their acceptability – I mean if people accept you and think are a winner, they’ll fund you). PF did not field candidates in all constituencies. I think they only had 121 out 150…or something like that. MMD fielded all provinces. In short, we do not yet have a party with the level of reach and organisation that MMD have. If PF had a non-Bemba President possibly from the south….it could transform the game….enormously widening its reach…. But it would also need far deeper structural reforms than it currently has been able to achieve..

    ”You don't have to go for central planning of the entire economy to see that universal healthcare, universal education, investment in infrastructure, and stimulating homegrown SMEs in agriculture and manufacturing would create a lot of opportunities for high quality job creation, wealth retention and material progress.”

    That agenda is expensive…
    I am not saying it can’t be done…just that whoever proposes that has to explain how they will fund it….

    I think what would be nice is for you to review each of the manifestos for us….as a guest blog series or something…It would be fantastic to go through each of their themes one by one….starting with the PF….

    I noticed that the PF manifestos had one university in each province…I mean. But very little on how that could funded….imagine now we cannot even fund UNZA….

    Its easy to dream policies….but funding them requires you to look at the books and see where cuts can be made….it should be difficult to know what government is getting in taxes and matching that with spending priorities….all parties in the West do it……but that’s the kind of thing we are missing…proper and costed for policies…

    ReplyDelete
  34. Cho,

    PF did not field candidates in all constituencies. I think they only had 121 out 150…or something like that. MMD fielded all provinces. In short, we do not yet have a party with the level of reach and organisation that MMD have.

    And it is exactly that reach that gives the incumbent party the advantage.

    Which is also why any suggestion made elsewhere to 'start your own party' is moot.


    I think what would be nice is for you to review each of the manifestos for us….as a guest blog series or something…It would be fantastic to go through each of their themes one by one….starting with the PF….

    I could do that, but it would take a little time.

    Its easy to dream policies….but funding them requires you to look at the books and see where cuts can be made….it should be difficult to know what government is getting in taxes and matching that with spending priorities….all parties in the West do it……but that’s the kind of thing we are missing…proper and costed for policies…

    And at the end of it, you still wouldn't have a party to put it into practice. Also, that sounds more like work for an official policy research institute, with access to government documents.

    But I will see what I can do.


    PF MISSION STATEMENT
    http://www.pf.com.zm/missionstatement.htm

    AGENDA FOR CHANGE MANIFESTO
    http://www.agenda123.com/html/manifesto.pdf

    I think the AfC manifesto is a great read.

    MMD
    http://www.mmdzam.org/Macro-Economic%20Programmes.html

    UPND - no website

    I'll get into it deeper later on.

    ReplyDelete
  35. And it is exactly that reach that gives the incumbent party the advantage. 

Which is also why any suggestion made elsewhere to 'start your own party' is moot.

    They built it. The MMD wasn't created as an incumbent party. THEY BUILT their reach.
    And beyond that, incumbency doesn't explain why other parties can't manage to field candidates,

    And at the end of it, you still wouldn't have a party to put it into practice. Also, that sounds more like work for an official policy research institute, with access to government documents.

    That's BS. Parties form around policy proposals and ideas, not the other way around. If there's really no leftist party in Zambia, a good start is to put together some kind of manifesto that would unite people around it.


    Once again, Leftists cannot use those excuses.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Cho,

    ”You don't have to go for central planning of the entire economy to see that universal healthcare, universal education, investment in infrastructure, and stimulating homegrown SMEs in agriculture and manufacturing would create a lot of opportunities for high quality job creation, wealth retention and material progress.”

    That agenda is expensive…
    I am not saying it can’t be done…just that whoever proposes that has to explain how they will fund it….


    It isn't as expensive as it looks. Take for instance creating 100 hectare farms.

    Because spending on them is basically investment, there is a time

    Farmers should have multiple streams of income:

    1) Maize

    50 hectares of maize (2 tonnes per ha, at $200 per tonne) would yield a gross income of $20,000, which alone would lift the farmer and his family out of poverty. As they could grow their own food, they would have virtually no food cost themselves.

    2) Other farm activities

    The other 50 ha could be used for higher farm activities - fattening up livestock (chickens, pigs, goats, sheep, cattle, horses), cash crops (tea, coffee, fruit trees, greenhouses with flowers and herbs) and tropical hardwood tree farming.

    3) Carbon sequestration

    With Keyline Design methods of soil building, thin topsoil can be turned into land with 1 to 1.5 feet of topsoil, which would sequester hundreds of tonnes of carbon per hectare. Carbon is already traded as 'Carbon Credits' on exchanges like the Chicago Climate Exchange. One carbon credit represents 1 tonne of carbon, and is traded at about $5-7 per carbon credit. After sequestering 500 tonnes per hectare a farmer could claim at least $5 x 500tonnes or $2500 per hectare. Over 100 hectares, that would be a $250,000 cash injection for the entire 100 hectare property.

    That would go a long way in paying for machinery, irrigation works and buildings - it would in fact more than cover it.

    The way the process works today, is that a farmer presents a carbon broker with the finished results of his carbon sequestration. After approval, the carbon broker can then buy the carbon points from the farmer for cash, and sell them to (for instance) governments that want to offset their carbon emissions.

    What if the state created a rural carbon fund to buy carbon points from these farmers beforehand, so they would have money to buy equipment and make improvements to their land?

    The extreme soil building abilities of Keyline could be the key to all this. Zambia has it's commercial farming sector. The goverment makes money from trading carbon points, and receiving taxes from the farms after they become operational, and the world is better because climate change is slowed. :)

    The higher quality soil needs fewer pesticides and other imputs. Because the farms are large compared to present subsistence farms, but small compared to the present commercial farms and they involve the people, work (although still mechanized) can be more labour intensive and precise, making organic growing methods possible, resulting in better and healthier food and fewer off the farm inputs. The farm improvements (irrigation channels, ponds, contour ploughing) would keep more water on the land and at least extend the farming season, if not make farming a year-around activity, increasing output.

    It would see a massive influx of money into the rural economies, and the job creation itself would slow or even reverse urbanisation.

    ReplyDelete
  37. ”You don't have to go for central planning of the entire economy to see that universal healthcare, universal education, investment in infrastructure, and stimulating homegrown SMEs in agriculture and manufacturing would create a lot of opportunities for high quality job creation, wealth retention and material progress.” - MrK

    ”Oddly enough, the only self-declared Liberal (they've been liberal for too long to be called "neo") government on the continent did all of that: Botswana.
    And so did the reformed lefties in Mauritius (and possibly Rwanda).”
    - Random

    Botswana’s planning is legendary indeed. But the more I think and read about Botswana’s colonial path, the less I am convinced we can learn any deep truths from them. I think Botswana is unique. However, I do like their Vision 2016 system of going back to the people every year so that they could be informed on the progress made within the national plan.

    Perhaps a new post is needed just to discuss their strange ways! Lol!

    ”I personally believe that incompetence is more of an issue than ideology in African politics but that's me..” - Random

    What do you mean by incompetence? You mean ignorance or just sheer poverty of leadership qualities?

    ”I could do that, but it would take a little time……..And at the end of it, you still wouldn't have a party to put it into practice. Also, that sounds more like work for an official policy research institute, with access to government documents. But I will see what I can do.” - MrK

    Actually I had something fairly simple. No numbers necessarily, but fairly high level. For example, taking education and working through that and see what the various partie’s position is….decentralisation again the same thing…etc etc..

    My view is that they all have very good ideas..but they do not say HOW they can be delivered…that’s the flaw…

    ”And it is exactly that reach that gives the incumbent party the advantage. 

Which is also why any suggestion made elsewhere to 'start your own party' is moot.” - Mrk

    ”They built it. The MMD wasn't created as an incumbent party. THEY BUILT their reach. And beyond that, incumbency doesn't explain why other parties can't manage to field candidates,” - Random

    I would have to agree with Random on this one. It was definitely built from the ground up, with a little manipulation of the law. I mean 1996 was critical. The MMD basically barred KK from contesting and when UNIP refused to contest, all fell apart…as the article explains. If UNIP had taken part we could be seeing a more competitive environment.

    I also don’t understand why if these parties are so opposed to MMD policies, they don’t come together to defeat them. If someone came to your neighbourhood and started stealing, no matter how much you dislike your neighbours, you would work together in the neighbourhood watch. It strikes me that MMD is probably doing okay. If MMD was bad, an MDC style union that came together to defeat Bob would have happened. When people are convinced of a common foe, they band together. The incentives therefore appear not so strong for coalescing .

    ReplyDelete
  38. Botswana’s planning is legendary indeed. But the more I think and read about Botswana’s colonial path, the less I am convinced we can learn any deep truths from them. I think Botswana is unique. However, I do like their Vision 2016 system of going back to the people every year so that they could be informed on the progress made within the national plan.

    I resent that idea.
    We can be competent too !

    Botswana unique-ness is mainly political. I'm still trying to figure out how the regime has "sold" fiscal conservatism to its poor voters.

    What do you mean by incompetence? You mean ignorance or just sheer poverty of leadership qualities?

    I think most African countries are as bad at liberalism as they were at socialism.

    For instance, one could resonably expect rising unequality after liberalizing and Liberalism can be blamed for it. But then you have places where doing business doesn't get easier, where regulation increases, where monopolies are still protected. In short, they privatize and that's the only liberal reform. Just like when we were socialist, we nationalized former colonial monopolies and that was all.

    The common thing is incompetence. period.

    I would have to agree with Random on this one. It was definitely built from the ground up, with a little manipulation of the law. I mean 1996 was critical. The MMD basically barred KK from contesting and when UNIP refused to contest, all fell apart…as the article explains. If UNIP had taken part we could be seeing a more competitive environment.

    We're talking about party-building though. The fact that they won in 1991 proved that they built an organisation long before they were in power.

    But you know what ? We know how left-wing parties are usually built. Every single left wing party in the world that didn't come to power through guns relies on Labour. And Labour is organized through Unions.

    You don't need the strong arm of the state when you can mobilize workers. but you have to be willing to mobilize workers.

    And how can I say it ? There's a segment of the leftists who tend to view self-declared pro-workers politicians as more legitimate representative of the workers than the Labour Unions. Which is odd, isn't it ?

    ReplyDelete
  39. Cho,

    If MMD was bad, an MDC style union that came together to defeat Bob would have happened. When people are convinced of a common foe, they band together. The incentives therefore appear not so strong for coalescing .

    But that didn't happen. In fact, the MDC has very few policies that appeal to the people. Their manifesto mainly sounds like the boy scouts manual - lots of knot tying and doing good deeds. However, the recurring theme is that they are going to pursue the same old failed IMF structural adjustment programmes - free markets, no government involvement, privatisation. This does not appeal or is in the interest of the majority of the people in any country. It creates a very small (MDC) economic elite, in the hope that the benefits will 'trickle down'. George Bush senior called that 'Voodoo Economics' when Ronald Reagan supported it back in the 1980s. And we have seen the economic damage done by these 'supply side economics'.

    The MDC would be nowhere without hyperinflation. High inflation in Zimbabwe did not turn into hyperinflation (late 2003) until after the introduction of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 in late 2001/early 2002, which banned multilateral financial institutions from extending credit or insuring loans to the government of Zimbabwe.

    Without sanctions, the MDC would be nowhere. The same argument can be made about the rise of the MDC (another political party with the word Democratic/Democracy in it's name), after the IMF prescriptions had the same destructive effect on the Zambian economy. Temporally, hyperinflation in late 2003 is much closer to ZDERA in early 2002 than to land reform in 1997.

    ”I could do that, but it would take a little time……..And at the end of it, you still wouldn't have a party to put it into practice. Also, that sounds more like work for an official policy research institute, with access to government documents. But I will see what I can do.” - MrK

    Actually I had something fairly simple. No numbers necessarily, but fairly high level. For example, taking education and working through that and see what the various partie’s position is….decentralisation again the same thing…etc etc..

    My view is that they all have very good ideas..but they do not say HOW they can be delivered…that’s the flaw…


    Ok, I'll see what I can do.

    ReplyDelete
  40. once again caught in a lie.

    The MDC would be nowhere without hyperinflation. High inflation in Zimbabwe did not turn into hyperinflation (late 2003) until after the introduction of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 in late 2001/early 2002, which banned multilateral financial institutions from extending credit or insuring loans to the government of Zimbabwe.

    12-13 February 2000 Constitutional Referendum:

    "Yes" Votes 578,210 45.32%
    "No" Votes 697,754 54.68%
    The newly formed MDC supported the "no". In fact it was created to support the "no".

    24-25 June 2000 House of Assembly Election

    Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) 1,212,302 48.6% 62Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) 1,171,051 47.0% 57

    9-11 March 2002 Presidential Election

    Robert Mugabe (ZANU-PF) 1,685,212 56.2%Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC) 1,258,401 42.0%


    47% or 42% is nowhere ? Really ?
    And I showed before that Zimabwe defaulted on its arrears in 2001. They didn't have any line of credit since the mid-90's.

    The idea that sanctions turned "high-inflation" into "hyperinflation" is ridiculous. Inflation begets inflation. Period. Unless you do something to cut it.

    1989 14%
    1990 17%
    1991 48%
    1992 40%
    1991 48%
    1992 40%
    1993 20%
    1994 25%
    1995 28%
    1996 16%
    1997 20%
    1998 48%
    1999 56.9%
    2000 55.22%
    2001 112.1%
    2002 198.93%
    2003 598.75%
    2004 132.75%
    2005 585.84%
    2006 1,281.11%
    2007 66,212.3%
    2008 9,030,000%


    Not only Zimbabwe hasn't experienced single digit inflation since 1988 but the rise since 1997 would almost be a perfect explonential inflationary curve if it wasn't for the 2004 and 2000 short-term measures.

    Being denied money one doesn't have access to or the desire to have doesn't create hyperinflation, printing money does.

    ReplyDelete
  41. But that didn't happen. In fact, the MDC has very few policies that appeal to the people. Their manifesto mainly sounds like the boy scouts manual - lots of knot tying and doing good deeds. However, the recurring theme is that they are going to pursue the same old failed IMF structural adjustment programmes - free markets, no government involvement, privatisation. This does not appeal or is in the interest of the majority of the people in any country.

    That doesn't make sense.
    First of all, it obvious appeals to a little less than HALF OF THE ZIMBABWEAN VOTERS if we believe the results announced by the Zimbabwean government.
    Second, I mentionned before that MDC has strong support from Labour Unions, in Zimbabwe and abroad. But somehow, we have to believe that MrK and Mugabé are more in tune with the needs of the people than Unions that actually work for the people ?
    That's probably why there's no left-wing party in Zambia. If Zambian leftists are like you and walk around deciding that they know what the will of the people is and dismissing anything the people say, no surprise.

    It creates a very small (MDC) economic elite, in the hope that the benefits will 'trickle down'. George Bush senior called that 'Voodoo Economics' when Ronald Reagan supported it back in the 1980s. And we have seen the economic damage done by these 'supply side economics'.

    Gosh, go and read a real book !
    What George H.W. Bush called "voodoo economics" is a very specific belief among American supply-siders: the idea that tax cuts pay for themselves. Or more precisely that tax cuts are compensated by automatic additional growth or a diminution of tax evasion.
    Privatisation, free markets, no government involvement and the IMF have nothing to do with it.
    Seriously, read a book, a real one.

    ReplyDelete
  42. And I guess the western press made this up too, right ?
    (notice what the source is)
    FROM THE RESERVE BANK OF ZIMBABWE




    22. Yes, inflation is high and is expected to temporarily
    escalate further before rescinding to targeted lower levels.


    23. Yes, the major driver of that inflation in 2005, spilling into
    2006 has been the high rates of money supply growth,
    among other exogenous factors.

    24. The collectivity of Zimbabweans must realize that this
    high growth in money supply was occasioned by printing
    of Z$21 trillion to buy foreign exchange to pay the IMF,
    which outlay could not be accommodated in the 2006
    fiscal budget, and can not be feasibly absorbed in any
    singular fiscal year without imposing a perilous squeeze
    on critical public sector services to the Nation.

    27. Thus, as Monetary Authorities, we call upon all
    Zimbabweans to realize that the anticipated temporary
    surge in inflation is a necessary cost that we are having to
    face on the back of extraordinary measures that had to be
    put in place to address extraordinary circumstances.



    Or this:
    this

    MONETARY DEVELOPMENTS
    Money Supply
    10.57 Broad money supply (M3) growth has been on an upward trend and increased from
    528.2% in February 2006 to 669.9% in May 2006.
    10.58 These high levels of monetary expansion reflect the inevitable interventions that the
    Central Bank is having to do in the economy to prevent further deterioration of
    infrastructure, as well as actual overall production, especially in agriculture.
    10.59 The increase in broad money supply in May 2006 was underpinned by expansion in
    domestic credit of 629.3%. The expansion in domestic credit was driven by:
    (i) Credit to Government, which grew by 927.5%;
    (ii) Credit to the private sector, 455.0%; and
    (iii) Claims on public enterprises, 635.5%.


    Isn't funny how basic economics give basic explanations for simple problems ?

    Gono himself said "yeah we're printing money". So once again, where is the sense of responsibility ?

    ReplyDelete
  43. "We admit that in the short-term, our money supply growth numbers have been and
    remain unhealthy for short-term inflationary outlook; that the Bank’s quasi-fiscal
    operations would be best handled within the budgetary framework if it can and that the
    Central Banks should not micro-manage or compete with market institutions in the
    allocation of resources.
    "


    That's from that second document. And so is this:

    "In the medium to long-term and certainly by the end of 2008, Zimbabweans will
    be happy that we endured this infrastructure development pain earlier on rather
    than later.
    "


    So, by the end of 2008, everything was supposed to be fine (this was written in 2006).
    What happened ?
    Why wasn't the printing money gamble successful ?

    ReplyDelete
  44. It's funny that Gono actually knows how to "fix" inflation.. In March 2005, he was proudly explaining why inflation decreased in 2004:
    ( http://www.rbz.co.zw/pdfs/speeches/ZCTU.PRESENTATION.DRGG.GOV.pdf )

    Money Supply Growth

    7.1 Traditionally, excessive growth in money
    supply tended to be our country’s main
    source of inflationary pressures.

    7.2 It is for this reason that the 12 months to
    December 2004 saw Monetary Authorities
    adopting a tight money market liquidity
    stance, so as to forestall inflationary
    monetary growth.


    7.3 I am pleased to report that marked progress
    has been made in this regard, with quarterly
    money supply growth for the last quarter of
    2004 having been contained to 24.1% or a
    quarterly annualized rate of 137%,
    compared to the quarterly annualized growth
    rate of 305% which obtained during the first
    quarter of 2004.

    7.4 The 2005 Monetary Policy agenda is to
    maintain greater vigilance on fighting
    inflationary money supply growth.



    Another example of typical goal-post moving is the fact that In October 2004, he said:
    ( http://www.rbz.co.zw/pdfs/speeches/MUTARE.DRGG..pdf )

    Honorable Minister, as your Central Bank, we
    have set the Turnaround Vision around the
    following core drivers:

    (a) Aggressive reduction of inflation to low and
    stable, single digit levels by December 2006.


    But then in February 2006, they decide to PRINT MORE MONEY and the goal moves to 2008. And in 2008, it's the IMF's fault. Or rather the media's fault.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Gono is an idiot. period.
    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa5391/is_200708/ai_n21294053/pg_1?tag=artBody;col1

    Baffour: But then we've always been told that apart from Germany during the wars - and maybe Argentina - Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation is extraordinary, and now the former US ambassador to Zimbabwe, Christopher Dell, is predicting a 1,500,000% inflation by the end of the year.
    Gono: In fact, contemporary history is full of economies that have gone through worse challenges than ours, where they have gone through inflation levels that could not fit into a 16-digit calculator.
    Baffour: In our lifetime?
    Gono: Yes, in our lifetime. Germany went through inflation levels that were reaching trillions. Argentina went through inflation levels that were above 5,000%. They had a budget deficit of over 80%. I could give you many examples. So ours, at 4,500%, is high but it's not out of this world. Now Brazil, for instance, they have gone above that. Israel, and many other countries went through the same bad patches and implemented programmes that brought inflation down from 6,000% to single digits in short spaces of time. If they could do it, who says we can't? And we are busy laying the foundations for a serious deceleration programme.

    First of all, Germany was in the 30's but that doesn't matter.`
    The real issue how Israel, Brazil, Germany, Zaire, Hungary, Argentina, Chile, Belarus all brought down inflation.

    They decreased or at least stopped increasing the money supply (and reduced the deficit).

    But guess what ?
    Gono thinks printing money is good:
    Gono: Now, land reform is a fundamental policy of the government, just like infrastructural development. In an environment where the economy is not flourishing and the traditional sources of infrastructural development in the form of taxes on people and businesses are not enough to do the job, where the minister of finance presents a budget with a human face that does not seek to overtax the population and external help is not available, the only line of defence, and I must say the last line of defence, is the power within ourselves - to print money. We don't need foreign exchange to build roads and dams. We need local currency. So we print the money here to finance infrastructural development, because infrastructure is not inflationary.
    The convention has been to leave such development to NGOs. But we are saying we shall suffer the burden of infrastructural development. Inflation will go up, yes; but the real value is understood in the pain of attainment. Easy come, easy go.


    So let's see..
    1. "infrastructure is not inflationary" but "inflation will go up, yes".
    2. I guess he doesn't quite understand that inflation in itself or even deficits are a form of taxation. It's delayed, it's hidden, it's indirect but still, it's not like the current hyperinflation is painless for Zimbabweans.
    3. WHO IS STUPID ENOUGH TO THINK THAT PRINTING MONEY IS A SOLUTION FOR ANYTHING ? AND WHO IS STUPID ENOUGH TO BLAME SPECULATORS AND ECONOMIC SABOTAGE FOR INFLATION RIGHT AFTER ADMITTING HE'S PRINTING MONEY ?

    The man is dumb, period. So is anybody who defends him.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Random,

    I take it you are a rhodesian? The abrasive 'arguing style', the nearly continuous use of expletives, assertions that people you disagree with are 'idiots', or 'lying'. Your assurane that white farmers are well intentioned and don't want to get to power to get their land back...

    You're a Zimbabwean, aren't you?

    ReplyDelete
  47. I take it you are a rhodesian?

    That's all you got ?
    When all else fails, accuse your "opponent" (or whatever you call it) to be a Rhodesian ?



    The abrasive 'arguing style'

    I'm opiniated and yes sometimes I go overboard.
    But two things:
    1. every time you pointed that out, I apologized and rephrase, didn't I ?
    2. franky you're not Cho either.



    assertions that people you disagree with are 'idiots', or 'lying'.

    Hmmm, no.
    Gono is an idiot because he admits that he's printing money but keeps looking for other explanation behind hyperinflation. In fact, he knows about the causal relationship but find it convinient to ignore it, so he's a liar.

    And me and you disagree about a lot, I don't think I ever used to word "lie" when it was a matter of opinion. I used it when you ignored or changed the facts. Which is quite close to the definition of lie.


    Your assurane that white farmers are well intentioned and don't want to get to power to get their land back...

    When did I have that assurance ?
    I bet they want the land back (well most of them) and I bet they wouldn't say no to a new Rhodesia.
    But they're not the point here. The point is about what Zimbabweans want, the choices Zimbabweans have to make and so on and so on.

    You are the one who is extremely confident in your belief that MDC is nothing but a front for white farmers.

    I think MDC is a circumstancial alliance which may or may not collapse when and if they get rid of Zanu-PF.
    

You're a Zimbabwean, aren't you?

    Once again, you're showing your own limits. I posted links, of speeches and interviews of the governor of the reserve bank of zimabwe. All except for one directly from the reserve bank itself (and the other from New African, not BBC), just so we can discuss the monetary policy of Zimbabwe without you saying "it's the western media bias".
    And what do we get ? Mr K all of a sudden thinks I have to be Rhodesian because only a Rhodesian would think that printing tons of money is a dumb policy that leads to hyperinflation.
    In short, you're running away from the substantial debate. Period.

    And just in case, I'm not Rhodesian, not Zimbabwean, not from Southern Africa at all. If you click on my name you get to my blog. It gives clues here and there about where I'm from. My limited command of English gives clues too. And Cho knows my name (I'll share it with you by email if you really want to) and I said where I was from before on this very blog.
    So no, I'm not Rhodesian, just some guy who knows enough about economics to know that most of what Zimbabwe has done since 1996 is crazy and yes, stupid.

    ReplyDelete
  48. I take it you are a rhodesian?

    That's all you got ?
    When all else fails, accuse your "opponent" (or whatever you call it) to be a Rhodesian ?


    As usual, I don't hear a no. I'll take it that means yes.

    First of all, you do not get to call me a liar.

    Secondly, you do not get to insult me, and then post as if nothing ever happened.

    So, I don't read your posts. I would be happy if you didn't read mine either, not that it matters, because I am not responding to your expletive and power term riddled *opinions* in any case.

    Frankly, I think your behaviour equals trolling.

    ReplyDelete
  49. As usual, I don't hear a no. I'll take it that means yes.

    So you can't read either ?

    " And just in case, I'm not Rhodesian, not Zimbabwean, not from Southern Africa at all " was what I typed.

    First of all, you do not get to call me a liar.

    That's because you lie.

    Secondly, you do not get to insult me, and then post as if nothing ever happened.

    I insulted you by proving you wrong ? How sensitive.


    So, I don't read your posts. I would be happy if you didn't read mine either, not that it matters, because I am not responding to your expletive and power term riddled *opinions* in any case.

    Of course, you don't read them because otherwise you'd have to reply to real arguments which is asking too much of you.

    Frankly, I think your behaviour equals trolling.

    How cute.

    Looser.

    ReplyDelete
  50. As usual, I don't hear a no. I'll take it that means yes.

    And now that I think about it, isn't this a lie ?

    Well, yes, it's lie which makes you a liar.

    Unless you're simply too emotionnal to actually read what people say which makes you crazy.


    You choose.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Random,

    ”I think most African countries are as bad at liberalism as they were at socialism. For instance, one could reasonably expect rising inequality after liberalizing and Liberalism can be blamed for it. But then you have places where doing business doesn't get easier, where regulation increases, where monopolies are still protected. In short, they privatize and that's the only liberal reform. Just like when we were socialist, we nationalized former colonial monopolies and that was all.”

    I struggle with that assessment because when I look at corruption in Zambia, it happened more under liberalism than under socialism. Socialism was bad, but somehow the old guard did not steal as much…they were just incompent…but after 1991 and multiparty politics, IMF reforms etc….it all just went bad…these guys were not incompetent…they were very competent at stealing!...In short African leaders seem to struggle with liberalism because liberalism in the absence rational legal states is worse than socialism! I mean liberalization without fundamental changes in the underlying political power simply gave the corrupt leaders more ammunition for stealing….In the words of Bratto and van de Walle…liberalism allowed corrupt elites to mobilize political support via clientelism and introduced patrimonial logic in the state bureaucracy, leading to the destruction of the capacity of the state and creating an environment of unpredictability….

    ”We're talking about party-building though. The fact that they won in 1991 proved that they built an organization long before they were in power.”

    It was very strange at the time. I remember it well, my father was deep in MMD politics then. It was a moment. Everyone united and sacrificed personal ambitions and just went for UNIP. They were not going to be divided. Its almost like UNIP was actually enforcing self discipline within MMD. They disliked UNIP so much that they truly united to the cause.

    ”But you know what ? We know how left-wing parties are usually built. Every single left wing party in the world that didn't come to power through guns relies on Labour. And Labour is organized through Unions. You don't need the strong arm of the state when you can mobilize workers. But you have to be willing to mobilize workers.”

    I think I would add to that it helps where the public sector is large and with unions. It strikes me that private sector employees are hard to unionize. So if you are a liberal government the optimal strategy is to continue on the path of small government.

    ReplyDelete
  52. I struggle with that assessment because when I look at corruption in Zambia, it happened more under liberalism than under socialism. Socialism was bad, but somehow the old guard did not steal as much…they were just incompent…but after 1991 and multiparty politics, IMF reforms etc….it all just went bad…these guys were not incompetent…they were very competent at stealing!...

    That's so Ayittey, Cho.

    I mean, stealing is not the most important part in my opinion (i'd even argue that personal corruption isn't the thing that is bankrupting Zimbabwe).
    It's policies and the effects they have.
    And that fact that you get things like rising unequality (rural/urban for instance) under socialist governments and more regulation under liberal governments.

    .In short African leaders seem to struggle with liberalism because liberalism in the absence rational legal states is worse than socialism!

    I'm not sure how socialism is even supposed to work in tha absence of a legal-rational states. I mean on a day to day basis.
    At least with liberalism, you can to an extend rely on informal structures to resolve some issues (try to steal someone's land in Somalia).

    I think the bigger issue is the in-between thing, the state overreaches its capacity and at the same time underperforms in other ways.

    I mean liberalization without fundamental changes in the underlying political power simply gave the corrupt leaders more ammunition for stealing….In the words of Bratto and van de Walle…liberalism allowed corrupt elites to mobilize political support via clientelism and introduced patrimonial logic in the state bureaucracy, leading to the destruction of the capacity of the state and creating an environment of unpredictability….

    Because the failure of state-owned entreprises didn't have anything to do with clientelism ?
    I'm not even talking about actually putting money in one's pocket, I'm talking about using the socialized economy to redistribute ressources to clients.. Think government jobs, think favorable deals etc..

    I think the odd thing is we're confused on what liberalism and socialism are. Both have "ideal" definition and "real existing" definition. And as far as opportunities for rent-seeking go, they're equal whether you nationalizing or privatizing. The difference comes after.

    It was very strange at the time. I remember it well, my father was deep in MMD politics then. It was a moment. Everyone united and sacrificed personal ambitions and just went for UNIP. They were not going to be divided. Its almost like UNIP was actually enforcing self discipline within MMD. They disliked UNIP so much that they truly united to the cause.

    You guys were lucky. We got a lot of anti-PCT (the former runnign party) but soon PCT actually became one out of three parties violently fighting for power.
    May be it was because of the transition with a neutral all-powerful Prime Minister.

    I think I would add to that it helps where the public sector is large and with unions. It strikes me that private sector employees are hard to unionize. So if you are a liberal government the optimal strategy is to continue on the path of small government.

    Well, since your public sector can never be the majority of the voters, you have to have a better strategy. Otherwise, it's fairly easy to build ressentment among non-public servants.

    But you're not wrong, there is a strategy for right-wing parties. It partially goes through.. ding, ding.. SMEs !
    In Japan and Taiwan, the American occupiers enacted land reforms exactly because of that. To prevent the landless peasants from joining the growing communist movement.
    And even in the cities, SME employes are much harder to unionize than say mine workers or big factories workers. So this may explain that.

    ReplyDelete
  53. "Gono: Now, land reform is a fundamental policy of the government, just like infrastructural development. In an environment where the economy is not flourishing and the traditional sources of infrastructural development in the form of taxes on people and businesses are not enough to do the job, where the minister of finance presents a budget with a human face that does not seek to overtax the population and external help is not available, the only line of defence, and I must say the last line of defence, is the power within ourselves - to print money. We don't need foreign exchange to build roads and dams. We need local currency. So we print the money here to finance infrastructural development, because infrastructure is not inflationary.
    The convention has been to leave such development to NGOs. But we are saying we shall suffer the burden of infrastructural development. Inflation will go up, yes; but the real value is understood in the pain of attainment. Easy come, easy go."


    Something is not right here...lol!!

    My friend call this "intellectual dishonesty"...but this is worse....he has come to believe the lie...

    ReplyDelete
  54. ”I mean, stealing is not the most important part in my opinion (i'd even argue that personal corruption isn't the thing that is bankrupting Zimbabwe).
    It's policies and the effects they have. And that fact that you get things like rising unequality (rural/urban for instance) under socialist governments and more regulation under liberal governments.”


    I was actually making a different point. It was simply that when you look at capital flight and level of corruption, it was more prevalent after multi-party system was introduced. Zambia lost more in real terms during under Chiluba’s 10 years than all of KK’s 27 years put together. Incidentally external debt levels also worsened :)

    ”I'm not sure how socialism is even supposed to work in the absence of a legal-rational states. I mean on a day to day basis. At least with liberalism, you can to an extent rely on informal structures to resolve some issues (try to steal someone's land in Somalia).”

    I think socialists state perform better in the absence of legal-rational states, because the socialist idealogy itself imposes some discipline, in a way that liberalism with person emphasis on person freedom probably doesn’t.

    ”Because the failure of state-owned enterprises didn't have anything to do with clientelism ? I'm not even talking about actually putting money in one's pocket, I'm talking about using the socialized economy to redistribute resources to clients.. Think government jobs, think favorable deals etc..”

    Well basically everything was state owned..within a one party system of government…with little internal competition…there was no incentive to “mobilize political support” through clientelism. In any case, “scale” is important here. I am sure some redistribution of resources, but we see such clientelism much stronger during liberalisation… indeed the very act of liberalisation created that opportunity…

    ReplyDelete
  55. I was actually making a different point. It was simply that when you look at capital flight and level of corruption, it was more prevalent after multi-party system was introduced. Zambia lost more in real terms during under Chiluba’s 10 years than all of KK’s 27 years put together. Incidentally external debt levels also worsened :)

    How did MMD survive those scandals ? By cracking up on Chiluba ?

    I think socialists state perform better in the absence of legal-rational states, because the socialist idealogy itself imposes some discipline, in a way that liberalism with person emphasis on person freedom probably doesn’t.

    But the discipline is not enough.
    Let me put it this way:
    a socialist economy by getting rid of market mechanisms requires incredible amount of coordination, adjustment, decisions made at the state level. You need a legal rational state to even collect the information (since you don't have the information embedded in market prices (à la hayek)) necessary to make planning decisions. You need people to run your Leontieff matrixes and do those complicated calculations. You need people to enforce your decisions, you need complicated feedback mechanisms so you have some level of responsiveness to the situation on the ground. etc..

    There is a reason why the word "scientific" was attached to "socialism".

    That's why I'm saying that in the absence of legal-rational state, socialist economies simply cannot function.

    Well basically everything was state owned..within a one party system of government…with little internal competition…there was no incentive to “mobilize political support” through clientelism.

    I think De Walle wrote against the idea that there wasn't a need to "mobilize political support". I remember him mentionning the example of Cameroon where after democratization/liberalization, the government basically stopped courting some segments of the population because all they needed to rule was 51% now. Basically, single parties didn't have formal competition but there were also incredibly fragile and spent lots of efforts preventing informal competition (coups, revolution, emmergence of illegal opposition, wars etc..). And they needed maximum support since there was no mechanism to "represent" the minority position.
    I don't think any African country reached Cuba levels of state ownership. There was always room for some minimal private activity around the "state sector". And even in Cuba, where the only legal employment one can have is through the state, political issues DO influence the distribution of that state employment.

    In any case, “scale” is important here. I am sure some redistribution of resources, but we see such clientelism much stronger during liberalisation… indeed the very act of liberalisation created that opportunity…

    The opportunity is in the act of liberalization. I don't know if it exists in a "liberalized" economy. In fact, after liberalization, the only way to mantain the opportunity for clientelism is to keep mechanisms that distribute "priviledges", which is not exactly very liberal.
    Basically, you can sell a state owned company to a friend, but if you want your friend to keep making money, you have to help him with monopoly rights, import tarrifs and other competition suppressing mechanisms. That's not really liberalization. In fact, it misses the crucial point of liberalization.

    ReplyDelete
  56. ”How did MMD survive those scandals ? By cracking up on Chiluba ?”

    Weak opposition. I think what happened was that the Opposition underestimated Zambian’s inclination for avoiding radical changes plus the government bribed voters. No jocking. The 2001 elections which ushered in Levy Mwanawasa was the most corrupt in Zambia’s history.

    I think socialists state perform better in the absence of legal-rational states, because the socialist idealogy itself imposes some discipline, in a way that liberalism with person emphasis on person freedom probably doesn’t.

    ”You need people to run your Leontieff matrixes and do those complicated calculations. You need people to enforce your decisions, you need complicated feedback mechanisms so you have some level of responsiveness to the situation on the ground. etc…. That's why I'm saying that in the absence of legal-rational state, socialist economies simply cannot function..”

    True except evidence seems to suggest otherwise. But I agree with you that both require legal – rational state. The issue is the degree to which observable evidence seems to point to the constraint being more binding for liberal states.

    ”The opportunity is in the act of liberalization.”

    Yes, and that is where most corruption occurred. And of course let us not forget capital flight.

    ReplyDelete
  57. True except evidence seems to suggest otherwise. But I agree with you that both require legal – rational state. The issue is the degree to which observable evidence seems to point to the constraint being more binding for liberal states.

    What's the evidence ?

    ReplyDelete
  58. The "evidence" is that Chilubanian liberalism stole more than Kaundanian socialism.

    ReplyDelete
  59. The "evidence" is that Chilubanian liberalism stole more than Kaundanian socialism.

    That's not evidence that "African leaders seem to struggle with liberalism because liberalism in the absence rational legal states is worse than socialism".

    It's just evidence that Kaunda was less corrupt than Chiluba.

    ReplyDelete
  60. I really enjoyed the debate though at some point it got heated and personal. I guess that is expected where people interact.
    However, talking about political parties in Zambia, I came across this link which I thought I could share with you. www.thecitizensdemocraticparty.com
    Whats your comment?

    ReplyDelete
  61. Random,

    I have Anonymous to thank for reminding me about this post!

    Yes, I guess you are correct the sample size is too small to draw deep inferences about rational states.

    By the way, I have been thinking about our discussion here with regards trade unions...something that came across in the book on One Zambia, Many Histories...the discussion in that book about why trade unions have declined in influence very much focuses on what I call "proximate causes"..and only a minor treatment of "fundamental causes"....

    He focuses on things like lack of finance, poor organisations and lack of political activism...

    He mentions SAP policies and the whole liberalisation agenda at the end, but in reaching the conclusion he bizarrely states that trade unions may become powerful again in Africa as income grows!!

    But as we noted, its much more complicated than that!

    ReplyDelete
  62. Yes, I guess you are correct the sample size is too small to draw deep inferences about rational states.

    Yeah. That's why I kept talking about the theorical level.


    By the way, I have been thinking about our discussion here with regards trade unions...something that came across in the book on One Zambia, Many Histories...the discussion in that book about why trade unions have declined in influence very much focuses on what I call "proximate causes"..and only a minor treatment of "fundamental causes"....

He focuses on things like lack of finance, poor organisations and lack of political activism...

He mentions SAP policies and the whole liberalisation agenda at the end, but in reaching the conclusion he bizarrely states that trade unions may become powerful again in Africa as income grows!!

    As income grows ? Whoa.

    That's really weird. But I don't know. To me it seems that being the failure of Unionism in Africa lies issues of repression and cooptation and politization and of course the big issue: they're no working class to represent.
    May be, he's right. As income grows there will be more factory workers and such.. And there will be real meaningful unionism.

    There is a reason why the most active unions are in South Africa.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Random,

    Repression is obviously a factor!

    But beyond that I think he has a point in so far as structural adjustment policies destroyed agriculture (the farmers union was once powerful, it just disappeared), manufacturing and mining.

    The mining unions were particularly instrumental towards independence, but in Zambia Kaunda actually crushed them before SAP.

    One of the interesting trends has also been the shrinking of the civil service. This again has led to lower power of unions.

    My view is that the political and legal dynamics have changed. If you like the new foreign firms that have emerged liberalisation, have not only used their defacto power to capture politicians, but in doing so they re-written the rules (a dejure effect).

    Unions now have fewer power within our laws. It would therefore take some significant change of laws to give them greater voice.

    With that in mind, I think what matters therefore is the time of industrial workforce that emerge. Growth in services forexample would have minimal impact. On the other hand, if greater income growth comes with bigger government, perhaps the unions would become stronger.

    But in general, I think the days of unionish at the scale they operated after independence are long gone.

    The real question is what this may mean for the nature of politics that emerge. For example, does this mean that left wing parties are unlikely to become strong? Or do we look to other groups forged from a coalition of other interests to take the fight? But then we are back to the question of why this is not happening?

    Its a circle!!

    ReplyDelete
  64. Cho, I thought I shoud mention this. I am a different anonymous contributor not the one you interacted with earlier. I happen to come across your blog while search for something on the net. I found the topic interesting thats how I thought I should share the link www.thecitizensdemocraticparty.com. There is already so much in fighting in the MMD which will lead to possible fragmentation of the party by the time the country goes to elections. The same may happen in PF. When I browsed through the CDP website, whoever they are, I thought they sounded somewhat different compared to the status quo.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Anonymous,

    Thanks for bringing this up. I have been browsing their site. A regular contributor here MrK had also informed us about its agenda!

    I don't normally respond to contributors who comment "anonymously" because I find it confusing!! Best to use a fake ID..it makes it easier to remain unique.

    Nevertheless. My take on the CDP is that they appear to have an alright agenda. I browsed through their SEVEN POINT agenda. It seems sensible. Also their approach to using all expertise is good. They also seem to support dual citizenship. All good policies.

    However, my general take is that Zambia has enough parties. My last count puts the parties at around 45. I am unsure how unique this party is from the 45.

    We have to see their manifesto to judge them properly.

    I do wish we could have more Zambians forming think tanks and directly challenging debate and shaping it than forming parties. We need more newspapers and more intellectual leadership, not parties. But I will remain open minded until I see their manifesto.

    By the way, I think MMD, PF and UPND are not doing bad. We have to remember that Rome was not built in a day. Democracy is a slow process. I am convinced that as we develop a better constitution and we have many more elections we are going to see better internal party disciplines and more intellectual debates on ideas. Basically, political competition is the key to better policy developments. Those come from better institutional framework.

    30 August 2008 21:57

    ReplyDelete
  66. Repression is obviously a factor!

    I think cooptation is a bigger one.

    The mining unions were particularly instrumental towards independence, but in Zambia Kaunda actually crushed them before SAP.

    That's more or less the case everywhere.. Post-independance governments, especially nationalist/leftist ones were very concerned about the threat of mobilization they didn't controll. Hence the crushing/coopting part. But also the "let's have a big civil service that's thankful to us" part.

    But beyond that I think he has a point in so far as structural adjustment policies destroyed agriculture (the farmers union was once powerful, it just disappeared), manufacturing and mining.

    Oh yeah. I somehow forgot to mention it in my last reply but SAP definetly had an effect.

    On the other hand, SAP destroyed them because they were extremely fragile and way too linked to favorable policies for part of the working force.

    One of the interesting trends has also been the shrinking of the civil service. This again has led to lower power of unions.

    Yeah. But the counterfactual is that civil service unions (with the notable exception of teacher's unions) have a hard time being connected to everybody else's fight. And that's part of the problem.

    My view is that the political and legal dynamics have changed. If you like the new foreign firms that have emerged liberalisation, have not only used their defacto power to capture politicians, but in doing so they re-written the rules (a dejure effect). 

Unions now have fewer power within our laws. It would therefore take some significant change of laws to give them greater voice.

    definetly.
    Oddly enough I like open-unionism better. No closed shops, mandatory union elections etc.. The French model basically (or the Chilean one) but not the american one.

    The real question is what this may mean for the nature of politics that emerge. For example, does this mean that left wing parties are unlikely to become strong? Or do we look to other groups forged from a coalition of other interests to take the fight? But then we are back to the question of why this is not happening?

    In a union-less context, Leftism has to rely on civil society IMO. And learn how to mobilize different segments differently. The union thing is really tactical. It makes it easier and cheaper to mobilize when there's established orgs who can spread the message to your "natural" constituency. Civil society orgs can do that. But only if they're large and legitimate enough.

    ReplyDelete
  67. However, my general take is that Zambia has enough parties. My last count puts the parties at around 45. I am unsure how unique this party is from the 45.

    From their agenda, they do seem different. Or at least more different than some of the major parties are from each other.
    But then again, I don't know what are the positions of the 41 other parties..

    I wish parties will put their ideology in their name and not be worried about saying "we're NOT trying to be centrist" or whatever..

    The other day I was browsing the website of RPR in Ivory Coast. Founded by a former PM, IMF economist, part of the Liberal International and all that and the first lines of their status were "trying to found a third way between left and right".
    Be liberal ! Be leftist ! Say it proudly.

    (except when you aren't of course)

    ReplyDelete
  68. Random,

    ”Post-independance governments, especially nationalist/leftist ones were very concerned about the threat of mobilization they didn't controll. Hence the crushing/coopting part. But also the "let's have a big civil service that's thankful to us" part.”

    Agreed. Intriguing therefore that it was unionism from within those nationalized industries that seemed to have led the fight back. The current struggle in Zimbabwe being the immediate case in point.

    ”But the counterfactual is that civil service unions (with the notable exception of teacher's unions) have a hard time being connected to everybody else's fight. And that's part of the problem.”

    Good point…incidentally it also underscores again why in more developed countries unionism tends to be weak. Diversity of interests and activites makes coordination much more difficult.

    ” Oddly enough I like open-unionism better. No closed shops, mandatory union elections etc.. The French model basically (or the Chilean one) but not the american one.”

    Why is that? Is one more effective than the other in fighting for workers?

    ”In a union-less context, Leftism has to rely on civil society IMO. And learn how to mobilize different segments differently. The union thing is really tactical. It makes it easier and cheaper to mobilize when there's established orgs who can spread the message to your "natural" constituency. Civil society orgs can do that. But only if they're large and legitimate enough.”

    Agreed, but again that is just difficult. Religious groups can achieve that, and possibly gender movements. But outside that alliances are very difficult. One simply has to look at the failure of chiefs in Zambia to effectively mobilise themselves.

    ”From their agenda, they do seem different. Or at least more different than some of the major parties are from each other. But then again, I don't know what are the positions of the 41 other parties..”

    They always look different…in the early days anyway, and then they just become the same…the search for the median voter takes over!!! I really believe the lack of choice or the perceived lack of choice is just indicative of where the electorate is at the moment…when they are hungry its NGOs from rightwing governments coming to the rescue not Cuba or Venezuela or Zimbabwe’s Mugabe. Except the electorate is not sophiscated enough to know that Britain and USA did not soley build their economies on the policies they embrace today.

    ”I wish parties will put their ideology in their name and not be worried about saying "we're NOT trying to be centrist" or whatever..The other day I was browsing the website of RPR in Ivory Coast. Founded by a former PM, IMF economist, part of the Liberal International and all that and the first lines of their status were "trying to found a third way between left and right". Be liberal ! Be leftist ! Say it proudly.”

    Lol!!

    I tell you what surprises me, when I hear economists say, I am left or right. I know it speaks to their political leanings, but economics is neither liberal or conservative. Its neither pro-market or anti-market. Its just a framework which tells us what might achieve certain outcomes and under certain conditions.
    The other day, I was browsing some website….and some fool was referring to this blog as “left wing” economist blog…..

    Lol!

    ReplyDelete
  69. Intriguing therefore that it was unionism from within those nationalized industries that seemed to have led the fight back. The current struggle in Zimbabwe being the immediate case in point.

    The fight was and still is odd. (and I'm saying that as someone who's father was involved in one of those "unions" spark the end of the dictatorship story)
    Most of them started when the leaders of the countries started for whatever reason not fullfiling their part of the co-optation deal. It's weird for reformers to gain momentum at first by fighting for the status-quo. But that's what happened. I guess they realized they were issues while fighting for raises at a time of deficit. Or something.

    Good point…incidentally it also underscores again why in more developed countries unionism tends to be weak. Diversity of interests and activites makes coordination much more difficult.

    Diversity of interest is fine. The problem is when the interest of small segments are confused with the interest of all. I mean it's cool to work for better conditions for those who have a job but what about those who don't ?

    
Why is that? Is one more effective than the other in fighting for workers?

    I don't know if it's more effective in fighting for workers but it's definetly more flexible and inclusive.
    In short, I want unions to fight for everybody's job and conditions, not just its members. And I want a diversity of views to be expressed among the workers.

    Agreed, but again that is just difficult. Religious groups can achieve that, and possibly gender movements. But outside that alliances are very difficult. One simply has to look at the failure of chiefs in Zambia to effectively mobilise themselves.

    You can add civil rights groups, anti-poverty groups, squatters movements...
    I fail to see why building a program around which those groups could rally (at least partially) would be so difficult. They're like everyone, they want to be listenned to. So if one would want to start a leftist political movement, they should sit with those groups and ask them what they want. And negotiate. And build a program around that.

    The chiefs are an interesting case. They obviously have some mobilization power, otherwise they wouldn't be such an important part of electoral politics and the related corruption. But they fail to mobilize as such, right ? That's probably because they don't have a platform to mobilize on, beyond of course, more power for themselves.

    They always look different…in the early days anyway, and then they just become the same…the search for the median voter takes over!!! I really believe the lack of choice or the perceived lack of choice is just indicative of where the electorate is at the moment…when they are hungry its NGOs from rightwing governments coming to the rescue not Cuba or Venezuela or Zimbabwe’s Mugabe. Except the electorate is not sophiscated enough to know that Britain and USA did not soley build their economies on the policies they embrace today.

    I don't know.. Did PF really ever had a different agenda than MMD when it was formed ?
    And the influence of the outside still look overestimated to me. If Ethiopia manages to have nationalized land while getting world bank grants, I don't see why anyone else couldn't.

    I tell you what surprises me, when I hear economists say, I am left or right. I know it speaks to their political leanings, but economics is neither liberal or conservative. Its neither pro-market or anti-market. Its just a framework which tells us what might achieve certain outcomes and under certain conditions.

    But they're not saying economics are left or right, are they ? I mean, economics is a language, a framework as you say. But it allows for a wide range of disagreements and discussion and debates.
    So I believe an economist can be pro-trade or anti-trade, pro-regulation or pro-liberalization.. The difference is that an economist will make a better argument about any of those than anyone else.

    I guess the real divide is into estimating the weight of each position. Left-wing economists don't necessarily think that say there's regulation doesn't have a cost. They just think the benefits are higher. And pro free trade economists don't think there's welfare loss, just that the benefits are higher !

    The other day, I was browsing some website….and some fool was referring to this blog as “left wing” economist blog…..

    THIS ONE ? YOURS ?
    ahahahahah

    May be they should read your opinions on chiefs or women.. But then again, you pointed out monopsony labour markets. that TEH (yes, TEH) Left-wing economic argument.

    ReplyDelete
  70. It's weird for reformers to gain momentum at first by fighting for the status-quo. But that's what happened. I guess they realized they were issues while fighting for raises at a time of deficit. Or something.”

    lol!...or may be in the early years they were simply responding to the post independence uncertainties…in many of these countries, they faced external threats..Zambia for example was still surrounded by the UDI and other white supremacists…once those threats were extinguished they felt liberated and engaged in the kind of internal jostling for power… they felt comfortable to raise the heat on government, so to speak….

    ” I don't know if it's more effective in fighting for workers but it's definetly more flexible and inclusive. In short, I want unions to fight for everybody's job and conditions, not just its members. And I want a diversity of views to be expressed among the workers.”

    I read an interesting piece at the Adam Institute Blog (a right wing UK think tank I religious read for no reason, they do have some dumb things to say somethings)….the author suggested that somehow large unions may be bad for the country, because they bring the whole country to a stop! I suspect he would definitely be against “open shops”…lol!

    ”You can add civil rights groups, anti-poverty groups, squatters movements...I fail to see why building a program around which those groups could rally (at least partially) would be so difficult. They're like everyone, they want to be listenned to…”

    Yeah, the squatter one is particularly interesting. I once watched a programme on CNN on how some residents in Kenya living in squatters had used mobile phone sms to mobilise to some great effect.

    ”The chiefs are an interesting case. They obviously have some mobilization power, otherwise they wouldn't be such an important part of electoral politics and the related corruption. But they fail to mobilize as such, right ? That's probably because they don't have a platform to mobilize on, beyond of course, more power for themselves. “

    lol!!!
    Competition among chiefs is rife…
    The incentive to mobilise is weak as well….I mean as we discussed last time, for all the complaints that chiefs have, they retain significant de-facto power…
    That said, they do seem to mobilise at election time!!! Just watch how many chiefs have already come out…..I am embarrassed to say it, but from my own Royal Lunda establishment some have already come out saying we should abandon the bye-election and allow the Acting President to continue…they don’t see to have any incline of knowledge on how things are done….

    I don't know.. Did PF really ever had a different agenda than MMD when it was formed ? And the influence of the outside still look overestimated to me. If Ethiopia manages to have nationalized land while getting world bank grants, I don't see why anyone else couldn't.”

    PF was very anti market when it started…unlike MMD when it was formed, which came with significant external funding and rode the wave of liberalism…MMD was very convinced they were on the right side of history. I recall this quote from Chiluba in 1994 :

    “I don’t like the Structural Adjustment Programme but I kiss it and will continue doing so. In this respect I can declare that I don’t care losing this coming presidential elections if people hate me because of the programme. Even when I lose, I will go a happy man because I have so far managed to change people’s minds from perpetual borrowing to fend for themselves”

    PF on the other hand has only just turned to markets recently. But they are probably not their yet. Infact I would regard PF more centre left and MMD definitely centre right….If you like they started off from extreme opposites and slowly gravitated towards each other….

    ”I guess the real divide is into estimating the weight of each position. Left-wing economists don't necessarily think that say there's regulation doesn't have a cost. They just think the benefits are higher. And pro free trade economists don't think there's welfare loss, just that the benefits are higher !”

    Also your preconceived notions before weighing the evidence matters a lot. I mean if you are a sceptic about markets, you will always pay more attention to that. Its amazing what you find the moment you turn into a skeptic!

    ReplyDelete
  71. lol!...or may be in the early years they were simply responding to the post independence uncertainties…in many of these countries, they faced external threats..Zambia for example was still surrounded by the UDI and other white supremacists…once those threats were extinguished they felt liberated and engaged in the kind of internal jostling for power… they felt comfortable to raise the heat on government, so to speak….

    I don't buy it.

    Sure Zambia was surrounded by Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia and all that. but what was the threat in Senegal ? in Cote d'ivoire ? In Nigeria ? In Congo-brazzaville ? in Niger ? In Burkina-Faso ? In Benin ? In Togo ?

    Furthermore the datelines don't fit. Where was the big strikes in Zambias ? The early 80's ? Sure Zimbabwe wasn't a problem anymore anymore but the threat wasn't totally gone. In Zimbabwe they started agitating when the economic situation changed, not when SA was liberated.

    the author suggested that somehow large unions may be bad for the country, because they bring the whole country to a stop! I suspect he would definitely be against “open shops”…lol!

    ahahah.
    A libertarian blogger I often read once mentioned the labour laws reforms enacted in Chile under the dictatorship as an example of what France should do.
    The weird thing is that the Chilean reforms moved from a UK/US system to what looks like what France had since 1948 or something (and of course, they had guns involved too).

    Right-wingers tend to have an extreme view of things. They actually like those less efficient labour systems because they can argue about how unefficient they are.

    Yeah, the squatter one is particularly interesting. I once watched a programme on CNN on how some residents in Kenya living in squatters had used mobile phone sms to mobilise to some great effect.

    Oh yeah. In SA too, they have strong movement. And in Zimbabwe, the MDC domination of the urban areas didn't just come from the middle class. etc..etc..

    The incentive to mobilise is weak as well….I mean as we discussed last time, for all the complaints that chiefs have, they retain significant de-facto power…
That said, they do seem to mobilise at election time!!! Just watch how many chiefs have already come out…..I am embarrassed to say it, but from my own Royal Lunda establishment some have already come out saying we should abandon the bye-election and allow the Acting President to continue…they don’t see to have any incline of knowledge on how things are done….

    LOL !
    I mean they are not bad at mobilizing their subjects. Otherwise they wouldn't get so much attention from campaigns.

    PF was very anti market when it started…unlike MMD when it was formed, which came with significant external funding and rode the wave of liberalism…MMD was very convinced they were on the right side of history. I recall this quote from Chiluba in 1994 :

“I don’t like the Structural Adjustment Programme but I kiss it and will continue doing so. In this respect I can declare that I don’t care losing this coming presidential elections if people hate me because of the programme. Even when I lose, I will go a happy man because I have so far managed to change people’s minds from perpetual borrowing to fend for themselves”

    That's great quote.
    All of sudden, I'm growing some appreciation for Chiluba.
    (I value political courage a lot)

    PF on the other hand has only just turned to markets recently. But they are probably not their yet. Infact I would regard PF more centre left and MMD definitely centre right….If you like they started off from extreme opposites and slowly gravitated towards each other….

    Here's my question. Wasn't Sata part of the MMD ? Did he disagree with Chiluba's platform while working with them ?

    Also your preconceived notions before weighing the evidence matters a lot. I mean if you are a sceptic about markets, you will always pay more attention to that. Its amazing what you find the moment you turn into a skeptic!

    Of course !
    The worse is when you're a double septic like me. i guess I should be glad I'm not an economist, lol.

    ReplyDelete

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