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Wednesday, 14 January 2009

ZIPPA on 'Wealth Creation', again...

Zippa Journal Jan - March 2009


  1. Check out the section on Mauritius, how it develops its economy and meets its challenges.

  2. hello Cho
    Thought you might be interested in checking out this new Zambian party called The Citizens Democratic Party and see what they have to say on wealth creation in their draft manifesto. You can actually contribute to the manifesto before its revised. The blog is or visit their website at

  3. I also liked the piece on Mauritius. If only it was as easy to attract wealthy retirees and import/export business to Zambia as to a tropical island situated on major shipping lanes. I am surprised at the cavalier interpretation of population pressure however, as it seems to naively assume that the rest of nature will increase its productivity as quickly. Strange to see Mao being cited in an article praising free markets, I guess his image has been successfully altered to match the current regime's policies.

    One of Zambia's few advantages going forward is that there is still enough land and water to support population growth. There is a tremendous difference between immigration of wealthy retirees and birthrate, and I wish Mauritius the greatest of success meeting the expectations of a rapidly growing population. If we can ever get agriculture sorted out, Zambia can sell them food in future generations.

    High density tourism is hard to pull off. Either you need a place where people won't mind being crowded like a beautiful ocean beach with warm water, clean sand, and cocktails; or you have to create an all encompassing facade to disguise the ordinariness of the actual surroundings. Like Las Vegas or Disneyland. Other than Victoria Falls, which has to be competed over directly with neighboring states, Zambia really has no ready made high density tourist draws (and magnificent as it is, the falls really can't compete with Disney on its own). Zambia can offer isolation and even conservation as a draw for tourists that high density operations cannot compete for.

    Overcoming the disadvantage of geographic position poses a massive hurdle to exploiting Zambia's potential competitive advantages. Dependency on the state of other countries' investments in rails, roads and ports quite simply limits options severely. There seem to be two available routes to take, either enter into selective partnerships with individual neighbors (or regional groupings) to jointly finance and develop transport corridors; or concentrate resources on the domestic network in hopes of being well positioned to shift export destinations in response to infrastructure and market conditions in neighboring states. Of course the former may enable the latter eventually, provided the domestic infrastructure does not deteriorate such that international transshipment through the country becomes uncompetitive.

  4. Yakima,
    “and I wish Mauritius the greatest of success meeting the expectations of a rapidly growing population”

    Mauritius’s population was rapidly growing in the 1950’s around when economist Meade made his conclusions, however the birth rate has dropped sharply since then due to birth control measures taken by the government which was concerned that population growth would outstrip the resources needed to sustain it:

  5. Kafue,

    Ahhh, thanks for clearing that up! I think I conflated what Meade was saying about Mauritius with the article later on, "Economics without tears," that uses island nations as examples and speaks to population issues directly.

    Social scientists in the '50s said some pretty extreme things based on pretty scanty evidence, especially about Africa. Good cautionary tale still I suppose. It reminds me of the story of the first two formal university anthropology studies from the US of the Kalahari San culture. The first expedition went in the '50s, and followed a doctrine of "non-interference" so as not to disrupt the pastoral, "primitive society" they had come to observe. They brought with them no modern tools, other than recording devices, and a minimum of supply, preferring to rely on the generosity of their hosts. They spent several weeks living within a San community, asking questions about every aspect of their lives, but evading answers about their own backgrounds. Then they went home, consulted their notes, and wrote extensively about how "primitive" and "childlike" was the San view of the world.

    For nearly two decades the records of this expedition were the sole primary source used to characterize the San culture within US universities (that I know of), until new ideas about anthropology prompted a second expedition. By seeking within the same region, they were able to encounter the same tribal group as the first expedition. This time, however, they brought tools with which to trade, and enough supplies to share. Each time they asked a question about how the San organized their lives or viewed the universe, they first gave a capsule summary of their own experience or view by way of contrast and sharing.

    They were immediately impressed with both the philosophical depth and sheer practicality deeply embedded throughout the tribal society. Nearly everything recorded by the second expedition either contradicted the version recorded by the first, or displayed a far more detailed and integrated understanding than was ever detected by the first group of anthropologists. Inevitably the subject of the first expedition came up as a topic of discussion, whereupon the members of the second expedition found themselves trying to answer why their own society would allow a group of mentally handicapped people to wander about unsupervised?

    Apparently the San had reasoned that the scientists of the first expedition must have been handicapped because they didn't claim to know how to do anything, and would ask the most basic questions imaginable, things which every adult would normally know (such as where babies come from). Since they appeared to have the intellect of children, they were given children's answers to questions, and went away thinking that the entire culture had a childlike understanding of the universe.

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