Growth, increased investments meaninglessunless accompanied by belief in socialist ethos

Kae Matundu
A government publication, titled Namibia: A Decade of Peace, Democracy and Stability, describing the decade 1990-2000 as such as the title.

Relative Peace, Democracy, indeed have been in Namibia during the said decade. Regarding Prosperity Yours Truly Ideologically cannot be so sure. Also wondering if the government itself can be so sure about prosperity without qualifying it indeed. Because prosperity in Namibia since independence is not something obvious, and thus a commodity one can take for granted unless prosperity can be qualified as the widening of the gap of inequality and increasing impoverishment of the masses. Accompnaied and paralleled by greed, self aggrandisement, avarice, endemic corruption and decadence among the political and economic elite.

The readily offered rational by the political and economic elite has been that prosperity shall be coming with growth. The typical economic determinism of the enlargement of the cake. With the masses made wise to wait until the economic cake has been enlarged. When and only then they can duly expect to share in any economic windfalls. Believe what you may believe but 32 years after, yes while there has been peace and democracy, as far as the masses are concerned this has not been accompanied and paralleled by any visible impactful prosperity. As if in the intervening period there have been little or zero economic growth and the trickling in of investment. Prosperity for the masses have been simply illusive. Whether it is to dawn on the country by trickle effect one day remains a million Namibian Dollars question.

On the contrary, despite the seeming lack of growth and slow trickling in of investments with multiplier effect on growth and thus prosperity, only the elite seem to have been enjoying any prosperity. While the masses time and gain have been expected to be patient, and peaceful, if not do with democracy and perhaps eat democracy. Made to believe it is a matter of time and soon rather than late before the cake would be bigger, by some divine intervention it seems, with prosperity in their lifetime.

But the global economic downturn of recent years, which for Namibia’s political and economic elite has been a convenient excuse to continue amass the little that has been available, growth and investment and/or the lack thereof, has just been a convenient excuse, flagrantly apparent and irrational as it has been. To hoodwink the masses and to continue to condemn them to perpetual economic bondage and exploitation. Because one has been seeing little trickling down of the little economic benefits that may have been there. Do not let the political and economic elite make you believe that there has been no growth and no investments trickling in to induce growth and thus prosperity. The little but no means negligible has indeed been there for all to be able to share in it. But he problem is and has been since independence a complete absence of egalitarian or socialist ethos among Namibia’s political and economic elite.

More than anything, despite the pretense at having the interests of the masses at heart, the elite are and have intrinsically been driven by capitalist ethos. Where earning money, foremost amassing it as well, is the virtue and proficiency in any calling. Among the leading proponents of capitalism and its ethos is Max Weber. For whom nothing else but money making through trade and exchange represents capitalist activity. Rationalised by conscious capitalism that if all humans have ethical obligations to each other, than businesses have ethical obligations to humanity and their environments.

Contrast this with socialist ethos, emphasising the need for a morally conscious economy based on altruism, cooperation and social justice while opposing possessive idealism.

There’s no denying that what we have in Namibia is purely a capitalist mode of production from which one can expect little altruism other than necessary handouts to society, only imperative for the perpetuation of the capitalist system and its ultimate preservation. So whatever growth and increased investment such an economy may realise, one can expect little altruism from it. Other than the usual handouts rationalised as corporate responsibility. Which has little or nothing to do at all with the egalitarian redistribution of the national resources. Resources which the political elite ordinarily wholesale to multinational corporations for and at pitiful beneficiation. Which for that matter also only benefits the political and economic elite themselves and rarely trickle down to the masses. Opiumed that the cake needs to become larger before they can expect to benefit.

This situation prevails where and when the political and economic elite, the bourgeoisie, do not believe that the natural resources belong to the country and thus the people. Because there are those believing that such natural resources does not belong to the country. This is despite their oath to protect and upheld the Constitution of the Republic of Namibia, which include protecting her natural resources.

Africa, including Namibia, matter of fact, is richly endowed with natural resources but which are not her own. Simply because the political and economic elite is comfortable with the pittance it gets from the multinationals to which it has wholesaled the country’s natural resources. Satisfied with almost zero taxing of such multinationals and /or close to zero shareholding in them.

This is typified in Namibia where De Beers has for long been exploiting her diamonds, with the Namibians themselves literally begging for shareholding. Beggars rather than masters of their own destiny 32 years after independence. Still find herself in the same position of disadvantaged and exploitation where its diamond do not beneficiate its broader populace her avowed 50/50 shareholding with the De Beers Group notwithstanding.

For the powers that be to only wake up from their slumber to realise only now that the people of the South where the mine is located, hardly benefit from diamonds. This experience notwithstanding of late Namibia’s shareholding through the Namibia (NAMCOR) in oil exploration by Shell is only ten per cent with Shell and Qatar Energy each having 45%.

With increased interest in the Namibian mining sector, beneficiation certainly becomes an imperative matter. Not as an end but a means to an end with beneficiation to especially communities in the environs where discoveries are made, and the general Namibian populace. But such beneficiation is of no effect unless the economic and political elite is imbued with socialist ethos. As much as growth is meaningless unless accompanied by socialist ethos.

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