Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Critique of a Tanzania People

Humanity has always been advancing; even during hard times humans constantly find ways to manipulate their environment and innovate new technologies to guarantee their immediate survival on this planet. However, the realization of human progress as a specie have been uneven. This is obvious. Inequality across the countries and across individuals have been demonstrated for decades. But humanity have always been stratified, there were no egalitarian era recorded in our history. So the pursuit of equality is impractical. I am not suggesting a complete alienation from The Commons. I am merely pointing out the obvious, and provide clarity in this important subject. The process of wealth creation is the only solution to decrease rampant inequality. Inequality will be decreased not by distributing the existing wealth, but by the poor creating their own wealth. I will explain.

With this backdrop, it is important to understand that individual wealth creation has never been achieved by sets of legislations alone. Self determination and strong work ethics have complimented societal laws to guide the creation of populous middle class. You see, the construction of a strong middle class is a generational process. And it involves enormous sacrifices from the parents by heavily investing in their children. An average American parents spend up to $38,000 per child by the time the child reach 34 years old.  In doing so, they are guaranteeing a healthier and educated offspring-- a skilled job, hence higher purchasing power, and a lifetime taxpayer to the state. Rich countries had amassed wealth by conquering, and extracting free raw materials with free labor. But you should not overlook the role played by their citizens in taking advantage of resources provided by the states in improving their well-being. If you look at countries that have gotten wealthier, their citizens had played a bigger role in sacrificing and not expecting hand-outs.

This model of wealth creation is contrary to Tanzania's, and like-minded countries. The triumph of democracy has enabled the people to choose their leaders (rightly so). But it has also forced aspired leaders to be willing to say anything to be elected. Gone were the days of "tujifunge mkanda"; older generations of leaders used to call on Tanzania people to work hard to betterment their children's lives. The new age of politicians will promise anything for a vote. Re-distribution of land, free education, free healthcare, and even daring to cheat the markets. Voters desires have become entitlements, and are made to believe that the responsibilities for creation of their personal wealth is government's. Even country's conversation has turned populistic and simplistic. Intellectuals and politicians spend their days discussing about sitting allowances, and percentage of Muslims and Christians on constitution committee.

We should be worried when voters have unrealistic expectations from the government, which are shaped by politicians' rhetoric. The truth is no government interventions will influence citizen's capabilities. Free education will not educate your offsprings if you are a bad parent. Capabilities are built by self determination. Tanzanians have to start looking at ourselves, our attitude, work ethics, and our values if we wish to truly decrease the inequality gap. And start looking for a leader who will tell you that, having gold buried hundreds of feet underground doesn't mean a sh!t until it is in the jewelry store.

I will end with this. We are the most populous country in East Africa which has a net negative remittance. That is we send more money to our relatives abroad than they send back home.