It is a lie that resources are scarce.

A lie is a lie no matter repeated a million times it will remain such.  People have been fed with lies that resources are scarce.  Many instances I find myself into heated debates on this subject and I still insist that resources are not scarce. These experiences have motivated me to express my views and look at what scholars have argued and put across on this subject. It will attempt to further investigate the correlation of mainstream economics and the accumulation of wealth at the expense of others. I strongly believe and will demonstrate that the dominant economic ideology on scarcity of resources is not true.

Let me look at the definition of mainstream economics first. It is defined by Davies et al. (1996) as a study of ways in which people make the best use of scarce resources. Robbins (1932) defined economics as the science which studies human behavior as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses. In my understanding it means making priorities on limited resources to achieve the best results. I do not agree that resources are scarce because this economic system was born out of capitalism which is based on accumulation of wealth. This free market economy leads to few people to control means of production and as result have a skewed distribution of resources. Smith (1776) sees the unregulated market as an impractical ideal that puts the concepts of freedom and anti-protectionism at the service of vested wealthy interests, allowing the rich to attack labor laws and other protections of the working classes.

I agree with the above postulation because if the market is left to regulate itself it creates artificial shortages (speculative tendencies) in order to maximize on demand of commodities. Wages will be diminishing or stagnant whilst profits are increasing for the owners which create class divisions, those with power over and wealth  and the powerless who are in need. Galbraith (1970) raises an interesting argument that firms continue to expand the system of needs by telling consumers to expand bundle of goods to be happy through advertising created by the owners. This leads to high consumption of commodities and promoting artificial scarcity. This system to me makes it very difficult to have an egalitarian society which in my view is an aspiration of the masses. Karl Marx points out that people today in a capitalist society are enslaved by the very things capitalism produces (like toys and entertainment), which keeps them from seeing that capitalists take all the money. This means that this ideology occupies the mind of the people through persuasion by ideological structures i.e. media and societal norms.

In contrast to the above postulations neoclassical economists argue that human beings have infinite needs, where nature provides them with finite quality of resources one day they will diminish.  It is further augmented by submissions that scarcity is part of human conditions rather than a product of today`s wealth society.  However on the contrary there is no enough empirical evidence for me to agree with this, besides assumptions and assertions on natural resources depletion i.e. that the next World War will be on water for example journalist Solomon (n.d.) argues that water is surpassing oil as the world’s scarcest critical resource. In order to give credence on scarcity of  resources neoclassical economists have created a notion that the market has “an invisible hand “that allocates scarce resources  among compelling ends by adjusting prices so that supply and demand are balanced. This means that market forces regulate themselves to minimize competition for scarce resources. Let me point out that there is nowhere in the book where Adam Smith spoke about the invisible hand of the market. It is a creation of neoliberal and neoclassical economists to support uneven scale of resource allocation (capitalism), the invisible hand is not there at all (Stilgitz, 2002) and (Smith, 1776).

A historical glimpse of this economic system gives hindsight and credence to the fact that resources are not scarce but are in the hands of a few. This modern capitalist system originated in the 14th century due to conflicts between the land-owners, agricultural producers and the serfs after the collapse of slavery. It is premised on the accumulation of wealth by owning means of production which are land which gives rent, capital for profits, labor for wages and entrepreneurship for profits. The accumulation of wealth led to high production of goods and services which resulted in massive economic growth. This system gave rise to new innovation to introduce new ways of calculating and tabulating economic growth i.e. GDP and GNP.  Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is defined by Brezina (2012) as the monetary value of goods and services produced in a nation during a given time period, usually within a year. Gross National Product (GNP) as the market value of all products and services produced in one year including remittances or business establishments beyond the borders. To me these are myopic and flawed indicators of development because they pay attention to work done in exchange of monetary value ignoring reproductive work done by a marginalized class of people for example women in the society. This means it deems the services provided free by family and community. It ignores informal economy, corruption, rule of law, and the natural environment as of no value because they are un-priced and lie outside the mainstream market economy.

This system has manifested itself as capitalism ideology. The free market economy is a market where the price of a good or service is determined by supply and demand, rather than by governmental regulation, has led to hegemony of classes in the society by owners of the means of production. The society has three classes (high income – owners, middle income – managers and low income- peasants and workers). This is a result of cliché of industrial owners who influence decision making at political and ideological structures. These mighty institutions as indicated by Gramsci`s Dynamic model, a tool that shows how overtime structures of society operate and interact, is created by political structures to force the powerless and peasants to accept the whims of the powerful. It is a conception of hegemony that is an ever-evolving set of political, economic, ideological, and cultural processes by which the dominant social sectors elicit consent from the popular sectors (Hope and Timmel, 1984) and (Hall et al., 1986).

These summations conclude that these are forces that use persuasion and force to make peasants and marginalized groups to cow to the capitalistic economic ideology. Gramsci (n.d.) supports this summation by postulating that man is not ruled by force alone, but also by ideas, as observed by Marx who says the ruling ideas of age have ever been the ideas of its ruling class. This means that gate keepers or leaders are controlled by owners who have money to influence these economic ideas that create an unequal distribution of wealth.  The model also shows us  that owners of corporations are not usually present in countries where they have investment interests.

These dynamics in decision making on reproduction, production, consumption and distribution are reflects political economy which explains how political institutions and the economic system—capitalist, socialist or mixed influence each other as well as income distribution. Simple put the study of the relationship between mainstream economics and existing political structures. It helps us to understand policies and forces that influence income distribution in an economy to ascertain whether it improves the wellbeing of the people or not. It helps us to understand the influence of power in resource allocation to community and country. In contrast to mainstream economics which focuses on quantitative indicators of economic growth whilst political economy considers qualitative indicators of human development in relation to policies promulgated by political structures.

Countries must adopt alternatives to measure economic development and social indicators. These help in policy planning and making of decisions for example Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) is concerned with resource depletion, pollution, long term environmental management, damage, housework and non market transactions” (Cavanagh et al, 2002, p203).  The quality of life indicator looks at health, family life, community life, political freedom and gender equity. This help us to understand whether decisions made by the powerful ruling elites benefit the poor and understanding the impact of artificial scarcity.

It is my humble conclusion that resources are not scarce but the scarcity is a result of a dominant free market ideology, which is perpetuated by dominant political structures and ideological structures.

By Michael Mdladla Ndiweni

Twitter: mdladlaspeaks

Email: mikejnrsind82@gmail.com

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It is a lie that resources are scarce.

A lie is a lie no matter repeated a million times it will remain such.  People have been fed with lies that resources are scarce.  Many instances I find myself into heated debates on this subject and I still insist that resources are not scarce. These experiences have motivated me to express my views and look at what scholars have argued and put across on this subject. It will attempt to further investigate the correlation of mainstream economics and the accumulation of wealth at the expense of others. I strongly believe and will demonstrate that the dominant economic ideology on scarcity of resources is not true.

Let me look at the definition of mainstream economics first. It is defined by Davies et al. (1996) as a study of ways in which people make the best use of scarce resources. Robbins (1932) defined economics as the science which studies human behavior as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses. In my understanding it means making priorities on limited resources to achieve the best results. I do not agree that resources are scarce because this economic system was born out of capitalism which is based on accumulation of wealth. This free market economy leads to few people to control means of production and as result have a skewed distribution of resources. Smith (1776) sees the unregulated market as an impractical ideal that puts the concepts of freedom and anti-protectionism at the service of vested wealthy interests, allowing the rich to attack labor laws and other protections of the working classes.

I agree with the above postulation because if the market is left to regulate itself it creates artificial shortages (speculative tendencies) in order to maximize on demand of commodities. Wages will be diminishing or stagnant whilst profits are increasing for the owners which create class divisions, those with power over and wealth  and the powerless who are in need. Galbraith (1970) raises an interesting argument that firms continue to expand the system of needs by telling consumers to expand bundle of goods to be happy through advertising created by the owners. This leads to high consumption of commodities and promoting artificial scarcity. This system to me makes it very difficult to have an egalitarian society which in my view is an aspiration of the masses. Karl Marx points out that people today in a capitalist society are enslaved by the very things capitalism produces (like toys and entertainment), which keeps them from seeing that capitalists take all the money. This means that this ideology occupies the mind of the people through persuasion by ideological structures i.e. media and societal norms.

In contrast to the above postulations neoclassical economists argue that human beings have infinite needs, where nature provides them with finite quality of resources one day they will diminish.  It is further augmented by submissions that scarcity is part of human conditions rather than a product of today`s wealth society.  However on the contrary there is no enough empirical evidence for me to agree with this, besides assumptions and assertions on natural resources depletion i.e. that the next World War will be on water for example journalist Solomon (n.d.) argues that water is surpassing oil as the world’s scarcest critical resource. In order to give credence on scarcity of  resources neoclassical economists have created a notion that the market has “an invisible hand “that allocates scarce resources  among compelling ends by adjusting prices so that supply and demand are balanced. This means that market forces regulate themselves to minimize competition for scarce resources. Let me point out that there is nowhere in the book where Adam Smith spoke about the invisible hand of the market. It is a creation of neoliberal and neoclassical economists to support uneven scale of resource allocation (capitalism), the invisible hand is not there at all (Stilgitz, 2002) and (Smith, 1776).

A historical glimpse of this economic system gives hindsight and credence to the fact that resources are not scarce but are in the hands of a few. This modern capitalist system originated in the 14th century due to conflicts between the land-owners, agricultural producers and the serfs after the collapse of slavery. It is premised on the accumulation of wealth by owning means of production which are land which gives rent, capital for profits, labor for wages and entrepreneurship for profits. The accumulation of wealth led to high production of goods and services which resulted in massive economic growth. This system gave rise to new innovation to introduce new ways of calculating and tabulating economic growth i.e. GDP and GNP.  Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is defined by Brezina (2012) as the monetary value of goods and services produced in a nation during a given time period, usually within a year. Gross National Product (GNP) as the market value of all products and services produced in one year including remittances or business establishments beyond the borders. To me these are myopic and flawed indicators of development because they pay attention to work done in exchange of monetary value ignoring reproductive work done by a marginalized class of people for example women in the society. This means it deems the services provided free by family and community. It ignores informal economy, corruption, rule of law, and the natural environment as of no value because they are un-priced and lie outside the mainstream market economy.

This system has manifested itself as capitalism ideology. The free market economy is a market where the price of a good or service is determined by supply and demand, rather than by governmental regulation, has led to hegemony of classes in the society by owners of the means of production. The society has three classes (high income – owners, middle income – managers and low income- peasants and workers). This is a result of cliché of industrial owners who influence decision making at political and ideological structures. These mighty institutions as indicated by Gramsci`s Dynamic model, a tool that shows how overtime structures of society operate and interact, is created by political structures to force the powerless and peasants to accept the whims of the powerful. It is a conception of hegemony that is an ever-evolving set of political, economic, ideological, and cultural processes by which the dominant social sectors elicit consent from the popular sectors (Hope and Timmel, 1984) and (Hall et al., 1986).

These summations conclude that these are forces that use persuasion and force to make peasants and marginalized groups to cow to the capitalistic economic ideology. Gramsci (n.d.) supports this summation by postulating that man is not ruled by force alone, but also by ideas, as observed by Marx who says the ruling ideas of age have ever been the ideas of its ruling class. This means that gate keepers or leaders are controlled by owners who have money to influence these economic ideas that create an unequal distribution of wealth.  The model also shows us  that owners of corporations are not usually present in countries where they have investment interests.

These dynamics in decision making on reproduction, production, consumption and distribution are reflects political economy which explains how political institutions and the economic system—capitalist, socialist or mixed influence each other as well as income distribution. Simple put the study of the relationship between mainstream economics and existing political structures. It helps us to understand policies and forces that influence income distribution in an economy to ascertain whether it improves the wellbeing of the people or not. It helps us to understand the influence of power in resource allocation to community and country. In contrast to mainstream economics which focuses on quantitative indicators of economic growth whilst political economy considers qualitative indicators of human development in relation to policies promulgated by political structures.

Countries must adopt alternatives to measure economic development and social indicators. These help in policy planning and making of decisions for example Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) is concerned with resource depletion, pollution, long term environmental management, damage, housework and non market transactions” (Cavanagh et al, 2002, p203).  The quality of life indicator looks at health, family life, community life, political freedom and gender equity. This help us to understand whether decisions made by the powerful ruling elites benefit the poor and understanding the impact of artificial scarcity.

It is my humble conclusion that resources are not scarce but the scarcity is a result of a dominant free market ideology, which is perpetuated by dominant political structures and ideological structures.

By Michael Mdladla Ndiweni

Twitter: mdladlaspeaks

Email: mikejnrsind82@gmail.com

A case of spilling beans about Gukurahundi and planting snares

An analysis of the narrative by VP Mphoko on Gukurahundi is very revealing and it puts a final nail on the coffin, he is actually spilling the beans than doing any good to ZANU PF. It is like planting snares in otherwise a smooth path.  In my VIEW the damage is so severe and has far reaching implications.  In other words is saying that ZANU was in complicit and conspired with the West and recruited North Korea to train the 5 Brigade and annihilate PF ZAPU supporters. Simple put he is admitting that ZANU was puppet of the West that allowed the conspiracy to be executed. Consequently he is saying  ZANU must be held to account for conspiring with the West to maim, kill, destroy property, holding people incommunicado, to make people disappear, arbitrary arrests and detention, rape, ripping pregnant wombs open, throwing people in mine shafts and other heinous crimes the list is endless.

To give credence to his narrative, it is well documented that the then prime minister used inflammatory statements that ZAPU must be crushed, so VP  Mphoko confirms that the prime minister was singing from the West hymn book.  Also based on VP sentiments one concludes that ZANU was a willing tool driven by the hate of people from the Southern part of Zimbabwe who were the majority followers of the late VP Nkomo . He is further tainting the image of ZANU as a puppet party that could not make its own decisions. Scribes and other book makers must have screaming headlines like “ VP spills the beans.” VP Mphoko exposes ZANU PF”

You can go further and ask who funded the North Koreans? Where did the money come from?, with so much aid coming from the West a few years after independence.  A guess will be suffice that  part of the money used pay the North Koreans perhaps came from the West and with their full knowledge passed on to the North Koreans, to me that is the conspiracy. This in my view was part of a grand plan strategy by the West to use a ripe puppets like ZANU and others  to fight the Soviet Union and diffuse its influence in Southern Africa which supported  PF  ZAPU. And indeed a well-orchestrated plan to use willing tools like ZANU PF who were desperate for relevance and to impose themselves as key players in regional politics. Unless if he explains what he means by the conspiracy. And whether ZANU conspired with the West or the West conspired with ZANU it does not absolve them from Gukurahundi. They  are guilty as charged.

Despite the dire situation of young people, hope is still not lost

Overtime young people have been ostracized and their voices not heard in decision making bodies and in socio- economic and political spheres centrally to their personal development and that of communities.

Statistics indicate that the majority of the Zimbabwean youths are not partaking in development initiatives in their communities.  For example COPAC (2012) declares that 22, 58% young people participated in the constitutional making outreach meetings. Youth Forum (2011) adds that from the previous general election held in 2008 statistics indicate that a paltry 18 % of the youths aged between 18-30 years turned out for the elections.  This is incredibly low in view of the fact that youths make up about 66% of Zimbabwe’s total population. In essence statistics show that less than 10% of youths managed to participate in each province, a massive indicator of apathy. This gives a hind sight that perhaps there is correlation between participation and having the economic muscle. It suggests that young people will be occupied by other activities that are inclined to survival and bringing food on the table and participation becomes a luxury than a right.

Literature available cite the causes and synopsis of this situation as the payment of gratuities to war veteran which raised inflationary pressures, the government’s involvement in the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the implementation of the necessary but chaotic land reform programme, economic distortions caused by price controls and the misalignments of the foreign exchange rate and the collapse of respect for property rights and entrepreneurial freedom. Researchers have proved that the situation of the youths is dire and needs urgent attention. According to the Labour Force Survey of 2011 in Zimbabwe, unemployment rates were highest for the youths, those with secondary education and higher education.

After the advent of the economic down turn as alluded above, the wealth turned into the hands of a few political correct individuals, usually owners use proxies such as the political elite to manage their wealth and as a result they become the core of decision making using power associated with controlling wealth and means of production. This then alienates young people who do not own the means of production to take part and participate in mainstream decision making and economic activity.  This explains the predicament of many youths in Zimbabwe.

Limited meaningful measures have been adopted to prepare youths to meet their challenges in life and to resist the temptation to be used. This situation has led to many youths to be indoctrinated with dangerous ideologies thus eliminating independent and critical thinking of youths on developmental issues and finding alternatives to make their lives better.  Whilst others become willing pawns in order to earn means of survival. Politically, youths have been abused as pawns to perpetrate politically motivated violence and few youths are groomed to assume leadership positions in communities.

Young people have resorted to illegal gold panning, forced to illegally migrate to neighboring countries to look for jobs, some become hard core criminals i.e. armed robbers, drug dealing, human traffickers, stock theft as means of economic survival.

Social values have been lost as relationships in families are strained due to disintegration, teen pregnancy increase, abuse alcohol and drugs, prostitution, HIV infection and early or arranged marriages. All these vices have affected youth development at individual, family and at community levels.

Despite all these challenges hope is still not lost for the youths; scores of young people still toil day and night to earn a living. I think to retain their lost dignity due to their situation, lost values and broken social fabric, robust initiatives must be adopted to facilitate active their participation and bring about positive change in the lives of the youths.

Academics have suggested that entrepreneurship and self-employment has been identified as a source of new jobs and “economic dynamism” that can improve youth livelihoods and economic independence in developing countries for young people with limited resources, life and work experience. This then calls for supporting policies to create an enabling environment for young people with ideas to thrive that contribute towards sustaining their livelihoods.

There is need to shift from modernization mainstream economic  theories  to People centered development theory as an alternative to increase the participation of young people in decision making processes and increase their economic participation that will improve their livelihoods. This paradigm shift must be not be done for political expediency but sincere empowerment of young people regardless of one`s racial origin, ethnic inclination, political orientation and preferences.

Youths should be made equipped with knowledge to understand the constitution that gives them power to demand their socio – economic rights from the duty bearers. Support must  be provided by the state and non-state actors for example entrepreneurial skill development, support with seed capital and more important the government and other arms.

By Michael Mdladla Ndiweni