From: Peter Limb <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: National Reconstruction Plan for Zaire (fwd)
To: email@example.com (carolyn aflabor)
Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 16:22:17 +0800 (WST)
National Reconstruction Plan for Zaire
By Edward S. Marek, The Marek Enterprise, Inc., 29 January 1996
James Gwartney, Robert Lawson and Walter Block have written a book entitled "Economic freedom of the world: 1975-1995" which attempts to define the meaning of economic freedom and the impact of such freedom on a nation's overall prosperity. Their conclusion is that the more economic freedom a country has the more economic growth is achieved and the greater prosperity of its citizens.
These economists rated 102 countries on the degree of the economic freedom. Hong Kong was #1, having the most economic freedom; Singapore #2, New Zealand #3 and the U.S. #4. Mauritius was the top African country at 23, but overall, African states show up very badly. Most African countries fell between #51 and #102. Zaire was #102, rated as having the worst degree of economic freedom of all nations in the world. This is the Mobutu record of achievement.
The authors say that no state with consistently low levels of economic freedom will ever be able to achieve any level of prosperity. Individuals and companies must have high levels of economic freedom to prosper, and, it should be noted that those freedoms must be in place for a long period of time to yield positive results.
There are some very important implications here for Zaire and for Zairians enjoying the luxuries of freedom of thought and action outside Zaire:
1. Zaire's big problem from a structural viewpoint is that its laws, policies and institutions lack credibility. It is unlikely that Mobutu's government will, of its own accord, do anything about this, and it will be exceedingly difficult for Zairians living under his yoke to do much about it either. Therefore, it would seem that an opportunity exists for the Zairian community living outside Zaire. It should find a mechanism that allows it to start drafting new laws and policies and designing new institutions from the ground-floor up that will create the kind of environment needed for economic development. This could be a kind of "National Reconstruction Plan" and be prepared for the new government of Zaire once it takes over and Mobutu departs. Such a plan could even serve as the impetus to hasten Mobutu's departure. Preparing it now, in advance of his departure, would save an enormous amount of time. With some tweaking, it could be made ready for implementation when provided to the new government. Time is a critical factor, given the assessment that it will take a long time for Zaire's new economic freedom to yield positive results.
2. This means that the premise that "nothing can be done until Mobutu is gone" may be a bad and, in fact, counterproductive premise. One can argue that many preparatory things can and should be done while waiting for his departure to occur. In fact, given that Zaire is now classified as the worst in the world, there is only one way to go, and that is up. Even small steps planned in advance can yield superior results quickly once Mobutu is gond and the steps can be implement by a more benevolent government. There are some areas that would be ripe for concentration. The authors of the study described above say that economic freedom has to do with two major categories of action: property rights and choice. With regard to property rights, property must be protected from invasion and intrusion by others. People must be free to use, exchange or give away their proerty. There can be no arbitrary confiscation of property. With regard to choice, there should be no rules that impede people from buying and selling goods and services, and prices for buying and selling should not be dictated by the government.
Therefore, the new National reconstruction Plan "in exile" can start by concentrating on all the many issues and institutions needed that surround the matters of property and choice.
3. It would seem that a non-profit study foundation that devotes its sole attention to preparing for the post-Mobutu era should be set up as a matter of priority. Such a foundation would probably require $200,000-$300,000 in initial donations to hire a small staff of experts to start working the problem. It would seem that such an effort should begin now since Mobutu is saying that elections could be held in 1996 or 1997. The goal should be to have a first draft of a National Reconstruction Plan for Zaire finished before year's end.
This article was prepared by Edward S. Marek, editor, "africa," The Marek Enterprise, Inc., (800) 575-2735