Date: Tue, 24 Feb 1998 13:08:31 +1300
Subject: Africa's free market - reply to NZ editorial
Africa's free market - reply to NZ editorial
Peter Romanovsky, in New Zealand Herald, Friday 20 February 1998
This letter appeared in the Friday NZ Herald as the only letter in response to the Herald editorial I posted some days ago. The Herald also received at least two other letters on that editorial, mine and Ed Deaks. The next piece I will post is a commentary piece which appeared on the opposing page to this letter, written by a Herald journalist. By the name calling in it I think it was placed to cause anger and irrational response. Not the normal tactics of a journalist I would have thought.
Your editorial about the real losers of the failure of MAI contained an absolutely astounding line: "countries like several in Africa which have been governed along Alliance lines for decades." Really'? You don't say! As a person who is thoroughly acquainted with Africa for one decade at least, and that at first-hand, on the ground, and not by newspaper report, let me describe for you one of the most free-market economies in Africa.
The country in question has a minimal public service. The health system is completely user-pays. Customs and Immigration pay for their services by user-pays charges at the border. No licences are required to set up business or anything else. No restraint is placed on the importation and investment of capital. Indeed, investment is strongly encouraged and many entrepreneurs have set up business in the lucrative mining industry. Education is also entirely user-pays. Security, in the form of police and Army, is also user-pays. This country is most certainly not overgoverned or overregulated. It is a shining example of a totally free economy.
I am surprised, as it changed Governments recently and as the new President spoke of reforms, that Mr Roger Kerr, Dr Gareth Morgan and the entire Business Roundtable did not speak out forcefully for the status quo, for the continuance of a totally free-market economy with no business-hampering regulations, taxes, or artificial mininum-wage levels.
This African country's economy is totally free. I know. I have lived there and visited many of its cities.
Welcome to the Congo Republic - formerly Zaire, the economic paradise of the Roundtable.
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