Has Our World Lost Its Soul? [opinion]

I always love to read citizen Angula’s occasional bursts into print as I would so much like for us as a world, but especially Africa, to return to his ideals so well put forward years ago by reputable, world accepted leaders who had firm beliefs and ideals that held out hope for our continent.

Indeed I look at his letter (The Namibian, 7 November 2014) and his 4 itemised ideals and equally would love to grasp them with both hands and take them forward as if they could be made to happen maybe there would be a way forward.

Indeed I recall a conversation on the sidelines somewhere, many years ago where this was discussed over coffee with Angula (then Education), HH (then Trade and Industry) and a few others now up the ladder on the dangers of global markets and high tech destroying our root values such that social and economic matters become subservient to money and our peoples relegated to be computerised numbers under the thumb of statisticians!

At that time we used to make most of our school and work clothes within the region, were quite happy with our vehicles and that they were there to get us around. Communication was about talking to each other and the computer was a tool in our chest. Now we find ourselves, especially as Africans, to be the new economic slaves of technology where our only input is low skill levels and commensurate ridiculous, sub-economic wages that just cover the taxi to work!

Whether we like it or not, we have dragged our Namibian people (and most other Africans) into an economy where raw materials are sold for a song and resurface with massive profits for Chinese workers, US designers and businesses usually working in offshore tax havens, US European banks cleaning up on the finance and the Arabs wallowing in oil and religion! What a world and not what either I, or Nahas want! But is this not where we are? Our benefit is we still have peace and stability to disagree without physical abuse.

This then takes me back 25 years (1989), just after our first elections when I had gone to Oshakati and was sitting on a hotel veranda talking to an East German officer as we listened to the radio, witnessing how the Berlin Wall was coming down! Unsurprisingly he was worried as he was due “home” before Christmas and coming from close to East Berlin, did not know what was happening to his family as communication was bad.

Unfortunately, while I do know he left Namibia eventually in January 1990, I then lost touch with him. What stayed with me was his intensity of belief in the East German system, even accepting the security and social downsides that we (then) Westerners constantly brag about. There was a real sense of national pride which took me aback! He even was proud of that East German car, that 2-stroke, half-cardboard, smelly and dangerous Trabant! A view unchanged by my later face-to-face meeting with one of these horrors.

However, what my meetings with this guy did was make me realise, is that real value is something developed within each person, society and nation according to their own circumstances and path of growth. It is not that westernised model of economic success that overrides any form of social order in the belief that ultimately the jam will spread to all! No, societies grow according to their own patterns determined by the wider environment and the nature of their social systems and leaderships.

Hence globalisation, while trying to mould all according to a common model, is doomed! All that is happening is that the “top echelons” are inevitably sucked into the “corridors of power” and continuously moulded into perpetuating a world dominated by legal, military and policing systems designed to protect those echelons from their own people.

Is it not the case that high productivity, for all its admirable achievements and fantastic outputs, are only targeted at the “top”. Is this not why the “occupy” movements worldwide, while having very different specific agendas, have an underlying driving force that “the people” are being driven into the ground? Is this not where my East German acquaintance has a point with the relative social equality, despite its low level, in East Germany, was a reality worth preserving?

Is this not where our economic system, more and more having major conferences at 7 star locations, more and more multimillion dollar Mercedes Benzes for the gods and ultimately more and more restrictions, anti-riot squads and local wars, is heading for? After all, the economic zero interest rates have driven major consumers to economic oblivion such that those upper middle class spenders are now spending less and saving more and shrinking their economies!

While Africa, in population terms, is only on the fringe of this, it will equally suffer as the easy funds are about to evaporate. Perhaps our lessons should come from East Germany and its Trabant. It worked, it did its job and could be afforded it was local and used low skilled labour.

Now the economic idiocy is about to consume itself it is an opportune time to recover our continental soul, that of Africa. And Nahas and I can be once again happy!

Source : The Namibian