columnBy Chris Smith
A TIME of year following, for many, a potential time of reflection and re-strengthening for the coming year. For some a time to write and even publish some of their ideas.
A time where nature shows its beauty as birds nest and procreate, trees burst into that green that contrasts so beautifully with the natural browns and greys of our landscape and the rain, whether a good year or bad, lubricates the soil so that carpets of flowers emerge; even some big mushrooms!
Equally our exhaustion with news, views and more dead bodies of the expired year has subsided as the daily routine of newspapers, web news and TV had been secondary to the pleasure of the vacation. The clogged brain has passed much into "compressed" storage somewhere in its depths, releasing capacity. New challenges, even if only regurgitations of last years, stand a chance of a rethink and a dose of creativity, perhaps.
We now enter the new working year! Suddenly the Pope resigns, the EU's pathetically weak regulatory structures are exposed as a load of "horse" enters the Anglo-Saxon food chain, Mali is in religious flames fanned by greed and poverty and the US declares a single renegade ex-military, ex-LAPD a terrorist with a million on his head. Our 365 / 24/ 7 media system is already winding us up into confusion. And here is the rub. Information overload now fuelled by an addiction to anonymous social media rapidly filling those cranial spaces with irrelevances to our Namibian and regional condition.
It was therefore quite a pleasure to read an article on democracy vs capitalism in a local English newspaper, nicely written, well argued, but with which I disagree. It sets out that democracy and capitalism "cannot prosper simultaneously"; it is either or, or an altruistic assumption that socialism provides an answer. Which would be fine if a socialist, especially with Adam Smith's "invisible hand" could be found!. Theory great, practice unlikely. It ignores the natural competitiveness of mankind. Those with want to keep, those without want. The result of recent history is that those with are serious defeating those without. Conflict exists, as it should!
It is this constantly changing imbalance and unfairness that drives progress and precipitates creativity. It is not a requirement to seek peace and victory, neither exists. It is about how to manage the conflict with maximum damage limitation and maximum progress. The theoretical peace implied by socialistic creations is exactly what will kill man's progress. I would love to think I am wrong.
Let's look at a simple bit of that conflict in Namibia. Jobs, with some horrific number of potential contributors to our economy being pushed into dependency, not creativity. And this is where GRN comes in; that balancing act between democracy and capitalism. It is they who provide the "social sponge" to that on going conflict through their programmes, promises and often, their economy with the truth! But with jobs everything has gone too far; crisis is here.
Back to basics! Current retail is dominated in value by the rich and their needs are imported. The Namibian majority exist on handouts and hand-downs. Their needs are of low value and satisfied by cheap imports. But large numbers with small money equals significant business. How do we capitalise on this latent and potentially massive resource of the poor and workless? This where GRN has to clear its vision and address the developing picture, that job creation is only about a domino effect from improving the lot of the rich capitalists. Again, I hope I am wrong but ...
Equally education and health, while delivering much good, benefit the few, not the many. Yes we have our failures but good management grows from its successes, however small and this is how to progress. As Jackie Asheeke recently said and made herself unpopular, Home Affairs do many things right! Letter writers, quite correctly, castigated her for not moaning too loudly! This is that conflict in action. This is what managers have to manage. Progress is a mix of good and bad. Let's have a good Spring and grow on what we have and not on what we destroy in protest - like others.
For instance! National service to build agricultural projects to pay for that education? How about it Nahas? Combine our military with our youth. Spring madness?