ON

ENTREPRENEURSHIP, JOB CREATION, INCOME EMPOWERMENT AND POVERTY REDUCTION IN NIGERIA

BY

OTEJE, KEHINDE M.J. (Ace)

 

ENTREPRENEURSHIP, JOB CREATION, INCOME EMPOWERMENT AND POVERTY REDUCTION IN NIGERIA

What Is Entrepreneurship?

Meaning of entrepreneurship has evolved over the centuries

What is meant by entrepreneurship? The concept of entrepreneurship was first established in the 1700s, and the meaning has evolved ever since. Many simply equate it with starting one's own business. Most economists believe it is more than that.


 

 

 

 

 

SEMINAR PAPER

 

ON

ENTREPRENEURSHIP, JOB CREATION, INCOME EMPOWERMENT AND POVERTY REDUCTION IN NIGERIA

BY

OTEJE, KEHINDE M.J. (Ace)

 

ENTREPRENEURSHIP, JOB CREATION, INCOME EMPOWERMENT AND POVERTY REDUCTION IN NIGERIA

What Is Entrepreneurship?

Meaning of entrepreneurship has evolved over the centuries

What is meant by entrepreneurship? The concept of entrepreneurship was first established in the 1700s, and the meaning has evolved ever since. Many simply equate it with starting one's own business. Most economists believe it is more than that.

To some economists, the entrepreneur is one who is willing to bear the risk of a new venture if there is a significant chance for profit. Others emphasize the entrepreneur's role as an innovator who markets his innovation. Still other economists say that entrepreneurs develop new goods or processes that the market demands and are not currently being supplied.

In the 20th century, economist Joseph Schumpeter (1883-1950) focused on how the entrepreneur's drive for innovation and improvement creates upheaval and change. Schumpeter viewed entrepreneurship as a force of "creative destruction." The entrepreneur carries out "new combinations," thereby helping render old industries obsolete. Established ways of doing business are destroyed by the creation of new and better ways to do them.

Business expert Peter Drucker (1909-2005) took this idea further, describing the entrepreneur as someone who actually searches for change, responds to it, and exploits change as an opportunity. A quick look at changes in communications – from typewriters to personal computers to the Internet – illustrates these ideas.

Most economists today agree that entrepreneurship is a necessary ingredient for stimulating economic growth and employment opportunities in all societies. In the developing world, successful small businesses are the primary engines of job creation, income growth, and poverty reduction. Therefore, government support for entrepreneurship is a crucial strategy for economic development.

As the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said in 2003, "Policies to foster entrepreneurship are essential to job creation and economic growth." Government officials can provide incentives that encourage entrepreneurs to risk attempting new ventures. Among these are laws to enforce property rights and to encourage a competitive market system.

The culture of a community also may influence how much entrepreneurship there is within it. Different levels of entrepreneurship may stem from cultural differences that make entrepreneurship more or less rewarding personally. A community that accords the highest status to those at the top of hierarchical organizations or those with professional expertise may discourage entrepreneurship. A culture or policy that accords high status to the "self-made" individual is more likely to encourage entrepreneurship.

 

 

Why and how do people become entrepreneurs? Why is entrepreneurship beneficial to an economy? How can government encourage entrepreneurship, and, with it, economic growth?

WHO IS AN ENTREPRENEUR?

Entrepreneurs are risk taker, creators, innovators and people who start things. They are people who dare to make their dreams come true.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eradicating Poverty: Moving Forward as One

 

1. The crisis of global poverty has, at long last, been accorded a high priority on the international agenda. This propitious development has sparked a flurry of discussion and research concerning the means for eradicating this debilitating condition from human life. Yet as renewed pledges for action pour in from governments, as long-held; theories and conventional approaches fail to quell long held

prejudices, conflicts, and exploitation, a feeling of rudderless-ness looms over the global enterprise of poverty eradication. At the same time, a palpable optimism emerges from the attention and momentum generated by the search for solutions to this worldwide challenge.

 

2. The mechanisms of poverty eradication have long been defined in primarily material terms. Indeed, the central pillar of the international community’s poverty alleviation efforts has been the transfer of financial resources. Approximately $2.3 trillion have been spent on foreign aid over the last five decades. [1] Tragically, the aid, far from ushering in greater self-sufficiency, has often had a detrimental effect on recipient communities: increased dependency on foreign assistance, subservience to externally dictated priorities, misappropriation of funds and decreased pressure for governance reform. [2] In a resolute push for change, the United Nations has sought to expand the mechanisms for assistance and to galvanize support for poverty alleviation through its Millennium Development Goals.

 

3. It is now increasingly acknowledged that such conditions as the marginalization of girls and women, [3] poor governance, [4]  ethnic and religious antipathy, [5] environmental degradation[6] and unemployment [7] constitute formidable obstacles to the progress and development of communities. These evidence a deeper crisis —one rooted in the values and attitudes that shape relationships at all

levels of society. Viewed from this perspective, poverty can be described as the absence of those ethical, social and material resources needed to develop the moral, intellectual and social capacities of individuals, communities and institutions. Moral reasoning, group decision making and freedom from racism, for example, are all essential tools for poverty alleviation. Such capacities must shape individual thinking as well as institutional arrangements and policymaking. To be clear, the goal at hand is not only to remove the ills of poverty but to engage the masses of humanity in the construction of a  just global order.

 

4. Individuals and institutions must work in tandem to take up this task. One of the goals of poverty alleviation, then, centers on the individual: he must be helped to reclaim his dignity and sense of selfworth, must be encouraged to gain confidence to improve his condition and strive to realize his potential. Beyond the achievement of personal wellbeing, he must be nurtured to become a source

of social good—of peace, happiness and advantage to those around him. It is at the level of service to others that our humanity achieves its highest expression. The second goal centers on institutions: at every level of society, they must serve as channels through which the talents and energies of individuals can be harnessed in service to humanity. Resources that help to develop this individual and institutional capacity represent a true source of wealth to the community.

 

5. Much like the physical principles that govern the material world, the social world, too, is governed by moral principles, which underlie the functioning of an ordered society. Principles such as gender equality, [8] trustworthiness, [9] access to education, human rights and freedom of religion,[10] for example, tend to correlate positively with measures of socioeconomic wellbeing and stability. The interrelatedness of challenges stemming from poverty calls for the articulation of principles capable of guiding analysis, decision-making and the development of indicators to measure progress. The essential merit of a principle based process is that it guides individuals and institutions away from a focus on isolated, short-term concerns to consider problems from a systemic and long-term perspective. For any decision to garner support and deliver results, the decision-making process itself must have integrity: it must involve those directly affected by the decisions and it must be governed by transparent, agreed upon ethical standards.

 

6. It is in this context that our government would like to offer two principles as guides for efforts in the realm of poverty eradication: justice and unity. These principles underlie a vision of development in which material progress serves as a vehicle for the moral and cultural advancement of humanity. Justice provides the means capable of harnessing human potential to eradicate poverty from our midst, through the implementation of laws, the adjustment of economic systems, the redistribution of wealth and opportunity, and unfailing adherence to the highest ethical standards in private and public life. Unity asserts that progress is systemic and relational, that a concern for the integrity of the family unit and the local, national, and global community must guide poverty alleviation efforts.

 

Governance

7. The question of poverty places particular responsibility on elected leaders and their governments. While some have argued that poverty itself leads to poor governance, causality often moves in the opposite direction: better governance leads to better development outcomes. [11] Central to the issue of governance is the inescapable question of character – the values that a leader brings to his or her office largely define the direction and fruits of his or her work. Trustworthiness is foremost among these, as it fosters credibility with the public and with other leaders, builds support for government initiatives and engenders stability and security. Effective leaders must not only exercise an impeccable ethic but also work to strengthen the character of the nation’s economic, social, legal and educational institutions, to improve the regulatory framework, and to manage scarce resources effectively. Where earnings are concerned, they must be content with a lawful and modest remuneration. As the substance of politics becomes increasingly global, elected leaders must show the vision and the courage to gradually align national interests with the requirements of the evolving global community.

Home Areas of Work Who We Are Statements and Reports Links of Interest

Justice and human rights

8. The United Nations ’ efforts to link poverty eradication efforts with international human rights norms is a positive step in aligning the work of governments with the principles of justice. Our common heritage of human rights norms, encompassing the rights of the individual and of the family; the freedom to know and to believe; the equality of men and women and racial equality; the right to work and to education, among others, embodies the most significant moral accomplishments of the human race. Human rights, as endorsed by most governments of the world, must now enter into the community and legal culture and be systematically incorporated into domestic legislation. They must be translated into all languages and made accessible through media and educational institutions. In this way, the human rights norms can come to replace broken legal systems characterized by the oppressive and arbitrary application of laws, forced on people unaware of their rights and unable to articulate their needs.

 

Individual responsibility

9. A large share of the responsibility for poverty eradication rests with the individuals themselves. While poverty is the product of numerous factors: historic, economic, political and environmental, there is also a cultural dimension, which manifests itself in individual values and attitudes. Some of these – such as the subjugation of girls and women, the lack of value of education or of an individual’s right to progress – can exacerbate conditions of poverty. The relevant human qualities such as honesty, willingness to work, and cooperation can be harnessed to accomplish enormously demanding goals when members of society trust that they are protected by standards of justice and assured of benefits that apply equally to all. The human rights approach, with its emphasis on the individual’s entitlement to a set of rights, however, may prove challenging to implement without an accompanying moral influence necessary to inspire the accompanying changes in attitudes and behaviors.

 

 

Individual responsibility

 

A large share of the responsibility for poverty eradication or reduction rests with the individuals themselves. While poverty is the product of

numerous factors: historic, economic, political and environmental, there is also a cultural dimension, which manifests itself in individual

values and attitudes. Some of these – such as the subjugation of girls and women, the lack of value of education or of an individual’s

right to progress – can exacerbate conditions of poverty.

 

Gender

10. The issue of gender equality is one such example: over the last two decades nations have repeatedly come together to acknowledge the critical role of women in advancing development imperatives. The natural and social sciences have laid to rest any bases for discrimination; most countries have enacted laws to afford women the same opportunities as men; conventions have been signed and ratified; new measures and social indicators have been put in place. Yet women’s agency in the arenas of law, politics, science, commerce and religion, to name a few, is still grossly deficient. In areas where women have gained access to education, employment, and ownership opportunities, dramatic effects have been observed at many levels: at the level of the family, more equitable division of food, resources, and health care among girls and boys; higher rates of literacy among children; lower rates of fertility leading to better economic conditions and maternal health; and the injection of new concerns into public discourse. Female literacy, alone, has been shown to play a much more important role in promoting social wellbeing than other variables related to the general level of wealth in a society.[12] Indeed the well being of the entire family has been dramatically altered where economic and social circumstances and societal attitudes have been favorable to women ’s advancement. Yet, the gradual transformation of attitudes has required much more than legal measures, it has required a fundamental change of belief about roles of men and women and courage to challenge traditional gender norms.

 

Economic activity

11. Undeniably, poverty is sustained by an interaction of social and material factors. This interaction determines the societal benefits of material resources, whether the resources are concentrated in the hands of a few or are equitably distributed, whether they are beneficial or harmful to the society at large. Today, much of economic activity and its institutional context are at odds with environmental sustainability, the advancement of women, and the wellbeing of the family, the engagement of young people, the availability of employment, and the expansion of knowledge. For example, military expenditures exceeding $1 trillion[13] and global trade in illicit drugs in excess of $300 billion[14] far exceeds the estimated costs of meeting the United Nations ’ global development goals in areas of education, health, sustainability, and women’s empowerment.[15] The economic theories of impersonal markets, promoting self-centered actions of individuals, have not helped humanity escape the extremes of poverty on the one hand and over consumption on the other. New economic theories for our time must be animated by a motive beyond just profit. They must be rooted in the very human and relational dimension of all economic activity, which binds us as families, as communities and as citizens of one world. They must be animated by a spirit of innovation rather than blind imitation, ennoblement rather than exploitation, and the full and confident participation of women.

 

Extremes of wealth

12. Economic considerations underlying poverty alleviation efforts have generally focused on the creation of wealth but have not yet fully considered the parallel problem of the over-concentration of wealth. In an interconnected world, where the wealth of many of the world’s richest individuals exceeds the Gross Domestic Product of entire nations, extreme poverty and extreme wealth exist side by side. While much of the focus of remedial efforts is directed towards the poorest, it is the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few that is in urgent need of attention. Indeed, the tremendous wealth generated by transnational corporations could be an integral part of the solution to tackle poverty, through strict regulation to ensure good global citizenship, adherence to human rights norms and the distribution of wealth for the benefit of the larger society. Where a nation’s wealth is concerned, the question becomes one of social value rather than gross dollar measures. The Gross Domestic Product, for example, aggregates the sum total of all economic activity – including the production of guns, cigarettes, etc. – regardless of its social worth or environmental impact. [16] New measures that account for pollutants and economic ills and add unmeasured, unremunerated benefits are needed for a more accurate picture of a nation ’s economic health and wealth.

 

Sustainable development

13. It has been widely acknowledged that economic prosperity has come at a tremendous cost to our natural environment.[17] In fact, no country has emerged as a major industrial power without a legacy of significant environmental damage, affecting the security and wellbeing of its own populations and, equally significantly, those of developing nations. The growth driven economic paradigm rooted in national interests at the expense of social and environmental variables and international well being is under increasing scrutiny. Challenging ethical questions of resource distribution and responsibility for damages force governments to develop institutional mechanisms and implement policies that consider the prosperity and health of the global community and that of future generations. On an institutional level, a global entity with a strong scientific advisory capacity is needed to streamline reporting and decision-making processes, including the voices of non state actors. It must coherently link environmental issues to social and economic priorities, for none of these can advance in isolation. [18] At the educational level, curricula must seek to develop a sense of responsibility towards the natural environment as well as foster a spirit of inquiry and innovation so that the diversity of human experience can be brought to bear on the challenge of creating an environmentally sustainable development pathway.

 

 

Agriculture

14. A core element of a strategy of sustainable development is the reform of agricultural policies and processes. Food production and agriculture is the world ’s single largest source of employment; nearly 70% of the poor in developing countries live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for their livelihoods.[19] Although farming has been devalued by manufacturing and a rapidly expanding urban population, agriculture still represents the fundamental basis of economic and community life: malnourishment and food insecurity suffocate all attempts at development and progress. Despite this pivotal role, poverty is often concentrated in rural areas. Damage to natural resources, poor information and infrastructure often result in food insecurity, premature deaths and mass migration to urban areas in search of a better life. The farmer must be accorded his or her rightful place in the processes of development and civilization building: as the villages are reconstructed, the cities will follow.

 

Employment

15. The provision of meaningful work represents an essential component of poverty reduction or alleviation efforts. The meaningful engagement of young people becomes even more important as urban populations swell and, with them, the increase of slums, rising crime rates, use of drugs, unemployment, breakdown of family structures and social isolation. Today, young people between the ages of 15- 29 account for nearly half of all adults in 100 economically disadvantaged nations. [20] Lack of meaningful employment only feeds their hopelessness and frustration. Yet it is not only the quantity but also the quality and meaning of work that needs to be reconsidered. Whether tilling the soil or selling goods, one ’s work should not be reduced to a means for acquiring more goods or as an expendable cost of production. One’s work is the means of developing one’s craft, of refining one’s character, and contributing to the welfare and progress of society. Indeed, the fight against underemployment must begin with the dignity and value of all human labour, even if it is humble, insecure, unprofitable or unremunerated.

 

 

One’s work is the means of developing one’s craft, of refining one’s character, and contributing to the welfare and progress of society. Indeed, the fight against underemployment must begin with the dignity and value of all human labour, even if it is humble, insecure, unprofitable or unremunerated.

 

 

 

Knowledge

16. Underlying the meaningful participation in the advancement of society and the higher aims of civilization is the bulwark of education. While many poverty eradication programs have focused on increasing enrollment in primary and secondary education – which is the first step – the long term goal must also be articulated: namely to create a society in which the production, diffusion and application

of knowledge infuses all facets of human activity. This requires interventions at all levels including child rearing practices that foster questioning; equal educational opportunities for boys and girls; development of independent media sources; translation of texts from other cultures and the promotion of innovation and scientific research. In order to be free to innovate, to devise solutions to complex

problems, the human mind must be free to know.

 

 

Underlying the meaningful participation in the advancement of society and the higher aims of civilization is the bulwark of education.

 

 

 

Religion

17. The concept of knowledge now needed to guide poverty reduction efforts must be adequate to address both the poverty of means and the poverty of spirit. Material resources are essential, to be sure, yet they alone cannot generate a vision of the full measure of human prosperity; they cannot provide answers to the deepest questions about human nature or the purpose of our existence. Most

importantly, the material and technical dimensions alone will not compel the fundamental changes in human character and belief needed to overcome the destructive behaviors which have led to present day conditions. They will not galvanize and sustain the human will to persevere, to strive for excellence, to humbly serve, to create, to seek knowledge, to cultivate beauty and to seek the wellbeing of all humankind. To encompass the spiritual dimension and its expression in the religions of the world is not to return to superstition or fanaticism or to denounce rational inquiry in any way. Rather, it is to build into poverty reduction or alleviation efforts, in an integrated manner, recognition of all the dimensions of human experience and an understanding of how poverty manifests in the material and spiritual dimensions of human life.

 

18. In our efforts to eradicate poverty, we are experiencing no less than the birth pangs of a truly global civilization: new modes of thought, new standards and new legal and institutional arrangements are struggling to take hold. As our understanding of the problems and their possible solutions expands, an unprecedented global consensus and accompanying capacity for international cooperation pave the way for an outcome far greater than any we have been able to achieve. Yet, to generate the knowledge and commitment needed to overcome poverty, the full spectrum of human spiritual and intellectual potential will need to be summoned for the task. And as the fullness of our humanity is engaged, it will regenerate the fabric of civilization.

How To Eradicate Poverty (Without Doing Charity)

1. Why You Can’t Eradicate Poverty By Giving Away Money

Eradicating poverty from the world is a good goal to have. But cutting cheques and providing special favours to the poorest people of the society doesn’t work in eradicating poverty at all!

In fact, all it’ll do is make people find ways in making sure they don’t get too rich – so that they can take advantage of the free welfare cheques and free education!

Because everything that is rewarded grows… if you reward poverty, how can you expect it to wither away?

Everything that is rewarded grows… if you reward poverty, how can you expect it to wither away?

 

 

2. The Smart Charity Philosophy

“Don’t help people who need it, help people who deserve it.”
– Jim Rohn

3. Give a Man a Fish…

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” – Chinese Proverb.

Your job is to teach a man how to fish only when he is willing* to learn. And when he is willing to pay the price to learn.

*But how to build the desire in the hearts of poverty ridden people to raise their hands? To become willing to learn? To become willing to pay the price when they are already poor?

4. The Rich vs Poor Insight

“Rich people have large libraries, poor people have large TV’s.”
– Dan Kennedy

Give the poor people heroes they can look up to. And they will model after these heroes and change their lives!

Tell them rags-to-riches stories. And they will surprise you by rising out of poverty in record time!

Gift just one autobiographical rags-to-riches book to just one poor person to read. And see how his life changes.

Action Summary:

  • The worst thing you can do to reduce poverty is start giving the poor people free rides.
  • The best thing you can do to reduce poverty is make the poor people believe that there were others in their situation that rose above poverty, worked hard and are rich today.
  • Give the poor people heroes. Tell them rags-to-riches stories. These stories will satisfy their hunger a lot more effectively than any free food programs. Because these stories will empower the poor people to earn their own food instead of relying on charity.
  • Gift just one autobiographical book to one poor person today.

Dr. Franklin A. Sonn

 

POVERTY IS THE SINGLE GREATEST SOCIAL BURDEN IN THE WORLD TODAY. IT IS A TIMELESS MATTER. IT DEFIED ALL ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL SYSTEMS. IT, UP TO THIS DAY, OCCUPIES THE NATIONAL DEBATE IN VARYING DEGREES DEPENDING ON THE NATURE OF THE GOVERNMENT IN POWER. GOVERNMENTS’ SUCCESS IS OFTEN DETERMINED BY THE EXTENT TO WHICH IT IS ABLE TO MEET THE CHALLENGE OF POVERTY. POVERTY BROUGHT GOVERNMENTS DOWN. IT ENSURED THE DEMISE OF ECONOMICAL SYSTEMS. IT ENSURED THE RISE OF DICTATORSHIPS. SO IT WAS ALSO THE CASE IN OUR COUNTRY, NIGERIA.

THE BITTER CONFLATION OF RACE AND POVERTY USHERED IN DEMOCRACY. ACADEMICS AND THINKERS HAVE ARGUED THROUGH THE AGES WHETHER A STRONG MONARCHY OR A RESOLUTE AUTHORITARIAN STATE OR A FREE MARKET SYSTEM IS THE ANSWER. THERE IS THE PROPOSITION IN THE US THAT AS LITTLE GOVERNMENT AS POSSIBLE WOULD BE ABLE BETTER TO MEET THE CHALLENGE OF POVERTY.

POVERTY IS NOT MERELY THE LACK OF INCOME. AN ENORMOUS PROPORTION OF BASIC NEEDS OF PEOPLE IN THE WEALTHIEST TO THE POOREST NATIONS TODAY REMAIN UNMET. THERE IS A DISTINCTION BETWEEN POOR PEOPLE AND POVERTY PEOPLE. POOR PEOPLE LACK RESOURCES AND WHEN THIS IS PROVIDED, THEY RESUME THEIR POSITIONS IN SOCIETY. POVERTY, ON THE OTHER HAND, IS A SUB-CULTURE AND PEOPLE ARE STUCK IN THE VICIOUS CYCLE OF EVER RECURRING POVERTY. THERE NORMALLY IS A FUNDAMENTAL LACK OF UNDERSTANDING AMONG PEOPLE OUTSIDE THIS VICIOUS CYCLE THAT POVERTY CREATES IT’S OWN NORMS WHICH ARE MARKED BY VERY SHORT TERM OBJECTIVES OR BY MERELY LIVING FOR THE MOMENT. IT IS ESSENTIALLY A DEMEANING AND DISEMPOWERING CONDITION. FEW SOCIAL FACTORS DIMINISH AND DEMEAN PEOPLE LIKE BEING CAUGHT UP IN THE VICIOUS CYCLE OF POVERTY.

IN SOUTH AFRICA AND IN COLONIALIST TIMES, THE LACK OF BASIC HUMAN AND POLITICAL RIGHTS WERE AT THE SAME TIME THE CAUSE AND EFFECT OF POVERTY. THE NEGATIVE ATTRIBUTES THE DOMINANT POLITICAL GROUP ASCRIBE TO THE DOMINATED POVERTY PEOPLE ARE MORE OFTEN THAN NOT SYMPTOMS OF ECONOMIC DEPRIVATION TO BE FOUND AMONG POVERTY PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD REGARDLESS OF RACE. POVERTY, NONETHELESS FEEDS RACISM. TO FIGHT AGAINST POVERTY IS ACCORDINGLY IN LARGE MEASURE A STRUGGLE AGAINST RACISM.

LET ME TURN TO ROBBEN ISLAND – THIS HALLOWED PLACE! IT IS PROPITIOUS THAT WE MEET ON THIS ISLAND THIS MORNING. IT IS A TRIBUTE TO THE ORGANIZERS OF THIS CONFERENCE THAT THEY HAVE HAD THE FORESIGHT TO ARRANGE THAT A CONGREGATION OF LEADERS WHOSE PRIMARY MANDATE IS POVERTY AND WHOSE OBLIGATION IS FINDING ANSWERS TO SOCIAL DYSFUNCTION AND INJUSTICE SHOULD MEET FOR THEIR ELEVENTH CONVENTION ON ROBBEN ISLAND. THIS ISLAND, AFTER ALL, IS A SACRED MONUMENT TO THE SACRIFICE AND STRUGGLE AGAINST RACISM AND POVERTY OF THE PEOPLE OF SOUTH AFRICA. IT IS MORE THAN THAT. IT SIGNIFIES IN A TANGIBLE WAY THE COURAGE OF ALL PEOPLE EVERYWHERE WHO GAVE AND STILL AS THEY ARE STILL DOING TODAY THEIR TALENTS TO WORK FOR GREATER EQUITY AND EQUALITY IN THE WORLD. IT IS CORRECT THAT ROBBEN ISLAND SHOULD BE THE PLACE FOR FINE MINDS AND TOUGH WILLS TO COME TOGETHER TO ASK HARD QUESTIONS AND TO FIND RIGHT ANSWERS. FOR IT IS AROUND THE STONE QUARRY OF THIS ISLAND AND IN THE THIN COLD AIR OF THIS PRISON - IT IS INDEED AMIDST THE BELLIGERENT SCREAMS OF SEAGULLS THAT OVER DECADES OUR LEADERS SHARPENED IDEAS AND RE-AFFIRMED THEIR COMMITMENT TO GIVE ALL THEY HAVE TO OVERCOME HUMAN’S INHUMANITY TO HUMAN. IT WAS ON THE WINGS OF THE ISLAND BREEZE THAT THE PRAYERS AND HOPES OF OUR ICONS …………..WERE CARRIED TO THE MAINLAND SO THAT WE WHO LIVED UNDER APARTHEID MIGHT NEVER GIVE UP THE STRUGGLE AND MIGHT CONTINUE IN THE NOBLE TRADITION AND EXAMPLE THEY HAD SET. THE ISLAND IN THE MISTY DISTANCE FROM CAPE TOWN ………………AS A SACRED REMINDER THAT ACQUIESCENCES WAS ………………….TO BETRAYAL.

IT IS FROM THESE CONDITIONS I AM HONORED TO SAY THAT LETTERS WERE SMUGGLED BY NELSON MANDELA TO CERTAIN PEOPLE AMONG WHO WAS FORTUNATE TO BE ENCOURAGING US NOT TO GIVE UP NO MATTER HOW HARD IT MAY BE. Letters which in the regularity of the script and the firmness of the prose assured us that we shall overcome and even if we did not in our lifetime it was a cause worth dying for and know that one had fought a battle that in time will prevail.

THIS ISLAND USED TO BE A PLACE OF ISOLATION FOR LEPERS. IT BECAME A PRISON FOR PEOPLE THE APARTHEID GOVERNMENT WANTED TO DEFINE AS UTTER POLITICAL AND SOCIAL OUTCASTS OR VERITABLE SOCIAL LEPERS. INSTEAD, IT BECAME A SOURCE OF HOPE AND A SYMBOL OF THE NOBILITY OF OUR STRUGGLE. THE NOBLE VALUES AND INTENTIONS OF OUR CAUSE AND IT’S INTERNATIONAL QUALITY TRANSCENDED THE WORSE APARTHEID COULD EVER DO.

DAN SANDERS WOULD BE PROUD TO KNOW THAT A MEETING OF HIS FRIENDS, ADMIRERS, COLLEAGUES, HIS FELLOW BELIEVERS, HIS PEOPLE ARE MEETING IN HIS HONOR AND THAT THEY ARE MEETING ON ROBBEN ISLAND, NOT AS LEPERS BUT AS WARRIORS, AS COURAGEOUS WOMEN AND MEN WHO HAVE RETAINED THE FAITH AND ARE HONING THE FAITH INTO ACTION. IT DOES HIS MEMORY PROUD THAT IN FINE TRADITION WE ONCE AGAIN ARE TAKING COURAGE TO MAKE POVERTY AMIDST BOUNTY, POWERLESSNESS AMIDST FREEDOM AND POWER THE CENTERPIECE OF OUR DISCOURSE. IF THINKERS AND LEADERS DRIVEN BY SOCIAL JUSTICE & DEVELOPMENTAL CONCERNS DO NOT RAISE AND PERSIST IN ADDRESSING AND NAMING POVERTY, IT MIGHT RECEDE INTO THE BACKGROUND. WE ARE AS HUMANS ALWAYS TEMPTED TO FORGET. WE, AFTER ALL ARE ALWAYS TOO INCLINED TO MAKE POVERTY A WEAPON OF POLITICAL STRUGGLE AND ONCE WE ASSUME POWER WE ARE PRONE TO FEEL ACCUSED BY IT. I OFTEN SAID IN THE US THAT POVERTY IS THE WORD LEAST UTTERED AND LEAST LIKED IN THAT NATION OF PLENTY. I AM SURE I AM CORRECT IN SAYING THAT WE IN SOUTH AFRICA TALK LESS OF POVERTY TODAY THAN WE DID AT THE HEIGHT OF OUR STRUGGLE.

WAS IT A SIGH OF DESPERATION OR WAS IT RESIGNATION OR WAS IT AN ADMITION THAT WE SHOULD NEITHER DESPAIR NOR BE NAÏVE WHEN CHRIST PROCLAIMED THAT THE POOR AND THE BLIND WE WILL ALWAYS HAVE AMONG US?

ETHAN B. KAPSTEIN EXPRESSES ALMOST DESPERATION WHEN HE SAYS, "…THE WORLD MAY BE MOVING INEXORABLY TOWARDS ONE OF THOSE TRAGIC MOMENTS THAT WILL LEAD FUTURE HISTORIANS TO ASK WHY WAS NOTHING DONE IN TIME. WERE THE ECONOMIC AND POLICY ELITES UNAWARE OF THE PROFOUND DISRUPTION THAT ECONOMIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE WERE CAUSING WORKING MEN AND WOMEN?" YERGIN AND STRAVISLAV ADDRESSED THE SAME ISSUE IN THEIR GREAT SEMINAL WORK, THE TITLE OF WHICH THEY BORROWED FROM LENIN AND CALLED THE COMMANDING HEIGHTS: THE BATTLE BETWEEN GOVERNMENT AND THE MARKETPLACE THAT IS REMAKING THE MODERN WORLD.

THEY CHRONICLED A GLOBAL TRANSFORMATION AND PROCEEDED TO TAKE THE READER THROUGH THE VARIOUS PHASES OF INTERVENTIONIST POLICIES AND PRACTICES IN AN ATTEMPT TO BREAK THE CYCLE OF INSTITUTIONALISED POVERTY.

THEY SHOW THAT THE CYCLICAL AND INEXORABLE INTERPLAY BETWEEN STATISM AND MARKET FORCES TEND TO PRESENT HISTORY AS A DIALECTIC, MOVING LIKE A PENDULUM – FOR EVERY SWING IN ONE DIRECTION, THERE IS A SWING BACK. THERE IS A JUSTIFIED CYNISM IN THEIR DISCOURSE ABOUT THE POTENTIAL CAPACITY OF SYSTEMS – SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC – ALONE TO ENSURE SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE.

THEIR VIEW OF THE PROGRESS OF HISTORY IS IN TERMS OF A SPENGLER TYPE INEVITABLE CYCLE; IN THE 1890’S AND IN THE FIRST YEARS OF THIS CENTURY, THE EUROPEAN WORLD ENJOYED A GOLDEN AGE OF OPEN TRADE AND LAISSE-FAIRE GOVERNMENT – THE MARKETS HAD THEIR WAY. IMPERIALIST COLONIAL RULE WERE IN THE ASCENDANCY. THE NEW WORLD WAS THE POSSESSION OF THE EUROPEAN EMPIRES. OUR CONTINENT IN PARTICULAR, PROVIDED BOUNTY OF RAW MATERIAL AND PHYSICAL HUMAN POWER TO BE TO COLONIALIST IMPERIALIST EMPIRES WHO DEMEANED AND EXPLOITED OUR PEOPLE WITH IMPUNITY AND WHICH ENTRENCHED ARROGANCE WHICH DIES HARD.

AS EARLY AS 1879, HENRY GEORGE IN PROGRESS AND POVERTY HAD THIS TO SAY, "…AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS MARVELOUS ERA IT WAS NATURAL TO EXPECT, AND IT WAS EXPECTED THAT LABOUR SAVING INTENTIONS WOULD LIGHTEN THE TOIL AND IMPROVE THE CONDITIONS OF THE POOR LABOURER, THAT THE ENORMOUS POWER OF PRODUCING WEALTH WOULD MAKE REAL POVERTY A THING OF THE PAST." THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION FAR FROM EXACERBATING POVERTY AND INTRODUCING THE ELEMENT OF INDUSTRIAL POVERTY WAS TOUTED AS THE SOLUTION TO POVERTY. AUTOMATION, TECHNOLOGICAL AND INDUSTRIAL ADVANCEMENT SUCCEEDED IN CREATING MORE WEALTH AND INCREASED AVARICE. IT ALSO HEIGHTENED THE TENSION BETWEEN COMPETING NATIONS WHICH IN CERTAIN CASES INCREASED THE PRESSURE ON THE WORKERS. IT DID NOT, HOWEVER, ALLEVIATE POVERTY, THEN UNDER THE AEGIS OF A LIBERAL GREAT BRITAIN. THIS PERIOD OF INDUSTRIALIZATION AND DOOM PRODUCED THE FABIANS OF BRITAIN, THE FRENCH COMMUNISTS WHO TRAINED DENG AND HO CHI MINH AND CHIEFLY PRODUCED KARL MARXVLADIMIR LENIN, WHO IN 1916 PRESENTED A BOOK CALLED IMPERIALISM: THE HIGHEST STAGE OF CAPITALISM A RESPONSE TO THE EFFECT OF THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION AND IT’S ECONOMIC CONSEQUENCES OF MONOPOLY AND RENEWED WORKER EXPLOITATION. THIS WAS PARTICULARLY THE CASE IN TSARIST RUSSIA.

TOWARDS THE END OF THIS MILLENIUM WE ARE ONCE AGAIN EXPERIENCING ANOTHER FORM OF INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGICAL AND COMMUNICATIONS DISCOVERY AND PROLIFERATION OF MIND BOGGLING PROPORTIONS. AGAIN THE HOPE ABOUNDS THAT THE NEW-FOUND TECHNOLOGIES WILL SOMEHOW HELP US TO, AS IT WERE, GROW OUT OF POVERTY.

TO RETURN TO THE PENDULUM SWING THEORY:- AFTER WORLD WAR II, COMMUNISM ENTERED IT’S PERIOD OF GREATEST SUCCESS – THE 1950’S AND 1960’S AND WESTERN GOVERNMENTS VACILLATED OVER THEIR ECONOMIC ROLE AS THE COLONIAL ERA CAME TO AN END AND THE FIRST WAVE OF DEVELOPMENT THEORIES ARGUED FOR PROTECTIONISM, DEFICIT SPENDING, AND IMPORT SUBSTITUTION.

THE OIL SHOCK OF THE 1970’S FOLLOWED BY THE DEBT SHOCK OF THE 1980’S WERE FOLLOWED BY THE COLLAPSE OF THE CENTRAL CONTROL OF THE ECONOMY BY COMMUNISM. WITH THESE THREE DEATH BLOWS, STATISM EXPIRED AND MARKETS BECAME ASCENDANT. IT PRESAGED A PERIOD WHERE NOT THE POLITICAL OR MILITARY POWERFUL REIGNED SUPREME BUT WHERE THE STRONGEST PRODUCER OF GOODS AND SERVICES AND THE COUNTRY WITH THE STRONGEST CONCENTRATION OF WEALTH TOOK CENTER STAGE IN A NEW AND MUCH MORE SOPHISTICATED FORM OF DOMINATION. SOME REFER TO THIS AS THE ADVENT OF PAX AMERICANA. BUT EVEN AS PEOPLE RECOGNIZE THAT MARKETS ARE PROGRESSIVELY MORE GLOBAL, IN VIRTUALLY EVERY COUNTRY THERE IS A BACK-LASH AGAINST PERCEIVED INADEQUACIES OF THE MARKET AS A CUSTODIAN OF THE BEST SOCIAL VALUES AND THERE WAS A GROWING CONCERN THAT THE BOTTOM LINE BECAME MORE IMPORTANT THAN CARE FOR PEOPLE.

THIS CLEARLY ALSO PRODUCES THE DEMAND FOR POLITICAL AUTHORITY AND GOVERNMENTS TO RECEDE IN IMPORTANCE. THE THRUST IS TO ALLOW MARKETS TO TAKE CHARGE. THIS PARTICULAR ISSUE OF LESS GOVERNMENT IS THE AREA OF CONFLUENCE BETWEEN REAGAN AND CLINTON. BOTH PROMISED LESS GOVERNMENT AND MORE FREE MARKET. BOTH COMMITTED TO MORE DEREGULATION, PRIVATIZATION AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY UNDER DEMOCRACY. GOVERNMENT WOULD DETERMINE THE REGULATORY FRAMEWORK AND THE MARKETS WOULD RUN FREE, NOT ONLY NATIONALLY, BUT INTERNATIONALLY. GLOBALIZATION ACCORDINGLY BECAME THE CATCH PHRASE.

FOR A COUNTRY WITH A STRONG ECONOMIC BASE AND ENORMOUS RESOURCES OF DISPOSABLE WEALTH AND LARGE NUMBERS OF WEALTHY PEOPLE THIS SEEMS ATTRACTIVE. IT IS ARGUABLE WHETHER IN NEW DEMOCRACIES WITH LIMITED RESOURCES AND VAST POOLS OF POVERTY, GOVERNMENT CAN STEP BACK TO THE SAME EXTENT OR BE PUSHED INTO THIS DIRECTION BY THE DOMINANT NATION IN THE WORLD. IN POORER COUNTRIES GOVERNMENT HAVE A DIFFERENT AND MORE INTERNATIONAL VENT……………………..ROLE TO PLAY.

SMALLER DEMOCRACIES WITH WEAKER ECONOMIES AND GREATER SOCIAL CHALLENGES AND POVERTY LOOK TO CONFERENCES LIKE THIS TO HELP THEM FIND WAYS TO DEAL WITH GLOBALIZATION AND ALSO TO ARTICULATE TO THE WORLD THE LIMITATIONS AND ENCUMBRANCES OF SMALLER AND POORER COUNTRIES TO FOLLOW THE DICTATES OF GLOBALIZATION.

I FURTHERMORE DO NOT THINK IT TO BE OUR DUTY AS SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCIES TO REFLECT TOO MUCH ON ISSUES LIKE LESS GOVERNMENT. WHAT, HOWEVER, IS OUR DUTY TO DO, IS TO SAY LIKE OUR PREDECESSORS DID AT THE TURN OF THE CENTURY, VIZ. "WE ARE SIMPLY NOT BEATING POVERTY AND AS RESPONSIBLE GLOBAL CITIZENS WE ARE LOOKING TO WHAT IS OUR DUTY IN THE FACE OF THIS REALITY."

WE DO NOT SEE IT AS OUR ROLE TO MOUTH PALLIATIVE SOLUTIONS FOR THE CONSEQUENCES OF POVERTY, LIKE SOUP KITCHENS, INCREASED PRODUCING, THE RETURN OF THE DEATH PENALTY. WE MUST FIND TRULY EMPOWERING MEASURES THAT WILL BRING THE VICTIMS OF THE WORLD THAT MARX FORESAW ON THE ONE HAND AND THE PROPOSITIONS OF ADAM THOUGHT OUT ON THE OTHER HAND INTO THE MAINSTREAM SOCIALLY, POLITICALLY AND ECONOMICALLY.

THERE IS A CONTENTION THAT GROWTH AND ECONOMIC PROSPERITY BY THEMSELVES WILL DESTROY POVERTY AND PROMOTE GOOD DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES LIKE SCHOOLS, HEALTH AND WELFARE SERVICES AND GOOD HOUSING AND JOB CREATION.

YET THE NEWS FROM THE US IS AND WE MAY ALSO LIKE THIS ONE SHOULD ALSO ADMIT TO OURSELVES THAT THERE ARE, FOR THE MOMENT AT THE VERY LEAST NO CONCEIVABLE AND PLALISIBLE ALTERNATIVE ECONOMIC SYSTEM AVAILABLE WHICH COULD CLAIM SUCCESS OVER POVERTY. IT IS ALSO OUR MORAL MORAL AND ACADEMIC DUTY TO SAY TO OURSELVES THAT WE STILL HAVE THE POOR AMONG US AND THAT IN FACT GLOBAL POVERTY IS NOT.

RECEDING IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT THE us IS WEALTHIER THAN ANY NATION HAS PROBABLY EVER BEEN. GROWING INCOME INEQUALITY, INSECURITY, INCREASED CRIMINALITY AND WHITE AND BLUE COLLAR CORRUPTION HOWEVER APPEARS TO BE THE FLIP SIDE OF GLOBALISATION. IS IT TRUE OR AM I GOING TOO FAR THAT THE IMPOSED DOCTRINE OF GLOBALISATION PRE-SUPPOSES A RESTRICTIVE FISCAL POLICY WHICH IS BASICALLY TELLING THE POOR THAT THE STATE CANNOT AFFORD TO OFFER THEM WHAT SYSTEM PROMISE. DEMOCRACY THE FREE MARKET AT ELECTION TIMES?THE FURTHER LOGIC IS THAT REDUCED ACCESS TO THE GOOD LIFE AND EVEN TO JOBS IS A PRE-REQUISITE FOR ECONOMIC RESURGENCE WHICH PROMISES US TO GROW OUT OF THE MALAISE SO THAT WE MAY SUCCESSFULLY PROVIDE ADEQUATELY FOR OUR POOR. THE FURTHER DISCONCERTING REALITY REMAINS THAT ANY STATE WHICH AT BEST QUESTIONS AND AT WORSE APPEAR TO DEVIATE TOO FAR FROM THE PRINCIPLES OF GLOBALISATION WILL BE PUNISHED BY CURRENCY MARKETS AND BONDHOLDERS AND COULD BE CAST OUT INTO THE OUTSIDE DARKNESS. THE OPTIONS FOR NEW DEMONCRACIES OPTING FOR FREE MARKET IS NOT SO OPEN. IN FACT THE CENTRAL THEME IN THE US IS WEALTH AND NOT POVERTY. THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT POVERTY DOES NOT EXIST. IN FACT IT IS A SAD COMMENTARY THAT IN THE NATION WHICH SPAWNED GLOBALISATION; WHICH IS THE ONLY REAL SUPER POWER IN THE WORLD AND WHERE THE MARKETS ARE IN THE ASCENDANCY AND DISPOSABLE WEALTH IS ENORMOUS POVERTY STILL ABOUNDS.

FOR THE SAKE OF PERSPECTIVE – IT IS WORTH OUR WHILE FOR A MOMENT TO EXAMINE THE EXTENT TO WHICH THE WEALTHY US IS COPING WITH POVERTY: PRESIDENT CLINTON’S FIRST TERM LABOUR SECRETARY, ROBERT REICH, SAYS THAT THE UNITED STATES IS DIVIDED INTO THREE SOCIAL CLASSES: A SMALL OVERCLASS OF EXTREME WEALTH, A LARGE UNDERCLASS UNABLE TO FULLY ENTER THE ECONOMIC MAINSTREAM AND AN ANXIOUS MIDDLE CLASS EMPLOYED BUT FEELING VULNERABLE.

AMIDST THE ECONOMIC BOOM OF UNPRECEDENTED PROPORTIONS, INCOME EQUALITY IN THE US IS AT ITS HIGHEST LEVEL IN 50 YEARS ACCORDING TO THE CENSUS BUREAU.

WEALTH ENJOYED BY THE ELITE FEW IS CONCENTRATED. IN 1980 THE INCOMES OF THE RICHEST 1 PERCENT OF US FAMILIES EQUALLED THE INCOMES OF THE INCOME OF FAMILIES IN THE BOTTOM 20 PERCENT. A DECADE LATER INEQUALITY DOUBLED. BY 1990 THE FAMILY INCOMES OF THE TOP 1 PERCENT WAS GREATER THAN THE BOTTOM 40 PERCENT. NEARLY ONE IN FIVE US WORKERS LIVE IN POVERTY. THE AVERAGE CEO’S SALARY IS MORE THAN 149 TIMES THAT OF A US WORKER. IN JAPAN THE RATIO IS 32 TO 1. ABOUT 40 MILLION US CITIZENS – THE SIZE OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN POPULATION – LIVE BELOW OR JUST ABOVE THE FEDERAL POVERTY LIVEE AT $18 THOUSAND FOR A FAMILY OF FOUR. IN OUR OWN COUNTRY 17 MILLION OUT OF 40 MILLION – MORE THAN 40 PERCENT OF PEOPLE LIVE IN POVERTY.

POVERTY LARGELY CONFLATES WITH RACE IN BOTH THE US AND SOUTH AFRICA. THE FURTHER SIGNIFICANCE BEING THAT THE PEOPLE OF ENORMOUS WEALTH ARE BY AND LARGE WHITE AND THOSE LIVING IN POVERTY TO ABJECT POVERTY ARE BLACK.

LET US LOOK AT THE SITUATION GLOBALLY: THE ACCUMULATED WEALTH OF THE WORLD’S TOP 358 BILLIONAIRES EQUALS THE PER CAPITA INCOMES OF 45 PERCENT OF HUMANITY. SIXTY PERCENT OF THE WORLD’S PEOPLE ARE LIVING AND DYING ON 6 PERCENT OF THE WORLD’S WEALTH (THESE FIGURES WERE PUBLISHED FROM THE AMERICAN ECONOMIST XABIER SOROSTIAGA IN THE MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE OF MAY 4 1966 BY J. N. PALLMEYER).

THE POINT I AM MAKING IS THAT THIS VERY BAD STATE OF AFFAIRS IS A RESULT OF MARKET FORCES, HISTORICAL INJUSTICE AND BAD PUBLIC POLICY. IT PUTS PAID TO THE CONTENTION THAT GROWTH BY ITSELF REMOVES POVERTY. ALL IT DOES IS EXPONANTIONALLY TO WIDEN THE GAP BETWEEN RICH AND POOR AND INCIDENTALLY, BETWEEN BLACK AND WHITE. THIS IS THE EFFECT OF GLOBALISATION. THE WORLD MARKETS HAVE THE ABILITY ALMOST IMMEDIATELY TO PUNISH NATIONAL ECONOMIES WHO OPT FOR WHAT THE WEST PERCEIVES AS TOO MUCH GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION TO DISTRIBUTE WEALTH. WITHOUT EXTRA-ORDINARY MEASURES GLOBALISATION WILL CONTINUE TO PROMOTE EQUAL OPPORTUNITY AS A DOCTRINE WITHIN THE DEMOCRATIC STATE. EVERYONE KNOWS THE REAL RESULT OF THIS. THE CONVENTIONAL RESPONSE TO POVERTY TENDS TO BE THAT THOSE WHO REMAIN POOR OR ARE CAUGHT IN THE VICIOUS CYCLE OF POVERTY IN A FREE MARKET DEMOCARTIC STATE ONLY HAVE THEMSELVES TO BLAME. UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES IT WILL BE UNDERSTOOD WHY EMERGING NATIONS HAVE GREAT DIFFICULTY IN EMBRACING ECONOMIC POLICIES WHICH DO NOT PROMISE A REAL CAPACITY FOR SOCIO ECONOMIC JUSTICE. SOUTH AFRICA’S CHALLENGES ARE EXACERBATED BY THE FACT THAT THE BOTTOM 60 PERCENT OF THE POPULATION ARE THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE ONLY JUST BEEN POLITICALLY LIBERATED AND ARE LOOKING TO THE GOVERNMENT THEY HAVE VOTED INTO POWER MATERIALLY TO HELP THEM TO OVERCOME POVERTY. IN THE NEXT ELECTIONS THABO MBEKI’S GOVERNMENT WILL BE TESTED BY THIS PARTICULAR CRITERIUM. ATUL KOHLI WRITES IN HIS CHAPTER "DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES RECONSIDERED" OF JOHN LEWIS AND VAL KALLAB UNDER THE HEADING: DEMOCRACY AND DEVELOPMENT THAT….."WHERE POVERTY REMAINS MASSIVE AND WHERE THE STATE IS INVOLVED IN ALL MANNER OF ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES AT VERY EARLY STAGES OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND WHERE ADULT SUFTRAGE HAS COME LONG BEFORE THE CAPACITY TO FEED THE ADULTS. DEMOOCRACY IS MUCH MORE DIFFICULT TO SUSTAIN." – HOPE NOT TRUE IN SOUTH AFRICA.

DEVELOPMENTAL EXPERTS IN FREE DEMOCRACIES MUST HELP US TO UNDERSTAND HOW FREE MARKET FORCES CAN SUPPORT THE EFFORTS OF DEVELOPMENT AGENCIES TO BRING MORE AND MORE PEOPLE INTO THE ECONOMIC MAINSTREAM AND TO CLOSE THE LARGE INCOME GAP AND PRESERVE DEMOCRACY.

IN A COUNTRY LIKE SOUTH AFRICA STATIST DELIVERY PROGRAMMES TO THE POOR IS VITAL. THE RIGHTS OF CITIZENS, AFTER ALL, WILL REMAIN MEANINGLESS FOR AS LONG AS THE STATE FAILS ECONOMICALLY TO INTERVENE IN THEIR LIVES. WE ARE EXPERIENCING A CRIME WAVE THAT IS INACCEPTABLY HIGH AND EXTREMELY WORRYING. WHILE WE REMAIN DEEPLY COMMITTED TO IT. RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY DESPAIR IS CREEPING IN WHETHER THIS IS THE WAY TO DEAL WITH THE HORENDONS – FURTHER PRESSURE ON DEMOCRACY.

THERE MUST FURTHERMORE BE EMPOWERMENT MEASURES WHICH WILL ENABLE ENTERPRISING BLACK YOUNG PEOPLE FROM POOR FAMILIES TO OVERCOME THE INFORMAL BUT REAL OBSTACLES BUSINESS PLACE IN THEIR WAY TO UPWARD MOBILITY. IN THIS REGARD THE EMPLOYMENT EQUITY SET IS AN EXAMPLE.

MARKET FORCES MUST CONTINUE TO CREATE WEALTH BUT THE GOVERNMENT MUST CONTINUE TO INSIST THAT THE MARKET TAKE ACTIONS TO REDRESS POVERTY. GOOD DIPLOMACY MUST EXPLAIN THIS TO THE INTERNATIONAL AGENCIES LIKE THE IMF, WORLD BANK AND THE BANKS.

 

FOREIGN MODELS OF DEVELOPMENT HAVE A DOUBLE-EDGED IMPLICATION FOR SOUTH AFRICA ON THE ONE HAND THEY SUGGEST THAT SOUTH AFRICA HAS TO LIBERALISE IF IT IS TO HAVE A CHANCE OF ATTRACTING FOREIGN CAPITAL INVESTMENT AND INCREASING PRODUCTIVITY GROWTH TRADE. SOUTH AFRICA’S COMPETITORS IN EASTERN EUROPE, SOUTH EAST ASIA AND LATIN AMERICA ARE ALREADY WELL ALONG THIS PATH. ON THE OTHER HAND, LIBERALISATION IS NOT LIKELY TO BRING QUICK GAINS. LATIN EXPERIENCE SUGGESTS THAT LIBERALISATION OFTEN WORSENS POVERTY IN THE SHORT RUN. WE HAVE TO DO THINGS AT OUR PACE IN OUR OWN WAY AND MAKING INDUSTRY ………………..MORE RATHER THAN LESS LABOUR INTENSIVE IS ONE WAY.

WE AS CIVIL SOCIETY MUST REDOUBLE OUR EFFORTS TO HELP OUR PEOPLE, ALL POOR PEOPLE TO COME TO RECOGNISE THEIR POWER. WE MUST STRENGTHEN CIVIL SOCIETY. WE MUST CREATE OUR OWN GLOBALISATION BY INTERACTING WITH CIVIL SOCIETY IN THE US AND ELSEWHERE. STRENGTHENING CIVIL SOCIETY AND CREATING JOBS ARE THE LONG TERM ANSWER TO CRIME WHICH IS A SYMBOL OF THE EXTENT TO WHICH NUMBERS OF PEOPLE HAVE BECOME ALIENATED – TOUGH ACTION NEEDED.

WE MUST STRENGTHEN THE CIVIL CONSCIOUSNESS OF CHURCHES TO TURN THEIR FAITH INTO A SOCIALLY ACTIVE ONE. CHURCHES CAN AGAIN BECOME DEVELOPMENT AGENCIES. CHURCHES CAN LOBBY THE STATE TO CREATE THE PARADIGNS WITHIN THE PROCESS OF EMPOWERMENT MAY FLOURISH. NEW ORGANISATIONS MUST BE FOUNDED LED BY THE PEOPLE BUT SERVICED BY INDEPENDENT ACADEMIES. THE RELIANCE ON THE STATE MAY FOSTER A CULTURE OF ENTITLEMENT WHILE WHAT WE NEED IS SELF-RELIANCE AND INDEPENDENCE. CIVIL SOCIETY IN SOUTH AFRICA ILLUSTRATED TANGIBLY WHAT A MIGHTY FORCE IT COULD BE. IT COULD BECOME THAT FORCE AGAIN.

WE ARE POISED ON THE CUSP OF THE NEW MILLENIUM. GREAT CHALLENGHES ARE AWAITING US. WITHOUT SOUNDING PRESUMPTIOUS I WANT TO SUGGEST THAT SOUTH AFRICA’S COMMITMENT TO DEMOCRACY AND THE FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS IS UNQUESTIONABLE. I MUST STATE HOWEVER, THAT SOCIO ECONOMIC REALITIES AS I HAVE SHOWN PUT OUR DEMOCRACY AT PERIL. THE DEMANDS ON OUR GOVERNMENT IS ULTIFAREOUS AND VARIED AND OFTEN CONTRADICTORY. EG. THE DEATH PENALTY AND STRONG ACTION. IN ORDER TO BRING THIS SYSTEM TO THE POINT OF EFFECTIVE DELIVERY AND TO IMPACT ON POVERTY EXTRA-ORDINARY STATE INTERVENTION IS INEVITABLE. WHEN AND SHOULD THIS OCCUR WE WILL LOOK TO INFORMED INTELLECTUAL LEADERSHIP ACROSS THE WORLD TO INTERPRET THIS IN THE LIGHT OF THE CHALLENGES I ADDRESSED IN MY LECTURE. SOUTH AFRICA CAN SUCCEED BECAUSE WE ARE YOUNG AND FLEXIBLE AND BECAUSE WE HAVE EXCELLENT LEADERSHIP, GOOD THOUGH LARGELY UNTRAINED PEOPLE. WE ALSO HAVE A REASONABLE RESOURCE BASE AND A GOVERNMENT ABLE, EXCITED AND KEEN TO TAKE ALL THE RIGHT MEASURES.

SHOULD SOUTH AFRICA SUCCEED IN ACHIEVING REAL DEVELOPMENT ECONOMIC IMPROVEMENT OF ALL AND GENUINE EMPOWERMENT OF THE DISADVANTAGED AND POOR WHO HAPPEN TO BE LARGELY BLACK – WE WOULD WE HOPE, BE ABLE TO SHOW THAT POVERTY CAN BE SEVERELY DIMINISHED WHEN CIVIL SOCIETY AND THE STATE WORK IN REAL PARTNERSHIP.

- PEOPLE - ORDINARY PEOPLE MUST ORGANISE THEMSELVES AND EMPOWER THEMSELVES.

A RELIANCE ON CAPITALISM OR SOCIALISM ALONE TO ADDRESS DEVELOPMENTAL CONCERNS TO IMPACT ON POVERTY HAS NEVER WORKED. THE THIRD APPROACH OF AS IT WERE PRIVATISING POVERTY CLEARLY CANNOT BEAR FRUITS EITHER BECAUSE OF THE HUGE RESOURCES REQUIRED.

WE MUST REINSTATE CIVIL SOCIETY AND ENABLE CIVIL SOCIETY TO LOBBY THE STATE AND THE PRIVATE SECTOR TO COMBINE FORCES AND MAKE POVERTY PRIORITY NUMBER ONE. CIVIL SOCIETY MUST LEAD THE PROCESS AND SHOULD WORK WITH GOVERNMENT AND BUSINESS AS A TRIANGULAR PARTNERSHIP.

ONCE WE EMPOWER ALL PEOPLE TO DISCOVER THAT DEVELOPMENT IS SOMETHING THEY SHOULD AND COULD DO FOR THEMSELVES, WE WILL BEGIN TO MOVE TOWARDS A BETTER RESOLUTION. TO MAKE PEOPLE WHOLY DEPENDENT ON GOVERNMENT OR BUSINESS BRINGS TEMPORARY RELIEF, BUT IS ANTI-DEVELOPMENT BECAUSE OF THE CULTURE OF DEPENDENCY AND ENTITLEMENT IT CREATES AND THE SENSE PEOPLE GET THAT OTHERS SHOULD SOLVE THEIR PROBLEMS FOR THEM. THIS WAS THE SINGLE BIGGEST FAILING OF LENINIST-MARXISM AND CERTAINLY ALSO LIES AT THE CORE OF FREEMARKET FAILURE.

WE THE ORDINARY CITIZENS MUST COME TO A RECOGNITION THAT WE ARE OUR BROTHER’S KEEPER AND THAT DEVELOPMENT WITHOUT REAL EMPOWERMENT IS DEAD. THE STATE AND BUSINESS MUST PLAY A VERY IMPORTANT PART, BUT THE PARTNERSHIP OF PEOPLE IS THE VITAL MISSING LINK.

IF WE VALUE DEMOCRACY WE MUST NOT ONLY PROTECT AND NURTURE IT, BUT WE MUST JOIN HANDS WITH THE GOVERNMENT AND BUSINESSES TO COMBAT HUGE SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC ELEMENTS WHICH TEND TO THREATEN OUR DEMOCRACY AND COMMITMENT TO FREE MARKET AND A LONG TERM REDUCTION RATHER THAN INCREASE OF GOVERNMENT. WE MUST PURSHADE TRENDS LIKE THE US THAT WE SIMPLY CANNOT ADOPT THEIR STRATEGIES AND POLICIES. WE MUST BE ALLOWED TO ACCEPT THE SUPPORT OF OUR FRIENDS IN OUR OWN WAY AND MEET OUR CHALLENGES INDEPENDENTLY.

CLOSE:

I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT A GENERATION THAT GAVE US THE MICRO-CHIP CANNOT BEAT POVERTY THROUGH DEVELOPMENT.

 

 

THE ROLE OF COOPERATIVES IN POVERTY REDUCTION

 

1. Introduction

Consider the following situations:

A- A destitute is begging for alms at a public park to buy food from a nearby

food stand.

B- A young university-trained professional lost her job a few months ago and her bills are mounting because she is still unemployed.

C- An investor is unable to pay his children’s school fees this semester because his expected earnings from investments did not materialize.

D- A millionaire needs to take tranquilizers every night because he cannot sleep without them. Which of these four people would you consider poor? A is both income-poor and

socially deprived. B may not be socially deprived, being well educated but she is income-poor, being out of employment. C is cash-poor, but only for a short time because he can convert his investments into cash if necessary. D is not poor by any material standards, but he is spirit-poor because money cannot buy him a sound sleep! In general, a discussion of poverty as a socio-economic issue is limited mainly to the situations covered in A and B above. But cooperatives that pride themselves as “enterprises with a soul”1 will target all 4 cases!

The definition and measurement of poverty can be quite elusive. It varies from place to place and from time to time.

 

The World Bank has listed the following as faces of poverty:

Hunger, lack of shelter

Being sick and not being able to see a doctor

Not being able to go to school and not knowing how to read

Not having a job

Fear for the future, living one day at a time

Living in an unhealthy environment

Powerlessness, lack of representation and freedom

 

2

The UNDP devoted its Human Development Report 1997 to “Human Development to reduce or eradicate Poverty.” In that report, poverty is classified into “poverty of income”and “poverty from a human development perspective- denial of choices and opportunities for living a tolerable life.”The UNDP’s “balance sheet” of poverty by the year 2005 includes the following disturbing statistics:

_

 More than one quarter of the population of the developing world still lives in poverty as measured by the Human Poverty Index, HPI. For example, 35 of the 78 developing countries covered by the report have an HPI in excess of 33%. About 1.3 billion people live on incomes of less than US$1 a day. Nearly a billion are illiterate. Well over a billion lack access to safe water. Some 840 million people lack food security. Life expectancy for a third of the people in the least developing countries is under age 40. _ In Latin America and the Caribbean, income poverty is more pervasive than human poverty and it continues to grow. In other words, high unemployment has reduced highly educated people to poverty. So, even though the HPI of the region is 15%, the income poverty level is still 24%. _ Children, women and the aged are the most vulnerable groups affected by poverty. An ILO report has suggested that young people, mostly less than 21 years of age, are responsible for a disproportionate share of crime and violence, including murder, in Caribbean societies. It is clear from the foregoing that poverty may never go away. That is why strategies have changed from “poverty eradication” (which is impossible) to “poverty reduction or alleviation.”

 

In this paper, I am presenting the strategies recommended by UN organizations and other international agencies for poverty reduction or alleviation and suggest the role that cooperatives could play.

 

2. Strategies for Poverty Reduction or Alleviation

The UNDP report under reference recognizes that strategies would differ from country to country. Nevertheless, it proposed the following six priorities for global action on poverty alleviation5:

 

(a) Start with empowering women and men to participate in decisions that affect their lives and that enable them to build their strengths and assets.

 

(b) Gender equality is essential for empowering women and for minimizing poverty.

 

(c) Sustained poverty reduction requires pro-poor growth in all countries.

 

(d) Globalization offers great opportunities, but only if it is managed more carefully and with more concern for global equity.

 

(e) The state must provide an enabling environment for broad-based political support and alliances for pro-poor policies and markets.

 

(f) Special international support is needed for special situations, such as to open agricultural markets for the exports from poor countries.

 

3. The Role of Nigeria Government

I strongly believe that our government can contribute a great deal to poverty  reduction or alleviation. What they can do in the six priority areas listed by the UNDP are:

(a) Empowerment of men and women

This strategy entails the following:

 

_ Political commitment to securing and protecting the political, economic, social and civil rights of poor people;

_ Policy reforms and actions to enable poor people to gain access to assets so as to make them less vulnerable;

_ Education and health care for all, including safe water and sanitation;

_ Social safety nets to prevent people from falling into destitution or to rescue them from disaster.

 

PROBLEMS OF POVERTY REDUCTION ACHIEVEMENT

 

A major contributor to worsening poverty in developing countries is corruption of leaders and officials in both the public and private sectors, due largely to the weak institutional infrastructure for promoting accountability. Consequently, budgets for poverty reduction could be diverted into wrong hands. A related development is that the greater part of foreign aid or investment may go back to the donors by way of expatriate technical assistance personnel and equipment.

 

 

Poverty reduction  through job creation has become a top priority of the our goverment. A global programme is being developed that will focus on the promotion of the most employment-intensive types of by our government through a mixture of policy advice and operational activities in the field.

 

SUMMARY

 

JOB CREATION & INCOME EMPOWERMENT

 

Nigerian government has instituted a programme to ensure there is work for all in the year 2011.

 

Some of this programme is what we are presently seeing ,such as:

 

(i) individuals and Banks establishing more micro-finance banks to create more jobs

 

(ii) provision of credit facilities through the micro finance banks to artisans etc to start their own business.

 

(iii) Government providing loans to individuals through NAPEP

 

(iv) State Government creating various establishment and ministries to ensure employment. Such as Lagos state, Ogun State, Oyo, Osun State and even the Federal Government.