To Inspire the future generation on the prospects of globalisation and sustainability among the commons

The move by the Ugandan government to sell 7,000 hectares of Mabira Forest to an Indian owned sugar company was met with a stiff resistance from the society who saw it as enclosure of the commons. several Ugandans turned to the street to show their anger to the government decision which resulted in the death of three protesters who wanted to preserve a 1937 legacy that has been passed to them by the ancestors, who also want to either maintain or to improve its quality for the future generation than to sell it to a foreign company lost their lives.

The government considered the economic growth to be paramount to the quality of life of its citizens. What criteria are considered to guide development policies by government? Should economic growth alienate the preservation of the common property? This question exposes the trade-offs between quality of life and economic growth.

The issue is should development be seen as economic in terms of  expansion of annual growth of per capita income to the deprivation of  the growth of people’s quality of life. Whilst economic growth is pertinent component to development, sustainable economic growth is believed to be deeply associated with the growth in health, education and social life. Studies have proven that there is no automatic connection between high GDP per capita and the ability of the people to flourish. The table below will illustrate the link between GDP and some dimension of human development such political freedom, health and education.

Human development indicators

Saudi Arabia Uruguay Russia Costa Rica Vietnam Morocco
GDP per capita (PPPUS$) 15,711 9,962 10,845 9,481 3,071 4,555
Adult literacy rate (%) 82.9 96.8 99.4 94.9 90.3 52.3
Female literacy rate (%) 76.3 97.3 99.2 95.1 86.9 39.6
Life expectancy (years) 72.2 75.9 65 78.5 73.7 70.4
Under 5 mortality (0/00) 26 15 18 12 19 40
Political right civil liberties 7/6 1/1 6/5 1/1 7/5 5/4
Human Development Index 0.812 0.852 0.802 0.846 0.733 0.646

 www.freedomhouse.org

The above table reiterate how high DDP per capita does not automatically support human development. The Ugandan government should consider the plight of its people before any move to relieve the land has been reach. The common property can only be preserved or be improve than to destroy or reduce its quality.

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The documentary argues in favour of globalisation with the economic outcomes of Taiwan, Vietnam and Kenya illustrating their acceptance of globalisation. Johan Norberg presented three key points (free market, property/land right and bureaucracy/tariffs) to substantiate his perception which is conversely believed to be both illusory and to call for criticisms.

The documentary was not professionally made as it lacks any profound clarification of under/development and the sample taken was insignificant (three countries). From a perception sympathetic to capitalism, Norberg mostly focused on development through democracy and capitalism rather than globalisation and was biased in condemning the cause of the anti-globalisation campaigners without considering their plight: that globalisation has overwhelmingly deviated from its purpose such as better universal livings standards and equal access to global market. Globalisation itself is not corrupt; however its administration has caused disparities allowing some to benefit at the expense of others.
Free market as an enhancement of growth and alleviation of poverty by Norberg was argued against by Peter Mwangi who produces wheat at a loss in Kenya because he cannot compete with the highly subsidised imported American wheat.
Property/land right as an impediment towards Kenya’s development is contested; land can be acquired with money says a Kenyan market trader.
Bureaucracy is believed to be significant in Kenya’s economic stasis; however, the international community’s harsh tariff is a major setback for Kenya’s development; if a low tariff of few vegetables and flowers is extended to all local produce, Kenya’s economy will improve.
Norberg uncritically compared Taiwan and Kenya and gave credence to their grip of globalisation; he did not consider the government support in Taiwan which is absent in Kenya. Regarding the capacity for development in both countries, Kenya has a bigger population than Taiwan, but yet the Taiwan government is richer than Kenya. Kenya’s embracement of the structural adjustment programme has rather held back their progress instead of improving it. Globalisation is good, yet it cannot be seen as the only means for development.

Nana Banyin

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