Friday, November 29, 2013
A MANIFESTO FOR THE SIMPLE LIFE 2
In a previous article we discussed the life of a neo-socialist as a simple life. As we reflect on these ideals let us see the life of Mahatma Ghandi (the great soul) as a prototype of a truly simple life. He lived like all socialists aspire to do - he lived a frugal, austere and almost ascetic lifestyle.
Among the core beliefs of a neo-socialist, we had elaborated on :
1. All men are created equal
2. Society advances through conflict
3. Robust debates and credible elections are the only guarantee against revolutions
That man must aspire to such ideals as credible elections and robust debates is a sine qua non. Or else he must live with an ever present reality of impending revolution. All neo socialists hold these truths to be immutable. This philosophy hinges on the premise that all opinions are valid in their own way and so every perspective must be explored. He who thinks in a purely capitalist mode should not see He who operates on a Socialist frequency as a rebel, disrespectful and as an enemy of state. If the greater good of society is our concern there has to be a middle ground! Compromise at some point pays in the long run. Being uncompromising is the father of breakaways. We must shift a little to the left and a little to the right, mixing a little capitalism with a sprinkle of socialism. Indeed we can develop a new way of doing things through debate - one we can truly call the Nigerian Way!
In the world of science as in the world at large advancement is through debate. The hotter the debate the quicker progress cooks up. The fiercer the debate the more passionate the debaters are for change. Any culture where superior argument wins, builds a superior society! Any sector where higher logic is appreciated and employed always experiences higher output! Any election conducted without recourse to open debates on issues and ideas is selection. Every voter who casts a ballot on the ground of superior argument is on solid ground. All neo socialists know that without these things we must all live in fear of an implosion and a revolution. A fear that may be unfounded but a paralyzing fear still.
4. Privatize cautiously
It has been the opinion of neo socialists all over the world that the trade unions and professional groups must have a say in the privatization process. A certain 30 % share in all privatized entities must be left for the labor movements who have slaved over the years to keep a semblance of service running. A mere severance package makes it look like the new investor is more Nigerian than they are. It makes them feel like second class citizens in their own nation. And no human can keep such feelings bottled up for long. It will boil over soon.
Some sectors of a nations economy shouldn't be 100 percent privatized according to a socialists view point. Health and Education should have a whole lot of Government input. Aviation and shipping should also have huge government financing. The petrochemical and mining industry should never be fully privatized. A purely capitalist model says Government has no business doing business. A socialist model says there can be no big businesses without big government involvement.
5. Educate basic and primary school pupils freely and make it compulsory
Obafemi Awolowo remains Nigeria's foremost socialist thinking leader. His aggressive pursuit of free education remains a reference point amongst his people. Pure capitalists will say you can't appreciate an education you don't pay for. History reveals that view is false. A neo socialist knows that a society's value is seen in how it treats its most vulnerable - in this case basic and primary school pupils. A society that cannot guarantee them a free education and even make it compulsory must have a hard time proving it has any values worth emulating.
6. Subsidize critical sectors of the economy
A total and complete removal of subsidies is to be abhorred. Even our currency value can and should be subsidized. Education and health should be subsidized. Agriculture should also enjoy huge subsidies. In a socialists mind cattle rearers are entitled to some form of relief same applies to cash crop farmers. Government silos are a socialists pride. Grains bought from farmers to prevent rot are stored in their several billions of metric tonnes and sold directly to the open market to eliminate middle men. Middle men are the reason your food stuff are so expensive. They buy them at ridiculously low rates from the village farmers and sell it to the urban dweller at shylock rates
7. Price regulation boards
The idea of allowing prices to be fixed arbitrarily by market forces of demand and supply is purely a capitalist idea. That's why as christmas approaches stock that have been in a shop since october will suddenly start selling for twice the price! Foodstuff will also have their prices almost tripled. A neo socialist would argue that there should be a price ceiling beyond which prices must never be allowed to go!
8. Health sector
Obamacare is the reason President Barrack Obama has been labbelled a socialist. This is because he believes and I do too, that the few rich should pay more health insurance than the many poor. He insists like I do, that the few rich must be interested in the inablility of the many poor to pay hospital bills and get quality health care. Of course the few rich folks kicked against obamacare. They couldn't see why they should pay more. Health insurance in a Pay Insurance As You Earn system. That is in simple terms what led to the government shut down. These rich people lobbyed congress not to pass the budget until funding for Obamacare ICT staff and all that was scrapped from the bugdet.
9. Effective Taxation
Property taxes ought to be imposed in such a way that if I own huge sprawling estates around the country I should be conscientious enough to pay reasonable tax to the government so that access roads can be maintained, power systems can be installed and guaranteed and water systems can also be networked through town to my facilities. Also, heavy taxes ought to be placed on luxury items and all such items tha can be produced in our country! So that if you want to use imported tooth pick you would be ready to pay like 500% more than what a locally manufactured toothpick would cost! Tax evasion should be discouraged and reduced to a barest minimum.
10. Reward systems should reflect manhours
Professions in which the professionals spend long hours at work should as a matter of natural justice earn more. So that if you're at work for 24 hours multiplied by 7 days in a week, it is a call to anarchy for you to earn anything close to one who works 8 - 4 pm! People should be payed per hour!
Punishment should also reflect the long hours that must have been put into planning the crime! A corrupt official who must have spent long hours of government time during which he was meant to be doing government work, planning to steal government money should face capital punishment!
In the same vein any person or group of persons who must have spent hours cooking up stories and coming up with slogans that would incite people to violence, once any live is lost in the ensuing violence, the speaker of such hateful or inciteful speech should be locked away for life.
Any action that is detrimental to society must be fought to a standstill by strong deterrant measures that send a strong message to the world... We are a decent people and acts inimical to societal wellbeing are unacceptable in our refined culture.
Iroko Obasi ND