Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The Ten Commandments for Developing Countries

Kishore Mahbubani, former Singapore ambassador to the UN, offered valuable advise to the developing world. Third-worldists for years screamed neo-colonialism and neo-imperialism; however the problems are often much closer at home. Kishore Mahbubani came up with Ten Commandments for Developing Countries – development economic in a nutshell. I will refer to these golden rules often in my blog.

I. Thou shalt blame only thyself for thy failures in development. Blaming imperialism, colonialism, and neo-imperialism is a convenient excuse to avoid self-examination.

II. Thou shalt acknowledge that corruption is the single most important cause of failures in development. Developed countries are not free from corruption, but with their affluences they can afford to indulge in saving and loan scandals.

III. Thou shalt not subsidize any product, nor punish the farmer in order to favor the city dweller. High prices are the only effective signal to increase production. If there are food riots, thou shalt resign from office.

IV. Thou shalt abandon state control for free markets. Thou shalt have faith in thine own population. An alive and productive population naturally causes development.

V. Thou shalt borrow no more. Thou shalt get foreign investment that pays for itself. Thou shalt build only the infrastructure that is needed and create no white elephants or railways that end in the deserts. Thou shalt accept no aid that is intended only to subsidize ailing industries in developed countries.

VI. Thou shalt not reinvent the wheel. Millions of people have gone through the path of development. Take the well-traveled roads. Be not prisoners of dead ideologies.

VII. Thou shalt scrub the ideas of Karl Marx out of thy mind and replace them with ideas of Adam Smith. The Germans have made their choice. Thou shalt follow suit.

VIII. Thou shalt be humble when developing and not lecture the developed world on their sins. They listened politely in the 1960s and 1970s. they no longer will in the 1990s. [still relevant in 2000s]

IX. Thou shalt abandon all North-South forums, which only encourage hypocritical speeches and token gestures. Thou shalt remember that countries that have received the greatest amount of aid per capita have failed most spectacularly in development. Thou shalt throw out all theories of development.

X. Thou shalt not abandon hope. People are the same the world over. What Europe achieved yesterday, the developing world will achieve tomorrow. It can be done.
Doctor Mahbubani is a Singaporean and an expert on development economic, a country that in a few decades move from abject poverty to incredible prosperity. A country that defies the ideology of third-worldism. Singapore has absolutely no natural relsource, it even has to import fresh water. It has no place for waste and sewage, it has to pay Malaysia for sewage and waste service. It is behoved us to listen to Doctor Mahbubani.


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Let's hope Mahbubani proves to be prescient. The amazon link doesn't work (amazon search links typically are not permanent links) perhaps this one will.

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Blogger MaxedOutMama said...

I can only wish that Justice Stevens of the Supreme Court subscribed to these principles; the Kelo V New London decision violates them to an extreme degree.

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