The Road to Riches
Prosperity is inversely related to war. This is attributed to the fact that in a country that is undergoing war, there are no structures of development that are in existence. The citizens in a country on war focus on survival, and investing in the future is not a priority. Bates takes a case study of Uganda and the manner in which proliferation of arms inhibited it from developing (Bates 32). Children were taught survival tactics of the war and not the future investments for prosperity. Thus, in an economy that is affected by war, prosperity is rare, because there is no development initiated by people.
Another reason why development stagnates is weak institutions. In the case of countries that were colonized, institutions were adopted from developed countries and their structures were implemented on developing countries. This subsequently led to mismatches, and development could not be achieved. In addition, absolute power that most of the rulers want in Africa has led to varied economic policies in different countries; thus, prosperity is realized at levels that are not equally the same.
Governance in African countries is the facilitator of economic development. Bates was correct in suggesting that development can only be a product of a stable government. For instance, Uganda, which is a country under military rule, has developed in rates that are slower than Kenya, a country that has a democratic type of governance. This attributed to Ugandas facing instability due to the violence resulting from small arms that has proliferated the country. On the other hand, Kenya, a neighboring African country, has democratic governance that has seen the country develop policies that have stabilized the country. Kenya has experienced numerous foreign direct investments and has a thriving economy as compared to Uganda.
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African countries that have unstable economic policies undermine business environments. This is because factors that facilitate the establishment of businesses and their sustenance are unavailable. For instance, credit facilities that support business initiatives are usually unavailable in war torn countries. Entrepreneurs are likely not to be attracted into such environments due to high risks from war that their businesses will be exposed to. The instability in countries that are undergoing war results in consumption of what is available and strategies for long-term development are shelved.
Change is necessary for development to occur. Prosperity is initiated by the need to have change and is affected in the running of businesses and other economic activities. Willingness to pursue change is a prerequisite for change and innovation (The Economist 1999). This is evident when industrialization took place.
Conversely, in the case of countries that have stable governments, people strategize for future prosperity and initiate development projects. Privatized violence is an obstacle to development. Though stability needs other factors that can facilitate development and prosperity, it is a necessity for stable macroeconomic policies that businesses require to thrive. Uganda is a country that has been experiencing civil wars in some parts of the state. The regions in the country that are peaceful and stable have established economic growth and have local and foreign investors. The parts of the country that are under LRA are underdeveloped, and impoverished homes are dominantly visible. However, prosperity is limited and checked by Uganda government in all regions of the country. Similarly, in ancient Europe, places such as Rome, which experienced development based on accumulation and innovation through knowledge discovery by scientists, were checked and led to stagnating growth after a period of growth (The Economist 1999).
Countries that have achieved success use the ideology of development and prosperity in research and scientific innovations. Development is scientific and does not include social science of politics, economics, and sociology. Scientists that created development treat all countries as equals despite their social and political diversity. Countries such as Mexico that have implemented development through the evolution of scientific knowledge have subsequently stagnated in growth. Evidently, as Bates emphasizes, prosperity is supported by a peaceful atmosphere that enhances business environment through policies that attract investments. Solidarity in a countrys economy is pertinent to harness progress and prosperity. The author emphasizes the integration of civil society and governments in plans to reduce poverty. This will provide home-grown solutions that are intrinsic in combating poverty in a country.
However, other countries that used their own ideology of development have achieved success through the governance of their different states. These are China and Asian countries; China has stable macroeconmic policies enacted by the government, which enhances investements. Moreover, the government in China is solely responsible for the allocation of capital in the country. The influence of domestic market as well as external credit inflows in the country is minimal. Thus, the governement of China provides a stable environment as it is the major influence in financial matters.
Having unlimited resources and time, Bates hypothesis on riches can be tested by studying countries. For example, Rwanda is a country in Africa that has undergone civil violence and upheavals that destroyed most of the businesses in the country. However, with time, the country has been able to stabilize and attract foreign direct investement in the country. The stable macroeconomic policies and peaceful enviroenement have been able to faciliatate the countrys path to prosperity.
Pragmatic use of other ideologies that are dynamic and flexible can cause a country to achieve success rather than being limited by international bodies and countries that are developed. Poor countries build up solutions to problems by assessing how the problems are affecting them as particular countries. Consequently, they draw solutions that are custom-based to the dynamics of their individual problems. This can only occur when there is peace and stability in countries.
Predictions that can be made concerning prosperity are that these countries will accumulate more knowledge in scientific evolution and become innovative. Europe implemented imperialism rule and unfair trade practices that favored them whilst terming the Eastern countries as uncivilized. However, western domination over Asia came to a halt with the end of World War II in the 20th century. Conversely, the 21st century has witnessed the rising of China and Asian countries as global economic giants. This trend has been sustained through the policies of countries in the East, which are different from strategies that western countries used to advance during the Industrial Revolution. In addition, restrictive policies that limited Asians and Chinese from discovery and innovation through scientific accumulation of knowledge have been changed; majority of the populations in countries in the East have engaged intensively in education; thus, the new prosperity that is evident globally was achieved.
In conclusion, strong institutions are necessary for the development and prosperity of a country. Knowledge is a cumulative and facilitates innovation. This leads to technological advancement and industrialization. However, the other inhibitors of prosperity are government that place policies that discourage innovation and advancement in scientific or technological advancement. These restrictive policies limit progress and make it stagnate. Prosperity measures that are performed in different regions need various approaches in applying them. The development initiatives that were applied in the developed countries may not have the same results when applied in developing nations. Poor countries build up solutions to problems by assessing how the problems affect them as particular countries, and this will facilitate prosperity in peaceful environments that are not prone to war.