BALLITO, SOUTH AFRICA
2014 IS OVER; plenty happened around the world this year – the worst Ebola outbreak in history, the rise of the vicious ISIS, the FIFA Football World Cup in Brazil, the mysterious disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines passenger aircraft, South Africa’s national elections, Obama’s humiliating defeat at the U.S. mid-term elections and much more. These are the events that will remind us all of the turbulent 2014.
Other than all these events, what I will remember the most, is the time I sat down for drinks with Leon Louw, the Chief Executive Director of the Free Market Foundation South Africa (FMF), a columnist at Business Day, and author of South Africa: The Solution.
After a very lively engagement with the speaker at one of FMF’s evening events, Leon invited me for a drink. We spoke about how I could actively be involved in the organization. He briefed me about various projects within the FMF.
His intent was to find out about my interests, and how these interests could be utilized at Free Market Foundation. He was happy to see that I’m passionate about the world of economics and politics; and that I like to write about issues related to these fields. He browsed my blog, phumlanimajozi.wordpress.com, to see what I write about – which made me very happy.
We spoke a lot about Thomas Sowell, the legendary American economist, who has written many intelligent, best-selling books over the past thirty years.
Sowell is Louw’s icon, he admires his work greatly. So he was excited to know that I do have a clue who Sowell is, and that I am familiar with his views.
The conversation went beyond Sowell; we also talked about Milton Friedman, Walter E. Williams and other advocates of civil liberties who shaped the course of free-market thinking in the 20th and 21st century.
When I met Leon, I had already decided to commit myself to free-market thinking; to writing about issues related to economics and politics. This was fueled by a dream that came in the morning of July 23 in Johannesburg.
In that dream, I run into Miss Khuzwayo who was my teacher when I was 8-9 years old. She says to me, “You have just written about the poor, please change that article”.
While we are discussing this, I see my brother’s girlfriend and her friend across the street; I call them, greet them and shake their hands, while my teacher waited.
After the quick chat with the girls, I continue with the teacher. As we walk towards a building, I tell her that we do not change the original articles, we rather write a follow-up, use the same title and note that it is part two, to show that it is a newer version. She says “Ok”.
We enter a building, she takes me into a make-up room, and tells her staff to do make-up on me. I sit on the couch and wait since there are other people being worked on. As I’m sitting on the couch, the dream ends.
I woke up and wrote all the details on my phone, because I believed this dream meant something. Ever since, I have pursued the dream. But to be frank, I have no idea where it will take me to; only my God knows.
To pursue this dream at Free Market Foundation South Africa and help advance economic freedom is something that will benefit the whole South Africa; and to an extent the whole of Africa.
This continent faces many many challenges. Many amongst Africa’s intelligentsia blame colonialism for Africa’s economic ills; while others blame the content’s despotic regimes that amass wealth at the expense of the poor. It’s a fierce debate.
I support FMF’s views and proposed solutions to Africa’s problems. What we need is a free market economy, free of government interventions. The desperate dictators over the past fifty years never gave free markets a chance to flourish. Unfortunately we have benefitted almost nothing from this – poverty persists.
There are many other organizations with the similar objective – to advance economic freedom and help elevate the lives of the poor. Among those I know, are African Students for Liberty, African Liberty and Institute of Race Relations.
Africa is among the world’s poorest regions. Many African countries were liberated at least fifty years ago. Instead of pursuing capitalism, democracy and uphold human rights; its leaders chose to suppress free speech, the rights of women, the rights of children and so on. I have sad this repeatedly on my blog posts. In all these circumstances, there was no way the free market could prevail. Government-sponsored corruption became rife.
Almost all of the world’s wealthiest countries are democratic free market economies that largely respect and uphold human rights. There is a strong positive correlation between economic freedom and prosperity. The countries that have entirely rejected economic freedom and democracy are worst off; at least the data suggests so.
Freedom to choose – to choose your child’s school, to choose which hospital to go to, to choose who to trade with, should not be solely the luxury of the rich and high-income families, low-income families and the poor deserve this freedom too.
Socialist thinking does not, by any chance, recognize the necessity of individual freedom for the poor; but, in my opinion, it does grant freedom for the political elite.
The idea is that the politically powerful will fairly provide all the services and goods to the poor. They set the rules on how we should live our lives – which I always find insolent and condescending. Its economic outcomes are always a catastrophe that again, hurt the poor.
In 2015, I will pursue my dream – which is to fight for the freedom of the poor, to regularly write about how capitalism will help eliminate abject poverty in Africa, to attend debates and argue for a free democratic Africa.
This dream will come true, only and only if, I remain at Free Market Foundation South Africa; and work along with other free-market think tanks to advance civil liberties. Initially,
I was warned by friends to watch myself; because many people hate the Free Market Foundation in South Africa. I do not care. I will not cave on my principles and ideals just because the majority of South Africans, who are always misled by politicians, dislike the FMF. I will not cave and let the ultra-left-wing political elite brainwash the poor in order to strengthen their election campaigns. I hope you will not too. PM
© PHUMLANI M. MAJOZI