Feb 3rd 2002

The terrible mess thats Enron is not just an American phenomenon, but one of the reasons why the economies of the third world have continued to suffer. For a long period of time now, there has been a kind of stereotype associated with the less vibrant economies of the world -the so called under-developed countries--that they were somehow unable to manage themselves. You'd hear someone in Europe for example say "we have been out of Africa for a long time now, why are you still lagging behind?" The obvious European answer would be--"The Africans are just incapable of managing themselves".Well, maybe not. The Europeans are still very much inside Africa with their multinational corporations, virtually blackmailing the African regimes into making policies favourable to them, and not the general African public. Regimes that seem opposed to their tactics are often toppled or made to appear "undemocratic". So the problems in Africa are not due to the fact that Africans are inherently unable to manage themselves, but that we are still very much colonized economically by these big multinational corporations from the west. Africa needs to get itself fully independent from these corporations and adopt policies that enhance African goals and values rather than just become mouthpieces for European corporations. That is the only way real development can be achieved.

Recent events in the American political scene have opened the eyes of the rest of the world to the fact that America, with all its technological achievements, is indeed just like the rest of us. The Enron debacle is one such case. That America's success is not so much attributed to being some sort of superior beings but just a system of better laws that are strictly enforced. The laws may not necessarily be superior, but they are strictly enforced. In addition to that, there has been a long standing American tradition that promotes dialogue over sensitive issues before they become law. The person who comes out with the best views and articulates them to the best satisfaction of the public, usually gets elected. In other words, there was a time when one's rise to the top was all about winning voters over with ones ideas. Well nowadays America seems to be following the third world countries' formula where you buy voters. Your word is only as good as your bank account. Corporations are pumping serious dollars into politics dilluting the entire political arena. Nobody wants to hear what Ralph Nader, or Alan Keyes have to say because they dont have the backing of some Enron somewhere. So the corporations end up filling up Congress with their agents who quite frankly don't care about the public wishes, but instead look out for their employers.

Politics need to go back to its roots, where a poor, smart and articulate farm boy from say Louisiana could climb his way to the White House, on his policies' merits. This is what set America apart from the rest of the world, but I'm sorry to say that America is steadily losing that trait. It is for this reason that the McCain-Feingold Bill needs to be seriously considered as it might end up rescuing this falling great nation. There's nothing wrong with big business. Just let it stop buying its way into politics. America needs to revert to its good old politics and Africa needs to borrow from that.

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