Sunday, October 23, 2005

A "warped up Scottish economist"?

Hilak K. Sued in the Guardian, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (ippmedia on-line edition) 23 October 2005, writes an opinion piece on the election campaign underway that shows large discrepancies between the election funding of the governing party and the opposition:

“It’s a context between riches and poverty” (see full article : http://www.ippmedia.com/ipp/observer/2005/10/23/52479.html)

In the article Hilak K. Sued brings Adam Smith into the story:

“Tanzania, they will never meet if the ongoing one-sided monetary fling is any indication. Every one can see that the ongoing contest is not between huge rally crowds and tiny crowds, between helicopters and motorcycles, or cheers and jeers. It’s between riches and poverty.

And didn’t that warped up Scottish economist, Adam Smith, say in his masterpiece Wealth of Nations, that ’With the great part of rich people, the chief employment of riches consists in the parade of riches?’ What Tanzanians are witnessing in campaign spending could claim a place in the Guinness Book of Records. We are slowly entering the big league.

At no other time in Tanzania’s history has so much money gone into circulation in such a short time.

Nobody will ever know the exact amount, but it should raise the country’s inflation rate a few percentage points.”

I hope Hilak K. Sued realises that Smith’s critical comments on the how the rich behaved were meant to be disparaging, not condoning, their behaviour.

What the author means by ‘that warped up Scottish economist, Adam Smith’ is not at all clear, though I am pleased to note that he reminds readers of the distinctive identity of Scotland (which is a step up from foreigners confusing England with Scotland) and that Adam Smith wrote “The Wealth of Nations”.

Of the rest of the article on electoral practices in Tanzania, I have nothing to say, except, perhaps it beats regimes that bludgeon demonstrators to death, run phoney elections with 99 per cent voting for government candidates and use brutal starvation policies to punish opposition voting areas.

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