The brutal rejection of capitalism in favor of socialism by African politicians at independence was largely due to a deep-seated misconception that equates capitalism to colonialism. In fact, according to Lenin, capitalism was the extension of colonialism and imperialism. For this reason, African leaders at the time of independence didn’t want anything to do with capitalism. Nkrumah said, for example, “We need socialism to fight off the imperialists.” Nyere said: “Capitalism encourages individual acquisitiveness and competition. We don’t want that. We need socialism.” This led African leaders to adopt the socialist ideology of Marxism. By that they mean complete ownership of all the means of production by the state. In the end, the socialist experiment was economic failure.
Insanity is said to be the inability to correlate causes and effects. Wherever Marxism/socialism has been practiced, it has meant slavery and death for the majority. It’s no surprise that Marxism failed in Africa just as it has done in many other nations. Throughout history, there has been a lot of evidence showing that capitalism works and socialism is a failure. The results of socialism are poverty and tyranny. Despite all these failures and atrocities committed under national socialism by Marxist dictators, there is a majority that still believes socialism is the way to African social and economic prosperity. The truth is that socialism is not about economics. Socialism is about competition for political power that results in the destruction of wealth and prosperity.
Unfortunately, Africa currently is largely under the influence of Marxism because of the political ideologies of its founding fathers, learned from anticapitalist intellectuals in the West, especially in the United States. As I am writing this article, many African nations are starving and deeply in debt as a result of the socialist programs that have been pursued by their governments. According to the World Bank, 416 million Africans still live in extreme poverty, 210 million of whom are in fragile and conflict-affected countries. African development partners continue to think the solution to these challenges is more political than economic, so they keep on pouring money to support big government programs in Africa as a way of reducing poverty and social injustice. The only real solution to Africa’s long-standing challenges is economic freedom. Africa needs less and less government control and more capitalistic control of the economy. This will make competition for political power unattractive and give people more freedom to exercise their right to individual initiatives, which is the only way to peace and prosperity.
The most destructive form of slavery isn’t Islamic slavery… even though it harms millions, to this day.
It certainly isn’t slavery to white colonial corporations: that has been dead for decades now.
When Africa turns it’s back on Marx – finally – then at the very least the people will be free to grow and earn their own bread, without massive theft of what they have earned. I am rather confident that there will be a great surge upward in wealth, just as it was in China and India and Eastern Europe when the people gained a useful measure of economic freedom.