Out of the Rabble: Ending the global economic crisis

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Gracious Madondo

“Out of the Rabble” is a book that gives a comprehensive insight into the economic position of Zimbabwe, Africa and the world, offering solutions to world economic challenges and emulating how China developed itself into a global powerhouse.   

As noted by the author David Chiweza, the book is based on an economic prediction he made in 2000 when he foresaw a global recession that would be difficult to come out of, therefore, demanding a new understanding and answers to overcome the economic meltdown.

Chiweza is a businessman, who holds a Master’s Degree in Strategic Management from the University of Derby.

Chiweza has a diplomatic experience in China and he worked in the military at a senior management level as well as the private sector.

“Out of the Rabble” starts with an analysis of the Zimbabwean economic situation today. Tracing it from the years Zimbabwe was “the African Jewel” when its economy was stable and in the same development league with countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and Kenya.

The book proffers ways of ending the global crisis by understanding the Zimbabwean experience and traces the country’s economic collapse. Chiweza cites the closure of industries as the country’s major economic drawback, as it led to unemployment, budget deficits, and financial and bank crises.

The land reform programme is cited as one of the major causes of the country’s economic downfall. According to the author, the 2000 land reform programme led by former President Robert Gabriel Mugabe did more harm than good, as it reduced the country’s food production levels.

“While Zimbabwe’s social and political upheavals never registered as anything more than tyranny, the world can be better enlightened to close ranks to deal with global governance. It has become clear that Zimbabwe’s political crisis would not have occurred had economic conditions remained stable. Similarly, as anger rises over austerity measures in the West, Zimbabwe’ case study presents lessons from a crisis that results from declining performance, something that the West is now experiencing”.     

In the case of Zimbabwe, Chiweza also points to how the 1990s economic structural adjustment programme was responsible for the vibrant structure of the economy.

Chiweza links the country’s 1992-1998 Economic Structural Adjustment Programmes to the country’s economic meltdown. The major effect being the flooding of the markets with Western goods, creating problems for locally produced goods.

The author argues that the economic structural adjustment programme needs to be revised and he proposes the five factors of production that needs to be harnessed to work harmoniously to increase production and boost economies.

These factors are land, labour, capital, entrepreneurship and markets. Chiweza states that these factors need to be elevated to national security status, as they form the basis of any economy. He says that countries across the globe need to emulate China on harnessing these five production and economic factors in its game plan to create a sustainable economy.

“The Chinese government worked to provide all the five factors of production. It demonstrates the political will of the government and a nation to make sacrifices.”

Chiweza further asserts that building an economy is an effort that requires strategic planning and paying attention to economic researchers and analysts just as the Chinese did.

“The Chinese government had a plan. It was this rational plan, not the populist that lifted China. She developed a shared economic thesis, and the stability of the Chinese government ensured that the plan would be executed.”

Chiweza clearly points out that although there may be elements unique to China, the principles that China used can be applied to any country successfully.

As the economic thesis points out; in trying to achieve sustainable economic growth in countries with weaker economies struggle, whereas powerful and economically stable countries continue to grow their economies even faster and successfully.

It is the author’s assertion that weaker nations struggle because weaker nations are always on the defensive side protecting their natural resources from being exploited by stronger nations, hence they fail to build anything sustainable because production and order are constantly being disrupted by political and economic wars.

“The dominance of superior industrial power over global markets has become a threat. Events in Zimbabwe are a macrocosm of events playing out on the global stage between Asia and Western nations’’                                                                                        

Using Zimbabwe as a reflection of the relationship of weaker nations and the rest of the world Chiweza explores the effects of globalisation on Zimbabwe.

Globalisation is a tool used by European and Asian countries to exploit African nations to their benefit. Africa, therefore, needs to correctly position itself within the wave of globalisation.

“The emphasis is on positioning itself because African countries are usually positioned by others seeking economic advantage through vision and strategies contrary to theirs, or through ill-considered imitations of other nations acting from their economic conditions.”

Chiweza’s “Out of the Rabble” goes an extra mile in unravelling the global economic crisis by offering solutions to the problems discussed throughout the book and this is the most remarkable element of the book.

His discussion of the problems facing African countries symbolised by Zimbabwe culminates in a list of areas of the economy that need to be addressed in finding possible solutions to the global crisis, such as government control of the five factors of production, restoration of an economic system in the country, redefining roles of industry, reorganising commerce and trade as well as finance and banking reforms.

The book offers a ray of hope at the end of the global crisis, especially on the part of African nations pointing out that Africa has a greater chance of emerging from what the author calls “rubble conditions’’ and overtake those nations in better economic conditions. 

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