Dambisa Moyo on democracy, China’s economic model and foreign aid. Courtesy Al Jazeera

DOHA, QATAR, August 3, 2018/APO Group/ ..The bestselling author goes Head to Head with Mehdi Hasan at the Oxford Union:

  • Argues that it is “mad, it’s crazy” not to see major problems in Western democracy today, asserting that today’s rise in populism; “has its roots in economics.”
  • Says short-sighted policies coming from the West have created “more impoverished people” around the world and “fed into issues of political instability.”
  • Asked if Goldman Sachs had a role for the 2008 financial crisis, asserts that her former employer had “no special responsibility” for what took place.
  • On reforming democracy, proposes that all citizens should take a test to ensure a “good knowledge of what exactly they are voting on.”
  • Whilst discussing aid in Africa, Moyo asserts that aid is a “corrosive force” to African democracy because countries cannot hold their governments accountable “if actually Oxfam is going to solve the healthcare problem,” or “somebody else is going to solve education.”

In a far-reaching interview with Al Jazeera (AlJazeera.com) English’s Head to Head, Dambisa Moyo argued that there are major problems with Western democracy today.

“The notion that democracy is not a problem is mad, it’s crazy,” Moyo said.
Discussing why she believed liberal democracy was “under siege,” Moyo asserted that today’s populism “has its roots in economics”, describing how “real wages have come down…over the past 30 years, social mobility has declined” and “income inequality has widened.”

She blamed short-termist Western policies, such as farm subsidies in the US and Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy, for locking “out the goods that are produced in places like Africa and South America” which has led to “more impoverished people” and “fed into issues of political instability.”

A former Goldman Sachs banker, Moyo was asked whether the company had a particular role for the 2008 financial crisis, she said that it had “no special responsibility” for what took place and that “we all have to take responsibility”.

Goldman Sachs agreed to pay $5.1bn in fines in January 2016, following an investigation by the US Department of Justice for its role in the crisis.

On reforming democracy, the international economist argued that citizens should have to take a test in order to vote and that people must have a “good knowledge of what exactly we’re voting on” before being allowed to vote.

When she remarked how voter participation was at all-time low, presenter Mehdi Hasan responded by asking “so the idea is then you make it harder for them to vote by putting a test in front of them?”

The notion that democracy is not a problem is mad, it’s crazy
In her new book; Edge of Chaos, Why Democracy is Failing to Deliver Economic Growth – and how to fix it, Dr Moyo proposes a system of weighted voting where some individuals have more voting power than others.

When defending her proposal, which presenter Mehdi Hasan suggested was elitist and would actually “help populism”, Moyo asserted that her idea was “based on participation, not on education” and that a degree of weighted voting already existed around the world.

Speaking about China and its economic model, Moyo commented how “over 300 million people have been moved out of poverty in 30 years” and that the West should be careful not to “point fingers” when commenting on the country’s democratic record which was on its own particular “path”.

Addressing a question on the benefits of China’s economic model, Moyo noted how Chinese politicians “don’t need to seduce today’s voter in order to remain in political office” in comparison to the US, where there is a “mismatch between long-term economic challenges and short-termism in the political system.”

Economist Dambisa Moyo first made waves with her book Dead Aid, which argued that rather than alleviating poverty in Africa, aid was actually preserving it. Asked whether she believed aid had had any beneficial effects, the economist described its “corrosive nature” on “democracy on the African continent.”

“We do want to be able to hold our governments accountable but we can’t do that if actually Oxfam is going to solve the health care problem, somebody else is going to solve education, how are we able to hold our governments accountable from a public policy stance if they are not the ones who are delivering these outcomes?”

The best-selling author argued that whilst she accepted that there have been “significant wins” across Africa, “the notion that those are because of aid…is wrong.”

Moyo pointed out that China has played a hugely significant role on the continent: “We’ve had China come in, there’s been significant investment…we’re able to trade with the Chinese, for better or for worse.”

Mehdi Hasan was joined in the discussion by a panel of experts: Ann Pettifor, economist and Author of The Production of Money; Jason Hickel, anthropologist at the University of London and author of The Divide: A brief Guide to global inequality and its solutions; and Jamie Whyte, research director at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).

The interview is part of a brand new series of Head to Head, Mehdi Hasan’s hard-hitting discussion show on Al Jazeera English. Other guests were former Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, former Trump campaign National Security Director J.D. Gordon, and feminist Germaine Greer.

Is it time to rethink Democracy? with Dambisa Moyo will be broadcast on Friday August 3rd at 20:00 GMT, and will be repeated on August 4th at 12.00 GMT, August 5th at 01.00 GMT and August 6th at 06.00 GMT.

This Head to Head interview with Dambisa Moyo airs Friday Aug 3rd at 20:00 GMT (21:00 BST). The show will be available online at the same time click here

Source: Al Jazeera English and ‘Head to Head’

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26 COMMENTS

  1. Dambiso Moyo sold her soul to the devil…they saw how influential she was becoming and tossed her a job to shut her up.

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    • @1Jay Jay..Could you please ELABORATE bcoz all some of us see is A BRILLIANT ZAMBIAN LADY who is OFFERING WELL INFORMED PERSPECTIVES ON GLOBAL ISSUES THAT REALLY AFFECT AFRICA and ZAMBIA IN PARTICULAR!! HOW DID SHE SELL HER SOUL WHEN SHE IS STILL CHALLENGING THE STATUS QUO??

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    • This girl is a good ambassador for Zambia.

      Ok sometimes she is a bit OTT, but at least she does have *some* character.

      I can bet my last fiver on her becoming a better President than the “icisoso” we currently have.

      The trouble is some elements in Zambia would frustrate her, as they did to Mwanawasa.

      Some Zambians prefer politics of the belly.

      Sad.

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    • zambiaisours – remember Moyo was offered a job to seat on the board of these selfsame Global mining firms a few years back; just when she was preping to wrote another book ago globalisation in Africa …have you not noticed she has stopped poking into that side of things.

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    • The Observer – if insults is all you have tben best you shut up as all you empty tins want is to do is reduce this platform to insults and pettiness.

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    • Where has Dambisa Moyo practised economics? It’s nice to think economically but it’s even better to practise it by crafting and implementing policy so that your thinking is tested. In DEAD AID she theorised that getting money from bond markets would be preferable because it would impose discipline on borrowers. Where’s discipline on the PF regime? All those commenting have not read the book that made her name. But it is not worth the hype.

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    • A test to see who can or can’t vote. This goes back to what I once said some years ago and that is the majority will always be f.00.ls and that is according to the great Philosopher Plato whose writings on the subject of ethics is well documented. If everyone was like me for instance Zambia would be a paradise without poverty, no litter, proper housing for all, free food and education for all with respect for the rule of law. But sadly the majority are a bunch of cretins who have sh1t for brains.

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  2. There is no need for glorification of China’s model of development. The ideological battle from East to West is founded on fundamentals. These include democracy, rule of law and good governance. It is accurate that poverty is on the decline in China. However, the decline was not necessarily made possible by the ideology of socialism. In actual fact, significant improvements were recorded following the introduction of liberalization under Deng. What about Taiwan? What about Hong Kong? What about Singapore? What about Macau? Unless it is proved that extreme poverty in Western countries still persists, then capitalism remains an viable economic model of development. In Africa, a version of the welfare state built on capitalism is generally the preferred economic model.

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  3. China is Meritocracy! Only the best rise to the top and only intelligent citizens who pass tests are allowed to vote or to take up public office positions. Additionally, China Executes corrupt leaders! I wonder how many of our leaders would survive mainland China’s Anti-corruption scrutiny.

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  4. I see she has a new book. So she now pens her mouth. She was brilliant at first, now she is pacified with a great job and high pay.

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  5. I just seen the advert for the program on Aljezera at lunch time. Boy would I miss it No! Not even someone offered me free Castle Lagers.

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    • She is more intelligent than that tribal, Childish. Leave her alone. Let Charmaine run with Childish.

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  6. I agree with Dambisa Moyo on the adoption of qualified franchise in our electoral system in Zambia. There should be some form of weighted meritocratic voting system. Why should a vote of a kaponya who has been bribed with utijilijili and chibuku to vote for a candidate and doesn’t even understand why he has to vote be considered equal to a vote of a professional whose vote is informed by a detailed evaluation and analysis of what his/her vote implies for the well – being of this country?

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    • Why should the vote of a tribalist southerner, professional or not, who believes it is time Zambia had a president from their region, carry more weight than others??? It’s an elitist system. We subscribed to democracy and we are getting it. Zimbabwe just chose its leaders and the world must respect the will of the people. Every citizen’s preference must be respected regardless of their social status or academic ability.

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    • While you say a kaponya can be bribed with chibuku, “well informed” professionals can equally be bribed with other things. Being educated doesn’t make one super or better human being. The Chinese succeeded because the took everyone on board, we Africans want a special place for our intellectuals- THAT’S WHY WE FAIL!!

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  7. always amazing how Dambisa chokes most afrikans…she’s a breath of fresh-air on this: democracy as we knew it has moprhed into a hegemonic corporate Hydra…capitalism IS NOT democracy! Does ANYONE honestly believe Donnie would have won against Bernie Sanders, ECL against HH, Sampa without abuse of government resources, CR11 against Malema, yes even Mandela against de Klerk IF HE PEOPLE VOTED ACCORDING TO THEIR NEEDS? hanks Dambisa for sharing your thoughts: the “Wretched of the Earth” are their greatest ENEMY via DISINFORMAION AND MANIPULAION…the illusion of partaking….

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  8. Dambisa is right about weighted voting. We are equal as citizens but we don’t all have the same ability to critically analyse the state of affairs in the country. Desperate and illiterate people in poorer areas of our country are taken advantage of by politicians who have realised that they have a pool of voters that are easy to buy off. They do not understand economics at that level and are easily swayed by loud music, alcohol and empty promises of good things to come. Let’s allow the better informed to decide the future of our country. This can also be done by increasing education levels among our people.

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  9. Well done Dambisa Moyo, you have an excellent blue print of economic governance and liberal democracy…keep it up!!!

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