Using Cuba To Defend Nkrumahism Is Laughable

Fri, 23 Jan 2015 Source: Baidoo, Philip Kobina

About three years ago I wrote a piece captioned: Defending The Indefensible – Nkrumahism. It was like attacking the supply line of an army near their bivouac. A self styled Nkrumahist, who also described himself as an authority on consciencism took me to the shed and had my head banged pretty good. Though, I wrote a rejoinder to counter some of the misconceptions of the commentaries, I decided that I have had enough. But sometimes you simply cannot help it when wool is being pulled over our eyes. Recently, Samia Nkrumah made a statement that her father’s policies and ideologies is the way of the future for Ghana. It took me a long time to decide whether to counter her remarks due to the scars I carry for my earlier battles. However, a quote by Francisco Goya crystallised my decision. He said, ‘the sleep of reason produces monsters’. So, I decided to get back into the ring and slug it out again. As a result, I joined some few words together with the intention of letting Ghanaians know about the follies of Nkrumah’s socialism, which his daughter plans to continue if given the chance by the electorates. Though, that is a remote possibility, we all know the eggs her father laid has already hatched into a perfect gamecock – NDC. Don’t be surprised the school boys government are dishing out the fifth dose of the poison. The article attracted quite substantial positive comments. Nonetheless, the usual suspects were also in attendance with their not so edifying insults.

As expected, like my earlier article on the subject, but not quite the lightening speed of rejoinders, this is laden with explosives designed to blast me to hell. It was the mother of all confutations, which was very impressive and remarkable looking at the time it took for the writer to integrate that massive information together. On the other hand, one commentator was a bit suspicious, and debunked that he had the article written long ago and waiting for the opportune time. He argued, therefore, he made some few changes to the introduction and tweaked here and there, though I reserve my comments for now. Obviously, I am aware that quite a few people have been looking forward to this rebuttal, but I have to apologise for the delay. I couldn’t produce my refutation with such expedited service, because this is just a pastime. I keep a full time job; besides my very young family competes vigorously for my spare time. Anybody who has tasted life or lives in Britain with young children knows what I am driving at.

Communism imploded in 1989 and died a drawn out violent death in 1991. All the same, its apparition still survives in the form of socialism, and it’s very hard to dislodge since it wields very rabid and strident militant intellectuals who are still plucking away the symphony of socialism. Every now and then I see them on British television, but I never expected one to cross my path in the person of Mr Francis Kwarteng. To start with, Mr Kwarteng asked me tons of rhetorical questions that I have already answered in the piece under contention, which makes me wonder whether he took his time to analyse my essay very carefully before deciding to debunk it with his ocean of semantics and academic gymnastics. Strangely, for all the examples around the globe he couldn’t marshal any to use as the pivot of his defence of socialism, but Cuba. To say that I was shocked is an understatement; I was absolutely flabbergasted, and I think even a novice academic will feel queasy presenting such cheap evidence. I must say he handed me the perfect ammunition to crucify him on his cross of socialism. If I have to answer all the incongruous questions he clattered his piece with, which even an O- Level student will do a better job, I will need to write a book. However, I am going to answer a few salient ones, which will even put an alley cat to shame.

Before I proceed to expose some of his ridiculous questions and empty worthless statistics, which he churned out like popcorn, I will reaffirm my objection to Nkrumah’s follies. He whined about my conspicuous absence of definition for socialism and communism, North Korean socialism or communism, Chinese communism and Russia communism, which is absolutely irrelevant. The point is, even if I did he would have objected to it, and neither am I going to offer him the luxury of this superfluous detail this time. On the contrary, the most important definition to all our labours is economics. And according to Lionel Robbins classic rendition, it is the allocation of scarce resources, which have alternative uses. This simple definition can never be understood by the mind of Francis Kwarteng. The resources available to build houses, which are very important for the welfare of the people can equally, be used to build roads – also essential for the economic advancement of the nation. Similarly, the resources used for the training of doctors, likewise, can be used to train engineers or teachers to further instruct the next generation. This is a decision that every economy, whether socialist, communist or capitalist, will have to make. The efficient allocation of the limited resources available to a people is what makes the difference between affluence and poverty. For capitalism it is done through prices and the market, but for the socialist they believe some smart people who know everything should make that decision to allocate the scarce resources of a society. And this is a direct question to Mr Kwarteng. Who in the whole wide world is arrogant enough to claim that he is the master of all that he surveys to know everything that a society needs to the most trivial detail? Brothers and sisters this is the philosophy behind socialism. Whereas their club sermonise on complicated abstract theories of economics, they don’t seem to comprehend this fundamental fact of the discipline.

The practical question he needs answering rather than the useless figures, which the suffering Cubans will have no use for is whether he would like to live in that cave-like existence? The copious use of HDI statistics to paint Cuba as an earthly paradise is an effort in futility. It will not change the fact that Cuba is government guaranteed subsistence on poverty level for all. I will redirect him to question the worse off Britons or Americans whether they will like to live in Cuba. I think I am being too generous that question should be directed to the worse off educated Ghanaian or those Africans perishing under free enterprise economy whether they will like to live in communist Cuba. If Mr Kwarteng is not aware of this by now I will let him know that all those who try to create paradise on earth in the end become demonic. Fidel Castro is one hell of a human monster who cares nothing for the people of Cuba, but his own glory. How in God’s name can he throw statistics around to defend his fiendish cruelty against even a teenager who opposed him? They say those who take recourse to violent oppression are in their subconscious convinced of the untenability of their own doctrine. Even those who have been indoctrinated for the past fifty plus years, who don’t know any superior option will reject the beggary state they live in if shown a better alternative without hesitation. I can assure anyone who is curious, you don’t need to go there to see the poison in action, just look at the state of cars in Havana. A new 206 Peugeot cost $91,000 and the salary of a doctor with two specialities is $67 a month, which was recently negotiated. Is this the shame that Mr Kwarteng is celebrating?

Let’s get real, for the army of third world citizens who went to study in Cuba how many remained in that God forsaken country. Those so called progressive programs were the resources of the people that he uses to further his own personal prestige. I wouldn’t mind to live with the trappings of capitalism and die at the age of fifty rather than to live to the age of 78 in destitution. I put it to Mr Kwarteng that guys like him who celebrate Cuba are sadist – you enjoy the suffering of fellow human beings. And I think you should go and preach your sadism to the Cubans who brace the choppy waters of the Caribbean in dangerous rafts to the land of the free. Castro just rode the tide of the David and Goliath mindset of the down trodden. He is held aloof by the beggarly Third World countries, because he stood up against almighty America and survived. It is a twisted mindset celebrated by people like Francis Kwarteng. Human nature is such that we pursue actions, which advance our own interest. But socialists want to socially engineer our behaviour otherwise, yet they fall at the first hurdle when given the chance. We can all recall during his chairmanship of the Non Aligned Movement, when Russia invaded Afghanistan. He exhibited the classic Darwinian instincts, which under normal circumstances I wouldn’t raise an eyebrow. He refused to condemn the Russians because he knew where his bread was bartered. He sacrificed a fellow revolutionary country to keep his friendship with Russia. And you want tell me I should listen to such a hypocrite when he pontificate about that rotten ideology and condemn capitalism? Finally, he made a cheap swipe that racism has been suppressed in Cuba. Any intellectual who trumpets racism is not worth his salt, and lacks serious tough analysis of history. Just over a hundred years ago the East Asians, including Japan, were referred to as the Yellow Peril by the Europeans. The Arabs still refer to black people as ‘abeed’, meaning slaves. Cicero, a Roman senator, told his fellow countryman, Atticus, not to buy slaves from Britain, because they were difficult to teach. Yes, the British were bought as slaves and they were described as thickhead. Suppression does not remove it; it is different from society free of racism. You should have used a better word. I can bet my dollar that if Mr Kwarteng takes a challenge and sojourn for a year in Cuba he will not write that trash again. Next time choose a better country for your dissertation.

He further claimed socialism is on the ascendency all over the world, which there might be some legitimacy to it. Nevertheless, I would say that he is bereft of the historical knowledge of this development. And if aware, he lacks the skills for its application. Once you have large population of poor people, which was created in the first place by lack of free market you are bound to have ignorant utopian thinkers like him masquerading as the saviour of the people.

There have been ample studies to buttress the fact that the activities of the far right in Europe and America are given a boost whenever there is economic recession, stagnation or a meltdown. It is by the same vein that socialist activities get a shot in the arm. He should be reminded how Hitler came to power – on the back of the suffering of the German people, and so was Lenin during the chaos of the WW1. If he had taken the pain to read my piece very carefully he would have come to the conclusion that my beef is about the creation of wealth and not how the pie is divided. He also queried why most of the countries he specified are moving to a mixed economy and not capitalism. The answer is if they move straight to capitalism they will experience cardiac arrest, which was played out in Russia when their evil empire collapsed like a house of cards. It is more or less like a drug addict weaning himself off cocaine.

It appears Mr Kwarteng suffers from acute astigmatism, when he enumerated the evils of capitalism that I failed to mention, though I made it perfectly clear that capitalism is not perfect, he still wanted pornographic illustration. Yet, what he listed: environmental destruction, racism, international wars and what have you, he couldn’t be farther from the truth. The military industrial complex was triggered by the apostles of communism and socialism and he turn around to blame capitalism for defending itself. Anybody who believes in capitalism will not enslave his fellow being. Any academic who associate capitalism with slavery lacks any serious critical analysis of his own, but relies on spurious works of other academics who have an axe to grind. It is the capitalist North that destroyed the agrarian South in America that was using slave labour. To associate wars with capitalism is childish and I must question his ability to analyse the history of man. Wars have been part of human existence since time immemorial, and when did capitalism come into existence? He shouldn’t tell me it’s been around for millennia. In addition, I will add that the policies that produced international wars were the products of mercantilism and not capitalism. The great wars of the twentieth century were started by socialist Germany in WW1 and again in cahoots with communist Russia for WWII. Capitalist countries don’t wage indiscriminate wars, but to defend their way of life. I bet it is the Americans who went to dry up the Aral Sea in Kazakhstan – once the fourth largest lake in the world. Did I mention Chernobyl? Maybe that was a British sabotage. Please, Mr Kwarteng go back to your history notes before you publish fallacious accusation against capitalism, which has made you what you are. And if you hate capitalism so much just make your way to your socialist Cuba and stop biting the hand that feeds you.

Now, to the most useless part of his diatribe against my piece, which he cobbled together the names of writers he claims I must read to keep abreast with his work of fiction. I was surprised that he did not add to his list the names of Rachel Carson, Paul Ehrlick, Al Gore, Kenneth Galbraith and their army of alarmist. Most of the authors he cited sing praises from the same hymn sheet of socialism and communism. If I have not gone through some of them already I wonder why I should read such trash. Those that I have read did not do me any good. Perhaps, the only mileage is to use them against him. The huge catalogue of evidence he assembled was like the work of a headless chicken trying to make sense, which makes me suspect it was given to him by somebody, and further reinforces the claim of one of the commentators. Other than that, how could he make such a glaring mistake when he was referring to Ayn Rand. I only got it right, because of the statism he tagged to her name. For me I think Francis Kwarteng is a disgrace to the Ghanaian academic and intellectual community. To pour out those pages of words without personal critical analysis of the facts, but constant references to other peoples work is a sure sign of inferiority complex. When you read other peoples work and take them verbatim you let them do your thinking for you. When I read I do my own thinking. I will not catalogue the books I have read since it will not be of any use to you as a socialist. In the same manner I wouldn’t have any use for a bunch of bleeding heart socialist writers. His cache of socialist writers is just like using biblical evidence to convince an atheist. What good will that make?

I will now take quite a few of them and analyse their work. Hernando De Soto, without doubt, advocates property rights and the rule of law and I give him the due credit. However with the notion that capitalism cannot work in Africa is simply misunderstanding of capitalism in all its ramifications. Besides, it is a personal opinion shaped by his Peruvian background. The fact that most people in Africa lack property, therefore, capitalism cannot work is a bogus argument. Capitalism has not been allowed to work in Africa. Capitalism does not work alongside dishonesty and stupid ideology like racism. For example, during Apartheid South Africa their laws barred capitalist from employing the best labour available, which prevented the black community from participating effectively in the labour market. Though, some entrepreneurs run the gauntlet of evading the rules it was the South African economy that suffered. Capitalism cannot flourish without a good banking system. And we all know the chicanery that plagued Agricultural Development Bank, the Rural Banks, SSB and quite recently the ghost of Merchant Bank still haunts us.

On Hitler’s Mein Kampf, if I haven’t read it I would have done so out of curiosity. I wouldn’t do it for intellectual or academic reason, because it is complete twaddle. I cannot discount Hitler as some ignorant trump, though that is what he used to be. However, he was an evil genius other than that he couldn’t have been able to get all the smart college degree followers to do his bidding. I refer to him as an intellectual gangster, and his book is stuffed with half baked theories on anthropology, half truth and fiction, stupidity, lies and imbecilic boyish nonsense. This is the book that gave the road map to the death of 54 million body counts in the Second World War and Mr Kwarteng is asking me to read such a book for what? I think he needs a serious psychiatric treatment.

I believe he thinks the theory of Joseph Schumpeter’s creative destruction is destroying the state and creating something anew, which a thug like Hitler wrought and Castro literally reduced his country to Stone Age existence. I was surprised that he added his name to his socialist writers. Schumpeter was writing a trend and trajectory of socialism, but did not believe in socialism. He said: the capitalist engine is first and last an engine of mass production, which unavoidably means production for the masses. How can Mr Kwarteng equate a writer that produces such a quote to his bunch of ridiculous socialist writers? And the worst one is the work of Adam Smith, which is very obvious that he did not read that classic, but just want to show off. This exposes Francis Kwarteng as a fraud, because the thinking of Adam Smith does not synchronise with his pathetic socialists. John Maynard Keynes actually qualified his book, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, that it will work best in NAZI German, and of course, you all know what happened. Besides, the centre piece of that work was discredited by no less a person than a British Labour Prime Minister, James Callaghan, during a Labour Conference speech in 1976. For a person like Noam Chomsky who expresses pathological hatred for his own country, I have no use for him. This is a man who constructs his own lies and expects everyone to believe him. Please, next time don’t ask me to read silly writers like him. This brings me to the most useless of all the books he catalogued – Das Kapital.

To be honest, I haven’t read all the four volumes. I only read the first one, but it is full of such claptrap, even when I was dabbling in socialism I couldn’t believe what I was reading. In reality it is a book relevant to the era that it was written, that is me being modest, but not now. His devotees pass it off as economics book, but it is purely a literature for the communists, and anybody who is solely interested in economics should not bother opening the introductory page. It is only a useful text for historical curiosity. His bungling labour theory is nothing but a precocious child trying to impress his peers. He tried to measure labour based on time used to accomplish a particular job and when complication arise he attempts adjustments to fit into his theory. When you analyse his labour theory, which is literally based on infinite assumptions to its logical conclusion it’s like a dog chasing its tail.

What is the value of a medical doctor’s labour to a healthy youth? It is nothing literally. However, that labour is gold dust to a decrepit old man. Marx completely ignored the knowledge that goes into labour, which differentiates and make some more valuable than others. And of course we know the value of labour can fluctuate with demand. What will be the value of a dentist in Africa compared to that of Europe where they have more tooth decay? He wrote about eliminating money and valuing commodities and products in labour time, which his collaborator Engels, a businessman, pointed out that price fluctuations have forcibly brought home to commodity producers what things and quantity of them society requires or doesn’t require. Lack of such mechanism, he queried, what guarantee we have that necessary quantity and not more of each product will be produced, that we shall not go hungry in regard to corn and meat while we are choked in beet sugar and drowned in potato spirit, that we shall not lack trousers to cover our nakedness while trouser buttons flood us in millions. This seemingly benign problem caused mammoth headache for the Russian economy during their communist era as they were flooded with needless inventory. Finally, I think he was a hypocrite. For a person who lived off the sweat of the workers of his friend Engels’ Manchester factory for them to have written that sacrilege against capitalism when they were living at the expense of his Manchester workers is reprehensible. Marx was not writing economics, but false prophecies that failed to happen.

I will now address some of his claims randomly. He asserted I didn’t provide empirical data for the failures of socialism in Ghana. The question is who is interested in such detail when the overwhelming evidence of destitution is there for all to see. All the same I will offer him one example for his personal perusal. For all those who worship him and don’t see any of his follies and claim some useless description for his work as scientific socialism, mixed economy and what have you can also help themselves. If he wasn’t what I claim he was what was the aim of setting up that ideological school in Winneba to indoctrinate the future leaders of the country? What was the Young Pioneer for? This sinister creation was a formula taken directly from the NAZI youth indoctrination book. With all his philosophical studies he didn’t realise that when you get a people to think the same way you stop progress dead in its tracks.

I have to make it explicit; it’s not that a person like me love bashing the memory of Nkrumah. However, in order to change we have to admit that what we are practicing now is not right. Mahama is trying to revive Komenda Sugar Factory and he intends to do the same to Ghana Airways. And I can assure you these corporations are going to fail again, because there are no incentives for the management to excel and do their best. The British couldn’t manage their nationalised industries, and had to give it up. What prompts us to think that we are smarter to do any better? Let’s take a metaphor from computing. Akosombo Dam, KNUST, Job 600 are just like computer hardware. They are useless without veritable software. He built those wonderful edifices, yet he applied the wrong software that kept crushing and destroying important files needed for future templates. He claimed we have had capitalism since the overthrow of his hero and this is where my gloves gave way. I state without equivocation that Mr Kwarteng is an unmitigated liar and he must get real. We have had only 2yrs, 3months and 12 days of Busia’s regime, which was cut short by the misadventure of that pugilist socialist Acheampong and Kufuors’s 8 years administration. About twenty years ago to make an international phone call in Ghana you have go to a P&T office to book an appointment and comeback probably a day or two to make your call. That has now been change. Now people can just make their call from their mobile handset due to privatisation of the telecommunication industry during Kufuor’s tenure. Be serious Mr Kwarteng; don’t make cheap insinuation. I believe you are a scholar, and this is not worthy of you.

The most ludicrous of his praise of Nkrumah was that he has received so many international awards. It is called a whimper. Matthew Arnold described it as the breath of the night-wind when once a monolith phenomenon begins to lose its relevance. The people who awarded him those useless posthumous accolades don’t live in Ghana to see the wasteland he left the land once called Gold Coast. I have always maintain elsewhere that the plinth that Nkrumah occupies in Ghanaian and African history cannot be taken away from him, and I am not naive to take it away now. He was a smart guy; so was his High Priest – Marx, who was proven wrong with the collapse of communist Russia. Likewise, Nkrumah was wrong on his socialist ideas. You can be a first-class philosopher, and still spew garbage if you are working with the wrong materials.

On Mao, he tried to put him on a pedestal then later claims he was not making excuses for that butcher. If he wasn’t he shouldn’t have mentioned his name in the first place. Mr Kwarteng talks about sacrifice made by Mao, which are paying dividends now. Sadly, that sacrifice also involves 30 million lives, and I think he should apologise to the families of those who lost their lives for this paradise. Just imagine the whole of Ghana’s population and more being wiped out. Mr Kwarteng, I must say is a socialist who believes in ritual murder of 30 million in China, 20 million in Russia, 1.7 million in Cambodia for the welfare of the many. Also, when the atrocities of Stalin was taken place it was the same manner that the socialist intellectuals of Europe looked the other way and denied the monstrosity of what was going on. Currently, capitalism is not working very well in Russia, because it works with the rule of law and not arbitrary arrest and imprisonment. To be candid, in this day and age I wouldn’t like to share a country with such a dangerous mind.

Lastly, all that Mr Kwarteng and his socialist fraternity do is to blame others when things go wrong. Sometimes they even go to the extent of blaming humanity for not being worthy of socialism. The crush of the 1929 stock market in American was blamed on capitalism when the real culprit was the Federal Reserve System created by the socialist to counter the benign and sometimes useful trough of the trade cycle. The subprime mortgage that led to the last financial crush was attributed to capitalism, yet they fail to see their socialist Trojan horses Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. All that Mr Kwarteng did is to claim credit for the success of those economies when more private capital involvement was allowed. China became more successful when they allowed more private capital into their economy, and so was India. However, the question they have to answer why is it that those economies like India and China couldn't make those advances until they introduced capitalist elements into their economic system. Socialism means government run system of production and if it is such a good system why do the Swedes provide vouchers for their children to go to private schools and not government run schools. Capitalism does not claim a perfect society it’s they that make that ridiculous claim so the burden of proof is on them.

The most affluent society that ever lived on God’s planet – the Yankees, was founded on the principles of capitalism. I find it very difficult to understand a person who lives in such a society to write such scandalous diatribe against such a system. It is said that during a trip to America in 1989 Boris Yeltsin went to a supermarket in Houston Texas and he was so overwhelmed by the rows of neatly stacked ordinary household consumables that he remarked it was more impressive than the statue of liberty or the Lincoln Memorial. He was thinking about the queues his countrymen had to endure to get such ordinary things.

I will part with a similar quote in the concluding paragraph of my last piece; this time made by a Swedish professor who was not biased to socialism. Professor Assar Lindbeck wrote, ‘In many cases rent control appears to be the most efficient technique presently known to destroy a city – except for bombing.’

Philip Kobina Baidoo Jnr



Columnist: Baidoo, Philip Kobina