(By Nduwugwe Chimaobi Churchill)
“Capitalism or socialism, as the case may be, has proved to be a very powerful tool in the development and growth of human society. I am not advocating for a change in our economic system – that is not required – rather, I am bringing to the fore, the very reason why these systems are powerful, and why various societies that practise these systems, achieved unprecedented growth, and rapid development, which culminated in increased prosperity of the people.“
I WATCHED a documentary once, about a study carried out in the United States, where the impact of names, on their bearers was being studied. The startling thing was that a ‘baby naming specialist’ was interviewed. And she talked about, the best names to give your child that would – according to her statistics – guarantee a prosperous future – good job prospects, as well as wealth.
The above example clearly shows the mindset of the West. They are perpetually committed to growth and development in every facet of their society. This makes them study every phenomenon – from the impact of names, to how lighting affects learning in the classroom, to the powers of the human mind etcetera. –They are always interested in finding the inner workings of things.
In the evolution of human society, man at the first stage, was at the mercy of nature. He did not have the knowledge of how to shelter himself – he lived in caves, he did not have knowledge on how to grow his food – he subsisted on the provisions of nature, he did not have the knowledge of how to clothe himself – he wore leaves. Human society had to depend solely on nature for its subsistence, because of a low level of knowledge on how to bend the resources of nature to his advantage. Evolution or development only came when man learnt how to adapt nature to suite himself. He learnt how to grow his own food, build shelter against the elements and make tools. This only came about when he gained more knowledge on nature, by studying his environment.
Even in economic evolution of man, the role of specialised study cannot be overemphasised. Historians say there were various stages to that evolution. Communalism was the first. Everything at this stage was owned in common by the people. The next stage was feudalism, where the means of production was controlled by a few people. The rest of the people worked on the land for their sustenance. After feudalism, the society either evolved to capitalism, as in the case of Germany, the United States, India etcetera, or socialism, as in the case of Canada, Sweden and Finland.
Capitalism or socialism, as the case may be, has proved to be a very powerful tool in the development and growth of human society. I am not advocating for a change in our economic system – that is not required – rather, I am bringing to the fore, the very reason why these systems are powerful, and why various societies that practise these systems, achieved unprecedented growth, and rapid development, which culminated in increased prosperity of the people. This reason is also responsible for the continued push for development in every sector of their society. This push for development has created a situation whereby these societies have placed themselves on the path of perpetual growth and development. This reason is specialisation; individually, and collectively.
Now is it possible to have the economic system, and not have the push? The answer to that is yes. That is what we have in Nigeria, we have the system (which is not really clearly defined, it is said to be capitalist – nominal at most – and mixed system), without the push. Look at every sector of our economy, and you will realise it. Capitalism’s lifeblood is in increasing productivity in every area. For example, industries in Germany have prospered, because the country made it a priority to train its labour force to succeed in various industries. Are we doing that in Nigeria? Japan, instead of going into too many business areas which are diversified, decided to specialise. And by so doing they have become industry leaders in various fields. By specialising, they devoted time, manpower, and most importantly; study, to those areas, thereby placing themselves on a path of perpetual growth and development in those areas.
What then is this specialisation? Specialisation, basically can be defined as the act of concentrating all your mental forces – in study – on a task or problem, In order to bring about an individualised solution to carrying out the task or solving the problem, and also encouraging improvement in the process of carrying out the task, or solving the problem. How do the prosperous nations in the west apply specialisation? First – the most crucial stage – they encourage study. Everything is studied to its barest minimum, in order to bring about greater productivity in that area. And this study is carried out without prejudice. Research is of utmost importance, and it is immensely encouraged, by both the government and citizens. This is the push; I am talking about. The push of specialisation, which causes men to explore a task, to the extent where there is always improvement in that task. These men are detached from the status quo and past successes, always looking for the next level, the next frontier to be conquered.
• To be continued.
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