Liberty in Africa by African Students For Liberty

in libertarianism •  last year

Liberty in Africa

Students For Liberty have created an online course about problems in Africa and how liberty can solve it. You can access the course on their website http://sflacademy.org/. You have to sign up and take the basic course "Liberty 101" in the first place. I strongly recommend signing up, so you can join conversation groups and take MCQ test. If you just want to watch it, it is also availible on vimeo.com. I have picked up for you links to videos with short descriptions.

African Students For Liberty partnered with six libertarian and classical liberal organizations throughout Africa to produce this online course addressing the history, principles, and policy implications of liberty in Africa. Topics include Socialism & African Culture, Colonialism, Rule of Law, Free Trade, Cronyism, Overcriminalization, Property Rights, Economic Growth, Toleration, and Entrepreneurship.

Learn about socialism and colonialism in African societies, with an introduction by Prof. George Ayittey.

Understand the concepts of Rule of Law, cronyism, over criminalization and toleration in an African context.

Know more about the concepts of property, entrepreneurship, economic growth and trade in Africa.

1. Introduction

1.1 Introduction

Professor George Ayittey introduces the Liberty in Africa course and gives and overview of the course content such as an introduction to Property rights and Entrepreneurship.

1.2 Socialism and African Culture

Collectivism has been responsible for retrogressing Africa’s development, African societies have erroneously been termed inherently collectivist, and economic models have been developed for the continent based on this flawed belief. This has led to terrible consequences for Africa. This course will help you answer the question, Is Africa inherently socialist/communist?

Supplementary materials:
http://www.heritage.org/research/lecture/the-end-of-african-socialism
https://fee.org/resources/betrayal-why-socialism-failed-in-africa/
http://studentsforliberty.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Why-Liberty-Final-Typeset-with-Cover.pdf
Olúfémi Táíwò, Africa Must Be Modern: A Manifesto (2014)

1.3 Colonialism

Many African scholars erroneously connect colonialism and capitalism, defining both as intricately linked. While one led to pillage and destruction of Africa, the other is responsible for growth and productivity. This class led by Professor Ayittey will introduce you to colonialism in Africa and will explain the difference between colonialism and capitalism.

Supplementary materials:
http://bold.global/richard-ivory/2016/03/05/bold-qa-part-2-award-winning-economist-dr-george-ayittey-talks-capitalism-in-africa/
http://www.tfas.org/page.aspx?pid=436
http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2014/01/colonialism_and.html
http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/hobson-imperialism-a-study

2. Society

2.1 Rule of Law in Africa

The rule of law is the legal principle that law should govern a nation, as opposed to being governed by arbitrary decisions of individual government officials; unfortunately this idea is not prevalent in most of Africa. Africa has suffered from the strong men syndrome whereas what are required for development to exist are stronger institutions. Simply put – the government of laws and not of men. This course will introduce you to the concepts of the Rule of Law and is led by Ghanaian Lawyer Kofi Bentil.

Supplementary materials:
https://mises.org/sites/default/files/Freedom%20and%20the%20Law_4.pdf
https://fee.org/articles/individual-liberty-and-the-rule-of-law/
http://www.independent.org/students/essay/essay.asp?id=1612
http://www.learnliberty.org/videos/the-rule-of-law/

2.2 Cronyism

It is common for many Africans to confuse capitalism with cronyism. Unfortunately, this has led to hostility towards capitalism. Capitalism and Cronyism are very different; a true capitalist society does not encourage governments granting monopolies to their friends and associates, in capitalism, competition and cooperation are encouraged.

Supplementary materials:
http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org/what-is-crony-capitalism/
http://www.thedailybell.com/editorials/richard-ebeling-free-market-capitalism-vs-crony-capitalism/
http://www.economist.com/news/international/21698239-across-world-politically-connected-tycoons-are-feeling-squeeze-party-winds

2.3 Over-criminalization

In many African societies, Police are neither respected nor appreciated. They are feared and avoided and looked upon with scorn. Why is this so? They are supposed to serve and protect the people. The absence of the rule of law helps to create a space for police brutalities to go unpunished. Governments are fond of enacting unnecessary and sometimes contradictory laws, this course will help you better understand the implications of over-criminalization.

Supplementary materials:
https://fee.org/articles/the-crime-of-living/
http://www.africaranking.com/most-bizarre-laws-in-africa/
https://www.africanexponent.com/post/the-rise-and-rise-of-police-brutality-in-africa-2703

2.4 Culture of Toleration

In a modern and civilized world, individuals are judged according to the content of their character and not based on their tribal affiliations or their countries of origin. Unfortunately, xenophobia and tribalism have risen in Africa and this is largely due to a focus on collective identity rather than on individualism. Temba Nolutshungu leads this course. Temba’s background is rooted in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa as one of the pioneers of the black consciousness movement.

Supplementary materials:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=202&v=UZQxpc42j90
http://www.learnliberty.org/videos/individualism-vs-collectivism/
http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2011/08/judging-toleration-and-libertarianism/
http://www.libertarianism.org/media/free-thoughts/toleration
http://www.libertarianism.org/guides/lectures/pluralism-toleration

3. Economy

3.1 Property rights

Most African countries have very poor property rights institution. The poor bear the brunt. Property inherited without proper titled deed is dead capital, as they cannot make use of these properties as collateral for bank loans. A major way to tackle poverty in Africa will be to improve her property rights systems. Many conventional economists encourage wage regulations by the government, while at face value it may seem like a good idea for governments to dictate minimum wages, in reality they result in job loss because they increase the cost of labor, making low-skilled employees more expensive for employers to hire. This course led by Kenyan entrepreneur June Arunga Kimani will introduce you to the concept of Property Rights and how the absence of it is responsible for poverty in Africa.

Supplementary materials:
http://www.icfafrica.org/news/addressing-property-rights-in-africa-key-to-economic-success
https://www.amazon.com/Mystery-Capital-Capitalism-Triumphs-Everywhere/dp/0465016154
http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/PropertyRights.html
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnjPFZV8Wqo

3.2 Entrepreneurship

There is a lot of hype about entrepreneurship in Africa and why Africa needs markets to solve her problems rather than government solutions. The whole euphoria about entrepreneurship mostly fails to neither address the role of entrepreneurs in the society nor address the barriers governments create to stifle entrepreneurship. Until these are addressed, the full potential of entrepreneurship as a means to solve Africa’s problems will not be fully utilized. That cannot pay the government mandated minimum wage often lay off workers and choose to rely on machines to make up for the lost staff.

3.3 Economic growth

“The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer”, this phrase is very common and many people accept it as fact without checking out its validity. This logic imagines that the wealth of a nation is like a pie and that if someone has a larger slice it is at the detriment of another. Fortunately, wealth and wealth creation do not follow this flawed logic. South African Temba Nolutshungu, a director at the Free Market Foundation will lead you through an introduction to economic growth.

Supplementary materials:
https://fee.org/articles/creating-jobs-vs-creating-wealth/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0nsKBx77EQ
https://fee.org/articles/states-economic-freedom-and-wealth-creation/
https://fee.org/articles/2016-is-the-year-of-inequality-and-prosperity/

3.4 Free trade

Free trade leads to mutually beneficial trade relationships amongst countries and helps to create an economic system that is based on trust and mutual reliance, Free trade also outperforms protectionism by bringing lower cost goods and services to consumers.

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