Posts Tagged ‘Mancur Olson’

A Speech by Grimot Nane

Something happened yesterday. In front of the university [London South Bank University] a [visiting] research student was asking me for some directions and information. Even though he was very white he did not sound like an Englishman. So we got chatting and he asked if I had studied here. I replied yes. He then asked what I do and I told him. He then [further] asked me what exactly did I study and I told development. Not being satisfied with my answer he asked what exactly did I study. I and I said corruption. He then replied, “Ah so you are into computer science, you deal with the corruption files?” To this I asked him if he was from Scandinavia to which he agreed but wanted to know what nationality had to do with it. And I said to him “[the incidence] of corruption is so low in your country that when corruption is being mentioned you do not think about corrupt politicians, you think about corrupt computer files.” We both laughed off my last comment and we went our ways. (more…)

Botswana, a prosperous African nation (population: 2 million), where I have worked a long time ago fits very well with one of Mancur Olson’s clearest thoughts on the conditions of economic growth and prosperity of a nation i.e. (a) having a small population and (b) that population being homogeneous. This is a development on Olson’s Logic Collective Action in which the smaller the group (population) and the more they have compatible shared interests (shared incentives) which should minimise or eliminate free-riding (getting something for nothing) and the better the economy will perform. Multi-ethnic societies like Nigeria (250 ethnic groups at least in 6 distinct geopolitical zones) with a mammoth population (at least 160 million) can never emulate Botswana, according to Olson’s logic and I agree. However, there are alternative views on the subject of economic growth.

Grimot Nane