Your story on Kaizen in Ethiopia (Kaizen and revolutionary principle – a marriage of opposing world views? Jan. 2013) has dealt with some of the most confusing aspects of the two in Ethiopian context. Well done. But with your permission, I would like to add a few more points to show how the Ethiopia of today and kaizen will stay water and oil until after the former, as a nation, summons its courage to deal with its ill-fitted uniqueness both socially, economically and politically. Socially, it is the culture of the strong man completely obsessed with self-righteousness; economically, it is the culture of the owner-knows-all and knows- better attitude; and politically it is the culture of inflexibility and intolerance. Nothing of the philosophy of kaizen looks remotely similar to our uniqueness as a nation. Thank you for bringing the issue forward.
Dr. Alemayehu Refera
Tarnishing the late PM’s name unjustifiable
I normally do like reading your otherwise thought provoking magazine as it deals with issues ranging from politics to economy to religion on regional, continental and global level. Thumbs up for your efforts. However, the story on economic freedom and development (Making sense of development through freedom, Jan. 2013) has, to my utter disappointment, unjustifiably tarnished the late PM Meles Zenawi’s legacy when it insisted “Ethiopia’s late PM Meles Zenawi died convinced of a no relationship between democracy and development. He was wrong.” The example provided on the article was one in which the writer disputed, like Amartya Sen, the relationship between democracy and growth, and not, as the article said, the relationship between democracy and development. I would like to assume this was a rather silly slip of typing than a deliberate distortion of the truth from a magazine like yours.
Economic freedom vs growth vs development
Your article on economic freedom and development was a rather thought provoking one, albeit with a few sloppiness in its assertion of the relationship between the two (Making sense of development through freedom, Jan. 2013). Currently there is a worldwide debate on whether or not democracy and economic growth have direct relationships. However, the biggest point neglected by both sides, either deliberately or not, is that there can’t be development without economic growth, and there cannot be economic growth without peace, stability, democracy and finally your point – economic freedom.
Your article quoted the late PM Meles Zenawi as saying “my view is that there is no direct relationship between growth and democracy historically and theoretically.” Although the argument in your article falls short of providing the precise link between democracy and economic growth to disprove the late PM, the truth of the matter remains the late PM and those who argue there is no relationship between the two are wrong. The best example the proponents of a no relationship between democracy and economic growth give us is China, and for the time being their arguments appear to hold some water. Autocratic regimes may stand the benefit of a fast track process by ditching all legal means attached to democratic processes to bring in a quick economic growth and this often leads to the delusion that autocratic regimes are those which are economically doing well. However, never in the history of a mankind has there been a happily satisfied human being for sheer reasons of material boost. The underlying principle should therefore be to see development, economic growth and democracy as complimentary to one another, and not as one having nothing to do with the other. Make no mistake, there can’t be development without economic growth, just as there can’t be peace without development; nor can there be economic growth without peace, democracy and stability, just as there cannot be development without peace.
Permit me please to extend my sincere appreciation of your magazine. It is one of the few papers I receive from my beloved homeland; in fact it is the only English magazine. As a former editorial staff of the Ministry of Information’s former weekly newspaper Yezareyitu Ethiopia, reading your magazine while living abroad makes me really feel at home. I have been in receipt of the magazine ever since you started publishing it.
I admire the way your magazine is tackling issues in absolute neutral manner and following journalistic ethics. The inclusion in your editorial team of prominent columnists such as Dr. Taye Negussie (my favorite writer as great intellectual) and of course respected people such as Ashenafi Zedebub (a person highly regarded by our superiors at that time) are the few among the other notable characteristics of your magazine.
I say congratulations for all your efforts in publishing such a high quality magazine and on your success in having us as one of your readers. We also thank you for allowing us follow up issues from our country on a non-biased manner. Keep on!
What shall I expect next?
Your correspondent from the US wrote in his article in July edition of the magazine, “arguably, there is only one other three letter word in the American lexicon that evokes as much passion an argument as tax: gun.” A few months later look what American guns have done to its people and politics. In Dec. 2012, your lead story says “The crisis in Mali is no longer a simple Malian affair. How Africa deals with it will speak volumes on the continent’s readiness to solve its troubles by itself.” Barely a month later, look what Mali got into. I am beginning to ask myself “what shall I expect from your magazine next?” I am proud of your teams. You are changing the face of journalism in Ethiopia.