Underdevelopment is a term often used to refer to economic underdevelopment.Countries considered as underdeveloped,usually have symptoms such as limited or complete lack of access to job opportunities, health care, drinkable water, food, education, housing and state welfare programmes.Underdeveloped nations are characterized by a wide disparity between their rich and poor populations, and an unhealthy balance of trade.In my opinion two main factors drive underdevelopment:(a)corruption and (b)dependence on primary products.Although corruption hinders development because it leads to mis-allocation of resources,which are then not used to their full socio-economic potential,the focus of this article is the dependence on primary products and how it fosters underdevelopment.
50 years after securing independence from Britain,Nigeria remains an underdeveloped pre-industrial nation. And this,because it’s economy has remained colonial,being based on the colonial model of primary products exports.Colonialism,a relationship between an indigenous (or forcibly imported) majority and a minority of foreign invaders,was founded on a given economic arrangement,whereby produce from the colonized territory,the colony,is exploitatively extracted for exports to the colonizing territory,the metropole.Produce is used to refer to a group of farm products in their natural state.In other words,these natural resources have not undergone any form of value-addition.This includes crude oil.The colony was administered by the colonists,the people from the metropole,who lived like lords,as befitted conquerors.
Colonial society was thus unequal,consisting of priviledged colonists and poor indigenes providing the labour for the sustainance of the system.After independence,this arrangement did not change,except that the administration of the system was indigenized as educated Nigerians replaced British officials.The colonial education system,which was designed to produce clerks/bookkeepers rather than productive workers,was now expanded to churn out masses of bookkeeper-graduates.The idea was that educated people would take the place, status and living standard,of departing colonists.While the Chinese and Indians,with their capacity for deferring gratification,sought to produce productive workers,our school system was engineered to produce black ‘colonists’.While first-generation Chinese and Indian graduates were lucky to own bicycles,Nigerian graduates expected to live like lords.
We failed to see the mathematical limitations of this arrangement.Our resources were finite.The introduction of an army of bookkeeper-graduates into the work-force was not accompanied by relevant value-addition.And we expected resources which had sustained a few hundred colonists,to be sufficient for thousands and then millions of local people being churned out by the universities.It is a cinch that such a system as this will deliver only increasingly diminishing returns.A consequence of this substitution was the fostering of a culture of entitlement.People just want to share the “national cake”.Nobody really wants to work to create a better society.Educated people just want to wave their certificates and secure high-paying jobs.Never mind how those certificates were secured.Just get a bunch of those papers and you are in clover.
The Chinese and Indians have shown that education and training should be about equipping people with skills.With those skills,people can go out there and produce things and create wealth.Only by creating rather than just consuming can any society become wealthy.We should emphasize education that prepares people for a life of creativity,and promotes the work ethic.Our people have to realise that they can create far graeter wealth using their brain and energy,than that under their feet.Any Nation that relies solely on the exports of primary products,without adding value to these products,will remain underdeveloped,a mere trading post.And Nigeria is no different.
“Developing countries have an unequal trade balance which results from their dependence upon primary products (usually only a handful) for their export receipts. These commodities are often (a) in limited demand in the industrialized countries (for example: tea, coffee, sugar, cocoa, bananas); (b) vulnerable to replacement by synthetic substitutes (jute, cotton, etc); or (c) are experiencing shrinking demand with the evolution of new technologies that require smaller quantities of raw materials (as is the case with many metals). Prices cannot be raised as this simply hastens the use of replacement synthetics or alloys, nor can production be expanded as this rapidly depresses prices. Consequently, the primary commodities upon which most of the developing countries depend are subject to considerable short-term price fluctuation, rendering the foreign exchange receipts of the developing nations unstable and vulnerable. Development thus remains elusive.”
If possible i would have made this post shorter.Sorry.See you in the comments.