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The GOL and Vision 2030: A Clear Case of Chinese Economics


Joe and his cousin Amy had lived in Gbarnga and Monrovia for a long time before moving to Lowell, Massachusetts where I met them. Now in their late forties and early fifties, they sit and recollect old stories. The two cousins were not the only two occupants wherever they found themselves. There were other relations living with them. That is not out of the ordinary. Nieces, nephews, siblings and other relations would come to the city and live with a family member who at least had a job. So for Joe and Amy, that was a normal Liberian life. "Food," we say in Liberia, "tastes better when shared with a family member or friend." Evidently, whether in Gbarnga or the nation's capitol, Amy and Joe found some relations with whom to share a meal or occupancy.

They laughed as they reminisce. Amy, of course who had a high pitched laugh would dominate the discussion, bursting with laughter as if she has saved her best laugh for last. One of those things they once spoke about while I was present was when they practice what they called “Chinese economics” or economizing after the fact.

One way or the other, I have witnessed elements of the so-called Chinese economics or but just did not know it by that name. When either Joe or Amy or both of them took pay, they would buy plenty of food and other supplies for their household. They would cook and fete themselves and their household to sumptuous dishes. “Before good food waste, let belly burst,” they would agree and eat to the top of their tummies as if there is no tomorrow. For about week, the fete will continue. By the second or third week as they notice their supply dwindle, they would then begin to apply the most stringent frugal measure or as we call it, "economize." They would for instance slice the number of cups of rice they cook per meal by half or even less. “Why didn’t we do this quite sooner at a time we had enough?” They would ask themselves rhetorically.

Now Joe and Amy laughed at themselves as they looked back on those days when they practiced what I now come to know as Chinese economics.

Should a government practice Chinese economics in this 21stcentury too? Should a nation recovering from war only scale down its extravagant spending and wastage and begin crafting a plan for the future or "economizing" only when there is almost nothing left? You bet that should not be the case for a nation like Liberia. But believe it not, this thing about vision 2030 by the government of Liberia (GOL) in President Sirleaf’s second term at a time when the humanitarian good will toward Liberia is drying up is simply a case of Chinese economics. 

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