THE more the experts discuss, expatiate, and argue in their effort to justify or explain the ways of finance to the layman, especially in connection with the important question of economic and social development, the more complex the subject tends to become. One definition of finance is given as that part of practical affairs which is concerned with money, taken in a broad sense to include not only that which is legally money (such as coin and paper money) but also bank credit, or what is called credit money. It is, in brief, defined as “the art of providing the means of payment”.
In order to live up to this function, sensitive tools like banking, money market, foreign exchange market, and insurance are brought into play. There is of course also the special category of finance known as public finance, through which governments operate, with taxation and borrowing as their revenue mainstay.
The subject of finance as a means of economic and social development could therefore soar to the rarefied air of abstraction in which perhaps only the experts in their academic spacesuits could find comfort. I would in the circumstances suggest that we try to come down to good old mother earth, and never forget that finance is basically about money and about money’s worth. When we want a medium of exchange which makes it possible for goods and services to be paid for, and debts and contracts discharged, we turn to money. When we look for a unit of account by which values are compared, records kept and costs computed, money readily comes to mind.
Again: The world is now so much out of joint with the bitter-sweet phenomenon called inflation, that we are compelled to think of money and money’s worth when discussing finance as “the art of providing the means of payment”. And, finally, in the process of treating such a wide- ranging subject as Managing Finance for Economic and Social Development, I think we cannot properly escape from examining the morality of the society in which we live and derive our livelihood. This will help us recognise the inescapable part those who make up society play, not only in their corporate capacities, but also as individuals without whom there could be neither corporate bodies nor societies.
Terms of Reference
The subject becomes all the more stimulating and challenging since as speakers and participants, we have been dutifully reminded by the Director-General, in his foreward to the programme, to “think not only in terms of our natural and human resources but also in terms of the necessary managerial skills and financial prudence so very essential to make a success of the national attempt to transform the economy and thus raise the standard of living of the average Nigerian”. I shall therefore also deal briefly with management education or training as aids in the process of economic and social development. Others have been billed to deal with managers as a substantive subject.
Nigeria is not yet Rich
The subject, I take it, assumes that money is available for the country’s economic and social development. Since this is a basic assumption – you cannot otherwise manage what you have not got – and in view of the high expectations and bewildering sums to which what has come to be known as the oil boom has given rise, I would like to explain that I am approaching this subject in the firm belief that Nigeria is not yet a rich country. In doing so, I would take the liberty of quoting from the address I gave during the Annual General Meeting of the Lagos Branch of the Nigerian Red Cross Society in June, 1973:
“It is of course true, as the Federal Commissioner for Finance reminded the nation recently, that in spite of the rather sensational manner in which the Nigerian oil situation has been presented, Nigeria is by no means a rich country – not yet. Euphoria is not a good substitute for realism. The boom phenomenon is too recent; the population very large and is growing; the country’s land mass is immense; and for historical and other reasons, the under- development too spectacular for the country to be called rich at present”.
The Significance of Oil
When we read that Nigeria’s oil production is now running at the rate of about 2.3 million barrels a day, and that in August, 1973, it reached the staggering figure of about 64,354, 109 barrels, we should not overlook the fact that oil was declared struck in commercial quantities in Oloibiri only in 1957, and that the first shipment (to Holland) in 1958 was only about 1 million barrels; that against the revenue of around $168,000,000 derived from oil in August, 1973, the revenue earned from the 1.2 million barrels shipped in 1958 was in the neighbourhood of $1,684,000. Exports during 1969 were roughly 197,245,641 million barrels, bringing in approximately $30 1,365,390 a revenue. It is therefore only within the last two or three years that the cash really started coming in. And then there is all this leeway to make!
Of especial importance for the purpose of planning is the fact of estimates of future production. According to L. H. Schatzl in his “Petroleum in Nigeria”: “Under the promise that in the entrepreneur policies of the oil companies in Nigeria, in the economic policies of the most import ant countries using crude oil, and in the policies of the Nigerian Government, no unforeseeable changes can occur, the oil companies in early 1965 expected a continuing increase in crude oil production amounting in 1970 to some 35 to 36 million tons. This rough estimate,” he continued, “in 1966 reckons a yearly rate of increase for Shell-EP and the new comers of some 50,000 barrels per day, i.e. about 2.5 million tons per year.”
Time and history have since falsified those projections. Schatzl himself pointed out that “in 1963 the estimate of crude oil production for 1970 was only 10 million tons, an amount which had already been greatly exceeded in 1965. “The point is that since it is not easy to predict precisely the production of crude oil, prudent planning must allow for this unpredictable element –  as was done implicitly and explicitly in the Second National Development Plan, 1970-74.
So that whilst Nigeria cannot be said to be a poor country, it is by no means at present a country rich enough to meet its staggering social and economic needs; even if one is imprudent and unrealistic enough to ignore the fact that the civil war interrupted oil production and the development of oil fields; that the war, apart from the enormous physical destruction it caused, retarded development for several years; and that even Croesus cannot conjure projects and improve social services without taking into consideration the element of time in their preparation, execution, completion and putting those projects and services into productive use.
The Phenomena of Inflation and Stagnation
I earlier referred to the bitter-sweet phenomena called inflation. How has this affected money and money’s worth in this matter of the country’s financial resources? What do the colossal oil figures so airily bandied about today mean, in terms of purchasing power, in relation to twenty, fifteen, ten or even five years ago? As we all know, inflation is today a world-wide phenomenon. What is more, its solution is baffling the pundits, who tend to speak with a variety of tongues from their Tower of Babel; and the experts, always expert in expanding their vocabulary of esoteric expressions, now talk about “growth recession” – which looks very much like a contradiction in terms!
They also talk about “stagflation” which, being interpreted, is supposed to explain a situation in which the economy is running and yet standing still! It all goes to show how much the world has gone out of joint, and how much the pundits must be cursing their lot – or are they really? – that ever they were born to set, or advise in setting it right. It also goes to show that managing finance for economic and social development is a very tricky undertaking.
There are some of us who hold strongly to the belief – heresy it some quarters – that there cannot be pulsating economic growth, what ever the system, without inflation, Whether the inflation is called “incipient”, “creeping”, or “galloping” is to my mind a question of relativity, and perhaps to some extent also, of social and economic attitude and belief. Given the correct social economic policies and sufficient working cash in the till the depredations & inflation could to some extent be checked and its deleterious influences modified. But we must be reconciled to the fact that inflation and rapid and uncontrolled economic growth are inseparable twins, especially when the industrialised countries export their inflation in massive packages.
The Role of the Press
One cannot but hope that in this matter of finance for economic and social development, the Government would do and propagate its oil sums in detail and in easily assailable forms for the enlightenment of the uninformed, and for the conversion of the mischievous – if any such there be! It has to be borne in mind that the legitimate revolution of rising expectations which today pervades the developing world, and the under-developed sections of the industrial world, could change to a disturbing if not indeed disastrous revolution of frustrated expectations. Here is one of the many spheres in which the full co-operation of the news media could rightly be expected.
The news media, I dare say, could also do a lot in helping to combat the individual and group spending which is so conspicuous in its pro faintly and so wasteful of scarce financial and other resources. They should not give the impression, however remotely, that they condone those social and economic pests in circles high or low. If, as we are so gallantly informed by the stalwarts of the media, they are prepared to publish and be damned, how much better could they display their shining courage by publishing and condemning these social and economic vermin which in so many ways make the management of our finance for social and economic development more difficult!
The media could also help in making them the moral pariahs which they should be in a healthy society. And those minstrels who now sing the praises of the vain, the frauds, and the knaves, could be harnessed to the nation’s service to join those who sing uplifting songs to virtue, to the honest and to the morally courageous. These talented but misguided song writers and singers are being encouraged by a section of the public to use their talents for sub-social causes. You cannot effectively and equitably manage finance for economic and social development when moral and social attitudes are so depraved, and economic and social waste so appalling among the few who happen to enjoy a disproportionately large slice of the nation’s wealth. It seems a new spirit of public awareness is abroad. Let the media publish and condemn these baleful social excrescences as often and wherever they appear.
The Nature of Aid
And dare we overlook the fact that in assessing the financial resources available for economic and social development, we must remind our selves always that there is nothing like aid without strings in the inter national market place; that for the most part what goes by the name of aid is foreign investment, pure and simple, and so nothing other than hard-headed business propositions? It cannot be too often stressed that the art of making friends and of influencing people takes many forms, and assumes a multitude of guises.
One need not make too much heavy weather out of this, so long as in the process of giving and receiving what goes as aid, there is no conflict of interest. Some strings are acceptable and are of mutual benefit. What is required is a cool mind and a know ledgeable and objective appraisal of the subject as a whole, and of each case on its merits. It is also important to bear in mind, if we are to be good managers of finance for economic and social development, that there is no need to make a fetish of, or to over dramatise, publicity on investment opportunities.
Foreign investors have a multitude of sources for learning about those opportunities other than in those glamorous advertisements and news paper supplements in overseas news papers. These advertisements and supplements may be useful as sources of general information for a foreign- public benighted by age long prejudices and stereotypes sedulously fostered and developed by those self- same media. But the foreign investor is a business man who is supposed to explore avenues for expanding his profits. His government and financial institutions are also keenly interested in this business expansion in the interest of his country’s economy.
They therefore take great pains and go to considerable lengths to furnish helpful information in accordance with what they consider their national interest enables them to define as helpful information. If, therefore, the potential investor is not aware of business opportunities open to him overseas, or of the facilities provided by his government, trade association, and financial institutions, then he must be sorely lacking in that initiative and spirit of enterprise about which we hear so much. If he is aware and is not interested, he is not likely to be moved by what the beggar country says, even if what it says is in letters of gold.
The “palm oil ruffians” and others who braved the hazards of tropical diseases in their hulks anchored in pestilential creeks; or who roughed it in cantonments in various parts of a country where nature could be “Red in tooth and claw”, did not need glamorous pamphlets or advertisements displaying the copy-writer’s art par excellence to lure them out neither do the oil men who spend enormous sums in arid and torrid climates and in vast tropical marshes and swamp land.
In the first place, the foreign investor must need what you offer. Then, he must be sure that if he cannot have a captive market, or be able to exploit whatever resources he needs without let or hindrance – as in the good (or bad) old days – then he should be in a position to do so in fruitful partnership. The latter is the enlightened and modern trend. He who aspires to manage finance for the economic and social development of the country cannot afford to ignore this crucial fact of economic and social life.
It used to be said, with all the solemnity of which the pundits were capable, that when America sneezed, the rest of the world caught cold. The wag may still to some extent be true. But the combination of the prodigal wasteful use of the world’s natural resources in the pursuit of uncontrolled economic growth, together with the rigid and increasing emphasis which states have put on their national interests, has tended to make nonsense of that economic “law”. That was long before what has come to be known as the energy crisis raised the temperature of the economies of the world when the erstwhile lowly oil-producing countries belched. The extent of the rise in the temperature is in proportion to the rate of industrial development of the patient.
The Significance of a Mixed Economy
What part does the nature of the economy play in this management of the country’s finance for economic and social development? Ours is a mixed economy. Although this allows – or should allow – for both the public and private sectors to live in harmony in the public interest, it does raise some serious issues. The private sector urges the Government to provide the roads, the power, the industrial layouts and all those facilities which will make it operate profitably in any venture of its own choice. But the Government is not expected to interfere in its operation, even when such operation patently contravenes the eternal concept of social justice, and conflicts with the proclaimed and accepted global social responsibility of a Government, alive to its responsibility, to every section of the community over which it presides, and which it is committed to serve.
In all this, the private sector claims to be displaying the enterprise and imagination which Governments and their agencies are said to be incapable of exercising. If the Governments are to go into business at all, the argument runs, they are free to embark upon unprofitable ventures – ventures in which the private sector has no interest, even if they are basic to the stability and survival of the social and economic scene. But even here the private sector reserves the right – which it exercises with aplomb to criticize and interfere in the interest of the sovereign taxpayer. But then it considers it all in the day’s job to resort to all sorts of expert dodges – legal, accounting, economic and even political – in order to evade the taxation on its profits.
We all know, of course, that Governments are sustained by taxation, and that without the taxes, which those who are able do so much to evade, the Government cannot provide those facilities which enable businessmen to make the profit which is the mainspring of their existence. But in all this, the denizens of free and unfettered enterprise are not without authority and support. It all, as we know, arose from the doctrine of laissez-faire, It is so comforting. Why must the “unenterprising” inherit the earth? The pernicious doctrine has been modified with the passage of time, and as a result of the impact of the inexorable forces of history.
The Classical and Neo-classical Schools of Economics
But the thinking lingers on. The socially and economically comfortable classical and neo-classical economists, and their equally socially and economically comfortable cohorts, talk with disdain about what have come to be stigmatised as welfare economists and the welfare state, They tend to see only something marginally wrong in a situation of private affluence amidst public squalor. Enterprise is their open sesame, and profit their treasure cave. To which, on the question of the management of finance for economic and social development, one may wonder in less prosaic language:
Enterprise? Thrifty? Repeat those fragrant words again!
Enterprise for them is in the main subtle skill to pull the right and mighty strings, Whilst the helpless wait in grief unheeded in the wings
Or to receive those crumb-like “favours”
Which are barbed with vicious strings.
Enterprise to wave those magic status symbols;
Brazen skill to oil the wheels of bribery and corruption.
Perhaps those tycoons could afford to save, What the good God never save!
Volumes have been written on the intriguing theme of thrift and enterprise and drive as virtues par excellence in themselves, and as the unfailing motive force, however ruthlessly exercised, to profit and wealth. To an influential and powerful school of thought, wealth is life’s highest form of achievement. But an increasing number of our fellowmen are not only proving unreceptive students; they are also daring to ask embarrassing questions – the prerogative of the constructive rebel and creative reformer throughout the ages. To adapt Lord Macaulay: What can the privileged and affluent do better than to nurture a formidable social conscience for the upliftment of his fellowmen and to the glory of his God?
Social Conscience is Essential in Managing National Resources
In the crucial task of finance and managing the national resources, it is vital to bear in mind at all times that economics evolved out of the need to guide statesmen in the bread-and- butter aspect of their responsibilities. That implies seeking the greatest good of the greatest number. After all, the great Adam Smith, LL.D., F.R.S., the Patron Saint of those who adhere to the classical or neo-classical tradition of economic thought and practice, was a moral philosopher. One of his books was entitled: “Theory of Moral Sentiments.” If the “Wealth of Nations” has become the Bible of his disciples who live in a different age and under different circumstances, to be quoted to suit their purpose, it may well be that this is because of the tendency of things material to overshadow the things of the spirit. But it does not condone the absence of social conscience which the attitude implies.
I would therefore solemnly urge that in a world throbbing with the revolution of rising expectations, and having regard to the pressing need 1or an equitable management of finance for economic and social development, the classical and neo-classical economists should restrict their socially and ethically corrosive ideas to their academic cloisters and learned journals, lest those soulless concepts continue to corrupt the vast worth of struggling men, women and. children. This should also eliminate or temper the eternal cold war between the two main schools of economic thought whilst, as John Milton put it several years ago when dealing with another institution of society, the sheep look up and are not fed.
Their learned treatise will thereby be the more readily available to our children and children’s children, who will then be free to marvel at the strange ways in which their intellectual forbears, almost always very comfortably placed, approached grave social and economic issues. After all, the present generation is also entitled to wonder at the anti-social and tyrannical feudal and other practices which held sway as a matter of course in days gone by; and at the human misery and suffering which were the lubricants which oiled the wheels of the industrial revolution. It will be recalled that the laissez-faire economists regarded this state of affairs as inevitable and acceptable in the acquisition of wealth by the “enterprising” and “thrifty” few.
This, I would stress, is not a question of ideology as far as I am concerned. For try as hard as I could, I have not been able to understand and appreciate what all this furor and learned talk about ideology is all about – at any rate within the Nigerian context. Of the concept of capitalism, many of us have a fairly good idea. It has quite a few unacceptable faces. But with modifications here and there to placate the “dogooders”, it could be regarded as the dominance of capital and its handmaiden, “enterprise”, whatever else betide – a single-minded and ruthless concentration of the mind in the making of profit, in the acquisition of wealth.
But what is socialism? If socialism is all that is claimed for it, why the epithets “pragmatic”, “democratic”, “scientific”, “African”, et a!? One warrior which emerged from the symposium organised by the Sociological Association of the University of Lagos not long ago is “spiritual communalism”. One would charitably assume that some at least of these learned expositions are valiant attempts to evolve a rational and humane concept to guide the relation ship with our fellowmen.
Perhaps. But one of the greatest philosophers of all times said simply:
“Give ye them to eat” – which could mean the “just and egalitarian society” referred to in more complex language in the Four – Year Development Plan; or the nation “where no man is oppressed” to which allusion is made in the National Anthem. To my mind the “miracle” aspect of the “Give ye them to eat” charge lies in making maximum use of the available resources for the general good. So why these confusing “isms” on this question of economic and social development? And again:
Some swear by ideology;
Others by theology.
And yet some on geneology
Anchor their life’s consuming creed.
These bands of fiery crusaders
Well cocooned against crusading outsiders
Are a truly bold and dogged breed.
Why do they all shout so – Alike to friend and foe?
Of course they swell and yell
To win or hold us to their cause
Which we were all too prone to buy
Without a questioning sigh.
The judicious and equitable management of finance for economic and social development rests, not in ideologies per se. For all practical purposes these tend to confuse, and are “caviar to the general”. It rests on an honest and sustained effort on the part of every one of us, both as individuals and as groups, to put some poetry into life. To infuse some poetry into living. The world – at least the developing world – has had a surfeit of those alien creeds evolved in a different age and in different circum stances, and propagated in languages which go a long way to create more problems than they are meant to solve. The simple and easily digestible message of good neighbourliness forms the bedrock of many a Faith, and en shrines the ethics of peoples of many lands. It is the goal of all progressive and healthy human societies where social and economic development is designed to make life worthwhile for the greatest number.
The Need for Management Education
Where does management education fit into all this? By way of answer, let us recall the story of the dedicated husband who had spent several hours diligently studying from the expert’s book, the art of carving a turkey at table. There was to be a party, and the wife had faithfully and expertly performed her culinary art. The great day dawned. The wife, husband and guests were in high spirits, and duly made themselves comfortable around the homely festive board. But when it came to carving the exquisitely trussed and roasted turkey, the husband stood puzzled, carving knife and fork expertly poised for action, but staring at his case study.
“Come on dear,” the anxious wife urged. “Surely, carving a turkey is nothing strange to you ?”
“Yes, dear,” the husband replied, not in the least relieved, “I am looking for the dotted lines as illustrated in the book!”
If the analogy is over-drawn, it is only to emphasise the moral. Management education – any education — cannot afford not to relate theory to practice which is unmistakably and fruitfully integrated with the environment and the job. For a society in transition in a world which is in a state of flux, there is clearly need for a thorough examination or re-examinational of cur educational and training methods and curricula, vis-a-vis our economic and social objectives, with a view to positive and wholesome change. This is a more or less continuing process in all progressive societies.
I mentioned elsewhere some time ago how British businessmen after World War II made solemn pilgrim ages in droves to study what made the American economy tick, and that economy the most prosperous in the world; and the lack of which made Britain suffer from what came to be known as the “English sickness”. Several million pounds sterling have been spent, and are being spent, by Britain in training and retraining business executives. But I pointed out that the crusading zeal which led to the establishment of business schools on the American pattern later waned, especially after Lord Frank’s Report on the subject. The results were not justifying the enormous expenditure; nor were the high expectations being satisfied. The British schools were modelled too closely after their American can counterparts, without taking into proper consideration the circumstances, situation and evolution of the American business world and environment.
I am sure that the Nigerian Institute of Management is taking care of all this, as it must, if the managers and other executives are to play the con structure and realistic role the country needs in the management of finance in its economic and social development.
Public Finance and Administration
As its name implies public finance deals with the management of government funds in the public interest. Government does not therefore have to apologise for engaging in what spokes men for the private sector and the exponents of conventional economic wisdom, regard as the prerogative of private enterprise. Ours is a frightfully underdeveloped economy, with all that implies in dearth of skilled manpower and a solidly-based indigenous business structure. It is also said to be a mixed economy. The private sector has not the divine right to select or determine in what fields the government and private interests are to operate. The theories on the separation of functions, which are propagated with such confidence and conviction, were e by others in different circum stances and handed down to us. We do not have to accept and espouse them as if they are the immutable laws of the universe.
The fundamental and over-riding consideration should be the public interest – which should be interpreted to mean the greatest good of the greatest number. If by embarking on any business enterprise the public interest is best served, so let it be. As could be inferred earlier in the paper, the idea of laissez-faire as a living economic concept is virtually dead, although the Sub-Lieutenant Hiroo Onodas* of the economic and political world, are still holding on to the barricades in the economic jungle, even though the war has ended. But in this ease the skirmishes and running fights continue – a situation which the Rip- Van-Winkles would fondly like to convert to a full-scale war in this second half of the 20th century!
As for the alleged performances of these government agencies, one need only here refer to the slogan of the ancient Romans in their bitter antagonism against the Carthaginians:
Carthugo delenda set – Carthage must be destroyed. It is all part of the sleek campaign to entrench the mythical separation of economic functions. The antagonists of public enterprise have, for historical reasons, been so powerful and influential in the lands from which we derive our economic and social attitudes, that we tend to forget that our economy has for decades been dominated by foreign interests. Therefore, to apply this alien doctrine uncritically, and as handed down, would only mean strengthening foreign grip over the country’s economy – a thing no sovereign country in history has voluntarily accepted. Our Carthage must not be destroyed. Besides, the new thinking in every country with a corporate soul and conscience is for a just management of national resources in the interest of every section of the community.
This, in brief, underlines the fact that whilst private interests are undoubtedly making a worthwhile contribution to the public weal, this is purely incidental to their basic motivation of profit making for the benefit of their few shareholders, and for rewarding the expert services of their managements.
Public enterprise, on the other hand, has the general public over whom the government of the day presides as its shareholders for whom the govern- merit has a responsibility to cater. They get their dividend by way of enhanced social and welfare services. Private interests will not run schools, hospitals or construct roads unless they can make profit, and on terms and of an order of magnitude which the profit motive dictates and the operators consider the pockets of their patrons can bear. They will not run buses unless on profitable routes; nor railways which are today hardly profitable in any country in the world, if the system is designed to cater for all sections of the public.
The powerful and influential protagonists of “free and unfettered” enterprise – there is by the way no such animal anywhere in the world – have transmitted to us a concept which is inevitably in various stages of decadence everywhere in the world. Some of us have clung to it tenaciously and propagated it to an audience which is increasingly not listening, and whose attitude we ignore at our peril. This is a profound subject, to which we may return in some detail some other day.
In the meantime it is but fair to point out in passing that, fortunately for us all, there are unmistakable signs that in the management of the nation’s finance for economic and social development, the Governments of the Federation are alive tq world wide trends and developments, and of the needs of the generality of the people. There are also clear signs that the foreign interests that matter recognise the signs of the times and are co-operating, as they must, to our mutual interest.
The Important Role of the Civil Service
In all this, of course, that remark able institution known as the Civil Service is a universal whipping-boy for what is regarded as its stolid, mysterious, obstructive and unimaginative ways; even though in their few charitable moments the critics acknowledge that neither this nor any other country in the world can do without the Civil Service, by what ever name called; and that in its perversity the Civil Service somehow manages to help to keep things from falling apart! Bureaucracy is the eternal charge; and bureaucrats the ready, heady and perhaps even un steady culprits.
But, in essence, bureaucracy is the name which all administrative systems, large and small, conjure; and bureaucrats, the men and women who make all administrative systems go. By a logic born of ancient myths and historic prejudices, the pundits say the civil servant is to be seen and not heard – dumb driven cattle in the nation’s verdant pastures. A sage has however warned that the noisy grasshopper must not imagine that it is the sole occupant of the field, just because the calm cattle do not chirp, chirp, chirp all day long, in season and out of season.
This is a spacious and intriguing theme which merits a much wider canvas than this occasion affords. It is however pertinent to stress at this opportunity that in the task of managing finance for economic and social development, the Civil Service plays an important and indispensable role.
This then to my mind is the conclusion of the whole matter of Managing Finance for Economic and Social Development; Whatever definition we give to the word finance, it is basically a question of money and of money’s worth. The proper management of money and of money’s worth demands men and women of not only knowledge and integrity, but also of vision and wisdom.
The subject of economics was evolved by man for man to deal with bread and butter issues. It could not therefore, by its very nature, properly exclude ethical concepts and moral values. Whatever some schools of thought may say, and however logically we may pretend to say it, economics cannot be really neutral; for it deals with human situations with their maze of human problems. To talk of a “perfect” market would in the circumstances be unrealistic; and “other things” are very seldom, if ever, equal – nor are they basically “equal” for long enough for them to constitute an immutable pattern and a “law”.
In a just society, demand and supply cannot be like the celebrated ancient laws of the Medes and Persians which did not change, whatever the circum stances and the needs of the times. Since men, women and children comprise society, social issues which are the ingredients of that society must be resolved and reconciled justly if society is not to be in constant turmoil. Good governments exist to serve the greatest good of the greatest number, and must be seen to be doing so. Responsible and considerate individuals and groups of individuals are also expected to regard good neighbourliness as a way of life.
If, therefore, it is in the public interest for Government or its agencies to run corporations and companies — as it clearly is in developing countries where, for historical reasons, foreign interests dominate the economy – the Government does not have to have any qualms for doing so. Performance is a relative term, and must be judged by a common and recognisable yardstick, and without bias, within the context of the society in which a service is being performed. Our Carthage must not be destroyed through the selfish pressures of vested interests, and by the bandying about or adoption of misleading imported shibboleths.
The Civil Service is a much-maligned institution, and has become a very convenient whipping-boy of various pressure groups, the uniformed, the pompous, and of those who would jump into a popular bandwagon out of sheer bravado. Like all human institutions, it is by no means perfect. But it is in the national interest for it to be recognised as the indispensable institution which it is, and for its important role in the management of finance for economic and social development to be accepted with good grace, if not with charity!
Management education, like all other categories of education, must be geared to the environment, and to the stable and just needs of the people. It must be amenable to healthy change. It is therefore absolutely necessary that all those who are engaged in the management of finance for economic and social development must bring a high degree of knowledge, wisdom and humanity to bear on their task.
Anything else, to my mind, is at best an invitation to a turbulent peace; and at worst, to chaos. This conclusion is not arrived at through any of the, to me, incomprehensible and at times corrosive and self-defeating alien ideologies, but through the simple concept of good-neighbourliness – the supreme and sublime concept which has formed the bedrock of many a Faith and of all progressive and the ages.