A few days ago, I wrote about the cruel punishment for corruption metted out by China in order to curb corruption. Just to recap:
“Wang Jianye paid heavily for falling prey to the temptation in Communist-controlled China. The former Planning Chief of Shenzen, a booming economic area close to the border with Hong Kong, was accused of taking $900,000 (pounds) in bribes, and keeping a mistress. With two others who was accused of fraud, Wang was paraded through the Shenzen Streets on the back of a lorry, surrounded by grim-looking soldiers. The lorry drove into the local sports stadium where a crowd of 5,000 was waiting.
Wang’s crimes were read out over the loudspeaker, a gun was put to his head and he was shot dead, as were the two other prisoners. A member of the local disciplinary commission said Wang deserved his fate because he was ‘an obstacle to the progress of the economy’.”
The above is an excerpt from Power and Corruption by Stephen Moore.
Brushing controversies aside, if at all, one may argue that China become a world powerhouse because of its deadly stance on corruption. On the other hand, we have India with a flourishing democracy and a liberal stand, that is being crippled by corruption.
Often cases, we believe that economic growth is decoupled and act independently from human rights or justice. I beg to differ. We have mistakenly identified economic growth as the purpose and goal as opposed to viewing it as a vehicle for prosperity.
In my opinion, economic growth is a vehicle or means that we use to achieve human prosperity that is just for every strata of society. We have seen how the Old Soviet Union justified the use of harsh acts of repression to forcefully grow the economy. In my opinion, the Old Soviet Union and now, China, may gain short term economic growth through these methods, but the growth were not and will never be sustainable.
Muhammad Yusuf rightly pointed out that the essence of entrepreneurship lies in people’s ability to be creative to the maximum. Creativity cannot flourish in environments where fear, repression and harsh control occurs.
Hence, it is not only important that freedom is granted, but it is also important to create an atmosphere of experimentation in which creative energies of individual entrepreneurs may be unleashed. This how a nation with a sustainable economic health may be built.
I am a strong believer in human nature. Therefore, I believe that, if we allow freedom of creativity and individuality, he will act in the best interest of the human society. However, as I mentioned above, the government itself needs to create a system that moves away from economic growth as the defining purpose, to using economic growth as a vehicle for humanity’s prosperity.