With the exception of possibly Generation Z, every living generation in the United States has gone through a life study on the dangers of communism, the perils of socialism, and merits of a free market. From Vietnam, the Soviet Union, Cuba, or the spread of communism throughout Africa, there has historically been a fear and concurrent negative reaction to countries that have a communist or even socialist system.
For the purposes of this blog it’s unfair to argue the merits of socialism, but I do think, economically speaking, tight government regulations may be in the best interest of South Sudan. They have already implemented a few economic policies that would be considered socialist in nature (businesses must be at least 50% owned by South Sudanese nationals, and registered nonprofits need three South Sudanese nationals as part of the governing body.). As an outside influence and large provider of South Sudanese aid, we push and push as a nation for free market policies. Economic policies that should in theory lead to more money, quicker development, and improvement of living in South Sudan. We think economic freedom is the path to greater human development improvement, but maybe its not.
Maybe that’s not what South Sudan needs. Maybe what South Sudan needs is tight economic government control and regulation. Is their society, one with one of the lowest literacy rates in the world and a government that was created in the last 6 years, mature enough to handle free market capitalism? I don’t know. Unregulated and without judicial oversight, a free market system can lead to a mass amount of corruption and a huge divide between the rich and poor, issues that South Sudan is dealing with right now. South Sudan realized early on that outside nationals from East Africa and the Middle East possessed more business acumen and had more capital then the vast majority of it’s population. If regulations were not put in place, the country’s infrastructure and businesses would be owned by outside nationals.
South Sudan needs to do whatever it can to improve the quality of living the quickest and most effective way possible. I would advise South Sudan to think for themselves. No solution is the same, and no system necessarily works better then another. Ultimately good governance will make any system work and will be the deciding factor in South Sudan’s growth as a country.