By Togba-Nah Tipoteh
What matters most is the improvement in the living conditions of the people in any society. In Liberia, the longstanding and widespread poverty, meaning the worsening of the living conditions of the people of Liberia, led to the coup d'etat and the Civil War in Liberia because they became the pretext for violence. Poverty continues to be used as a pretext for violence.
Money-driven persons in Liberia and their foreign allies used the poverty in Liberia as the pretext, the excuse, for bringing the Civil War in Liberia that took the lives of at least 300,000 people, damaged billions of dollars worth of infrastructure, and left the Liberian economy unrecovered at its pre-war level. The Liberian economy was already experiencing negative economic growth before the Civil War and the Civil War made living conditions worse.
The book, Growth Without Development (Robert Clower, et al, Northwestern University Press, 1966), concludes correctly that although economic growth is necessary for economic development, it is not sufficient for economic development. The Liberian economy exhibited the second highest economic growth rate per person in the world during the 1950s but the Liberian economy was experiencing worsening living conditions because less than one percent of the population of Liberia accounted for more than sixty per cent of the income and wealth of Liberia.
State management in Liberia and other African countries continues to fool the people by telling them that growth is development, that economic growth means the improvement in the living conditions of the people, especially the poor vast majority. In Liberia, when there are roads built and houses constructed with positive, zero as well as negative economic growth rates prevailing, State managers boast of economic development. At the same time, the State managers admit that corruption is the number one enemy of Liberia but the actions to end corruption remain unimplemented. Then, vState billboards can be seen around Liberia saying that the payment of taxes brings development. Take a look at La Côte D'Ivoire, Liberia's Neighbor, the world’s largest producer of cocoa, with many paved roads and big public and private buildings, but over sixty per cent of the income from cocoa production goes to the rich and not to the poor farmers who are the producers of the cocoa. In the midst of corruption, the payment of taxes takes away from the poor and gives to the rich and this is why the poor people get poorer and the rich people get richer. The poor getting poorer and the rich getting richer syndrome is well documented in the book by the French Economist Thomas Piketty (Harvard University Press, 2020), not forgetting many of my publications locally and globally.
With all of the evidence on poverty, the foreign partners of the Liberian government continue to support the government with grants, loans and even budget support, as seen in the budget support that comes regularly from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The government of the United States of America (USA), the biggest of the international partners of the Liberian government, continues to condemn the corruption and autocracy in Liberia but, ironically, continues to support the poverty generating system of Liberia regularly. State management places the blame for the poverty generation on the immediate past regime, the global market and the “Progressives” in Liberia. Wonders Shall Never End!!! But the current ruling political party in Liberia promised to hit the ground running although it continues promoting the colonial production system of the production of raw materials for export without the prioritization of Value Addition.
As the 175th Birth Anniversary of Liberia is celebrated on July 26, 2022, Liberia is classified by the world's leading financial management institutions as one of the least developed countries of the world, ranking 174 out of 187 countries (UNDP Development Index 2021). Although Liberia has the solution to the Climate Change problem, the Liberian government goes out with Hat-in Hand appealing for foreign assistance. Liberia has some of the best rainforests in the world that have the capacity to provide oxygen to the world and take in oxygen dioxide, gas emissions, from the world to help the 2015 Paris Conference on Climate Change to attain its objective of 1.5 degrees celsius by 2030.
Thanks to the people who love Liberia, knowledge is being shared to raise awareness about the poverty generation syndrome and how to get out of it to move into poverty alleviation betterment. This public awareness is working well, as seen in the fact that nearly all of the National Legislators who wanted to be re-elected during the 52nd and 53rd National Legislatures were not re-elected. This situation is highly likely to occur during the next elections when National Legislators with bad records seek to be re-elected and candidates with bad records run to be elected. This public awareness is being done non-violently, through the Rule of Law, as called for by the Constitution of Liberia, the Supreme Law of Liberia.