Political philosophy

A lot has been written about Mutharika’s explosion at the press conference towards the end of his return from UNGA, I need not add to that. But what the newspaper articles clearly show is a lack of knowledge of political philosophy among my colleagues: their questions only addressed the issue of the day, not the long term. And the long term is what we need to address if we are to improve our country, which has such a paltry ranking internationally, on ease of doing business, on human development index, on per capita GDP the list goes on and on.

Both politicians and journalists seem to look at incidents only, and forget the long term direction the country should take. Development is often cited, but rarely defined, and that definition is the point, if we are to set a direction. I would like to again address some large ideologies, to give alternatives.

There is some confusion with terms, many of which are not adequately defined, and then the philosophies need to be adapted to the specific Malawian situation.

We have:

Left vs. right. Usually this dichotomy is applied to socio economic philosophy as opposed to ethical issues. Left means socialist, or lots of state direction on economy, while right is look to a laissez-faire approach. Usually this means that left wing politicians want the state to redistribute knowledge, power and income from the rich and powerful to the poor and disenfranchised. This can take the form of social services like state funded health care and education, or financial support

like subsidized fertilizer. Right wing economists argue that

the state is not efficient in economic issues and needs to be kept small, and that most enterprises should be left to the private sector which can more efficiently provide services. We see this in the privatization of public transport: State transport company Shire Bus Lines did not operate well any more, and private bus companies can provide the transport better.


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