Christian Long

Ashraf Ghani: Rebuilding Broken States

In TED Talks on May 22, 2010 at 10:26 pm

Reflection by DEREK M.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Ashraf Ghani:  Rebuilding Broken States

Rebuilding Broken States by Ashraf Ghani is an supposedly informative and unbiased video concerning the welfare of nations. However, the subject of Ghani’s discourse did not come out very clearly. The only thing that I picked up on was the selfishness that Ghani continued to talk about. He continually criticized prosperous nations for their ‘mistakes’ when he should be coming up with ways to create ‘capital’ in Afghanistan. In lay mans terms, I was unimpressed and less sympathetic to Afghanistan’s condition after I heard this talk all based on the way Ghani presented his information. It was far too critical, and I was rather confused on his insistence to not elaborate on his ideas. Hopefully, his true bias is not as strong as he presented it because the deragatory terms he used when discussing Afghanistan versus the rest of the world were completely unneccessary and repulsive.

“But the majority of the world neither benefits from capitalism nor from democratic systems. Most of the globe experiences the state as repressive, as an organization that is concerned about denial of rights, about denial of justice, rather than provision of it. And in terms of experience of capitalism, there are two aspects that the rest of the globe experiences.” I find this really hard to believe. Considering the most unified and prosperous nations on the planet are not only capitalists, but also democracies, Ghani’s bias is clearly shown. His point blank analysis of the world around him is skewed. The Afghan government is heavily influenced by the Taliban, so how can he criticize the rest of the world? The Taliban is one of the most biased and skewed groups on the planet. His statement is hypocritical.

“What is one of these organizations to pick? We have three critical terms: economy, civil society and the state. I will not deal with those first two, except to say that uncritical transfer of assumptions, from one context to another, can only make for disaster.”I personally find it hard to reason with people that give point blank statements and provide no information to synthesize the ‘facts’ given in the talk. He constanly says that he is not going to go into further detail. Why would he not go into detail about his mission unless he knew that its flaws were easily seen? There is no reason, especially at TED, that any speaker, no matter what the subject, would not analyze or illustrate their mission clearly. Unless Ghani’s mission was to criticize every democracy or capitalist, I am bewildered and confused on the point he was trying to illustrate.

“So what are these functions? We propose 10. And it’s legitimate monopoly of means of violence, administrative control, management of public finances, investment human capital, provision of citizenship rights, provision of infrastructure, management of the tangible and intangible assets of the state through regulation, creation of the market, international agreements — including public borrowing — and then most importantly, rule of law.” From the way he presented the information, he is on the repressive and controlling side of the spectrum. He wants the government to control almost everything and anything in his country. Considering the influence of the Taliban on the Afghan government and the fact that he is a part of that corrupt government, Ghani shows his bias again with his proposal. What is most disheartening about this to me is that he refused to add more detail on his ten part theory. How can I have sympathy or agree with something that is not presented at all? I have a hard time seeing the benefits or the reason for this talk because I see no commentaries regarding any of the main proponents of this talk. It is safe to say that on every part of this talk, I disagree on the basis of confusion, simple analysis, and refusal to elaborate.

“It takes 16 years in your countries to produce somebody with a BS degree. It takes 20 years to produce somebody with a PhD… What is it that we need to do fundamentally to re-engage in a project, that capital formation is rapid? The absolute majority of the world’s population are below 20, and they are growing larger and faster. They need different ways of being approached. Different ways of being enfranchised. Different ways of being skilled. And that’s the first thing.” Again, Ghani shows his criticism on the world around him. He thinks that the majority of the world are not being taught correctly. Where does he gain the right to criticize people’s education, when in Afghanistan a large portion of the population are not being given a basic education. Jealousy is worth arguing over. He sees to be in harsh disagreement with the world’s policies while he claims that his focus is the country of Afghanistan. That does not seem to be his mission. It seems that he is taking the opportunity of the TED conference to get on podium and critcize the rest of the world with a narcissistic attitude. This has not only led me away from the points he was trying to portray, but it also has led me to be in stark opposition to every issue discussed in this talk.

“Second is, you’re problem solvers, but you’re not engaging your global responsibility. You’ve stayed away from the problems of corruption. You only want clean environments in which to function. But if you don’t think through the problems of corruption, who will? You stay away from design for development. You’re great designers, but your designs are selfish. It’s for your own immediate use. The world in which I operate operates with designs regarding roads, or dams, or provision of electricity that have not been revisited in 60 years. This is not right. It requires thinking.” If I understand this statement correctly, Ghani is belittling the government of America. However, I disagree with Ghani once again. He is saying that we think in the short term, but that is not the case. We are trying to save the world from a dying environment. His criticism of our focus on the environment is completely false. We clean the environment for the future, so that our world will survive. The environment sustains all life on this world and this is the first time I have heard differently. The cleaning of the environment is a long term goal, contrary to Ghani’s belief. It is so that the world will continue to prosper for centuries to come. It is a neccessity for life on Earth. His financial plan is not. Therefore, the statement given above can be discredited on lack of correct information or on the basis of imporoper analysis of given information. Ghani must live in a secluded place far from human development because last time I checked, America and other democratic countries are making great strides in the form of advancing technologies for the long term.

“If the goal is to build states that can credibly take care of themselves — and I’m putting that proposition equally — you know I’m very harsh on my counterparts, and aid must end in each country in a definable period. And every year there must be progress. On mobilization of domestic revenue, and generation of the economy. Unless that kind of compact is entered into, you will not be able to sustain the consensus.” Even in the last statement, I find myself craving answers from Ghani’s discourse. He does not answer any questions without dodging the real answers. His talk is biased and if anything detrimental to his cause; the cause I am still trying to comprehend.

If you were interested in this talk you might want to go to the following link provided below: http://www.ted.com/talks/ngozi_okonjo_iweala_on_doing_business_in_africa.html

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