Intellectual Poverty in Zambia

From Zambian Economist Wed Feb 6 2013, 01:06:00

By Chola Mukanga

Real poverty is intellectual. Poverty is not an absence of resources or money; rather, it results from an absence of knowledge. History has shown that empires that have dominated for some time have usually gone into decline or failed to tap into potential for lack of generation of new ideas. Economic historians have for some time been puzzled on why Portugal, so prosperous in the 15th century began to decline from thereafter. A lot of reasons can be put forward, but one common and unmistakable reason was the decline in the trade of ideas. In Francis Parry's 1670 observations, "the people are so little curious that no man knows more than what is merely necessary for him". A view echoed by the 18th Century visitor to Portugal, Mary Brearley, "the bulk of the people were disinclined to independence of thought and, in all but few instances, too much averse for intellectual activity to question what they have learned". China a maritime power prior to the 1500s, pretty much failed to take advantage of its dominance and spark an industrial revolution because it began to look inward and was not open to new ideas.

Ideas and new ways of thinking are critical for Zambia to develop. In my view we need as much ideas generation as possible. The pursuit of knowledge and new ways of thinking must drive a modern Zambian state.

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