Friday, 18 May 2012

Nigeria Deleveraging [1]

"We have destroyed ourselves..." - from a scene in the movie Terminator Salvation

The fuel subsidy probe and the rent-seeking framework which the probe reports have unravelled have confirmed and given legal effect to what a few citizens have surmised about over the years. James Rickards, in his book, Currency Wars, alludes to a concept known as 'rent-seeking' which he describes as "the accumulation of wealth through non-productive means". That is precisely what has been going on in many sectors over time, so it does not come as news that our collective economic prosperity has continually been threatened by the actions (and inactions) of a tiny, influential fraction of our 167 million-strong population. In the body of knowledge that defines economic history, this is not strange. 

For the purposes of speculation and on a lighter note, comic relief, let us equate part of our essence as a systemically corrupt nation to the height of irresponsible debt levels in the developed world today. In doing this, our aim is to investigate, over the next few weeks, the mechanism of  'deleveraging' on corruption in Nigeria - the developed world continues to deleverage on debt - and to find out if indeed we have reached the point of deleveraging. As we proceed, I must emphasize a clear difference between the two independents. Sovereign debt is largely monetary and can be measured to an acceptable degree of accuracy. The innate propensity for financial impropriety and misappropriation of funds, on the other hand, cannot be measured directly; only its effects can be measured. In trying to measure its effects, we may (bearing in mind the natural human proclivity for either understating or overestimating an issue) reach erroneous and typically hazardous conclusions. However, it should be clear to readers that the intent of this material is not to approximate this propensity to a set of mathematical equations, for we have, in view of the global financial crisis, seen how the grand designs of risk valuation can cause social and economic disasters of incalculable proportions.

To be continued...

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