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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Ujamaa is not Simply about being Rich or Poor

"In the individual, as in the society, it is an attitude of mind which distinguishes the socialist from the non-socialist. It has nothing to do with the possession or non-possession of wealth. Destitute people can be potential capitalists--exploiters of their fellow human beings. A millionaire can equally be a socialist; he may value his wealth only because it can be used in the service of his fellow men. But the man who uses wealth for the purpose of dominating any of his fellows is a capitalist. So is the man who would if he could! I have said that a millionaire can be a good socialist. But a socialist millionaire is a rare phenomenon. Indeed he is almost a contradiction in terms. The appearance of millionaires in any society is no proof of its affluence; they can be produced by very poor countries like Tanganyika just as well as by rich countries like the United States of America...While, therefore, a millionaire could be a good socialist, he could hardly be the product of a socialist society...There must be something wrong in a society where one man however hard-working or clever he may be, can acquire as great a "reward" as a thousand of his fellows can acquire them. Acquisitiveness for the purpose of gaining power and prestige is unsocialist. In an acquisitive society wealth tends to corrupt those who possess it. it tends to breed in them a desire to live more comfortably than their fellows, to dress better, and in every way to outdo them. They begin to feel they must climb as far above their neighbors as they can. the visible contrast between their own comfort and the comparative discomfort of the rest of society becomes almost essential to the enjoyment of their wealth, and this sets off the spiral of personal competition--which is then anti-social. Apart from the anti-social effects of the accumulation of personal wealth, the every desire to accumulate it must be interpreted as a vote of "no confidence" in the social system" - Mwalimu Julius Nyerere 


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