Innovation & The New Economy “…we must bring genuinely new and innovative thinking to the process – we must question the very development paradigm that we have adopted by default since independence, if we are to be truly ‘strategic’ in our thinking. The first step in this planning process should be an overall situational analysis both of the recent PNG experience since independence and then a general overview of socio-economic development and the progress of man via the various economic/ social models and their variations. In terms of the PNG experience we have attempted to take on independence too early and to adopt in a wholesale fashion the Westminster Parliamentary political system within what is essentially a free market economy. The original intentions of our forebears as espoused in the Constitution were admirable but in spite of a benevolent and supportive colonial presence and vast natural resources we are not succeeding in building the society spoken of in that Constitution. In fact many of the social indicators place us at the bottom end of the spectrum on a world basis and every indication on the ground that things have gotten worse since independence in this country for the majority of our citizens.
Innovation & The New Economy â€œWorld experience shows us that in terms of the basis for an economic model the free market, capitalist system with a small regulatory type government seems to be the favoured model and the world is evolving into a global single market village. World experience has also shown us that trade is a good thing and we have been encouraged to open our borders and markets. Again these concepts are all good in theory, however in practice we have seen essentially an economic colonization of sorts by the enduring western powers because they remain at an advantage over (less developed countries) LDCs in the operation of a modern economy, culturally and in terms of economic and technical capital.â€?
Innovation & The New Economy â€œThe result of this is that whilst we attempt to catch up, this unfair advantage is being used as it has been throughout the Americas and in Africa, to systematically extract cheap resources and fund the extravagant economies of the developed west. The international monetary system including the aid programs are designed to perpetuate this scenario. We are led to believe that we must build a populous, growth driven, demand based economy that keeps us under pressure to keep selling off resources and beholden to the foreign companies that we need to extract those resources. We are silly enough to just assume that we have to dance to that tune.â€?
Innovation & The New Economy â€œIt is that dance that is destroying the planet through climate change and it is that dance that is allowing our country to be stripped bare to the benefit of a small elite in the politico/ bureaucracy and large business. It is the new age of colonialism â€“ that of national governments (ruling elements with vested personal interests) in concert with international corporations working in harmony whilst the masses of poor continue to expand. The fundamental issue when we as an LDC are asked to join the economic race is that we are at a distinct disadvantage to the developed countries. To participate we have to rely heavily on foreign investment and aid but this leads to a corporate sector that is dominated by foreign companies and much of the wealth ownership concentrated in the hands of non locals and the political and bureaucratic elite that is happy to perpetuate this system. It leads to weak bargaining positions when negotiating Project Agreements with large multinationals.â€?
Innovation & The New Economy â€œPapua New Guinea must now take full control of its destiny by taking measures that allow us to step out of this hypnosis and thereby take the strategic measures that will create the long term vision we seek.â€?
Innovation & The New Economy Any long-term plans must begin at as high a vantage level as possible. AS SUCH THEY SHOULD ACTUALLY BEGIN BY EXAMINING THE VERY DEVELOPMENT PARADIGM ITSELF – the underlying values and belief system that underpin the model. They must be strategic, leading to operational plans that quite specifically speak to our particular strengths and weaknesses, and seeks to better position ourselves based on these in a rapidly changing world.”
Innovation & The New Economy Also;
“We need to step back from this prevailing landscape and question the underlying paradigm and value system that is driving it. It is an oversimplification but a truth that the current development process is driven very much by a value system based on – individual interest and rights, the accumulation of wealth for self, more and bigger is better. It is predicated that an open market system will best allocate resources and drive development, that endless growth is a prerequisite for ‘development’. If we examine our Constitution we find a reference to “Png Ways” – a reference to the ways of our forefathers. This is a reference to a culture based on the sharing of wealth, community wellbeing rather than individual wellbeing and spiritual oneness with nature. This is a theme found in many ancient cultures such as that of the American Indians. Similar values are at the heart of the Christian religion.
Innovation & The New Economy We must question our automatic adoption of a paradigm that is quite contrary to this, particularly in the light of historical experience and a current new consciousness. There are consequential changes happening to the planet that is forcing a revision of our development thinking and models and we need to recognize this and help to lead the way back to a new paradigm.â€?