Friday, March 17, 2006

Collaboration and Cooperation?

Today I was taken back to my undergraduate years when I remember grappling with modules like Micro Economics, Macro Economics, Principles of Public Relations and Principles of Marketing. I have to admit that for someone who came from an Arts background in high school this was quiet heavy staff. Knowing about the forces of demand and supply, free market economy and all that other economic jargon was something to contend with. I am happy that today when Josie Rowe-Sezt (consultant) presented a seminar on Competition, Collaboration and Cooperation I wasn’t that too lost in it.

Her presentation touched on so many important aspects that are important for the survival of developing countries, especially South Africa in a world of trade liberalization and globalisation. I think that competition is healthy in any environment for it ensures that standards and procedures are set when processes of anything are being carried out. Competition ensures survival of the fittest and discards any misfits/undesirable elements in society. In the context of developing countries and developed countries competition is welcome but I believe that it must take cognisance of the various levels of development in our side of the continent versus the west. I think this is all the more important when I think of the massive diversity in the levels of development say between America and Zimbabwe for instance. America is so advanced in terms of information and communication technologies, infrastructure, its industries anything you can think off not to mention the advantages it has over other countries because of its power. In contrast Zimbabwe is just; well it’s just another poor country.

I believe that trade has to take cognizance of the economic advantages or disadvantages for individual countries. Following a singular or narrow minded view of global trade may not be reflective of cooperation and collaboration and may not produce positive if at all relevant results for all involved. Most developing countries lack the technology and expertise to compete on the same level with developed countries. There is a situation where stronger countries are pushing weaker ones out of the trade picture. It has created the need for countries particularly in Southern Africa to form economic policies that affect foreign direct investment. One can notice that there are now some restrictive labour laws, property laws, company laws or controlling the value of the local currency for instance.

I believe that there is need for both developed and developing countries to assess their needs and to chat the way forward cooperatively instead of exploiting each other. It would seem that developing countries are at risk due to the effects of globalization because they are seen as a dumping site for cheaply produced products which erode the value of our own local products. At the same time the small number of products we can present on the world market are subjected to a lot of restrictions. There are new laws that have to take into consideration the environment and hygienic practices and other such like obstacles that are just meant to push out our products or lower the selling price of producer goods. I just wonder if there is anything called competition on the global world because if its there, then it’s not fair. Cooperation and collaboration? I doubt, it looks like arm twisting to me where developing countries are simply placed between a rock and a hard place.


Blogger Roy Blumenthal said...

This is an excellent post, Pascalia. YOu've really engaged the topic nicely, and you're offering very soundly argued opinions. You're sticking your neck out in exactly the right kinda way.

Well done!!!

Now, please come back to this post and add some links to external sites. Once you've done that, this post pretty much becomes a model post for everyone to look at and emulate.

Blue skies

10:31 am  
Blogger Celeste said...

Hi Pascalia

You've raised very interesting questions in this entry of yours, much of which I agree with.

Last year, as my mini-thesis, I wrote about the effects of the World Bank on African countries and whether their ideology/policies are helping developing nations or not. I also did a course on the World Trade Organisation and we focused on the trade distortion and unfair tade between developed and developing nations.

Do you think organisations like these will ever realise that they should reflect the decisions of the whole world and not just the North. Their ideologies are getting there but will their actions? Thanks for raising these interesting themes. Celeste

3:41 am  
Blogger Lesley Emanuel said...

I just learned something, Pascalia. When Josie Rowe-Setz was discussing Competition, she referred regularly to Nokia. I think the basis for the discussion was why business chooses to manufacture in a certain country.

Cell phone maker Nokia may be based in Helsinki, but 40 percent of its shares are held by investors in the U.S. Interesting, huh? What do you think of that?


11:16 am  

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