Yoweri Musuveni doesn’t seem to understand how a place gets richer – through the adoption of new technologies. Given that he’s President of Uganda and has rather more power than he should over what happens in that country this misunderstanding – to be polite about it – doesn’t bode well for the future. For he says that Uganda should remain poorer for longer than it needs, by insisting that it should be slow to adopt new technologies. Nope, this isn’t how it works, this isn’t how economic development works at all.
President Yoweri Museveni has cautioned government officials and experts against embracing new technologies without exploring their potentially harmful impact.
No. There’s a good reason that places which have market economies are either rich or becoming so. And why no place that is not at least a decent simulacrum of a market economy has ever become rich or stayed so. Because the very point and process in a market economy is to adopt any and every new technology and see what sticks. Deep consideration of the pros and cons is precisely what the only successful process we’ve got does not do.
It really is, well, here’s this new way of doing something. What, we’re not quite sure, how well it works we dunno. The way we find out is that the people of the society have a go. Almost all of them fail to use this new ability in any useful manner. In fact, near all new things cannot be used in any useful manner. It’s entirely possible to make toad flavoured ice cream but the point would be?
The crucial part of the process being that only by tens of millions of people having a go do we find those few uses which do in fact work, which do add value to the human experience. Deep consideration of anything isn’t the point at all.
This is also rather contraindicated:
The President made the call while inaugurating a team of 23 experts who will assess and champion Uganda’s involvement in the 4th Industrial Revolution. The ceremony was held at State House in Entebbe on Monday. The National Expert Taskforce in Emerging Technologies is headed by former transport and ICT minister, Eng John Nasasira. It comprises of engineers, lawyers, ICT experts and scholars. It also includes a nine-member team of media professionals including Vision Group’s contributing editor, Paul Busharizi, who are tasked with promoting the task force’s work.
Rather than a collection of worthies to consider matters better by far just to give all the freedom to experiment. Because that is, as above, the only system humans have ever stumbled upon that actually works.
Sorry, Musuveni’s just wrong here. Development comes from the freedom to try out new things, not consideration of how the new might go wrong.