Bloch got it wrong

A NOT uncommon problem with economists, even respected and reputable ones such as Erich Bloch, is their apparent lack of concern for anything other than “economics”.



if”>Too often they forget that economics is at best an inexact social science, dealing as it does with but one aspect of human existence.


When, as they often do, they totally ignore other aspects of human existence, economists become divorced from reality, and as a result their analysis and policy prescriptions become nothing more than academic exercises – of little relevance to the real world of people.


In the real world, people are much more than statistics – mere numbers for economists to play with. They are social, political and spiritual beings. They bleed, they suffer, they starve, they have spiritual and emotional needs, needs not catered for or quantified by economic statistics. Where in economics, for example, are the basic human needs generally subsumed under the heading of “human rights” ever mentioned?


The economist’s food, clothing, and shelter may be enough for subsisting, but they are not enough for “Life”.


It is for reasons such as the above that Bloch is completely wrong to condemn the mass action that effectively shut down the ailing Zimbabwean economy for five days. Those who supported and took part in the mass action were doing far more than seeking the removal of a regime that has failed to provide an environment in which the basics of food, clothing and shelter can be adequately provided. They were seeking the removal of a regime that denies its citizens their fundamental rights, their basic humanity.

But Bloch knows as well as anyone the disastrous state of our economy.


He should also know that the direct cause of this disastrous state is the ruling regime. And if he does not yet know that until it is removed from power this country’s disastrous downward slide will continue, then he is not of this planet. So even if he is only concerned with our material condition he can have no substantive argument against an action to remove this regime. An action forced on the opposition by the brutal dictatorship that desperately clings to power.


Of course the mass action did not help the economy. That is stating the obvious. But to the extent that it was a necessary part of the process of removing the cause of all that afflicts us it was completely justified.

Until the root cause – this corrupt, kleptocratic and brutal regime – is removed, Mr Bloch, any discussion of economic remedies is simply a waste of time – and newsprint.


The time may soon come when even the economists must put down their pens and pick up their swords.


RES Cook,

Harare.