Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Beyond the Polarisation

This is the best response i have read so far regarding the American elections and gives me the much needed peace -

Republican or Democrat? Putting Hope Beyond Red or Blue
In the midst of bitter political campaigns and urgent issues, a call to remember our ultimate allegiance.
I have a thing for pomp and circumstance. I famously watched all four hours of President Nixon’s funeral. I watch every second of every inauguration.
The peaceful transfer of power in America moves me; it’s all so civilized. All the naughty behavior of the election season is brushed under the carpet, and grown men exchange the reins of leading the most powerful country on earth.
And I’m no American elitist in this department. I also woke up at 3:30 am to watch William and Kate’s wedding live at my friend Molly’s house, who answered the door in her wedding veil.

Ironic, because I put very little stock in politics.

I like the dressings—the traditions, the ceremony, the legacy—but the inner workings of polarized government actually leave me very cold. My optimism was deflowered in middle school when I found out about the Electoral College …

“So my vote doesn’t actually count?” said the disillusioned 8th grader.
“Well, yes, it technically does.”
“But technically, can someone win the election and lose the Electoral College?”
“Virtually impossible.”
“Technically, yes,” said the annoyed government teacher.
“All truth is dead.”

… and it really never recovered.
So it is with no small degree of dismay I watch my Christian community engage the current election.

I’m no stranger to the Christian Republican narrative; after all, my home church used to put an election insert into the bulletin on Sunday to tell us who to vote for (straight-ticket Republican). I, like most of my fellow DC Talk-totin’ youth group pals, assumed Christians hedged right, because of obvious reasons, which were actually not obvious at all, but we didn’t ask questions back then.

Let me jump ahead and tell you where I’ve landed: I am a registered independent AND WILL ALWAYS BE.

I will never get in bed with a political party, because full allegiance forfeits the right to call a party to reform, and both parties are in dire need of reform. Full allegiance tempts us to place our hope in secular government fueled by greed and power, and both parties are fueled by greed and power.

Full allegiance silences our prophetic voice in favor of touting party lines and demands we turn our fellow citizens into enemies for differing viewpoints.

I’m concerned, sisters and brothers in Christ, with this unyielding group identification with a political party.

And I know what you’re going to say: Abortion.

This is the veritable end of every discussion as a single-issue decision.
To be clear: I am fully in favor of protecting our unborn. I believe history will not look kindly on this page of society. And for my Right to Choose friends who want to holler rape and incest, I’ll remind us those tragic cases account for less than 1 percent of all abortions. We have an unprecedented loss of life on our hands. It is a dark day indeed.

But in many ways, abortion is a straw issue in this election. It is not up for repeal. It is not on the docket as pending legislation. It will certainly not be outlawed by either candidate (“There's no legislation regarding, with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda.” ~Romney told the Des Moines Register). No vote will result in a repeal, so perhaps we should not so quickly malign citizens who vote toward policies that reduce.

In fact, after it was legalized in 1973, abortions surged under Democratic and Republican presidents alike, remaining legal through seven Republican-appointed and only four Democratic-appointed Supreme Court justices, reaching their peak of 1.6 million in 1990. Since then, abortions have steadily decreased, with the largest decline under the Clinton administration, then plateauing during the younger Bush years (source).

The lack of far-reaching advocacy demonstrated by most pro-life folks is discouraging.

The Right to Life focus usually omits the crucial before and after parts of the issue, as I see the same people fighting against universal pre- and postnatal care, easier access to contraception (2/3rds of all U.S. citizens are unchurched, so it is unrealistic to expect them to adhere to Christian abstinence, you know, like all the Christian singles are … ahem), better nutrition for new mothers, affordable health care for all, the offer of true community to young and vulnerable pregnant women … as these are the tools that will actually reduce abortions. There is a high correlation between social policies like family planning, contraception promotion, comprehensive sex education and increased health insurance coverage and lower abortion rates.

But I digress.

Perhaps most discouraging is the irrational, unreasonable hope I find fellow believers placing in a political party, and lest you think I’m just picking on Republicans, my Christian Democratic friends ’bout drove me to drinkin’ during the Bush years.

And may we touch on the irony of an inherent value of the right—electing a Christian president—and observe the suspension of “biblical truth” necessary to endorse a Mormon candidate? The Christian Right has gone strangely silent over this tiny detail (but should a Mormon secure the Democratic nomination, please prepare your Facebook feed for 1,000 posts a day about the anti-Christ and the end of the world).

None of this smacks of Gospel.

Politics are rife with power-plays, hypocrisy, corruption, agendas, contradictions, good platforms, bad platforms, men and women who love their country, men and women who’ve lost their moral compass, good policy, dangerous policy … in the red and blue camps alike. That any believer imagines a political platform will either usher in or threaten the Kingdom of God is worse than dramatic; it is unbelief.

No president can take the Kingdom out of our hearts. No candidate can steal what Jesus has already won.

As the Kingdom came, so will it continue—not through Empire but through radical, subversive faith. It cannot be shaken, it cannot be removed.

It lives and breathes through the work of Jesus on the cross, not the position of any human on the throne. Nor can any man in the sphere of government ever represent the comprehensive Gospel of Christ. Never. He may reflect elements, but rest assured, those tenets will be contradicted elsewhere in his platform.

Our faith and outrage and hope and trust is misplaced in any leadership model other than Jesus’, who resisted all earthly power and position and rejected any political identification:

The last shall be first.

The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

My kingdom is not of this world.

The greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.

Jesus’ subversive teaching taught His followers to shame and expose the evils of political oppression by audacious acts of humility, not through bedding down within the system. I particularly like how John Piper discussed voting in his post “Let Christians Vote As Though They Were Not Voting,” referencing 1 Corinthians 7:29-31 (by the way, do not google “John Piper election” in hopes of pulling up this article, because you will find 700,000 pages of predestination sermon links):

“So it is with voting. There are losses. We mourn. But not as those who have no hope. We vote and we lose, or we vote and we win. In either case, we win or lose as if we were not winning or losing. Our expectations and frustrations are modest. The best this world can offer is short and small. The worst it can offer has been predicted in the book of Revelation. And no vote will hold it back.”

These things remain: God’s Kingdom exists anywhere believers are choosing love and grace and reckless obedience; it is undeterred by a red or blue context.

Sisters and brothers in Christ will vote differently, because as we all must, we simply have to choose between two platforms that each include some Gospel-centric policies and others that contradict. Either way, we will swallow some ideologies that belie the message of Jesus.

Regardless, God is still on His throne, and our true allegiance rests in His sovereignty. Four or eight years of an administration cannot compromise the historical work of a holy God.

If discipleship means loving the broken, then love the broken.

If following Jesus means abandoning our rights, then abandon them.

If you care about the sanctity of life, then devote yourself to its care—womb to grave.

If you worry about the vulnerable, then give your life away for them.

If Scripture tells us perfect love drives out fear, then it does.

If your trust is in a Servant Savior, then put it there and leave it there.

As children of God, we should be unthreatened by secular power. The Law was never able to bring redemption, and it is still insufficient to make all things new. 

The healing and hope and goodness we long for is realized fully in Jesus, extended through His people despite hardship or distance or the passage of time or the changing of guards. No political party can see it through or take it away. It was finished on the cross, and the discussion is over.

So may we deal kindly with one another in a manner befitting the Bride, as a people who loosely engage the system of the day, retaining our prophetic voice and refusing to malign one another for a false kingdom that will soon pass away. May we preach Jesus crucified and risen, the only hope of the world. And whether we vote red or blue, may we reach across the lines, join hands and proclaim:

“To the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.” ~Romans 16:27

Jen Hatmaker and her husband, Brandon, live in Austin, TX where they lead Austin New Church and raise their brood. They pioneered Restore Austin, connecting churches to local and global non-profits for the individual, collective, and social renewal of Austin and beyond. Jen speaks at events all around the country. She is the author of nine books and Bible studies, including Interrupted and 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. Jen and Brandon have five children: Gavin – 13, Sydney – 11, and Caleb – 9, and they’ve recently added Ben – 8, and Remy – 6 from Ethiopia. Drop her a line or check out her ministry and blog at www.jenhatmaker.com. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Dr. Maya Angelou

Just seen this one ...

 The great American author and poet Dr. Maya Angelou sent an email to Obama supporters this morning, urging everyone not just to vote, but to make sure your friends and family vote, too:
I am not writing to you as a black voter, or a woman voter, or as a voter who is over 70 years old and six feet tall. I am writing to you as a representative of this great country—as an American.

It is your job to vote. It is your responsibility, your right, and your privilege. You may be pretty or plain, heavy or thin, gay or straight, poor or rich.

But remember this: In an election, every voice is equally powerful—don't underestimate your vote. Voting is the great equalizer.

Voting has already begun in some states that President Obama needs to win. So please use this handy tool to make sure your friends in those key states know where to cast their ballot.

You will be doing them a great favor.

As a country, we can scarcely perceive the magnitude of our progress.
My grandmother and my uncle experienced circumstances that would break your heart. When they went to vote, they were asked impossible questions like, "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" When they couldn't answer, they couldn't vote.

I once debated with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. about whether an African American would ever be elected president. He believed it would happen within the next 40 years at the time—I believed it would never happen within my lifetime.

I have never been happier to have been proven wrong.

And since President Barack Obama's historic election, we've moved forward in courageous and beautiful ways. More students can afford college, and more families have access to affordable health insurance. Women have greater opportunities to get equal pay for equal work.

Yet as Rev. King wrote, "All progress is precarious."

So don't sit on the sidelines. Don't hesitate. Don't have any regrets. Vote.

Go, rise up, and let your friends and family in early vote states know where they can vote today. We must make our voices heard.

Your vote is not only important. It's imperative.

Thank you,

Dr. Maya Angelou

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I say so -

The way to  have the right attitude is by associating yourself with people who are ''contaminated' or who have tested positive with ''huge amounts of attitude.'' It is also advisable to eat alot of fruits like 'encouragement' which are rich in attitude - but avoid fruits like jealousy which are deceptively green in color but are lased with envy and ill-motive. Eat lots of laughter, drink alot of love especially the agape juices and also try to make your own smoothie of prayer, rest, vision, kindness (add a few hints of jokes) - oh and its  also good to drink it in those strong glasses made by 'good company'.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Uganda - Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to my motherland Uganda - 

May the  latter days be better than the past days -  (Haggai 2:9) 

I attended a reception organised by the Uganda Society UK to mark 50 years of Independence for Uganda. It was good to interact with various people who are connected with the country in one way or another.

Keith Arrowsmith, Chair Uganda Society UK

H.E Joan Rwabyomere, Uganda's High Commissioner to United Kingdom gave a simple and succinct account of the state of the nation and her speech was well received. She made me proud.

James Lang Brown, (author of Uganda Diary) and H.E Joan Rwabyomere, Uganda's High Commissioner to United Kingdom

The Uganda Society UK is composed of mainly former British employees who worked in Uganda, their children, spouses, and well wishers. 

I was invited by Mrs. Margi Mahoney nee Coates, daughter of a former Headmaster of my School Busoga College Mwiri (Canon F.G. Coates). Seen here with Peter Woodford O.B.E (former teacher)

Mr. Peter Biroli is also a child of a former teacher at Mwiri -

Mr. Charles Biroli and his daughter

Some of  the teachers at Mwiri pre- independence also attended -
Margi Mahoney, daughter of Rev Coates, Gordon Holmes & Mary Benjamin -former teachers

With Edward Bisamunyu son of Former Mwiri OldBoy and Diplomat Mr. Bisamunyu
With (L-R) Gordon Holmes, Margi Mahoney, Peter Woodsford O.B.E


I was seated next to Alan Forward, author of "You Have Been Allocated Uganda": Letters from a District Officer'. He was a colonial officer in Uganda whose last post was as personal assistant to the last Governor General of Uganda - Mitchell Cotts

Mrs. Barbara Saben, as she was at Independence Day 1962

The Mayor of Kampala at the time of Independence, Mrs. Barbara Saben is still alive and is 100 years old today. She was too frail to attend but sent a Congratulatory message.

Sir David Kamurasi, Omukama of Toro at Independence 1962

Sir C.G.Gasyonga II, Ankole Monarch

Old Pictures of the territory now called Uganda - from JH Speke-  Author of 'Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile'

Mountain Of The Moon

J H Speke

Saturday, September 22, 2012

It was ...

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
English novelist (1812 - 1870) 

Saturday, September 01, 2012


Plodding flip-flops
Groggy eyes
Zombie wobbles
Stiff back
Lactose nighties
Bleeding nipples


Bad hair
Chipped nails
Sour throats
Ringing ears
Overgrown brows
Forgotten Gucci bags


Bleach  scents
Peaking weight
Curious toddlers
Sulking husbands
Inquisitive in-laws


Ammonia handbags
Yelling brats
Messy lounges
Endless visitors
Humid climate
Suicidal thoughts


August 31, 2012

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Cough

Loud cheering voices
Black and white television
Hair pulled, noses punched
Legs carelessly dangled on settees

A careless fart
More jabbering
A stale joke
Wierd laughter
Mosquito bites
Distant howls

The Cough

Prickled ears



Muffled voices
Mugs hit the floor
Scampering feet
Hurried footsteps

Louder cough

Rushed re-organisations
Plates to the sink
The cat is here
The mice to bed
10 pm

Daddy is back


Woolf Lecture Theatre, Canterbury, Kent

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Proverbs 30

7 “Two things I ask of you, O Lord;
do not refuse me before I die:

8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.

9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.
 New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


If I knew it would be the last time
That I'd see you fall asleep,
I would tuck you in more tightly
and pray the Lord, your soul to keep.

If I knew it would be the last time
that I see you walk out the door,
I would give you a hug and kiss
and call you back for one more.

If I knew it would be the last time
I'd hear your voice lifted up in praise,
I would video tape each action and word,
so I could play them back day after day.

If I knew it would be the last time,
I could spare an extra minute
to stop and say "I love you,"
instead of assuming you would KNOW I do.

If I knew it would be the last time
I would be there to share your day,
well I'm sure you'll have so many more,
so I can let just this one slip away.

For surely there's always tomorrow
to make up for an oversight,
and we always get a second chance
to make everything right.

There will always be another day
to say "I love you,"
And certainly there's another chance
to say our "Anything I can do?"

But just in case I might be wrong,
and today is all I get,
I'd like to say how much I love you
and I hope we never forget.

Tomorrow is not promised to anyone,
young or old alike,
And today may be the last chance
you get to hold your loved one tight.

So if you're waiting for tomorrow,
why not do it today?
For if tomorrow never comes,
you'll surely regret the day,

That you didn't take that extra time
for a smile, a hug, or a kiss
and you were too busy to grant someone,
what turned out to be their one last wish.

So hold your loved ones close today,
and whisper in their ear,
Tell them how much you love them
and that you'll always hold them dear

Take time to say "I'm sorry," "Please forgive me,"
"Thank you," or "It's okay."
And if tomorrow never comes,
you'll have no regrets about today.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Mamdani response to Stilglitz presentation

Publish Date: Jul 18, 2012
Your Excellency, Mr. President; the Chair, the Honorable Minister of Finance; the Honorable Governor of the Bank of Uganda and the Honorable Deputy Governor, Bank of Uganda, I assume that the Bank of Uganda has asked me to be a discussant hoping I would raise questions they do not feel comfortable raising.  
I will take a cue from them and ask Professor Stiglitz questions hoping he will give responses that I do not quite feel comfortable giving.
I shall focus on four issues and I will ask four questions.  The first concerns the Clinton years.  The second is about Professor Stiglitz definition of the problem, as one of “market failure.”  
The third question focuses on the contemporary global crisis; I call for a more comprehensive definition of the crisis, from the point of view of society and not just the state and market binary that frames Professor Stiglitz’s discourse.  Finally, I ask that Professor Stiglitz situate our own crisis – the crisis of Uganda and East Africa – within an expanded frame.
1.  The Clinton Years
Deregulation of the financial system in the US began with the Clinton administration’s repeal of key sections of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933.  That Act had separated commercial and investment banking since the Great Depression era.  The repeal of that Act was key to the deregulation of derivatives.  
In 2008, Clinton denied responsibility for refusing to regulate derivatives.  He changed his mind in 2010, then blaming his advisors, among whom were Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin and Larry Summers and the Chair of his Council of Economic Advisors, Joe Stiglitz.  Larry Summers went on to become President of Harvard University.  
Joseph Stiglitz went on to be Chief economist of the World Bank and then professor at Columbia University.  Summers showed little remorse for his role in the deregulation era.  Joe Stiglitz, in contrast, became the best known critic of deregulation.  
My first question is not new.  Academic reviewers of Stiglitz have often wondered when he saw the light: did Professor Stiglitz oppose deregulation at the time or change his mind when its consequences became clear?  Should we understand his critique of deregulation as foresight or hindsight, foresight in 1996 or hindsight after his time as Clinton’s senior policy advisor?  
Professor Stiglitz addressed this issue in a book he wrote on the Clinton era, a book titled The Roaring Nineties: A New History of the World’s Most Prosperous Decade.  The question I am interested in was posed by an academic reviewer of the book, Robert Pollin
 of Department of Economics at University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  Let me quote Professor Polin:
“… at what point did Stiglitz, in his role as a senior Clinton policy advisor, become convinced of the severe damage that would result from deregulation? … As one important example, the general tenor of the 1996 Economic Report of the President, written under Stiglitz’s supervision as Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors, is unmistakably in support of lowering regulatory standards, including in telecommunications and electricity.
This Report even singles out for favorable mention the deregulation of the electric power industry in California—that is, the measure that, by the summer of 2002, brought California to the brink of economic disaster, in the wake of still more Enron-guided machinations.”  
Why is the question important?  Like the rest of us, Professor Stiglitz has a right to change his mind.  The point of asking him this question is to have some information about how his thinking has evolved on this subject. As the reviewer asked: “Was there a moment of epiphany, like Saul of Tarsus falling off his mule?
How many possible disaster scenarios did he really anticipate, and how much has he realized only more recently, after observing and ruminating with hindsight?”  Did the crisis authored by the Clinton administration of which he was a leading member just confirm his intuition or did it also teach him something new?  
The answer to this question would tell us something about his intellectual journey.  That would allow us to pose a more contemporary question:  Should not the present global crisis lead Professor Stiglitz to develop his thought further?  My point is that this question is not just one that should interest Professor Stiglitz’s biographer; it is of theoretical significance.  Let me explain in terms that a lay person can understand, which will also allow me to pose my second question.
II.  Why Call it Market Failure?
Professor Stiglit’s theoretical work is on the economics of information.  Traditional economics, both classical and neoclassical, has been dominated by two related assumptions.  The first is what Adam Smith called ‘the invisible hand,’ the assumption that free competition leads to an efficient allocation of resources.  
The second is a related assumption in welfare economics, that issues of distribution should be viewed as completely separate from issues of efficiency. It is this methodological "separation" between growth and distribution which allows economists to push for reforms which increase efficiency, regardless of their impact on income distribution.  
It is the methodological basis of what we know as the “trickle down” school in economics.  Professor Stiglitz’s great contribution has been to challenge both these assumptions.  As he has shown, asymmetric information is a pervasive feature of how real-world markets operate.  The free market is an ideological myth.  In the real world, imperfect information makes for imperfect markets.
For Stiglitz, this means that governments need to strongly and effectively regulate what goes on in markets.  The point is to level the information field as much as possible so that markets may function with a modicum of efficiency and fairness.  
I have simplified the matter but I think it gives you an idea of the contribution for which he justly received the Nobel Prize.
In the three decades that preceded Stiglitz, economists had identified important market failures, but in limited areas, such as externalities like pollution, which require government intervention.  
But the case they had made was for limited government intervention in limited areas.  Professor Stiglitz made a more general case.  He showed that markets are always imperfect since they are always characterized by imperfect information, why government intervention has to be a constant presence in the market.  
Here then is my second question: Why call this “market failure”?  The term “market failure” suggests that markets normally function properly and that “market failure” is an exceptional occurrence.  
It is an appropriate term to describe the thought of pre-Stiglitz economists who focused on externalities like pollution to call for government intervention in select fields.  But it hides the real significance of Professor Stiglitz’s contribution which is to redirect our thinking away from failure as an exceptional occurrence to imperfection as the normal state of markets.  
Like its twin term “state failure,” the term “market failure” focuses our attention on the exception rather than the norm.  But we are not talking of an occasional lapse in how markets function; rather, we are talking of the regular state of markets, of how imperfect markets are when they function the way they are supposed to function.  
Information is always imperfect and so are markets.  What is involved here is a methodological shift from the exception to the norm.  This is a shift of paradigmatic significance.  “Market failure” is an unfortunate term because it hides the fundamental character of this shift.  
III.  The Problem is Not Just Economic
Before discussing its limits, I will summarize Professor Stiglitz’s response to the problem he calls “market failure.” Professor Stiglitz attributes “market failure” to “lack of transparency.”
He has several recommendations on how to check market failure.  The first is that government needs to bridge the gap between social returns and private returns, both to encourage socially necessary investment as in agriculture and to discourage socially undesirable investment as in real estate speculation.  
Second, the government may set up specialized development banks.  In support, he cites the negative example of America’s private banks and their “dismal performance” alongside the positive example of Brazil’s development bank, a bank twice the size of the World Bank, and its “extraordinary success” in leading that country’s economic transformation.
Finally, Professor Stiglitz cautions against liberalizing financial and capital markets as advised by the Washington Consensus.  
He reminds us that African countries that followed the Washington Consensus like so many faithful converts paid the price for not thinking on their own feet.  To quote Professor Stiglitz: “Credit to small and medium sized enterprises went down. More broadly, credit to productive investments went down.  …  Not surprising, the result was that growth was lower in countries that liberalized.”  
The countries that succeeded were those in East Asia; unlike African countries, they regulated financial markets in the interest of their development. 
Professor Stiglitz says that the Washington Consensus is an ideology.  He has a term for it: he calls it “free market fundamentalism.”  It was “ignored in Asia” but “has inflicted a high cost on developing countries, especially in Africa.” He says the Crisis of 2008 provides a moment for reflection, on the key importance of the financial sector, and of how ideology—flawed ideas about markets—led to a global disaster.”  
The lessons are two-fold: first, “more than better regulation is required”; second. “the government must take an active role in providing development finance.”  
I am not an economist, but I have been forced to learn its basics to defend myself in the academy and the world.  Like you, I live in a world where policy discourse has been dominated – I should say colonized – by economists whose vision is limited to the economy.  Professor Stiglitz derides this as “free market fundamentalism” and I agree with him.  
Like fundamentalist generals who think that the conduct, outcome and consequence of war is determined by what happens on the battlefield, the thought of fundamentalist economists not only revolves around the market but is also limited by it.  Just as war is too important an activity to be left to generals, the material welfare of peoples is also too important to be left to economists alone.  
I salute the work Professor Stiglitz has done to show the havoc caused by what he calls “free market fundamentalists.”  But I have a critique.  I have already argued that his definition of the problem as that of “market failure” is inadequate.  I will now argue that, In light of the challenge we face today, his response to the problem is also too limited. 
To illustrate how deep and pervasive this crisis is, I would like to sketch some key developments starting with the Clinton years.  Let us begin with the collapse of the Soviet Union.  In the 1990s, the Clinton administration urged on Russia what it called a “shock therapy,” a cocktail of recipes first perfected in African countries in the 1980s, and baptized as Structural Adjustment by the Washington Consensus.
That policy practically destroyed essential consumer industries, from pharmaceuticals to poultry, and led to mass poverty in Russia.  Fully backed by the Clinton administration, Yeltsin and his fellow conspirators were happy to implement this “shock therapy” as a way to acquire property at the expense of democracy.  
In the words of a moderate Russian paper, Literary Gazette, the “shock therapy” turned Russia into “a zone of catastrophe.”  
We may note that none of the architects of this policy in the Clinton administration – neither Larry Summers, nor Jeffrey Sachs nor former President Clinton himself – has every publicly apologized for this.
My second example is more current.  The Eurozone was created as a single currency for Europe but without constituting Europe as a democratic polity.  
The result was that monetary policy was formulated outside the framework of democracy.  The states in Europe have done to their own people what the Washington Consensus did to African peoples in the 80s. Unelected governments rule Europe; the EU ruling phalanx is not accountable to any one.
By all technical standards, what is taking shape in Europe is dictatorship. Not only are essential mechanisms of democratic systems being eroded or discarded, democracy is rapidly losing credibility.  For the third time in a century, Germany is looking to turn Europe into its backyard.
Germany is now achieving with banks what it failed to achieve with tanks in World War I and World War II.  It is even more interesting that it is Germany that should now propose a democratic solution to the crisis of the Eurozone, calling for a political unification of Europe.  
Historically, capitalism – and the market – have been kept in check by democracy.  Both the Russian and the European cases show us what happens when you do away with the democratic process in the interest of economic efficiency. 
In both the Russian and the European cases – and one could multiply examples – the problem has not been the absence of state activism.  If anything, states have reinforced the havoc wreaked by market forces on society.  Society is the missing term in the state-market equation that has defined the debate on “market failure” among economists.  
The tendency of the market, like that of the state, is to devour society.  The challenge is to defend society against these twin forces.  
Here is my point:  The antidote to the market was never the state but democracy.  Not the state but a democratic political order has contained the worst fallout from capitalism over the last few centuries.  
The real custodian of a democratic order was never the state but society.  The question we are facing today is not just that of market failure but of an all-round political failure: the financialization of capitalism is leading to the collapse of the democratic order.  The problem was best defined by the Occupy Wall Street movement in the US: it is the 99% against the 1%.  
Thus my third question: does not this empirical acknowledgement need to be translated into a theoretical insight?  Does it not call for a revised theoretical apparatus: one beyond a focus on “market failure”; one that does not limit the frame to the market and the state; one that is more interdisciplinary and more focused on the intersection of the economic, the political, and the social, both to illuminate the depth of the crisis we are faced with today and to shift focus from the state and the market to society?  
IV.  Lessons for us in Uganda, in East Africa and in Africa
I have little doubt that the audience here wants us to go beyond questions of economic theory, beyond a discussion of the global crisis.  This audience would like some discussion of the Ugandan crisis.  I will ask my fourth and last question on behalf of the audience: What are the lessons for Uganda, East Africa and Africa?
My first observation is that the Ugandan crisis is not really exceptional if you look at the rest of the world.  In his more public and less academic observations, Professor Stiglitz has remarked on the depths of the problem in “much of the world”.  Take an example from 2007 when Professor Stiglitz wrote of globalization on Beppe Grillo’s Blog in 2007:
"For much of the world, globalization as it has been managed seems like a pact with the devil. A few people in the country become wealthier; GDP statistics, for what they are worth, look better, but ways of life and basic values are threatened.  ...  This is not how it has to be."
It would be a shame if this audience is to walk away from Professor Stiglitz’s lecture with a message that the problem is just one of “market failure” and the solution is a robust state that regulates markets and provides development finance. Is the lesson of the Structural Adjustment era simply that we need strong states to defend ourselves from the Washington Consensus?  
Or does the experience of the SAP era also raise a second question: What happens if developing countries are forced to push open their markets before they have stable, democratic institutions to protect their citizens?  Should we be surprised that the result is something worse than crony capitalism, worse than private corruption, whereby those in the state use their positions to privatize social resources and stifle societal opposition?  
Social activists in Uganda increasingly argue that the state and the market are not opposites; they have come together in a diabolical pact.  Like in the US where the state feeds the greed of the banks, the state in Uganda has become the springboard of systemic corruption.  The use of eminent domain clause to appropriate land – from tropical rain forests to primary and secondary schools – is done in the name of development.
Even parliamentarians who discuss the oil issue complain, almost on a daily basis, that instead of leveling the information field, the state uses all its resources to keep information secret and muzzle public discussion on how public resources are used.  The question is simple: what happens if it is the state, and not just market forces, that hoards information?
I want to broaden our focus to the East African community.  The political class in Africa is weak.  Often, its vision is clouded by a singleminded preoccupation with the question of it own political survival. The result is a singular lack of imagination, marked by a tendency to borrow ‘solutions’ from the West.  
The AU named itself after the EU.  The East African Community adopted the European process hook, line and sinker: first a common market, then a common currency, before any political arrangement.  Here is my question:  Will the pursuit of this European recipe – introducing a common East African currency without first creating a common political framework for East Africa, without first solving the question of sovereignty, whether through a federation or a confederation – not invite a Europe-type crisis?  
V.  Conclusion
Let me conclude with two observations, one theoretical, the second political.
When I was a graduate student, my economics professor asked me to read a great postwar classic, Karl Polanyi’s The Great Transformation.  Polanyi was the first to point out that self-regulating markets are bound to lead to a social catastrophe.  Polanyi began with the observation that the market is much older than capitalism.  
It has been around for thousands of years.  Markets have coexisted with different kinds of economies and societies: capitalist, feudal, slave-owning, communal, all of them.  The distinguishing feature of all previous eras has been that societies have always regulated markets, set limit on their operation, and thus set limits on both private accumulation and widespread impoverishment.  Only with capitalism has the market wrenched itself free of society.  
A consequence of this development has been gross enrichment of a few alongside mass poverty.  A corollary of this process, we may say, is that regulation is now seen as the task of the state, and not of society.  
That solution is rapidly turning into a problem.  Not only has the market wrenched itself free from society, so is the state trying to do the same.  Not only do market forces threaten to colonize society, the state too threatens to devour society.  Free markets are not a solution for poverty; they are one cause of modern poverty.  State sovereignty is not a guarantor of freedom; it threatens to undermine social freedom.  
The challenge is not how the state can regulate the market, but how society can regulate both the state and the market.
I thank you.
Stephen E. Cohen, “The Soviet Union’s Afterlife,” The Nation, New York, January 9/16, 2012
Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation.
Robert Pollin
 Department of Economics and Political Economy Research Institute University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Review (for Challenge Magazine) of The Roaring Nineties: A New History of the World’s Most Prosperous Decade by Joseph E. Stiglitz, Political Economy Research Institute, Working paper No. 83, 2004