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Capitalism and corruption in Nigeria


Aerial view of buildings and markets on Lagos Island.

Sir: Capitalism as popularly defined is an economic system in which the means of production and distribution is controlled by individual entrepreneurs or the bosses. Capitalism is treated as a specific mode of production, not simply as a market economy. Under capitalism, the economy is the superstructure, while other institutions of state are sub-structures (politics, law, religion, culture). As contended by Karl Marx, capitalism thrives on primitive accumulation, exploitation and alienation.

Capitalism also thrives on rivalry, on the assumption of perfect market competition. But as manifested in many nations, capitalism encourages class struggle, unequal income distribution and appropriation of wealth by the bosses as against the sweat of the labour that create the wealth. Even though some scholars hold the view that capitalism is a rational and efficient competitive system. However, we have experienced capitalism’s contradiction in the form of boom and bust that retard economic progress of nations.

Furthermore, capitalism has also polarised societies by creating socio-economic classes and in the process inflicting massive poverty on the working class. It is also important to note that capitalism concentrates wealth in the hands of a small number of bosses of industries while the workers become poorer.

While outright deregulation, privatisation, commercialisation, concessions, and Public Private Partnership (PPP) of state-owned institutions are high on the priority list of the capitalist system, the so called ‘’free market’’ system works in the interest and safeguard the investment of those people with resources which are looted from the state.

Capitalism can only survive through short-cuts and manipulative processes to keep oiling the wheel of backwardness. In Nigeria, corruption has played a decisive role to ensure capitalism thrives.

The most important challenge for all Nigerians now is to end the corrupt, exploitative and oppressive capitalist system, through consistent and tireless struggle against it and all its forms of corruption, appropriation, exploitation and anti-people policies.
Adefolarin A. Olamilekan is a development researcher.

In this article:
CapitalismKarl MarxPPP
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