By Dickson Igwe, Contributor
The measure of a country’s social and economic development is directly linked to its moral culture, and the quality of its ethical and values heritage
Writers and commentators talk of a clash of civilizations when describing the rise of radical Islamic terror in the west. There is truth to that assertion.
But, the real clash of civilizations is wider than the dividing line between two global religions.
There is a war that has been waged for centuries. It determines the destinies of societies and countries.
It is a bloody conflict that is a clash of values and norms.
It is multilateral and multisided. It is intangible and extremely complex.
It is the clash between the moral cultures of global societies.
There is no doubting the fact that the values held by a country’s population decides that country’s failure or success.
Then there is a global values set. It is a values and ethics benchmark.
And it is determined by the most powerful institutions and countries on earth.
Societies that defy the global benchmark for what is acceptable and what is not in terms of human morality often end up in failure and poverty.
Successful economies have common denominators. Institutions work: government, judiciary, lawmaking bodies; these function optimally. Organizations that depend on these over arching institutions also work well: banks and financial institutions; medical organizations; universities, colleges, and schools; business enterprise; nonprofit organizations; the whole plethora of groups that allow society to function all work as they should, to the benefit of the society.
There are checks and balances in place. These checkmate the rise of tyrants.
Successful societies tend to be bottom up as well as top down.
The lowest citizen has a voice. His or her vote is equal to the vote of the billionaire.
He or she comes together with others and forms pressure groups and social groups that speak truth to power and succeed.
Leaders are held to account. No one man gets away with impunity.
Successful economies and societies possess value systems that determine the appropriate direction of their institutions.
Institutions are nothing else but the sum total of the people that manage and use them.
That is why the values people hold in their hearts are crucial to the success of a country.
Where the population holds sincerity and honesty as paramount, then sincerity and honesty are reflected in the workings of the institutions of that country.
Where the individual, and then the sum of individuals, hold compassion and love in their hearts, then hospitals, schools, government departments, businesses, large public and private organizations, all of these groups will reflect a culture of compassion and love.
The reverse of the preceding is that where the people of a country hold values that are “poor’’ and “unhealthy’’ then the institutions of that country become the same.
Corrupt and ineffective institutions are reflective of those who manage them who in turn are a reflection of the wider society and its values system.
Countries that are unstable, volatile, violent, and corrupt, are frequently a reflection of the hearts and minds of the people who inhabit those societies.
Callousness in the security and defense forces for example is usually a reflection of callousness in the values judgments of the average citizen or man on the street.
A country’s quality of leadership is a reflection of that country’s population.
Successful societies share a common template and it is composed of the sum total of the values sets its citizens possess.
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