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THE PROSPERITY TRAP

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ATEM GAI DE DUT-Many brilliant academics, economists and researchers have written extensively on how South Sudan can pull itself out of the rathole and create a country with unending kilometers of motorways, feeder roads, suburban streets, and riparian cities running on both the east and west of the Nile.

The literature on economics; GDP, means of production and sophisticated debt management strategies, for instance, is endless but economic progress alone is of little value if the country is not organized around common goals that not only address economic expansion but also create practical social solutions.

Economic progress is a quantifiable variable that has another categorical cousin in tow: social stability. Social order and prosperity go hand in hand, and the absence of one leads to the immediate or incremental collapse of the other.

A great insight is the recent Global Financial Crisis where many American families were pushed to the brink of despair when unemployment skyrocketed, and mortgage repayments became unaffordable. Homes were foreclosed, and many ended up in the streets, some pushed farther afield to take their lives.

Many were left behind on the economic and social ladder making them particularly vulnerable to even slight economic shocks

This failure did not occur because of a lack of economic progress; it occurred because economic expansion was prioritized over social good in no small way. The American economy grew so much without the slightest consideration of the social implications of an uncontrolled free market.

Many were left behind on the economic and social ladder making them particularly vulnerable to even slight economic shocks. This majority of Americans who did not prosper from the great American Dream had become the outliers whose only place is that morbid position below the first quartile.

Great failures are not isolated to developed countries, they happen across the board and vertically from rich to poor countries, and from progressive to conservative societies and vice versa. The book of mankind is full of examples of greed-induced societal collapse for countries that would otherwise have done better if society could have invested in social reforms as much as it pays such dues to economic expansionism.

As South Sudan prepares to embrace lasting peace, it is imperative to pay attention to oil prices, but even more important to find new and innovative ways to put society at rest through creative governance, provision of primary services and a long-term look into the future.

Stability is of little value if it does not lead to predictable economic outcomes, that can be directly tied to contemporary solutions with positive implications for the future. The pairing cannot be overstated at all.

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