Four counterfactuals for South Sudan

Why four? Why not.  Hell isn’t empty.

  1. What if the oil billions had been distributed evenly to private citizens of South Sudan (as some people including yours truly advocated).  The statist “gimmie the consulting job” elite (both national and international) of course was never going to let this happen but the political-economy logic of reducing the stakes, of letting soldiers have a nice stipend and go home, or women setting up small businesses, of kids pursuing further education…. was pretty reasonable, to me.
  2. What if South Sudan had declared itself to be a Paul Romer-style charter city, with management handed over, for a modest fee, to a management team with 50 years of experience doing exactly what South Sudan needed (CARE, CRS or World Vision).  Compensation could have been tied to non-oil GDP why not?
  3. What if South Sudan had set up a real sovereign wealth fund that put itself under management of Norway’s sovereign wealth fund… and had put $1 b a year away… by now there’d be several billion saved for regular people rather than having been squandered.
  4. What if South Sudan had …. you fill in the blank….

About mkevane

Economist at Santa Clara University and Director of Friends of African Village Libraries.
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