Development aid and migration: How to tackle the causes of flight in a truly effective way
The Model of Alternative Hegemony (AH Model) as a way to Prosperity and Freedom
When do people leave their homes? The answer is simple; people emigrate when they no longer see prospects for themselves there. This can be caused by war, persecution, expulsion, or natural disaster as well as poverty, unemployment, and misery. Since the number of those who decide to leave is constantly increasing and therefore, one only has to think of the fact that the population of Africa alone is expected to almost double by 2050, large mass movements are to be expected, the topic of migration will become a central one of the 21st century.
This will have far-reaching consequences for both sides, on the one hand for the countries that are giving up, but also for the receiving countries, and the question arises as to how this should be dealt with in the long term. Unfortunately, proposed solutions constantly oscillate between the extremes of a pseudo-rationalism that assumes that millions and millions can really be locked out in the long run, and a naive idealism that actually believes that practically the whole world can be resettled. Both positions are negligent, at best temporary, and merely shift the growing problems to a later stage. An inheritance that every child can do without.
Not walls, not open borders and certainly not phrases.
In fact, walls are not the solution. Neither is the blind belief in open borders. The first may hold temporarily, but no fortress has yet survived every storm and the idea of open borders fails because the world is primarily competitive and the market mercilessly punishes every weakening. The latter would cost the very strength that is indispensable for solving the problem itself.
There can therefore only be one answer: The conditions in the home countries must be such that a flight is simply no longer necessary due to a lack of prospects, because the own country has sufficient possibilities to achieve a certain prosperity and to guarantee its own self-development.
Of course, this idea is not a new one, and it is also diligently wrapped in empty phrases, which are followed by no or insufficient political action as soon as the camera is switched off. As far as the causes of migration are negative, little has changed and the big plan simply does not exist. And yet the problem is a pressing one and, in a few years, perhaps an uncontrollable one.
Time for a new approach
It is therefore time for a great idea to address this problem. A larger, global and, above all, realistic approach is needed, one that also stands the test of time in reality. A new idea that can drive a development for the benefit of all and such an approach would be the model of alternative hegemony (AH model).
How such a development could succeed with the help of the AH model will be demonstrated using the example of the African country Tunisia.
Tunisia in numbers and problems
Tunisia is located in northern Africa. With almost 11.2 million inhabitants, a GDP per inhabitant of approx. 3,700 USD and a high emigration rate, one assumes a good one million Tunisians abroad, who often provide massive financial support to those at home, the country is excellently suited for a closer look.
Tunisia invests about 6.25% of its gross domestic product in education. This has led to school enrolment rates now standing at a good 99%. This is a remarkable development when one considers that a good 25% of the population over the age of 14 are functionally illiterate and that their level of education is unlikely to change. A total of about 34% of a year’s cohort start a course of study. The high proportion of women (over 60%) is remarkable here.
The reputation of Tunisian education is fundamentally positive. However, the emphasis on theory and the neglect of the practical application of the acquired knowledge are criticised. Innovative, analytical or competitive thinking hardly plays a role at universities. Too often, they are islands isolated from the harsh reality of the harsh economic world or, to put it more simply, Tunisian students are often not sufficiently prepared for their everyday work because the skills they need for their professional life hardly play a role, if any.
However, this only partly explains the high unemployment rate of 30% among university graduates, because apart from the fact that some of the education is far from practical, it is primarily the economic situation and orientation of the country that have a catastrophic effect on almost the entire population.
Catastrophic economic situation
For years, staple foods and fuels have been subsidized to counteract the steady decline of the Tunisian dinar. This is also urgently needed, as in 2018 alone the inflation rate was 6.96%. This does not affect these staple foods, but rather everyday products that have to be imported primarily from abroad. This means in practical terms that a bar of chocolate in Tunisia can cost three times more than in Germany or the USA, for example, despite a significantly lower average income. It is therefore not surprising that visits from relatives abroad also play an important role in this respect.
The economic situation must therefore be regarded as critical. Dependence on the service sector (approx. 64% of GDP), which of course also includes tourism, and agriculture (approx. 10%) is high. Industry (approx. 26%) plays a subordinate role and is not even close to European or American standards. Shoes, clothing and textiles therefore account for about 40% of the export volume. Phosphates, fertilizers, crude oil, simple products of the electrical industry and agricultural products follow. In one sector, olive oil, Tunisia is one of the strongest exporters in the world. Tunisia’s main trading partners are France, Germany and Italy.
If we contrast the general unemployment rate of 15% with that of university graduates (around 30%), it becomes clear that Tunisia is perhaps burning a whole generation of highly qualified people and thus the country’s future. Although the country educates well, if one looks at the deficiencies mentioned, which could certainly be corrected, it then has only a limited use for its future elite, which in turn loses courage or accumulates anger without prospects, who must at some point find his discharge. There does not seem to be a sensible concept for the long-term solution of these problems.
The obligation to stabilize Tunisia
If the view is short-sighted, this may be seen as a purely Tunisian problem, but an unstable Tunisia is neither in the geostrategic and economic interest of the West, nor does it want further flight movements for economic reasons, which are inevitably driven by the current situation.
At the same time, despite the flow of money from abroad, it cannot wish to lose an entire generation, because in the long term this would have broken down into catastrophic consequences for the social structure and development of the country or into a simple example: Once the last doctor has left, it is better not to get sick again.
It is therefore in everyone’s interest to stabilize the country in the medium and long term and to lead it to acceptable prosperity in the long term.
Since the previous attempts, from which there are some over simple development assistance up to economic co-operation, obviously cannot achieve this sufficiently, it is at the time of a new idea to open the gates: The Model of Alternative Hegemony (AH Model). First, however, a few words about the model itself should be lost.
The Alternative Hegemony Model (AH Model)
The Model of Alternative Hegemony (AH Model) is an evolution of the previous international political and economic system. It develops it further, maintains existing structures and diverts negative dynamics.
The AH Model educates both states and companies to behave in a way that retains value. It rewards this behavior and punishes negative deviations. These incentives make positive behavior profitable and sustainable.
The AH model makes use of the same forces that prevail in the capitalist system, but leads them in a new direction: The invisible hand of the market becomes the invisible hand of education.
The key is technology. The AH model provides for the bundling of research and development of sustainable technologies in a democratically legitimized AH fund. This fund is founded and financed by states that adhere to minimum standards (e.g. human rights, democracy, rule of law, etc.). It thus becomes a powerful market participant to which appropriate funds are made available in order to purchase appropriate resources on the market (e.g. skilled personnel, companies, patents, etc.) and subsequently assume a dominant role on the market. In addition, they are given the opportunity to cooperate directly with parts of the state structures (e.g. universities). At the same time, it can cooperate with companies in research and development and grant them licences to design corresponding products, which in turn are offered on the market.
The invisible Hand of nurture for the Better
The prerequisites for such cooperation between the fund and the company remain that the companies must also contractually commit themselves to minimum standards (e.g. employee rights, co-determination, fair wages, etc.) or create them internally.
Of course, no company is forced to cooperate with the AH Fund. For some, this makes little sense, since they are not active in any area for which research and development is needed. Just think of the restaurant around the corner, but it’s not about this one, but about technology-dependent key industries and their suppliers. Because they are dependent on research and development.
Of course, they can refuse to grant minimum standards to their employees, but this would also mean that they would not have access to the technology of the fund and would have to face competition without cooperation. While perhaps the companies that previously had the best market opportunities offered the worst conditions for workers, for example when they left the alleged burdens of a collective agreement, now have the one advantage of adhering to minimum standards, because only they are allowed to cooperate with the AH funds. A shift for the benefit of the working population.
But would a rational company really engage in such an unequal struggle? Or would it try to go the way that promises the maximum profit? In a market economy, the answer is simple: The company will create minimum standards and cooperate. Completely voluntary.
However, the company will not strive for better working conditions because it has discovered a heart. No, it will act out of cold calculation, the positive behavior promises the greatest benefit here. In the end there are only winners. Both the companies and the employees.
That is then the invisible hand of nurture n for the Better of the Model of Alternative Hegemony.
The same principle can be applied to states and that brings us back to the issue at hand. How is it possible to consistently enforce minimum standards for the benefit of all, without coercion, but because the country is convinced that the way forward is the right one? Let us move on from the abstract world of ideas to the concrete Tunisian example and thus straight to a problem.
Tunisia does not meet the minimum standards
There are minimum criteria for participation in the AH Fund and many countries that have yet to develop often find it difficult to do so. Tunisia does not sufficiently meet these standards for full participation in the AH Fund. According to the Democracy Index, Tunisia is considered an “incomplete democracy” with considerable difficulties in the areas of corruption, human rights and the rule of law. Democratic structures have undoubtedly existed since the revolution, but they still seem soulless. Democracy is not a value in itself if it does not warm the heart and satisfy people’s needs. It does not yet belong to the DNA of the country. That has been neglected so far. Formally, such a country should not become part of the AH Model.
Development partnership between Tunisia and the AH Fund
In this case, the AH Fund offers a development partnership, the aim of which must be to make the country a fully-fledged partner in the long term. For such cooperation, of course, individual circumstances must be taken into account and built on.
These have already been mentioned in the Tunisian case; the future elite has no perspective, the economy is one-sided, corruption is flourishing, as is inflation and the country is staggering.
A solution must be found to these points, which of course always presupposes the agreement of the country. The first action of the AH Fund should therefore be to prepare the surplus of university graduates in special programs for future activities for the AH Fund and its cooperating companies. At the same time, the universities themselves will experience a corresponding orientation and become places of sustainable research and knowledge:
The future of Tunisia’s future elite should no longer lie in the service sector, agriculture, small-scale production or even unemployment, but in the development of sustainable and state-of-the-art technology developed by the AH Fund and subsequently offered as licences.
However, not only the AH Fund itself acts as a factor here, but also the companies cooperating with the AH Fund could be encouraged to participate in the creation of training and jobs by means of contract clauses. The AH Fund therefore not only does research, but it also entails even more. The fact that this research and licensing will only be available to the country to a limited extent is logical, because it should not be deprived of its motivation to improve conditions.
Duties and a new elite: The way to prosperity and individual freedom
It goes without saying, therefore, that obligations would also arise for the country in such a contract construct. Among these, of course, is the constant increase in minimum standards for the benefit of the country’s own population.
In addition, there is a future elite that will be shaped by the model of alternative hegemony and will be decisive for the country’s future. A whole generation will therefore become the locomotive of the whole country, and at some point this will become a fully-fledged partner country of the AH Fund. A lighthouse for an entire region.
The Model of Alternative Hegemony therefore opens up new perspectives. It does not stand for a development aid that too often seeps away into corrupt hands and also no help for temporary self-help, but it is a ticket for a joint cruise that should end on the island of prosperity.
No interference with Tunisia’s cultural identity, but a link to the great times.
There is no prize, because it is a model that only knows winners, but extreme efforts are needed. A mentality that can also seize the opportunities that present themselves.
Will it change Tunisia? Yes, it will, but in a positive way. Tunisia remains Tunisia. The AH model in no way interferes with the country’s independence or even its cultural identity. It does not even affect economic priorities such as tourism or agriculture. Only in the field of technology is it active for the benefit of all and there the country is already 100% dependent on foreign countries.
In contrast to other deletion proposals, the model of alternative hegemony does not require a fusion or even the abandonment of identity, but only the acceptance of minimum standards as they correspond to general, humanistic or religious ideas. It does not take. There is the possibility that the country will be able to return to the heyday of Islam and to the greatness of Carthage. As an equal partner in a better world.
And just as Tunisia can flourish, every country can grow and prosper, even if the respective conditions will also require adapted strategies. Unwanted mass migration due to lack of perspective will be a thing of the past and the world will enter a new era. Age. The model of alternative hegemony would be an opportunity. You only have to seize it, because only when the idea blossoms can the world do it as a result.
The author Andreas Herteux is economist, philosopher and CEO of the Erich von Werner Society. The Erich von Werner Society is an independent institution that deals with worldwide problems and solutions.