East Africa Journal July 1965
Problems Facing Our Socialism by Barak H. Obama
Theoretically there is nothing that can stop the government from taxing 100 per cent of income so long as the people get benefits from the government commensurate with their income which is taxed. Assuming that development and the achievement of a high per capita income is a benefit to society as a whole I do not see why the government cannot tax those who have more and syphon (sic) some of these revenues into savings which can be utilized in investment for future development, thereby reducing our reliance on foreign aid.
There is a statement made on nationalization. True there are cases in which nationalization is bad, but there are, likewise, quite a few benefits to be derived from it. On this subject, I would like to refer the authors to Prof. Bronferbrenner’s work on the “Appeals for confiscation in Economic Development.”* Nationalization should not be looked at only in terms of profitability alone, but also, or even more, on the benefit to society that such services render and on its importance in terms of public interest. If we were to look at these things purely on profitability, then the railways would not have been nationalized worldwide since it is the least profitable so that in all countries it is subsidized by government. There is also a statement that nationalization will apply to African enterprise. How can we talk of nationalizing African enterprise when such enterprises do not exist. If we are going to nationalize, we are going to nationalize what exists and is worth nationalization. But these are European and Asian enterprises.
(The piece goes on to talk about the disparity between Kenyans and Europeans and Asians, the latter two owning the small shops, large shops, industry, restaurants, automobiles, and that the need in Kenya is to rectify the imbalance.)
*Econ. Development and Cultural change –Vol III, No. 3, April, 1955, pp. 201-18
“The question is how are we going to remove the disparities in our country, such as the concentration of economic power in Asian and European hands, while not destroying what has already been achieved and at the same time assimilating these groups to build one country,” Obama senior wrote.