Theories may defy success

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By Yousef Awadh Al-Azmi

“°A general who sees with the eyes of others is not able to lead a State,” French statesman Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821).

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Economic theories and their implementation rely on a certain set of circumstances, concepts and principles which make any theory unique in terms of implementation. It is not advisable to blindly implement a theory which was implemented in country (A) to country (B), or take a theory which succeeded in country (C) and implement it in country (D) hoping that it will succeed just like in country (C) or (X). Majority of economic plans and theories were made due to a certain necessity.

As the adage goes, “°Necessity is the mother of invention.” In fact, some economic applications and theories will not succeed unless a certain person with a certain set of qualities implements it, or its success depends on certain conditions ¡ª whether related to location or timing. Because of such variables, person (A) can succeed and person (B) may fail in implementing the same economic theories. I remembered all this when I read about the return of the famous Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohammad, who made a stunning comeback into politics at the age of 92. Dr Mahathir is renowned for leading Malaysia towards economic boom.

During his retirement from public life, he decided to return to politics after the administration which succeeded him went on to destroy what he built during his reign. He returned to politics with a sweeping win and then he pursued those who were tainted with corruption. This means Mahathir can accomplish administrative and financial integrity in Malaysia within a very short period. Without getting into the details and dynamics of his return to the premiership, there are several important things to learn from Malaysia such as the success and failure of any economic plan or theory depends on the one implementing it. Here, we assume that the leadership is free from corruption, has aspirations and a different vision, flexible in economic theories and plans, especially when it comes to implementation.

There is a huge difference between a leader dealing with theories and a leader dealing with reality. A realistic leader implements a theory based on prevailing circumstances, which means flexibility and even change will not create imbalance in the process of implementation, rather every change brings more opportunities for success. This is why Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad succeeded in implementing his theory which was based on what was in his hand, as opposed to borrowing a theory from somewhere else and implementing it without taking into consideration the variables in place. Nonetheless, the probability of success for Dr Mahathir is high, because he is implementing his own theory which he formed based on what is on the ground and its surroundings. The same might fail if someone else attempts to implement it on another person.

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