The Good Ghanaian Society
While the end of that search [of the Good Society] remains elusive, I am convinced that the search itself isn’t illusive. –James O’toole
What constitutes a good society to each and every individual within that society would be a different answer. This is because we speak different tongues, desire different ends, and have different basic assumptions about where the Ghanaian society, and the corporations we work in, should be heading.
Despite this kaleidoscope of opinions, fortunately there is a unifying point of agreement: ‘the task of every legitimate government is to secure a good society for its citizens.’ Nearly every political and economic philosopher from the time of Aristotle to Max Weber has agreed that the provision of a good society is the ultimate purpose of government. Once the role of government has been defined, it thus becomes imperative to further define how this good society would be established and it is at this point that all the great thinkers whose works are sandwiched in the library between Aristotle and Weber, defined it differently.
To Aristotle, the Good Society permits some of its members to live the good life. To Hobbes, it provides sufficient order to allow material progress. To Locke, it guarantees life, liberty and prosperity. To Rousseau, it preserves as much as possible the conditions of liberty and equality that humankind enjoyed in the ‘state of nature’. To Adam Smith, it has nearly absolute economic freedom. To Thomas Jefferson, it consists of people who live in small- scale, rural communities characterized by high quality of life. To Alexander Hamilton, it consists of people who live in modern industrial cities characterized by a high standard of living. To Marx, it has nearly absolute economic equality. To John S. Mill, it allows nearly absolute social freedom. To Harriet Taylor Mill, it allows women to enjoy the equality of opportunity with men. To Martin Luther King, it guarantees the natural rights of all its members, without regard to their race, sex, religion or class.
It seems that there are endless possibilities of what the Good Society ought to have and be even under the spectacles of the greatest of thinkers that history has coughed up. But someone might argue that these great philosophers were under western influences which cannot be transposed to the Ghanaian political scene. To some extent that point of view holds true but think about this carefully; what Nkrumah thought of as the Good Society failed to fly with Lt Gen Joseph Ankrah who eventually succeeded in overthrowing him because of the difference in political ideology of what the Good Ghanaian Society ought to consist of. What do some Ghanaian philosophers therefore understand to be the Good Ghanaian Society?
The Good Society according to Wiredu is one that acknowledges the individual person’s okra (life principle), mogya (blood principle) and sunsum (personality principle). (Makau Mutua , 2002) In viewing human...