AN academician says Zambia will become an island in the global economy if it reverts to a socialist economic regime as being espoused by the opposition Rainbow Party.
And the Mineworkers Union of Zambia (MUZ) says socialism cannot yield positive results for Zambia because global economies are changing to capitalism.
Head of development studies at the Zambian Open University Thomas Mabwe said if he had an opportunity to advise the Wynter Kabimba-led Rainbow Party, he would discourage them from championing socialist ideologies because they have failed throughout the world.
Mr Mabwe said countries around the world are changing from socialism to capitalism and it would not be prudent for Zambia to go back to an economic system that failed and almost ground the economy to a halt.
“Even the Soviet Union, which is an architect of socialism, did away with socialism. China,which is one of the biggest economies, is also going away from socialism,” he said.
In a socialist economy, firms are owned and controlled by the state and politicians control resource allocation.
On the other hand, capitalism is an economic system in which investment and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations.
Mr Mabwe said Zambia was a socialist economy in the first republic but it discarded the system and embraced capitalism due to economic problems.
Mr Mabwe, however, said the Rainbow Party can only hope for democratic socialism, though it is a thing of the past.
Meanwhile, MUZ says socialism discourages hard work because “everything” is shared even with people who are not producing anything.
Union president Nkole Chishimba said Zambia is part of the global community which is shifting from socialism because of its negativity.
“We saw how the economy deteriorated under socialism because it promotes laziness,” he said.
But a Lusaka-based economist Reuben Banda contends that there is no one perfect system of governance, and socialism can work if it borrows capitalist elements.
“Socialism is not entirely bad because if combined with capitalism, it can give positive outcomes,” Mr Banda said.
Mr Banda said socialism tries to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor, while capitalism promotes entrepreneurship which suits the rich.
Rainbow Party spokesperson Goodson Banda defended the socialist ideology, saying it is the only way to revive the economy and provide free services.