Together, Let’s Imagine an Opportunity Society for Liberia

Imagine a Liberia that boasts first-class public schools with vibrant learning spaces and well-equipped educators in every corner of our great nation.

Imagine a Liberia that gives every child in every county a platform to flourish and be the very best citizen she can be.

Imagine a Liberia where everyone who needs to see a doctor can afford the visit and the care; a Liberia where pregnancy is not a death warrant and every newborn has a fighting chance at life.

Imagine a Liberia with a small, smart, and efficient government and a thriving private sector where every family can access the good-paying jobs and social investments that support a secure, middle-class life.

Imagine a Liberia where Liberians own and operate businesses, and have a bigger stake in the economy, a Liberia that actually belongs to Liberians.

Imagine a Liberia that invests significantly in Agriculture and feeds her population, and a Liberia that invests in roads, bridges and a decent airport.

Imagine a Liberia where the courts work for everyone regardless of socio-economic status, political posture, or sectarian affiliations.

Imagine a Liberia that is environmentally conscious, caring for her rain forest, her rivers and wetlands, her beautiful beaches, and her diverse animal species.

This Liberia is possible. Liberian Solutions seeks to advance policy solutions that shine a light on how we can realize this Liberia together. And the work continues in 2015.

As we begin 2015, we are committed to promoting responsible policies that strengthen Liberia’s economy one family, one student and one business at a time. Using rock-solid research, we will help shape the most important policy debates of our time.

So, what do you imagine for Liberia?

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The Pathology of Power

A few days ago, His Holiness Pope Francis delivered his annual Christmas message to 300 bishops and cardinals gathered in a 16th century chapel at the Vatican. While previous Pontiffs have used the occasion to thank and praise the cardinals, the radical and truth-speaking Pope Francis chose to put his finger on the deficits that ail the leadership of the church. He listed 15 ailments, inviting the leaders to diligently search their souls, confess their sins, and seek forgiveness. Greed for power was among the Pope’s 15 ailments. Leaders who suffer the pathology of power fail to deploy power to advance opportunities for their people.

Though spoken to the curia in the Vatican, the Pope’s admonitions echoed loudly in Monrovia, Liberia. There exists an entrenched pathology of power that asphyxiates life, progress, and development in the nation. In the last two generations, Liberia’s political leaders have consistently been sub-par in dispensing the benefits of state power.

Our recent political history is replete with examples of the powerful – and those enjoying proximity to the powerful – engaging in power hoarding. This is evident in public corruption that proliferates with impunity; evident in suppression of constitutional rights; evident in impregnable, surreptitious inner circles that mislead our leaders for their personal gains.

We can enumerate a litany of consequences of the pathology of power; it is not a victimless disorder. In Liberia, victims include the countless children who receive mediocre education every day in mediocre schools; the victims are the 3,300 babies who die every year during birth or in the first 24 hours after birth, as well as the over 700 mothers who die in childbirth; the victims are the unemployed, hopeless youths who roam the streets of our cities in search of stability. Need I say more?

But it does not have to be this way. The failure to properly exercise state power can be remedied. Those who suffer this dreadful disease must confront the plague in their own hearts. Liberia deserves better. Those who possess state power now – or in the future – must embrace our better angels and seek improved quality of life for all Liberians.

Your friend,

Peter