Prudence as basis for economic excellence and national development: the Aristotelian paradigm
One of the virtues that can engender economic excellence and the development of any nation is prudence. Prudence is a very important component of good governance because the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented or not implemented require shrewdness of thought and the identification of priority areas for the good and wellbeing of the people. As an ethico-philosophical concept, prudence enjoys multi-faceted bearing and application, including in our personal lives, the economy, politics and governance, etc. In fact, in Aristotelian parlance, prudence is the greatest good! It precludes mediocrity, nepotism, corruption, waste of human resources and time, and focuses on the good, wellbeing and happiness of the people as well as the ability of getting things done well. It includes accountability, transparency, frugality and practical wisdom. However, an in-depth reflection on developing country like Nigeria, reviews that the greatest challenge to economic excellence and national development is not lack of human and material resources to achieve a strong and virile economy, and advance the development of the country, but ineffective and imprudent management of affairs and resources to stem the tide. Gleaned from Aristotelian perspective, this paper argues that imprudence, though a mental attitude is responsible for Nigeria‟s current economic and development challenges, which are equally fundamentally mental. Positive mental attitude is therefore what is urgently needed in Nigeria for effective national development. This attitude must be geared towards the achievement of excellence through prudence. Prudence, the paper argues further, is needed on the part of leaders and citizens alike as a strategy for urgent rescue of a country, particularly from economic distress and underdevelopment.
Keywords: Prudence; Economic; Excellence; National Development; Aristotelian; Paradigm; Resources Economics