Sunday, February 3, 2019

Convergence? Tell me another one.

The Marshall Plan is a popular concept because among politicians because it gives us the illusion of agency. We prefer to think that we can solve big problems by throwing lots of money at them rather than raise uncomfortable questions.

Total aid to Africa since 1960 comes up to over $5 trillion or the equivalent of about 50 Marshall Plans.

With bugger all to show for it on the part of the Africans.

"The Convergence Hoax." By Guillaume Durocher, The Unz Review, 1/12/19.



A friend of mine has a strong interest in Africa, especially it's economy (such as it is). So I keep piping articles about Africa-in-general, or specific nations / groups, to him. One of the things I keep hammering to him is that I see three specific reasons Africa has so many problems:

1. Culture of corruption. The idea of the Rule of Law, with impartiality, is - insofar as I can tell - pretty much non-existent. It's who you know, what leverage you have, and how much you can bribe. That kind of environment does not make for a stable terrain on which to built anything even close to a first world economy.

2. Tribalism. As Peter Grant has pointed out from his own experience, Africa is not categorized by nationhood per se, but rather by tribal groups. Groups have long memories, far longer than any given nation - and grudges and hatreds last a long, long time.

3. Primitive beliefs. Again, citing PG, they truly believe things like the gods controlling the lightening, thunder, and so on. If the universe is not mechanistic and predictable, but subject to the whims of deities that are as capricious as humans, how can anything truly be predicted to create a stable system within which a culture can work and advance?

Col. B. Bunny said...

As Africa is the land of my birth and early childhood (LOMBAEC) I too have an interest in what has happened since we left. A former law professor of mine is the president of an African country and I am sure he works hard to advance the interests of its citizens.

I was too young to have any appreciation of the matters you bring up with your friend. All was quite in order when we left and it is sad to see S. Africa, in particular, disintegrate into Sowetoland. A 747 with gold fixtures was exactly what was needed I am sure.

Pastor Manning in Harlem is scathing in his assessment of Africa. His point is that Africans in their entire existence never built something more than a one-story structure and so American blacks should have some appreciation of what they've got here.

The ruins in Zimbabwe, is it, indicate considerable skill but it seems to have been a one-off. I've posted a video of witch burning in the CAR, I'm guessing. The taste for albino flesh in some areas seems to have no health benefits validated by scientists though I could be wrong about that. Penis amulets -- real ones I must add -- similarly may enhance fertility but I've not examined the question in detail.

Out in the Noonday Sun is a delightful take on the history of Kenya and some of the quirky characters who played a part in the life of that nation. Islam, of course, has played its customary role in fouling the nest there and everywhere else. But I doubt that's the whole story. Sierra Leone has received foreign aid I'm sure but the locals are still using the beach as a latrine. Maybe it was another country. Maybe just a little of the graft could have been "diverted" to build a sewer system but such thinking was not much in play it seems.

Tropical disease have caused much suffering and enervation I think, but that cannot explain the cultural stagnation. I saw a video of a Chinese guy talking to an African in a tent somewhere. The former focused on how Africans had been handed a great deal by the departing colonial powers but had managed to do precisely nothing with it. He seemed somewhat amused by this.

I once met an Englishman who had sailed a 16-foot boat across the Atlantic in 1961. He'd gone to Rhodesia and started a painting business. He said he'd reason with his black employees that if they worked more quickly he could make more money and they would make more money but it had little effect. Only when he hired a tough Afrikaner whose methods were not based on reason other than a sort of elementary reason did the pace increase.

As always, I recommend the brilliant documentary "Africa Addio" as a starting point for any understanding of modern, that is to say, rather, post-colonial Africa.

As an aside, a liberal friend once said that I acquired my racist attitudes from my experience in Africa but I told her that I only became a racist after I was exposed to American blacks. I've heard some of the sisters say that their feelings are hurt because of the way that African men who come here show little interest in them. They must be racists too.