Welcome to the MacNN Forums.

If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > Political/War Lounge > Why are Africans so bad at running Africa?

Why are Africans so bad at running Africa?
Thread Tools
Andrew Stephens
Mac Elite
Join Date: Jan 2004
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 10, 2009, 04:24 AM
 
I read this phrase in a book I've just finished on the Congo. The Congo pretty much exemplifies post colonial Africa at it's worst. You can see why, corrupt regimes, nepotism, violence and diamonds etc are a heady mix. All kicked off by the US assassination of an inconveniently socialist leader immediately post independence.

However... also in the same book it mentioned Malaysia. Again post colonial, riven with violence and cold war nonsense from the US and USSR but now emerged into the modern world.

Congo is a pretty extreme example but Zimbabwe is pretty much on the same route.

So, as relief from the relentless pro/anti Obama rants in here, does anyone have any interesting insights into why Africa should be so spectacularly bad at governing itself while other post colonial states have managed better?

PS, anyone with a passing interest in the region should look at:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-River-.../dp/0701179813
     
Big Mac
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Los Angeles
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 10, 2009, 05:14 AM
 
I see the potential for this thread to degenerate rapidly.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
mattyb
Addicted to MacNN
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Standing on the shoulders of giants
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 10, 2009, 05:31 AM
 
Yes. I predict the standard : its all the fault of colonialisation / exploitation / CIA etc responses.

I do however have to say this. The 'West' (USA/UK/Europe) is no better in terms of corruption and nepotism.
     
BadKosh
Professional Poster
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Just west of DC.
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 10, 2009, 06:06 AM
 
I Dunno... OUR PRESIDENT and his admin are sucking pretty bad.
http://d.yimg.com/a/p/rids/20090709/...Smlg8QoaQV7A--
     
Taliesin
Mac Elite
Join Date: Apr 2001
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 10, 2009, 06:45 AM
 
It's because of their unbelievable richness in ressources, which are ironically their curse. Multinational companies hugely interested in these ressources do their best to exploit them at the lowest cost and so they bribe and threaten or even install leaders in africa, so that they serve the interests of the multinational companies instead of the interests of their own countries, and paying them huge sums to ease their hearts.

Even if one nice and sunny day, one of these corrupt african leaders feels some strong feelings of patriotism or regret, they can't simply change the politics and economy, since the african states are bound to fulfill the contracts they signed, which run for decades to come, and any change might pretty well put the life of the leaders and their families in jeapordy.

The multinational companies would finance a coup, depending on the situation either a small-scale or big-scale one, for example by bribing the bodyguards to do the exact opposite of their job or convincing the army to replace the leader or to support another militant group to take over the reins or even to convince a neighbouring country to invade.. and if, as unlikely as it is,nothing of these would help, secret paramilitary units from the western world would be sent in.

That's one side of the problem, the leadership, the divided countries... the other side is the mass of people. They lack higher education, espescially in the rural areas, and because so little of the profits of ressource-exploitation reaches the mass of people, they are busy in doing what they can to survive. Complicating the matter is that most of the subsaharan land is not very suitable for agriculture and so the agricultural revolution that happened in Europe before industrialisation, that freed many people from doing the landwork, didn't come into effect in Africa.

So the lack of higher education in rural areas and the lack of agricultural revolution freeing enough people from the enduring survival-work, play into the hands of the mutinational companies and the corrupt leaderships. Unfortunately there are so many problems at once and so many obstacles, that it can't be solved easily.

Taliesin
     
ort888
Addicted to MacNN
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Your Anus
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 10, 2009, 10:41 AM
 
They're bad at running this country too... BURN!

My sig is 1 pixel too big.
     
turtle777
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: planning a comeback !
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 10, 2009, 11:11 AM
 
^^^

-t
     
wallinbl
Professional Poster
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: somewhere
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 10, 2009, 11:32 AM
 
They have no skills of any kind. They were oppressed and exploited for so long that they could develop along with everyone else. They have no education infrastructure, which leads to a horrible distribution of labor skills. They have no entrepreneurial, business, legal, technological base in the workforce. When you get up and leave them with nothing, the ones with the biggest muscles win, because there is no economy to speak of.

Similar problem to South America, though different results. South America has done better, but nearly all of those countries have insane economic fluctuations, ridiculously massive debt, etc. With South America, they listened to the western world's economic recommendations, which led them into the nasty debt that has put them in a huge hole (though, not nearly as bad as what Africa is in).
     
ghporter
Administrator
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: San Antonio TX USA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 10, 2009, 11:58 AM
 
Ah, but the people of the Congo (and Zimbabwe) DO have skills. They have a very long history of tribalism and inter-tribal feuding. They are NOT a "nation," they are a "country," lacking any unifying ideals or philosophy, and therefore they do not see any reason to do anything "for the good of" their countries. Their skills as prosecuting feuds and inter-tribal violence are very strong. But lacking any driving reason to put these tribal and clan differences behind them, that's what comes out, both in the obvious internecine violence and the more subtle nepotism and corruption.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
turtle777
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: planning a comeback !
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 10, 2009, 12:01 PM
 
I think wallinbl meant marketable skills

-t
     
nonhuman
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Baltimore, MD
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 10, 2009, 12:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
I think wallinbl meant marketable skills

-t
I can think of at least two major American political parties to whom those skills could be marketed quite successfully...
     
turtle777
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: planning a comeback !
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 10, 2009, 12:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by nonhuman View Post
I can think of at least two major American political parties to whom those skills could be marketed quite successfully...
Fair enough, the Congo can have our two parties

-t
( Last edited by turtle777; Jul 10, 2009 at 01:58 PM. )
     
BadKosh
Professional Poster
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Just west of DC.
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 10, 2009, 01:42 PM
 
Hey! Marion Barry (Mayor for Life) did OK.......
     
Big Mac
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Los Angeles
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 10, 2009, 05:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by mattyb View Post
I do however have to say this. The 'West' (USA/UK/Europe) is no better in terms of corruption and nepotism.
Does not compute.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
el chupacabra
Mac Elite
Join Date: Apr 2001
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 11, 2009, 01:10 AM
 
Well I dont know about speaking for the entire continent but I will point out that many parts of Africa throughout the ages havn't had a very large population. As the population grew people migrated out; because Africa can't sustain a large population with its limited resources (Im not talking about oil, diamonds and gold here but instead survival resources). The population is now out of control and the land is too arid/savanna and desert to feed everybody... and when people become desperate for basic survival needs, this widens the doors for exploitation.

edit: this is just one of many problems compounding in africa

... and i feel forced to add that we continue to exploit/enslave them to this day. One example, our US companies go in and give them a low ball offer for oil, the dictator excepts, the people get nothing, and the dictator and the our trade policy negotiate how to extract oil without them knowing about it. A company I worked with would build gas platforms far out at sea so the africans wouldnt' see the ships comming all day to take it back to the states....they would never really know what a big project was going on since all the gas is being piped out to the platform....just as it is intended.,

This is why I hate world trade or globalization. And there's really no one we can go cry to except ourselves when they form, I-dont-know some kind of rebel network to defend their resources against our theft in the future.
( Last edited by el chupacabra; Jul 11, 2009 at 01:22 AM. )
the largest problem for Americans today is they eat too much food and dont have enough work to do to keep their heart healthy
     
CRASH HARDDRIVE
Addicted to MacNN
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Zip, Boom, Bam
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 11, 2009, 01:18 AM
 
Originally Posted by Taliesin View Post
It's because...
One of those rare, informative posts that pretty much nails the subject.
     
ghporter
Administrator
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: San Antonio TX USA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 11, 2009, 08:21 AM
 
Originally Posted by el chupacabra View Post
... and i feel forced to add that we continue to exploit/enslave them to this day. One example, our US companies go in and give them a low ball offer for oil, the dictator excepts, the people get nothing, and the dictator and the our trade policy negotiate how to extract oil without them knowing about it.
I think your point here is more blaming the dictators than the companies dealing with them. Since those despots are "the only game in town," it's not like they can find someone else in that country to make deals with. I'm not saying oil companies are being "the finest human beings around," but only that they don't have a lot of choice in who they deal with, and the dictators are the ones enslaving their own people and raping their own land-for PERSONAL profit, too.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Wiskedjak
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Calgary
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 11, 2009, 11:42 AM
 
Originally Posted by mattyb View Post
Yes. I predict the standard : its all the fault of colonialisation / exploitation / CIA etc responses.

I do however have to say this. The 'West' (USA/UK/Europe) is no better in terms of corruption and nepotism.
Let's say someone new showed up, dominated all the nations on our planet, split the US in half politically, imported the French population in to one half and exported the other half off to China. Then, to make them easier to control, that someone encouraged tension over hundreds of years between the French and the Americans and the Americans and the Chinese.

How effective do you think Americans would be at running America soon after that someone departed (but still had organizations in place taking advantage of the low labour costs)?
     
Powerbook
Mac Elite
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: München, Deutschland
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 11, 2009, 06:52 PM
 


Would you entrust that gentleman (and his gang-bangers) a whole continent? Puh-leeze!

PB.
Aut Caesar aut nihil.
     
ghporter
Administrator
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: San Antonio TX USA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 11, 2009, 07:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by Wired's Blog
Photo: A woman of Southern Ethiopia’s Mursi tribe holds two instruments of modernity, an AK-47 and an iPod.

This "guy" is a woman, a member of a tribe that uses this particular type of body modification to indicate status and wealth. She is indeed an indication of one of the many problems Africans have in self-determination, but not at all the disparaging kind of thing your post refers to.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Powerbook
Mac Elite
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: München, Deutschland
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 13, 2009, 06:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
This "guy" is a woman, a member of a tribe that uses this particular type of body modification to indicate status and wealth. She is indeed an indication of one of the many problems Africans have in self-determination, but not at all the disparaging kind of thing your post refers to.
My posting was not meant in a disparaging way, only in a typical Cohen-fishing-for-reaction-type combined with western p.o.v. sarcasm.
And I have some African friends who keep me balanced from that.

PB.
Aut Caesar aut nihil.
     
Eug
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Caught in a web of deceit.
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 13, 2009, 04:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by Powerbook View Post
Worst iPod interface ever. Well maybe not, ever since this one:

     
turtle777
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: planning a comeback !
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 13, 2009, 05:50 PM
 
I think she thinks it's an iPhone with a rotary dial...

-t
     
Eug
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Caught in a web of deceit.
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 13, 2009, 06:17 PM
 
Well, that pic came out years ago, before the iPhone was released.
     
turtle777
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: planning a comeback !
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 13, 2009, 07:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
Well, that pic came out years ago, before the iPhone was released.
She doesn't know that.

-t
     
mattyb
Addicted to MacNN
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Standing on the shoulders of giants
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 14, 2009, 04:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
Does not compute.
What would you like me to explain? The use of 'West' to lump together the US the UK and Europe, or my calling them corrupt and nepotistic?
     
ghporter
Administrator
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: San Antonio TX USA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 14, 2009, 06:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by mattyb View Post
What would you like me to explain? The use of 'West' to lump together the US the UK and Europe, or my calling them corrupt and nepotistic?
I'd have to say that you're wrong on the latter, though not necessarily by a whole lot in every place. In "The West," we have serious rules called "laws," and all Western countries claim to be ruled by "law," so if you catch someone violating those rules and make a stink about it, you usually wind up getting the bad people to stop doing bad things. French trade representatives taking bribes from Saddam Husein while supposedly trying to convince him to comply with UN mandates is one example-the offenders were exposed and lost their cushy jobs, but more importantly lost any potential credibility as influence peddlers.

In Sub-Saharan African governments, there is little thought of "rule of law" because those sorts of things just get in the way of being in charge for life so you can persecute the tribe that offended your own tribe ages ago through some slight or other... Again, the problem is not that they aren't good at ruling, it's that they aren't good at being NATIONS, so lacking a reason to act like national governments, these groups are free to use their power to oppress people they don't like...

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
mattyb
Addicted to MacNN
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Standing on the shoulders of giants
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 15, 2009, 08:56 AM
 
Originally Posted by Wiskedjak View Post
Let's say someone new showed up, dominated all the
nations on our planet, split the US in half politically, imported the French
population in to one half and exported the other half off to China. Then, to
make them easier to control, that someone encouraged tension over hundreds of
years between the French and the Americans and the Americans and the Chinese.

How effective do you think Americans would be at running America soon after that
someone departed (but still had organizations in place taking advantage of the
low labour costs)?
This would depend on the roots of the Americans. If they were Indians, or
Chinese then I wouldn't worry.

Why is Africa so different to Asia? Why has (for example) Singapore established
itself as an important hub? Why has Israel (which has very little resources)
been able to 'look after itself' after being run by others for most of the last
3000 years?

Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
I'd have to say that you're wrong on the latter, though
not necessarily by a whole lot in every place. In "The West," we have serious
rules called "laws," and all Western countries claim to be ruled by "law," so if
you catch someone violating those rules and make a stink about it, you
usually wind up getting the bad people to stop doing bad things. French trade
representatives taking bribes from Saddam Husein while supposedly trying to
convince him to comply with UN mandates is one example-the offenders were
exposed and lost their cushy jobs, but more importantly lost any potential
credibility as influence peddlers.
Ah yes, the rule of law. I take it that you have seen the news about the Members
of Parliament in the UK? I take it that you have read the marvellous Rolling
Stone articles : The Worst Congress Ever and The 10 Worst Congressmen?
Patriot Act? Even paying income tax in the US seems quite an issue. You write about
French trade representatives, what about Kofi Anan's family? What about the number
of parking tickets issued to UN workers in New York? Are these laws different
because the people involved are working for the UN? The law has been broken so
often by those who proclaim to enforce and shape and uphold it, that it has become
meaningless to the proles like myself. Who is my role model? The US? The UK? The
European Union?

Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
In Sub-Saharan African governments, there is little
thought of "rule of law" because those sorts of things just get in the way of
being in charge for life so you can persecute the tribe that offended your
own tribe ages ago through some slight or other... Again, the problem is not
that they aren't good at ruling, it's that they aren't good at being NATIONS,
so lacking a reason to act like national governments, these groups are free to
use their power to oppress people they don't like...
I'm not sure what difference that has with anyone trying to run the US with
nearly 300 million people. Your own states can make their own laws which can
even be unconstitutional (no guns in DC for example). Your government can even go
into somebody's house and take away a child who was trying to escape a
pseudo-communist regime. What rule of law was followed here? What defines being a
good nation?The US tends to forget its failed wannabe-presidents but in Europe,
we tend to see the same faces in political circles for decades. Mitterand was in
politics for a long time before becoming president. Thatcher was Prime Minister
for over 10 years. Plus having two houses (UK, France, US) doesn't help us renew our
politicians.

In general those in power want only one thing, to stay in power.
     
ghporter
Administrator
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: San Antonio TX USA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 15, 2009, 09:05 AM
 
Originally Posted by mattyb View Post
In general those in power want only one thing, to stay in power.
Fortunately, in both the UK and the US, that power is OURS to take back at our discretion. It may take waiting until the next election (or in the case of the UK it may cause a new election to be called), but if the electorate is ticked off enough at the pols, those pols are out on the street. Not so in ANY despotic regime. That's a MAJOR difference between those African governments and those in "The West."

Of course voting out the batsiches is not something one person does by himself, and that's a very good thing. But truly bad people do tend to suffer from their badness in office. Mr. Bush lost the confidence of the American People, his party and "his" Congress by being a businessman who liked having "yes men" work for him. He wasn't very leader-like, and his decisions, based on "yes man" advice showed that. And after a VERY short run, he was almost entirely ineffectual in getting anything substantive from "his" agenda done. Now if only the people of the District of Columbia would realize that Marion Barry is not going to change his spots, they could get rid of someone even worst than old George...

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
OAW
Addicted to MacNN
Join Date: May 2001
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 15, 2009, 12:23 PM
 
Taliesin pretty much hit the nail on the head.

OAW
     
olePigeon
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Dec 1999
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 16, 2009, 03:10 AM
 
Africa isn't a country. Just FYI.
"…I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than
you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods,
you will understand why I dismiss yours." - Stephen F. Roberts
     
ghporter
Administrator
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: San Antonio TX USA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 16, 2009, 08:34 AM
 
Originally Posted by olePigeon View Post
Africa isn't a country. Just FYI.
Excellent point, and one many of our friends in this thread haven't quite attended to enough. And it's why I was careful to mention "Sub-Saharan African" governments, countries, etc. The northern parts of Africa are much more functional (if not all wonderfully sweetness-and-light places), and South Africa does well too. It's the parts of Africa that were colonial and under the thumb of European domination for a very long time that have the most problems.

A big part of this is the European drawing of "national boundaries" that had nothing to do with the actual populations inside those boundaries. Much like the way England drew the boundaries for Iraq, England, France and others arbitrarily marked out borders that ignored the ethnic and tribal groups within them-or that were artificially divided by those borders.

Perhaps it would be a good idea for all of those so-called "nations" to just dump those titles and re-think the whole map of that part of the continent. Maybe they could come up with a really workable layout that had cohesive groups within reasonable boundaries that might just be able to work out some sort of federation or confederation of much smaller states and once again be "nations" in the sense that our Euro-centric language and practice think of. But I doubt it.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
SpaceMonkey
Addicted to MacNN
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Washington, DC
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 16, 2009, 12:47 PM
 
This is an interesting book if you want to read about some of the long-term, prehistoric roots of the current global distribution of power. It's a bit deterministic and some of the specific arguments are a little weak, but still a good read overall.


"One ticket to Washington, please. I have a date with destiny."
     
k2director
Senior User
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Los Angeles
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 21, 2009, 01:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by wallinbl View Post
They have no skills of any kind. They were oppressed and exploited for so long that they could develop along with everyone else. They have no education infrastructure, which leads to a horrible distribution of labor skills. They have no entrepreneurial, business, legal, technological base in the workforce. When you get up and leave them with nothing, the ones with the biggest muscles win, because there is no economy to speak of.
Uh, no. Africa's lack of skills has little to do with being oppressed and exploited for so long. That's liberal fantasy. There are two major reasons for Africa's trouble today:

1) Africa simply developed its manufacturing and technology far slower than Europe did, and has never caught up. When Europeans started exploring the planet in a serious way, thanks to their sailing ships and lots of other technological and manufacturing advances (and financial and political advances too), they found African civilizations that were far less advanced....by hundreds of years, if not thousands. That's just a historical fact, as much as it hurts a bleeding heart to hear and contemplate. Given such a disparity when Europeans and Africans began to seriously interact, how can it be so surprising that Africa is *still* far behind today?

Europeans didn't keep the Africans down, either. Did they colonize, and take over? Of course, but that's been happening in every human society from the dawn of time. The Greeks did that. The Romans (they were really good at it). The Persians. The Arabians. The Monguls. The Manchurians. The Aztecs. The Zulus. The British. Etc. etc. Strong powers have always come in contact with weaker powers and eventually take control, to one degree or another.

But as the Europeans colonized, they brought a lot of their knowledge, their practices and their trade with them. When you go to Africa and find signs of modernity there (cars, highways, steel buildings, railroads, airplanes, tanks, guns, medicine, banking networks, parliaments, congresses, air conditioning, water purification, computers, electricity, etc. etc.), you can thank Europe for that. All of that came with the European "exploiters".

2) The other reason why Africa hasn't flourished is something about the culture of that region....I'm not precisely sure, but I have my own theory. Europeans colonized other places besides Africa, and many of those places have done fine since the Europeans left, while Africa has languished. India, anyone? Various Asian countries? Why have they managed to stand on their own feet in the last 50 years, and Africa has crumbled?

You can't deny that there are cultural attributes that significantly affect the performance of any entity, be it a continent or an individual. There's a reason why Germany and Japan are known for being highly organized and efficient, and Italy and Venezuela are not. There's a reason why Silicon Valley has been the source of so much opportunity in the last 30-40 years, and Detroit has not. There's a reason why Apple has produced so much innovation in the last 10 years, and Dell has not. There's a reason why the Oakland As consistently outperform teams with much bigger payrolls. And there's a reason why black Africans coming to this country as immigrants do better that black Americans who have been here for generations.

That reason is called "culture", which basically means attitude / outlook / values / priorities....the whole package that determines where a human being puts their effort and attention as they make their way in the world.

Frankly, I think that deep-seeded cultural values in Africa are holding that area back--ie, the paternal inclination towards "strong men" (be them white colonizers or banana republic thugs), the strong sense of tribal identity (which has produced three genocides in the last 15 or so years), the very traditional sense of hierarchy in society, the idea that the individual is less important than the group, the limited role given to women in society, etc.

All these things hurt Africa's ability to get ahead....along with some plain unlucky decisions, and a totally ineffective Western world that thinks you should just keep throwing money at the problem.
     
OAW
Addicted to MacNN
Join Date: May 2001
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 21, 2009, 05:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by k2director View Post
...they found African civilizations that were far less advanced....by hundreds of years, if not thousands.
In some cases that was true. In many others it was not. Africa is a huge continent. It is larger than the US, India, China, Argentina, and Western Europe combined.



So it stands to reason that in a land mass that large there will be some civilizations that are more advanced than others. Just in West Africa alone there were empires that dwarfed Western Europe in size, wealth, and technological advancement at the time. The empires of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai for example. Timbuktu was one of the greatest cities in the entire medieval world due to its status as a critical trading center and esteemed scholarship (i.e. the University of Sankore). These were organized states with what would be analogous to governors and local mayors, thriving economies, international trade in gold, salt, and other minerals, standing armies, etc. And as quiet as its kept ... it was the Moors who were instrumental in keeping the light of civilization burning in Europe when most of that region of the world was in the Dark Ages. As the learning and scholarship of the Moors was translated into European languages that knowledge was then made available to the rest of Western Europe and paved the way for the European Renaissance.

But in any event, by the time Europe began to pursue its colonial ambitions it had one critical advantage over the African civilizations that it encountered. And that was guns. They had a military advantage for sure. But to presume that there was an across the board advantage in all areas of civilization for every nation that it encountered is quite erroneous. That was definitely not always the case on the economic side of things. Why do you think Africa was colonized in the first place? To simply rule over a bunch of "***naked savages running around in the jungle chucking spears***"? Or to take the enormous wealth that existed there and use it for the development of their own countries? I would encourage anyone who is truly interested in the subject to do some serious research. If you do you will see that the stereotype (as indicated by what's between the *** above) that many people have of Africa is greatly exaggerated at best and downright erroneous at worst depending upon which civilization one is talking about.

OAW
     
BadKosh
Professional Poster
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Just west of DC.
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 22, 2009, 10:03 AM
 
GUNS??? LOL Perhaps you should correct it to be "Technology" modern medicine, and more advanced culturally driven requirements.
     
ShortcutToMoncton
Addicted to MacNN
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: The Rock
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 22, 2009, 10:41 AM
 
Literacy FTW!
Mankind's only chance is to harness the power of stupid.
     
mattyb
Addicted to MacNN
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Standing on the shoulders of giants
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 22, 2009, 03:28 PM
 
Thanks for a very informative post OAW. I had never heard of those empires. I'd heard of Timbuktu but had never really given much thought about why I had heard of it. I've only skimmed Wikipedia articles but shall do some further reading.
     
ghporter
Administrator
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: San Antonio TX USA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 22, 2009, 10:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by BadKosh View Post
GUNS??? LOL Perhaps you should correct it to be "Technology" modern medicine, and more advanced culturally driven requirements.
If you're referring to Jared Diamond's book, you missed the point-of the book and the post mentioning it. It's not about today, it's about how we got to today. Through the application, intentionally or not, of guns, germs and steel.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
   
Thread Tools
 
Forum Links
Forum Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Top
Privacy Policy
All times are GMT -4. The time now is 08:36 PM.
All contents of these forums © 1995-2017 MacNN. All rights reserved.
Branding + Design: www.gesamtbild.com
vBulletin v.3.8.8 © 2000-2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.,