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Why is Africa so poor, and will it ever become developed?

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Worldtraveller
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Aug 31 2012 01:01

Ok, again, why be so defensive. But I do agree with you with regards to "And often Westerners will stay in cities, and will have no clue about the situation in rural areas. Sometimes having been there, gives you larger blinds than staying at home reading books".

However, you have hit the issue on the head with the statement "how the fuck else would you form judgements but from an academic standpoint?" because I think a probelm with judgements made purely academically is that they can lead to well-intentioned but ineffective interventions or aid.

I am of the thinking that Never judge another man until you have walked a mile in his moccasins, and therefore will always be interested in how people make their judgement.

But this is diverging from the original topic.

Mark.
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Aug 31 2012 08:59

I'm in agreement with Worldtraveller on the contents of this thread, and I can't see the need for the defensive reactions either.

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Khawaga
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Aug 31 2012 09:48

Well, sorry if I interpreted in that way, but I read it as "you guys don't know what you're talking about, but I do since I am a 'world traveller' with experience in Sub-saharan Africa". It just comes off as being pretty self-serving IMO. But this is the internet, so your 'genuine' question came off as dickish.

Quote:
However, you have hit the issue on the head with the statement "how the fuck else would you form judgements but from an academic standpoint?" because I think a probelm with judgements made purely academically is that they can lead to well-intentioned but ineffective interventions or aid.

Well, anarchists don't really sit of bags of money to fund interventions so the point is moot. The large devt. agencies do have people on the ground, so does the EU, the WB, the IMF and any other aid organization on this planet. The problem is that international aid is politicized, and is often run by bureaucrats who are more interested in 'logical framework analysis' and other such bs management crap than with anything else. Not to mention that aid has, and always will be, a form of imperialism (often in very subtle ways).

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Arbeiten
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Aug 31 2012 11:43

I can see why K got 'defensive' (pretty derogatory way of putting it IMO) and agree that he has the right to call you out on what you may (or may not [sic]) have been suggesting. Trying to tip-toe out of those suggestions saying it may or may not have been relevant is pretty cheap way of getting out of it.

Worldtraveller wrote:

However, you have hit the issue on the head with the statement "how the fuck else would you form judgements but from an academic standpoint?" because I think a probelm with judgements made purely academically is that they can lead to well-intentioned but ineffective interventions or aid.

I completely agree with what your saying here, but I think your kind of preaching to the converted on this point. Slip on some libcom moccasins for a second, I don't think anybody is suggesting aid or 'intervention' (especially the euphemistic 'humanitarian intervention') is the answer to anything.

Worldtraveller
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Sep 14 2012 02:58

I understand and agree, the internet can make comments come across as different to what was initially intended, so happy to have that cleared up.

The reason why there may be some tip-toeing going on is that because of the above issue with the internet and that the debate about Africa is a tough one and is marred the word "racism" which is often thrown around loosely by people who may not agree with some comments made and/or do not really understand how people have made up their opinions.

Two reasons not to get too involved in it.

NannerNannerNan...
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Sep 14 2012 13:03

Imperialism. No seriously

The African governmentsdo not have bad leadership or stupid governance. Elites of certain African nations are just as smart or dumb as any other elite. But here's the problem: whether or not they are "democracies" or extreme right dictatorships (which make up the most of African nations), there is still a local elite searching for self-aggrandizement and personal wealth.

Contrary to what the media goes on about Zimbabwe's are the minority (an idiotic leadership) and Ugandas, Central African Republics, Kenyas, and Chads are the majority (countries with elites just as intelligible as any other elites).

So let me ask YOU a question: what is in the IMMEDIATE interest of a third world elite? If you were a third world dictator, what would get you fancy cars and personal airplanes faster? Would engaging in a Marshall plan type development program - where the vast, vast amount of natural resources in your country can be used to build massive public works, factories, and the like can be used to bring prosperity to the people - be in your IMMEDIATE interests? Or would, say, de facto selling your country off to Western powers - privatization, neoliberalism, etc. - do the trick?

As a first worlder, you'll say the former. An economically developed nation means more wealth can be extracted via taxation to your elite buddies... as a radical first worlder, you'll say the neither, free market capitalism with some protectionism will redistibute wealth upwards (to your elite buddies).

But if you study neocolonialism,you realize that the two answers above are totally wrong. If you used the, say, trillions of tons of oil that exists under your feet to help working people AND your elite buddies no one will like you. What does that mean? Basically, every first world nation will shun your crazy lack of neoliiberalism and start organizing a coup to someone who'll get the rich white first world capitalist what they want. If not the first world, local elites will get super pissed at your bullshit of helping the people and not immediately the elite will organize a coup against you or agitate for your disapearence (a la Venezuela)

If you're like a South Korean dictator, extreme capitalism with the necessary protectionism, first world nations will be quite angry at your not bending over backwards to imperialism. You may be able to build a strong prosperous elite, but your position is still quite dangerous and untenable.

If you decide to get naked, grease up your anus, throw yourself on a bed, and start singing the American national anthem, you will usually get some money via first world "aid agencies" and the IMf. You'll get some fancy military hardware to shut down anyone who wants to fuck with you, foreign or domestic, and you get to be a vassel of some of the most powerful nations on earth.

And as a vassel, you can do pretty much anything you want. Want to conquera tiny neighboring nation like your Hitler, kill enemies of your regime and get some nobel peace prizes because of it? Enact the necessary neoliberal capitalist reforms and ALL THIS CAN BE YOURS!!!!!!!!!!

This is why almost every African nation boasts of insane growth rates as well as insane poverty. Because elites are self-interested,and policies that create such poverty are in some elites best interest.

Therefore, Africa, as well as all third worlpd continents have been recolonized. If you try to help the people of your hypthetical african nation, your nation's elites and the first world elites will despise you. You are in the same position Cuba or Iran is. Your government WILL capitulate eventually.

If your nation attempts to exclusively enrich the local elite and basically ignores first world nations, you'll probably see a coup of some sort.

If you decide to capitulate to this neo-imperialism, you can get it nall. Money, fame, mansions, fancy cars, fancy women, and a fancy military to oppress your people more efficiently.

Many people erroneously blame African poverty for ethnic strife (all african borders are artificial) or skmething like it. However, this is putting the cart before the horse. The only reason this gay faction is fighting that straight faction, or any other orientalist-like myth people make up to envision constant chaos in Africa ever happens is because of massive poverty amongat the people. How coincidental that the IRA became popular in North Ireland once again after the extreme capitalist reforms of Thatcher?

Whether or not its a democracy there is an elite, and selling out to first world powers is what third world elites want to do.

manel_minny
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Jul 22 2013 16:46

The reality is the continent still has resources we use..and predatory elitist that clean billions from each country.Also despite British Claims of schools, hospitals the REALITY is that ignorance and bullying still rule the continent as a whole..why will rich people give up billions for equality??? they dont here or anyway else...unfortunately aid isn't what they need ...a different government without European "help " or strange contracts that give the Europeans 50 years on the best resources ..so local cant develop industries. People in Africa in general are hard working people with brains..the reality is Misery and poor education cause medieval acts...We need to release our need of OIL and instead of going to china for industry setup some industries in Africa...the wages are the same

Brazen
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Aug 11 2013 18:04

The impact of colonialism on African development is moot, seeing as historically it only occurred relatively recently. Now, one can argue that "Africa" was technologically advanced relative to the rest of the world before colonialism put a halt to it...but that depends largely on whether you consider countries such as Egypt to be a part of the "Africa" the OP was referring to. This is unlikely, since when anyone refers to sending aid to Africa today, they certainly do not mean to include the country of Egypt. The reality is, no civilization in "Africa" has ever been as technologically advanced or civilized as Roman society was during 100 B.C. . Only once this fact has been accepted, rather than denied, can a real discussion begin of the OP's question.

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Khawaga
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Aug 11 2013 20:42

Typical racist bs and oh so predictable.

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Soapy
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Aug 11 2013 21:01

"Barack Obama tells Africa to stop blaming colonialism for problems" TRIUMPHS OF LIBERAL THOUGHT http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/5778804/B...

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Serge Forward
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Aug 11 2013 21:23

This 1980s documentary series by Basil Davidson was very informative: AFRICA five episodes

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Agent of the In...
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Aug 11 2013 21:29
NannerNannerNannerNannerNanner wrote:
Imperialism. No seriously

The African governmentsdo not have bad leadership or stupid governance. Elites of certain African nations are just as smart or dumb as any other elite. But here's the problem: whether or not they are "democracies" or extreme right dictatorships (which make up the most of African nations), there is still a local elite searching for self-aggrandizement and personal wealth.

Contrary to what the media goes on about Zimbabwe's are the minority (an idiotic leadership) and Ugandas, Central African Republics, Kenyas, and Chads are the majority (countries with elites just as intelligible as any other elites).

So let me ask YOU a question: what is in the IMMEDIATE interest of a third world elite? If you were a third world dictator, what would get you fancy cars and personal airplanes faster? Would engaging in a Marshall plan type development program - where the vast, vast amount of natural resources in your country can be used to build massive public works, factories, and the like can be used to bring prosperity to the people - be in your IMMEDIATE interests? Or would, say, de facto selling your country off to Western powers - privatization, neoliberalism, etc. - do the trick?

As a first worlder, you'll say the former. An economically developed nation means more wealth can be extracted via taxation to your elite buddies... as a radical first worlder, you'll say the neither, free market capitalism with some protectionism will redistibute wealth upwards (to your elite buddies).

But if you study neocolonialism,you realize that the two answers above are totally wrong. If you used the, say, trillions of tons of oil that exists under your feet to help working people AND your elite buddies no one will like you. What does that mean? Basically, every first world nation will shun your crazy lack of neoliiberalism and start organizing a coup to someone who'll get the rich white first world capitalist what they want. If not the first world, local elites will get super pissed at your bullshit of helping the people and not immediately the elite will organize a coup against you or agitate for your disapearence (a la Venezuela)

If you're like a South Korean dictator, extreme capitalism with the necessary protectionism, first world nations will be quite angry at your not bending over backwards to imperialism. You may be able to build a strong prosperous elite, but your position is still quite dangerous and untenable.

If you decide to get naked, grease up your anus, throw yourself on a bed, and start singing the American national anthem, you will usually get some money via first world "aid agencies" and the IMf. You'll get some fancy military hardware to shut down anyone who wants to fuck with you, foreign or domestic, and you get to be a vassel of some of the most powerful nations on earth.

And as a vassel, you can do pretty much anything you want. Want to conquera tiny neighboring nation like your Hitler, kill enemies of your regime and get some nobel peace prizes because of it? Enact the necessary neoliberal capitalist reforms and ALL THIS CAN BE YOURS!!!!!!!!!!

This is why almost every African nation boasts of insane growth rates as well as insane poverty. Because elites are self-interested,and policies that create such poverty are in some elites best interest.

Therefore, Africa, as well as all third worlpd continents have been recolonized. If you try to help the people of your hypthetical african nation, your nation's elites and the first world elites will despise you. You are in the same position Cuba or Iran is. Your government WILL capitulate eventually.

If your nation attempts to exclusively enrich the local elite and basically ignores first world nations, you'll probably see a coup of some sort.

If you decide to capitulate to this neo-imperialism, you can get it nall. Money, fame, mansions, fancy cars, fancy women, and a fancy military to oppress your people more efficiently.

Many people erroneously blame African poverty for ethnic strife (all african borders are artificial) or skmething like it. However, this is putting the cart before the horse. The only reason this gay faction is fighting that straight faction, or any other orientalist-like myth people make up to envision constant chaos in Africa ever happens is because of massive poverty amongat the people. How coincidental that the IRA became popular in North Ireland once again after the extreme capitalist reforms of Thatcher?

Whether or not its a democracy there is an elite, and selling out to first world powers is what third world elites want to do.

Okay, to summarize this old comment: 3rd-world nation-states have two options: one, expand the capital within their states' boundaries by charting an 'independent' economic course via protectionist policies. If successful, this can create new regional, perhaps global, imperialist powers. This will obviously come into conflict with the imperial interests of the 'core' states such as the USA.

Two, bend over to the imperial interests of the 'core' states and have a cozy existence. The latter has been the case in the neo-colonial era, and has continued the dependency of the 'core' states on the peripheral for the global surplus, which without such surplus would lead to economic slump and disaster. Hence, the first choice is not an option. Which is why the United States, as the leading 'administrator' of the global surplus/core-peripheral relations, has taken such strives to clean up where ever they can (be it Africa, Middle East, etc).

The role of the 3rd-world 'elite' is really confined to these two options. If I were one of them, I would probably take the latter route; at least it saves my ass. They have to be seen in relation to national and global (or foreign) capital.

In either case, the global working class is still screwed. An independent nation-state (automatically interdependent with a national bourgeoisie) isn't any better than a 'puppet' regime following the consensus of Washington D.C.

Mike S.
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Aug 12 2013 00:08

Colonialism didn't end after WW2 it simply shifted form from a direct cultural,spiritual and economic subjugation to mostly economic subjugation via financial institutions and western backed governments made of locals who oversee the transfer of wealth which gives the appearance of an independent nation.

Historically I think most tribal regions without a certain amount of centralized governance, resource extraction/allocation didn't become "advanced" as we saw happen historically in South America, China, Japan and Europe. This isn't an argument for future centralization of production or the state but historically speaking the more advanced societies had a some sort of state apparatus which "helped" peoples "transcend" hunter gatherer societies. Larger scale agriculture and hierarchical societies in general create a class with more time on their hands to think, invent, create beautiful architecture etc. It also helps build armies for plunder and defense from invasion which creates a certain amount of "cultural stability" over the centuries. Knowledge isn't lost to time. Each generation builds on the last generations achievements and so on.

Just because a certain peoples are hunter gatherers or raiders or rural farmers doesn't make them inferior it makes their means of production and resource allocation inferior and thus unable to set the stage for cultural and material advancement. In Europe the combination of a more centralized way of organizing with the eventual enlightenment period we saw the stage set for the material and social advances we enjoy today but this wasn't some inherent superiority of the white race that led to these circumstances it was the largely unpredictable flow of history.

alw612
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Aug 25 2013 16:39

(for steven up top)
when i was 16 i had a really good job already and i made over 3,000 dollars in one summer. i didnt have to pay rent because i was only 16 so i basically got to use that money for whatever i wanted. different people do different things my friend. and some kids even have there parents hand them hundreds of dollars every month. sounds odd but its true. dont know the case in this kids situation, but having money when your 16 is not an uncommon thing. and as far as africa goes, there are multiple charitys he could have donated to. alright i know you prolly know this stuff but if you don't want no-brainer answers, dont make no-brainer questions. have a nice day.

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Agent of the In...
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Aug 25 2013 16:47
alw612 wrote:
(for steven up top)
when i was 16 i had a really good job already and i made over 3,000 dollars in one summer. i didnt have to pay rent because i was only 16 so i basically got to use that money for whatever i wanted. different people do different things my friend. and some kids even have there parents hand them hundreds of dollars every month. sounds odd but its true. dont know the case in this kids situation, but having money when your 16 is not an uncommon thing. and as far as africa goes, there are multiple charitys he could have donated to. alright i know you prolly know this stuff but if you don't want no-brainer answers, dont make no-brainer questions. have a nice day.

You joined 13 minutes ago just to say that?

Well welcome to libcom.org by the way.

vicent
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Sep 22 2013 07:51

apparantly it has nothing to do with imperialism and it is just because there is malaria eek

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqsizNMI6g8

groucho

Mrblue39
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Oct 18 2013 09:46

Africa is not poor all the money y'all give goes to the rich withe people in your country cos the african do not need help we want freedom at the moment it's still free like we in jail so don't be saying that africa is poor

kosmogrrrl
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Oct 20 2013 08:49

White people (both answer to OP and reaction to thread)

gibusa
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Jan 10 2014 12:37

Why Africa Doesn't Have To Be Poor

http://becausecreationmatters.wordpress.com/2013/12/19/why-south-africa-...

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Charming Anarchist
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Jan 10 2014 14:28

This:

Mrblue39 wrote:
Africa is not poor all the money y'all give goes to the rich withe people in your country cos the african do not need help we want freedom at the moment it's still free like we in jail so don't be saying that africa is poor

is the key.

As mentioned before, the explanation is simple: Westerners have been robbing, raping and pillaging third world nations from time immemorial. Unfortunately, it looks like it only getting worse.

The way this happens is simple too: (1) corrupt local politicians/militia are bribed or (2) virtuous politicians are assassinated.

False flag operations and the Regime-Stream media help to confuse the Western public.

The mechanics is simple too: A Western corporation entices a 3rd world politician to sell the countries land for industry. The locals are bulldozed off their own land and become dependent on the economy to feed themselves ---- whereas before, they were doing well on their own in freedom. Eventually, the only way locals can feed themselves is to work, pay taxes and buy food with the new money from the corporation's general store.
Westerners see this and think "Great! We are increasing their standard of living!" when the truth is that they become slaves working for stuff they do not want.

Repeat this across all parts of the world and now you know how you are the beneficiary of stolen wealth.

It is worse than that, though. Much uglier. What I described is only the tip of the iceberg. Try to imagine private mercenaries hired by the corporations to extract knowledge from the locals about their competing corporations.

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Chilli Sauce
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Jan 10 2014 14:48

What you call that, CA, is capitalism.

Also, false flag operations? I'm really worried were getting into conspiracy theory land here (although, that's a fairly common trajectory coming out of a lack of understanding of the normal functioning of capitalism).

Quote:
you are the beneficiary of stolen wealth.

Also, who's 'you' here? Am I the beneficiary of stolen wealth? Or, just like those Africans, am I in fact exploited by global capitalism just the same?

Quote:
virtuous politicians

laugh out loud laugh out loud laugh out loud

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Charming Anarchist
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Jan 10 2014 14:56

Please ignore me.
Your fixation upon labels is a clear demonstration of your limits. You are boring and you are not truly interested in learning beyond your nose.

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Jan 10 2014 14:58

Ah, I didn't know you were here to teach us. I'll try to pay more attention in class next time, sir.

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Charming Anarchist
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Jan 10 2014 15:01

No, I am not here to teach YOU.
Rather, I am addressing the OP who is a newbie in such a way that he may understand what he is missing --- you know, like the other honest people who participated in this discussion.

"You probably thought this song was about you..."

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Jan 10 2014 15:46

@ Charming Anarchist

Posters here are generally critical of the politics of bourgeois nationalism of which you are espousing.

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Charming Anarchist
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Jan 10 2014 16:02

Espousing? I am not espousing anything. Rather, I am explaining what OTHER PEOPLE are doing in the world.

You are demonstrably fabricating what you read and you are misrepresenting my writing. It is clear that your bias clouds your objectivity. Why are you doing that??? Is that part of what posters do here regularly too??? It seems so.

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Jan 10 2014 16:55

Objectivity? You call yourself an anarcho-capitalist!

You OBJECTIVELY (although it's worth noting that most regular posters consider ALL CAPS quite aggressive) don't understand capitalism, the theory or history of anarchism or, indeed, basic linguistic logic.

That said, this bit (minus the bit about company stores - which is OBJECTIVELY not how modern imperialism works) is actually fairly accurate:

Quote:
The locals are bulldozed off their own land and become dependent on the economy to feed themselves ---- whereas before, they were doing well on their own in freedom. Eventually, the only way locals can feed themselves is to work, pay taxes and buy food with the new money from the corporation's general store.

Although it was far better outlined by that dirty communist Marx way back when, and this modern explanation by David Harvey might actually be of interest to you:

And if you want something more in-depth see this.

OpenMinded...Sorta
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Jan 13 2014 02:58

Okay, this whole thing has been confusing me quite a bit, and the super elaborate explanations haven't done much to help. This is something I would really like to know more about, so...any fresh perspectives?

Sinuhe
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Mar 4 2014 02:33

Some simple (or simplistic) reasons:
- Colonialism and the “Partition of Africa”. The policy of land and populations is one of the big originators of ethnic conflicts in Africa. This is true also to the Middle East and to some extent to Northern Ireland, India, etc.

- The wars of independence and the civil wars that followed. These conflicts were supported by the cold war and also by other international interests. This is true even today.

- Africans inherited a world without relevant industries or universities. In the colonial era all these things were in Europe. Africa in general was just the place to pick the raw-materials.

- Like the colonial elites, African elites today aren’t much interested in the healthcare and education of the population in general.

- The wealth generated by the natural resources was spent on the war effort and corruption. Even in times of peace the population doesn’t have access to it as it’s on the hands of the local and international elites.

- People are encouraged to be religious and superstitious (even in former “Marxist” countries there is a revival interest on religion, mostly Evangelical). Entertainment also plays a big role in the pacification of the population.

- There isn’t a real (or even fake) democratic tradition. Africans today are subjects to their national government the same way their grandfathers were subjects of their colonial administration.

- There is also this idea that all the problems of Africa is caused by “the white man”. The victimization of the African is also a big part of the problem. This is obviously a lie. But there’s some truth in this lie as the West is still very active trying to save the Africans from themselves…

vctr
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May 15 2014 20:26

I like this question. Lot of people used to ask me this question. This post can answer you as well. http://worldwideweblog1.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/why-africa-is-the-poore...