Fixing Africa

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SabreKGB
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Fixing Africa

Postby SabreKGB » Wed Apr 30, 2008 2:09 am UTC

I didn't quite want to hijack the other thread, so instead of posting this there, i'm starting a new one.

We've identified quite a few reasons why Africa sucks at the moment, but how could they be resolved or overcome? How could Africa be 'fixed'? Orthodox, unorthodox, how would you do it, or what do you think would work?

Go forth, fix the continent...

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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby 4=5 » Wed Apr 30, 2008 2:56 am UTC

contraceptives for all! :D
I kid I kid. I can't emphasize enough how much I don't support forcing that idea.

here are the three things that I think are the most important, once you have these it's much easier to bootstrap yourself.

Get clean safe dependable sources food and water.
contraceptives and aids medication.
Get a stable sane government system in all the countries that don't have one. (Redrawing borders on more sensical lines might help, if that wouldn't cause an incident similar the to creation of pakistan.)

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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby SabreKGB » Wed Apr 30, 2008 3:04 am UTC

But how specifically? It's one thing to say: clean water, medicine, and sane government. I think we can all agree on things like that, which came up in the "What happened to Africa" thread. But how would we go about actually fixing the problems if we were to wake up tomorrow and decide, "Hmm, i think i'll go fix Africa." What would we do to impliment the given solutions?

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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby 4=5 » Wed Apr 30, 2008 3:23 am UTC

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sono_arsenic_filter
http://chemistry.gmu.edu/faculty/hussam/handouts/AS_filtration.pdf

removes arsenic from water

tea and alcohol are traditional solutions to bacteria in water.

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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby Robin S » Wed Apr 30, 2008 3:29 am UTC

Do we really want everyone consuming that much alcohol or caffeine? It seems to me they'd just be trading bacterial infections for liver and nervous illnesses. I think water treatment works of a standard close to that in developed countries need to be implemented.
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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby SabreKGB » Wed Apr 30, 2008 3:42 am UTC

Robin S wrote:Do we really want everyone consuming that much alcohol or caffeine? It seems to me they'd just be trading bacterial infections for liver and nervous illnesses. I think water treatment works of a standard close to that in developed countries need to be implemented.


Well, to begin with, bacterial infections are much worse for someone than high(er) amounts of alcohol/caffine. 4=5 is right, especially about alcohol. Ever wonder why they're always drinking wine, or ale, or mead in historical accounts, as opposed to water? The reason is that drinking water straight was fairly dangerous due to it being contaminated. The "wine" usually drank in, say, the Odyssey was much more like vinnegar spiked water than what we normally think of as wine. The alcohol was a sterilizing agent.

That said, the ideal solution would be to have 1st world standards of pure water in place, but that's hard to do when you lack infrastructure of any kind.

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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby Philwelch » Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:10 am UTC

Robin S wrote:Do we really want everyone consuming that much alcohol or caffeine?


Was standard practice in Europe during the Middle Ages. Theories differ on how much of an impact this had on history.
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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby Cooley » Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:38 am UTC

I have a feeling the Chinese are going to do it once their populace gets rich enough that they don't want to work themselves at menial jobs. They'll want to import, and soon all the stuff will be made in Africa with poor worker safety rather than China. And with the way the world is moving faster and faster, I also feel that this will happen in the next few years, like <10.

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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby SabreKGB » Wed Apr 30, 2008 5:50 am UTC

Cooley wrote:I have a feeling the Chinese are going to do it once their populace gets rich enough that they don't want to work themselves at menial jobs. They'll want to import, and soon all the stuff will be made in Africa with poor worker safety rather than China. And with the way the world is moving faster and faster, I also feel that this will happen in the next few years, like <10.


Considering China's current and projected world position...this might actually be a huge blessing for Africa. Look what China did with it.

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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby Cooley » Wed Apr 30, 2008 5:54 am UTC

Not only that, but I recently read somewhere that southeast Asian countries are thanking God(s) for China moving in and giving them economic support.

Wouldn't it be weird to live in a world (60+ years from now) where Africa is an emerging world leader? I'd hear about it from Titan...

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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby SabreKGB » Wed Apr 30, 2008 5:58 am UTC

Oh, i can see them being a world power (maybe not as individual countries, but as a continental political unit). Assuming they ever got their shit together. Big assumption as of right now...not a lot of historical evidence for it. Who knows though.

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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby Malice » Wed Apr 30, 2008 6:30 am UTC

I disagree with the suggestions thus far. I think giving Africa things like clean water isn't going to work in the long run. I think the absolute best thing is investment: in the economy on the ground and especially in the people. Educate them; give them access to information (hooray, cow-powered laptops!); and only then give them a lift off the ground if they need it (as regards food, water, money, that sort of normal charity).

In other words, help the Africans to help themselves. The hope is that they will be smart enough to solve their own problems--smart enough, for example, not to believe politicians who tell them condoms cause AIDs, not to mention not electing them in the first place.

There might be a greater balance than I've implied between "this charity will help them today" and "this will help them in the future"; I recognize it's probably harder to go to school if you've got, I dunno, dysentery, because your water isn't clean. Or whatever. But I definitely think a major component, and the only long-term solution, is going to involve education.
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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby Spill Wooner » Wed Apr 30, 2008 8:25 am UTC

High explosives. And/or duct tape. I thought those were the accepted solution to any problem.

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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby Nath » Wed Apr 30, 2008 8:47 am UTC

The thing about "how can 'x' be done" questions is that they depend heavily on the doer. Are you asking how you or I could fix Africa? Well, very few individuals matter with regards to problems like this. I doubt anything you or I could do would make a significant difference to most of Africa.

I'm having trouble figuring out how well Africa is doing in the grand scheme of things. From a historical perspective, is it really doing that badly? Or is it just in a slightly earlier stage of political and economic development than, say, New York? If it is just a matter of catching up, does Africa really need 'fixing'? I think that societies, like individuals, need to progress at their own pace. You can't just give kids jobs and driver's licenses and expect them to be adults; you can't give old-fashioned tribes skyscrapers and highways and expect them to become modern cities. I do think we can and should try to help out with the pressing crises of the day, but in a larger sense, Africa will have to fix itself.

(Does anyone else feel as silly as I do referring to 'Africa' as if it were one place, rather than a vast, diverse continent?)

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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby Solt » Wed Apr 30, 2008 8:49 am UTC

Get the fuck out. Seriously. Stop exporting free food, weapons, twistable ideologies, and charity hand outs. Stop buying diamonds, oil, and other raw resources, but keep buying their manufactured exports, keep trading technology with them, and let them figure shit out for themselves.

Some people are so damn selfish, they do things more to gratify themselves than to actually help.
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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby Wormwood » Wed Apr 30, 2008 9:58 am UTC

Solt wrote:Get the fuck out. Seriously. Stop exporting free food, weapons, twistable ideologies, and charity hand outs. Stop buying diamonds, oil, and other raw resources, but keep buying their manufactured exports, keep trading technology with them, and let them figure shit out for themselves.

Some people are so damn selfish, they do things more to gratify themselves than to actually help.


The only way Africa will be "fixed" is if the Africans do it for themselves. Giving them aid won't do anything to solve long term problems, just keep the short term ones off for a bit longer. Solt's suggestion works, because buying manufactured exports will encourage Africans (I'm assuming sub-Saharan Africa here) to get jobs in manufacturing, which requires education and a larger skill base than, say, mining or logging. This will make the average African more likely to send his kids to school, holding out for the "better job in the future" rather than going for the "inhumanly crappy job now".

And definitely stop exporting weapons, and supporting any political group other than a democratically elected government. Giving support to a rebel group, even if it opposes a violent dictatorship, will not help.

Nath wrote:I'm having trouble figuring out how well Africa is doing in the grand scheme of things. From a historical perspective, is it really doing that badly? Or is it just in a slightly earlier stage of political and economic development than, say, New York? If it is just a matter of catching up, does Africa really need 'fixing'? I think that societies, like individuals, need to progress at their own pace. You can't just give kids jobs and driver's licenses and expect them to be adults; you can't give old-fashioned tribes skyscrapers and highways and expect them to become modern cities.


I'm not certain on New York's history, but did it ever have famine, genocide, and rampant human rights abuses? And even if it did, that stuff was not positive then, and it is not positive now. And you can give old-fashioned tribes skyscrapers and highways and expect them to become modern cities, it has worked in several instances. Dubai, for one. There is no difference between a San hunter-gatherer, and you.


I do think we can and should try to help out with the pressing crises of the day, but in a larger sense, Africa will have to fix itself.


No, don't help out. Even if there is another genocide similar to Rwanda, or more famine, let them work it out for themselves. Africa cannot "grow up" believing that the more developed will help it out every time it gets into trouble. How would you start to behave if every time you got arrested, your father came and bailed you out and bribed the policeman so you never got charged. African countries need to learn from their own mistakes.
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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby cypherspace » Wed Apr 30, 2008 10:14 am UTC

I'm not certain on New York's history, but did it ever have famine, genocide, and rampant human rights abuses? And even if it did, that stuff was not positive then, and it is not positive now. And you can give old-fashioned tribes skyscrapers and highways and expect them to become modern cities, it has worked in several instances. Dubai, for one. There is no difference between a San hunter-gatherer, and you.
You've chosen an incredibly bad example. Dubai is built by migrant workers who are paid minimal wages, denied citizenship, kept in cramped and dirty conditions and basically exploited almost to the level of slaves, and the government is an autocratic regime that does not allow free speech and does not recognise the majority of human rights conventions. It is not a modern city. It has the appearance of one because it's big and bright and shiny and people go "ooh" when they see shiny things.
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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby Nath » Wed Apr 30, 2008 10:20 am UTC

Wormwood wrote:I'm not certain on New York's history, but did it ever have famine, genocide, and rampant human rights abuses? And even if it did, that stuff was not positive then, and it is not positive now.

New York specifically? I don't know. But America in general, and the civilizations from which it came? Oh yeah.

True, that stuff was not positive, but aren't crises and disasters part of the life cycle of a civilization? I'm not saying they are good things; I'm saying they might be inevitable. The fact that terrible things happen does not mean that things aren't generally moving in the right direction.

Wormwood wrote:And you can give old-fashioned tribes skyscrapers and highways and expect them to become modern cities, it has worked in several instances. Dubai, for one. There is no difference between a San hunter-gatherer, and you.

I was actually thinking specifically of the UAE when I wrote that bit. Sure, it's come a long way in the past few decades -- but that's the thing; it's come too far. I don't think the society is really as healthy now as it would have been had the change come at a more sensible pace.

Wormwood wrote:No, don't help out. Even if there is another genocide similar to Rwanda, or more famine, let them work it out for themselves. Africa cannot "grow up" believing that the more developed will help it out every time it gets into trouble. How would you start to behave if every time you got arrested, your father came and bailed you out and bribed the policeman so you never got charged. African countries need to learn from their own mistakes.

Part of me agrees, but I think there are limits to how true this is. Leaving other people to deal with their problems might lead to a better society eventually, but at what cost? That would be comparable to refusing medical treatment to the weak -- after all, we will have a healthier society that way in the long term.

I think there has to be a trade-off between progress and the cost of progress.

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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby Felstaff » Wed Apr 30, 2008 11:03 am UTC

Which has the more resources: Russia or Africa? 'Cause Russia was so damned rich in resources, but so inefficient in harvesting and exploiting them, particularly in the latter part of the C.20th, that it was practically a third world nation for the last century. Only with the fall of Communism have they begun to redistribute the wealth so 1% of the population no longer own 99% of the rubles. (I'm hyperboling up those statistics for emphasis.)

Change of government and political ideals has resulted in millions of Russians now living to infinitely higher standards, all within 19 years. I've heard even the buses run on time in rural areas; a good yardstick for measuring macroeconomics.

Anyway, Africa.

Africa is at least as rich as Russia in terms of resources. 40% of the world's cobalt comes from the DR Congo. And we need that for, like, everything. Even my coffee I'm drinking now. (Well, it tastes like it does). Yet DRC are in the early 100s in terms of GDP rank. With 22,000 tonnes of cobalt being exported each year, they should be rolling in $$$. The problem is a lack of structure within individual governments (private corporations are being less than honest when taking resources from many African nations), infighting between countries (Rwanda & Uganda stakes claim over several cobalt mines which are situated in DRC, so much military tension there) lack of education (people ripe for manipulation by unscrupulous powers), corruption en masse, religious, racial fighting (Darfur, anyone?) lack of investment from global economies, (China and India take out what it needs from Africa and gives relatively nothing back) and precious few securities in terms of the trading of arms. (even the most indigenous, "untouched-by-civilisation" communities have their fair share of AK-47s.) I think maybe a few million displaced by the latest genocide might be a boon on surrounding emerging nations, too.

Let me be King of Africa. I can sort it out. Lingala, Wolof and Swahili are all the same language, right...?
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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby Indon » Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:49 pm UTC

Well, how fast do you want it developed?

I'll propose the fastest, most effective way I can think of:

-Firstly, Africa needs to work with only a few big languages. Proliferation of those languages would immensely help trade and cultural exchange on the continent. Considering the proliferation of Islam, Arabic is one good candidate.

-Secondly, nations need to STOP investing in African nations. Yes, investment generates capital. But it also provides ownership - and what happens if the company that's invested in your country decides you aren't profitable anymore and pulls out? Your economy dies, completely and catastrophically. Better to need to build what you have yourself, the slow way, than to have it provided for you and owned by those who do so.

-Africa needs to recieve a massive influx of education (and only enough of other aid to support the education programs). This measure is for the time-factor, so that we can jumpstart African economic development rather than wait the decades to centuries that same development took the western world (this way, it'll only take decades).

Cooley wrote:I have a feeling the Chinese are going to do it once their populace gets rich enough that they don't want to work themselves at menial jobs. They'll want to import, and soon all the stuff will be made in Africa with poor worker safety rather than China. And with the way the world is moving faster and faster, I also feel that this will happen in the next few years, like <10.


Eh, is there any sign China is going to develop past wage slavery in the foreseeable future? I hadn't imagined so, personally.
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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby Cooley » Thu May 01, 2008 12:30 am UTC

I've been reading the book The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman, and from that source people are very interested in starting their own countries and living out the American dream (comfortable life, own your own business) from home. And there are only so many Chinese in the world. Eventually they'll decide that what they have is crap, and refuse to work without unions and the like. And then who will make all the Nike shoes?!


I like the idea of pulling out of Africa, though. Opening education centers throughout the country and just supporting those sounds like a good idea, and one that will produce results in the long term. But no country would vote that at the moment, people always want to help, and tough love is hard.

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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby Wormwood » Thu May 01, 2008 10:00 am UTC

cypherspace wrote:You've chosen an incredibly bad example. Dubai is built by migrant workers who are paid minimal wages, denied citizenship, kept in cramped and dirty conditions and basically exploited almost to the level of slaves, and the government is an autocratic regime that does not allow free speech and does not recognise the majority of human rights conventions. It is not a modern city. It has the appearance of one because it's big and bright and shiny and people go "ooh" when they see shiny things.


Fair cop. It was the first one that popped into my head, and i didn't even think about it. At work today I kept thinking to myself "Why did you say Dubai? You know they have slaves there." It was the only place I could think of that had old fashioned tribes that became city dwellers.
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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby The Reaper » Sat May 03, 2008 4:51 am UTC

Unorthodox = Expand Operation Glass Parking Lot to include Africa as well as the middle east.

Kosher = salt. Also, educate the masses. Find an approach that's realistic to what they have, and work your way up from there. Can't make a steel sword out of smashed flat iron ore.

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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby Otis » Sun May 04, 2008 3:06 am UTC

Spill Wooner wrote:High explosives. And/or duct tape. I thought those were the accepted solution to any problem.


Did this comment really add anything to this disussion? I didn't think so.


I think we can all agree that the best way to help Africa to help themselves is to educate them. Who's going to do it though? Anyone in Africa that's smart enough to teach is also smart enough to get the hell out of Dodge and I don't think you could amass enough volunteers to really make a difference.

It's a really difficult situation. There are too many problems and if one doesn't kill 'em another one will.

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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby Cooley » Sun May 04, 2008 3:21 am UTC

Unintentionally, Spill Wooner may have provided us with a solution, as not all of us think that the only thing wrong with Africa is a lack of education. With mountains, deserts, and jungles separating Africa interior from the rest of the developed world, why should they develop? They stagnate where they are, importing only what selfish individuals need to stay in power (AK-47s). High explosives (to take out mountains), deforestation efforts (to at least hold back the jungle), and a couple major, guarded rail lines could bring the modern world to their door, and give more of these people an escape.

If something is easy to prove/disprove, but you don't because the answer is "obvious," it is possible to miss counter-intuitive/not obvious new ideas.

Of course education is important, and will be necessary in the long run. But I think it's impossible to achieve anything in the short run without a cheap, workable method of exchanging goods and people between the world at large and Africa interior.

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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby The Reaper » Sun May 04, 2008 4:04 am UTC

Cooley wrote:Unintentionally, Spill Wooner may have provided us with a solution, as not all of us think that the only thing wrong with Africa is a lack of education. With mountains, deserts, and jungles separating Africa interior from the rest of the developed world, why should they develop? They stagnate where they are, importing only what selfish individuals need to stay in power (AK-47s). High explosives (to take out mountains), deforestation efforts (to at least hold back the jungle), and a couple major, guarded rail lines could bring the modern world to their door, and give more of these people an escape.

If something is easy to prove/disprove, but you don't because the answer is "obvious," it is possible to miss counter-intuitive/not obvious new ideas.

Of course education is important, and will be necessary in the long run. But I think it's impossible to achieve anything in the short run without a cheap, workable method of exchanging goods and people between the world at large and Africa interior.

Just what the world needs, more countries whose chief export it locals who don't want to be there, but want to change whatever country they just moved to into the same dank shithole they just moved out of.

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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby Cooley » Sun May 04, 2008 4:54 am UTC

The Reaper wrote:Just what the world needs, more countries whose chief export it locals who don't want to be there, but want to change whatever country they just moved to into the same dank shithole they just moved out of.

In the first few months/years, yes, locals will want to leave. But once they get a taste of the outside world, and knowing how bad it was at home, they won't want to turn their new home into "the same dank shithole" they just came from. In fact, not liking the unfamiliar environment, they may decide to go back home and try to make it better.

And of course, businesses will want to move in to take advantage of the recently opened market. Peacekeeping forces will be easy to keep stationed because transportation costs will be lower, and a business tax to pay for peacekeeping forces would probably be payed gladly by the businesses to ensure their safety. Skilled individuals would move in, giving the locals basic standards of living now that education wouldn't help for years. Exports and imports wouldn't have to be limited to raw materials, as on-site production becomes more feasible with cheap overland transport.

Plus, the people who would want to make the world a worse place would become the minority in the world, rather than the majority in isolated Africa interior. It wouldn't be hard to round them up and banish them from Africa if their was a way to move serious firepower and manpower in and the bad guys out.

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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby SabreKGB » Sun May 04, 2008 5:08 am UTC

The Reaper wrote:Just what the world needs, more countries whose chief export it locals who don't want to be there, but want to change whatever country they just moved to into the same dank shithole they just moved out of.

Anecdotal: Of all the African immigrants i've ever met, not one has been in favor of turning the US into anything remotely like the country they came (read: escaped) from. They all assimilate incredibly fast and the vast majority of them have been hella good workers and more motivated by far than the majority of natural born citizens i know. They have been, quite simply, the epitome of what immigration should be about. Those that have the motivation and ability to come here are going to be the ones that rise to the top, so to speak, the cream.

A family i knew from nigeria had barely escaped genocide. They didn't talk about it much, and it was a shock to meet someone who'd dealt with it face to face, but they worked hard and their 2 sons were A students.

Cooley wrote:And of course, businesses will want to move in to take advantage of the recently opened market. Peacekeeping forces will be easy to keep stationed because transportation costs will be lower, and a business tax to pay for peacekeeping forces would probably be payed gladly by the businesses to ensure their safety. Skilled individuals would move in, giving the locals basic standards of living now that education wouldn't help for years. Exports and imports wouldn't have to be limited to raw materials, as on-site production becomes more feasible with cheap overland transport.

Plus, the people who would want to make the world a worse place would become the minority in the world, rather than the majority in isolated Africa interior. It wouldn't be hard to round them up and banish them from Africa if their was a way to move serious firepower and manpower in and the bad guys out.

[non accusing tone]
So...basically...benevolent conquest? (with the option to give them soverignty back after they've "grown up", of course)
[/non accusing tone]

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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby The Reaper » Sun May 04, 2008 5:59 am UTC

SabreKGB wrote:
The Reaper wrote:Just what the world needs, more countries whose chief export it locals who don't want to be there, but want to change whatever country they just moved to into the same dank shithole they just moved out of.

Anecdotal: Of all the African immigrants i've ever met, not one has been in favor of turning the US into anything remotely like the country they came (read: escaped) from. They all assimilate incredibly fast and the vast majority of them have been hella good workers and more motivated by far than the majority of natural born citizens i know. They have been, quite simply, the epitome of what immigration should be about. Those that have the motivation and ability to come here are going to be the ones that rise to the top, so to speak, the cream.

A family i knew from nigeria had barely escaped genocide. They didn't talk about it much, and it was a shock to meet someone who'd dealt with it face to face, but they worked hard and their 2 sons were A students.

And what about the ones that havn't left? You can't believe that all the people that leave a country a exemplary members of society. Look at all those wonderful extremists in France and such.

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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby Cooley » Sun May 04, 2008 6:05 am UTC

SabreKGB wrote:[non accusing tone]
So...basically...benevolent conquest? (with the option to give them soverignty back after they've "grown up", of course)
[/non accusing tone]


No, just the world popping in to say, "Hi, would you like fries with that?" Look at China. It's problems weren't geographical, they were entirely cultural (and the whole Red thing). Now that the culture has shifted, would you say that businesses moving into China have "conquered" the nation?

The Reaper wrote:And what about the ones that havn't left? You can't believe that all the people that leave a country a exemplary members of society. Look at all those wonderful extremists in France and such.


Every population has its screwballs. But they aren't that many (comparatively speaking). And the extremists in France are a totally different situation than the Africa interior immigrants.

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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby SabreKGB » Sun May 04, 2008 7:14 am UTC

The Reaper wrote:And what about the ones that havn't left? You can't believe that all the people that leave a country a exemplary members of society. Look at all those wonderful extremists in France and such.


No, i don't think that everyone who leaves a country is necessarily exemplarary. Anecdotally, however, African immigrants seem to be. The extremists in France, etc: I think religion may play a part there, as well as ghetto-ing (which, incidentally, i've never seen with African immigrants) and the consequent lack of assimilation.

And, of course, anecdotal evidence proves nothing.

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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby The Reaper » Sun May 04, 2008 7:30 am UTC

SabreKGB wrote:
The Reaper wrote:And what about the ones that havn't left? You can't believe that all the people that leave a country a exemplary members of society. Look at all those wonderful extremists in France and such.


No, i don't think that everyone who leaves a country is necessarily exemplarary. Anecdotally, however, African immigrants seem to be. The extremists in France, etc: I think religion may play a part there, as well as ghetto-ing (which, incidentally, i've never seen with African immigrants) and the consequent lack of assimilation.

And, of course, anecdotal evidence proves nothing.

Never seen African immigrants ghetto-ing? What about the ones that were forcefully immigrated to America, sold by their own people? (well, neighboring tribes, at least)

If the illegal central and south american immigrants are doing it, what makes you think african, asian, or european and north american immigrants are above it?

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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby SabreKGB » Sun May 04, 2008 7:54 am UTC

The Reaper wrote:Never seen African immigrants ghetto-ing? What about the ones that were forcefully immigrated to America, sold by their own people? (well, neighboring tribes, at least)

There haven't been any of those for a couple hundred years. Talking about their descendents doing it is irrelevant to the discussion i think.
Also, and again anecdotally: The majority of African immigrants i've known hate American "Black culture".

The Reaper wrote:If the illegal central and south american immigrants are doing it, what makes you think african, asian, or european and north american immigrants are above it?

Never said anybody was "above it", only that i'd never seen it and that African immigrants. Of all the immigrants i've personally been exposed to, the African ones have been the most eager to assimilate, followed closely by a large portion of Indians. And, i've seen quite a bit of ghetto-ing by the asian immigrant community. Specifically, where i grew up, we had a large viet population and there was a part of the city where they were voluntarily concentrated. Ghetto-ing.

No one is "above it", as it provides a comforting sense of familiarity in a new place, but it's definitly a barrier to complete assimilation.

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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby Otis » Sun May 04, 2008 4:15 pm UTC

Cooley wrote:Unintentionally, Spill Wooner may have provided us with a solution, as not all of us think that the only thing wrong with Africa is a lack of education. With mountains, deserts, and jungles separating Africa interior from the rest of the developed world, why should they develop? They stagnate where they are, importing only what selfish individuals need to stay in power (AK-47s). High explosives (to take out mountains), deforestation efforts (to at least hold back the jungle), and a couple major, guarded rail lines could bring the modern world to their door, and give more of these people an escape.

If something is easy to prove/disprove, but you don't because the answer is "obvious," it is possible to miss counter-intuitive/not obvious new ideas.

Of course education is important, and will be necessary in the long run. But I think it's impossible to achieve anything in the short run without a cheap, workable method of exchanging goods and people between the world at large and Africa interior.

I agree that transportation and communication needs to be seriously improved. You just put more weight on it than I do in comparisson to education.

Regardless of that, we still have to decide who's going to do it? It can't be the US, we're stretched too thin as it is and would probably screw it up anyway. It can't be the private sector either unless they can make it profitable. And we all know the private sector doesn't really have anyone's best interest in mind but their own so they would basically just be exploiting the locals.

I'm not trying to argue or be a pessimist here, I honestly want to know.

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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby Cooley » Sun May 04, 2008 7:32 pm UTC

Otis wrote:I agree that transportation and communication needs to be seriously improved. You just put more weight on it than I do in comparisson to education.

Regardless of that, we still have to decide who's going to do it? It can't be the US, we're stretched too thin as it is and would probably screw it up anyway. It can't be the private sector either unless they can make it profitable. And we all know the private sector doesn't really have anyone's best interest in mind but their own so they would basically just be exploiting the locals.

I'm not trying to argue or be a pessimist here, I honestly want to know.

True, I am putting more of an emphasis on transportation and communication than education, but I do believe that they are closely related.

The best scenario in my mind is that African gov'ts export raw materials, invest in road/rail building supplies and dynamite, and blast their way to main transportation lines. However, with the rampant corruption in that region, the dynamite would probably be used against that nation's own population.

Other than that, I can't see anyone that would be interested, at least not for the next few decades.

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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby TheStranger » Sun May 04, 2008 11:39 pm UTC

Otis wrote:Regardless of that, we still have to decide who's going to do it? It can't be the US, we're stretched too thin as it is and would probably screw it up anyway. It can't be the private sector either unless they can make it profitable.


True reform can only come from the countries themselves, not from any external agency.
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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby Certhas » Sun May 04, 2008 11:52 pm UTC

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/92

Which Africa? The Washington Consensus debacle in Latin America should teach us one thing first: There are no blanket solutions. There is no silver bullet. We need very localized differentiated solutions that are highly adapted to the local systems. Probably this requires familiarity with the local system beyond the vast majority of even experts in the western world have. So [b]ask[\b] them!
And it will probably take a few decades, too. Longer then a "lets save the world by adopting an African baby" lifestyle fad.
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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby proof_man » Mon May 05, 2008 1:11 am UTC

edit
Last edited by proof_man on Fri May 17, 2013 12:23 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby TheStranger » Mon May 05, 2008 10:24 am UTC

proof_man wrote:for the anti-investment/anti-charity crew: how do you think the united states would fare if the rest of the world stopped investing in it? what about china? let's take wyoming or north dakota and see how they do if we cut off any external resources or supplies. or how about new york city? everybody relies on everybody else. if the area around my hometown stopped sending rice to japan, there would be a major famine in one of the most advanced nations in the world. and if they stopped buying it from us, we would probably be in trouble as well.


There is a big difference between anti-investment and anti-charity. Due to political/economic instability investments in Africa carry a large amount of risk. There is no point in investing in a road if all the workers will be killed by a rival tribe and all the hardware will be resold for weapons (this is not a problem encountered when investing in Wyoming). That political / economic situation is a major part of what keeps African nations from joining the industrialized world (a generalization).

Charity runs into a similar problem. Should I give to a charity seeking to feed poor children if all the food sent is stolen by a local warlord?
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Re: Fixing Africa

Postby Cooley » Tue May 06, 2008 12:57 am UTC

Been reading The World is Flat, which is an excellent book, and Friedman makes the argument that their are four factors that lead to economic growth: good infrastructure, good education for the citizenry, good governance (laws to protect businesses, creditors, workers, innovators, etc...), and good environment (who wants to invest and grow in a cesspool?).

Looking at Africa, it has none of these. It should get them. Probably in the order governance, infrastructure, education, environment.


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