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August 30, 2005



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Cody,I'm not big on tribal governments either, but the mostly-socialist national governments that replaced local tribes, clans, whatever were a step in the wrong direction. At least those smaller and more localized groups generally had incentives to do the right thing for their own people, which detached idiotic central planners do not.Democracy as we know it NEVER has flourished in a place that did not have a middle class first, and the key to that, as you've often noted, is property rights and commercial freedom.Unfortunately, when the UN does try to do something, they usually try to do it by "establishing democracy." Another flip it. Democracy is the outcome, not the root cause. Sow the right economic seeds and protect them and democracy will inevitably come about. The tough thing for many of us to accept is that in the absence of a frontier for people to escape to, it can be very difficult to establish property rights and market solutions in places that don't already have them. The kleptocrats in power have no incentive to do this, and the attempts to start with elections usually fail. This is an evolution that took hundreds of years in the western world, and has not even been started in much of Africa, where there is limited history of a merchant culture.-btc


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Cody Willard

That is some funny stuff from Ms. Bowers, Anon. I'd like to see more Democrat bashing from her though, to balance her great Republican bashing. I can't agree with tribal governments, though they would be 'better' than the NGOs and UN -- without a doubt. But tribes have racism, familiar, and crony aspects to them, and I'm not down with that stuff.


A tribal situation, in which land was controlled somewhat locally by a tribal or clan leadership would be an improvement over the central planning imposed by most African leaders and the international bureaucrats who support them.P.J. O'Rourke wrote this over 10 years ago, in response to the "USA for Africa" effort:"The African relief fad serves to distract attention from the real issues. There is famine in Ethiopia, Chad, Sudan and areas of Mozambique. All these countries are involved in pointless civil wars. There are pockets of famine in Mauritania, Niger and Mali -- the result of desertification caused mostly by idiot agricultural policies. African famine is not a visitation of fate. It is largely man-made and the men who made it are largely Africans."Enormous irrigation projects have been put onto lands that cannot support them and into cultures that cannot use them. Feeble-witted nationalism puts borders in the way of nomadic peoples who used to pick up and move when things got dry. Rural poverty drives populations to African cities where governments keep food prices artificially low, thus increasing rural poverty. Bumbling and corrupt central planning stymies farm production. And the hideous regimes use hunger as a weapon to supress rebellion. People are not just starving. They are being starved."Not much has changed since then.-btc


Cody, once again you're right on target. Centuries of colonialism and decades of total trashy governments have left this entire continent (well almost the entire continent) as a hell hole. You don't mention tribal factions, but there cnnot be effective governement until the tribal nature of African people is dissolved. one way to do that is to create a ntional government that actually allows the freedoms we love to prosper there:property rightsspeechassemblyavailable capitalreward the great ideaanyway, keep on slinging.AP




This is so simple, it's ridiculous.Let the people who are living on the land actually own the land and make good use of it. They did so for centuries before governments decided to manage things for them, and they'll do just fine if the kleptocratic governments and bureaucracies are removed.True, it might be painful for a generation that has gotten used to not thinking for itself, but somehow, people usually come back.And I'll disagree with your opinion on Annan's fifth point. Read the whole thing: "Fifth, we must look in the mirror instead of pointing fingers." [Alright as far as that goes, but he continues] "All the relevant actors – governments in the region, donors, international financial institutions and aid groups – share responsibility for the crisis. Each of us, in our own way, was too slow to understand what was happening, get people in place and come up with the necessary resources."Again, he's taking the position that the problem is that the various bureuacracies were too slow to act and didn't do enough. He doesn't even mention the actual PEOPLE who are being hurt by this travesty and what they might do for themselves if they were just allowed to.Yes, the bureaucracies need to look in the mirror, but not in the way Annan wants them to, as a bureuacrat trying to figure out how not to fuck up again next time. Instead they need to look in the mirror and realize, as a far greater leader than Annan once said, that "government isnot the solution to our problem; government IS the problem."

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About Me


  • Cody Willard is the general manager of CL Willard Capital. Find him at TheStreet.com, the Financial Times, on TV, or even playing that rock n' roll.

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