Monday, January 23, 2006

Dr. Jones: Taking Africa Seriously

It's good to see the folks at the left-wing Nation doing just that:
Everyone agrees that Africans are desperately poor and typically endure governments that are, to varying degrees, corrupt and capricious. The dispute is about causes and consequences. One group--call it the poverty-first camp--believes African governments are so lousy precisely because their countries are so poor. The other group--the governance-first camp--holds that Africans are impoverished because their rulers keep them that way.
He also takes Jeff Sachs--a member of the first camp-- downa notch or two when Sachs claims that complaining about political corruption in Africa has a whiff of the R-word.....
Invoking the R-word [racism] in this context seems overheated, especially since those who complain loudest about corruption in Africa tend to be Africans themselves.....
And the article starts with the most beautiful sentence I've read in recent memory:
A slogan painted on trucks and taxicabs all over Africa.....reads: NO CONDITION IS PERMANENT.
Read the whole thing.

And if you want to learn more about the greatest economic success story in sub-Saharan Africa, take a look at this very readable piece on Botswana--It certainly falls into the governance-first camp.

Posted by Garett Jones at 10/18/2005 02:10:00 PM


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