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September 20, 2011

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"The anti-neo-colonialists deny the truth of HBD, so their explanation for the failure of business relationships with the U.S. to help undeveloped nations is that the United States is evil."

Half Sigma the anti-neo-colonialists are like you. They think the rich have transferred value to themselves, but unlike you they are consistent and objective enough to invoke this theory not just to individuals but to countries as well. You on the other hand believe people and countries poorer than you are poor because of genetic inferiority, but anyone much richer than you must have transferred value to themselves; it couldn't possibly be that they deserve to be richer than you. You invoke the same theory the anti-neo-colonialists do, except you invoke it with a self-serving double standard, so you're not the ideal person to be criticizing them.

When the average IQ of an African country is 80 or so, there’s no way that any amount of economic development is going to lift up that country to the same level as the United States or a country in Western Europe.

Oddly enough, Africa has actually become worst over the last 30 years of "help" from Western Europe. Perhaps the West has actually been 'helping Africa to death' by providing assistance in the form of food aid with no strings attached for what the nations in Africa were required to do. There is a tremendous amount of potential in Africa--both the land and the young people--but those resources have not been properly exploited by the West in such a way as to encourage the African nations to become independent.

The West has supported one bad policy in an African nation after another, propped up one African dictator after another, and the West subsidizes its agricultural imports--food that would be more cheaply produced in Africa then Western nations stand back and pretend to be surprised that Africans are still struggling.

Although HBD probably has something to do with the mess that is Africa, USG's misguided foreign aid programs surely helped kill the local economies and empower the kleptocracies. How are African farmers supposed to compete with free? And why would African governments let them compete when they get to hand out the foreign aid spoils to their friends and supporters?

I don't chalk this up to USG being evil. As is often the case with governmental planning, well-meaning policies ("Help the starving Africans") have resulted in unintended consequences (more starving Africans).

The US is evil inasmuch as it helped destroy the former European colonies set up in Africa. The only hope for the advancement of Africa was European occupation, settlement and occupation, which were dismantled by the US- USSR stranglehold upon the old French, English, portuguese and Spanish colonial powers. The twin post-colonial progressive super-powers are thus responsible for a lot of backwardness, theft and squalor. Yes, the USA shares the blame with the Soviets.
It was part of the rush to obliterate all remainders of the "ancient régime".

The following should have been in quotations in my original comment; I was replying to Half Sigma:

"When the average IQ of an African country is 80 or so, there’s no way that any amount of economic development is going to lift up that country to the same level as the United States or a country in Western Europe."

"The US is evil inasmuch as it helped destroy the former European colonies set up in Africa."

The Europeans lost their empires because colonialism no longer made economic sense and because they lost the will to hold onto their empires after WWI and WWII when the Euros crippled themselves.

It made sense for the Europeans to give up their empires because, if anything, the third world benefited much more from European colonization than the Europeans benefited from ruling third world countries.

"It’s probably an accurate observation that relations with the United States and other developed nations haven’t helped the undeveloped nations as much as people might have hoped."

True, but then people should restrain their hopes and dreams.

". Yes, the USA shares the blame with the Soviets.
It was part of the rush to obliterate all remainders of the "ancient régime"."

The soviet skin in the game was to make their own natural resources more valuable by comparison. They didn't support cannibals and terrorists because they thought these individuals would be the standard bearers of communism in Africa.

"have resulted in unintended consequences (more starving Africans)."

A majority of African nations have astoundingly high fertility/birth/growth rates:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_and_territories_by_fertility_rate

***This is similar to the way that the educational achievement gap in the United States is blamed on racism. ***

An interesting paper out last month from an economist from Oxford and a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. 'A Nonparametric Analysis of Black-White Differences in Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States'. They conclude:

"Using NLSY data, we document that blacks experience much less upward mobility across generations
than whites. Applying our new methodological tools, we find that most of this gap can be accounted for by differences in cognitive skills during adolescence."

http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/members/debopam.bhattacharya/Papers/mobility.pdf

It's interesting that people would complain about colonialism considering the standard of living of most colonies improved during colonialism and declined after it ended. Similarly, all this "racism" that is allegedly responsible for achievement gaps, income disparities, etc certainly hasn't prevented people from trying to immigrate here. Are we to assume that they are coming here to be discriminated against? Or are they really coming here because they know they will have opportunities (and welfare) that they could never get at home?

***It's interesting that people would complain about colonialism considering the standard of living of most colonies improved during colonialism and declined after it ended.***

@ destructure,

Indeed, Mencius Moldbug had an excellent post discussing this.

"The fundamental observation of colonialism is that non-European societies thrive under normal European administration, at least in comparison to their condition under native rule. This observation was obvious during the colonial period. Since, it has only grown more so - at least, to those who can handle the truth."

http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com/2009/08/from-cromer-to-romer-and-back-again.html

A majority of African nations have astoundingly high fertility/birth/growth rates

So do the slums of America. I don't think that statistic means what you think it does as far as wealth goes.

Even a country full of dumb people should be able to experience modest economic *growth* if it has moderately rational economic policies and a government strong enough to prevent too much predation by any one group against others. Much of sub-saharan Africa has failed *that* test.

@Linda,
Causes of variation within a particular society are not necessarily the same as the causes of variation between societies. It's possible for white and East Asian countries to be wealthier than African countries because they're genuinely more productive, while variation within each country can be due in large part to value transference.
If the west was extracting a bunch of wealth from Africa through value transference, it would require us to have a lot of economic interactions with the countries on that continent. But the defining feature of African countries in the last half-century has been their relatively stagnant trade with the outside world, and a reluctance of foreign companies to invest there (because the Africans have a nasty habit of expropriating the property of foreign investors).
The "exploitation" argument could probably more plausibly (though no more accurately, on close analysis)be applied to south Asian countries, with which the developed world has far more significant trade, and which are still quite poor.

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