What led to the current African poverty?

Ighayere

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
2,651
Benin City, Nigeria
Also, do you know of any other books on a similar theme which are available online for free?
By a "similar theme" do you mean writings on the area of the Gold Coast (modern Ghana) from Europeans, or do you mean 19th century writings on west Africa generally, or what exactly?

@Ighayere: I'll get around to responding to your points here. Please be patient.
Well I am not exactly waiting with bated breath for a response, considering that all you probably would be doing is attempting to legitimize the pseudo-historical and pseudo-scientific ramblings that you found on some racial extremist's blog. If you do respond, it would be better to read a quality response, that shows some actual thought and research. Do not waste time responding simply for the sake of responding, if you do not have something insightful and thoughtful in your reply.
 

VHS

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,733
Florania
The quotes from those Nigerians that he uses are not written in the sense that he thinks they are. No it is not them being "self-hating Africans"; I'm not arguing that. He completely misses the context or motivation for those comments. I get that the blog writer would not understand why some Nigerians are so damning in their assessment of Nigeria as a country or Africans in general on many things, because the blog writer does not know anything about Nigerians, but none of what is written by those Nigerians he quotes is written to make the sort of argument he is making.

The blogger even repeats the idiotic and outrageous "women do or did most or all of the agricultural work in African societies rather than men" myth that some Europeans created and kept repeating (and sometimes still repeat to this day). No Nigerian that is not blind could actually agree with this claim but of course quotes from Nigerians about other things appear in his article alongside this ignorant claim about agricultural work. The blogger is just selecting quotes from certain Africans (Nigerians, Ugandans, Kenyans) that were said in a different context for reasons quite unconnected with the argument he is trying to make, and then trying to use these quotes to try to bolster the credibility of his claims.
Unfortunately, we don't have quality standards for blogs, and we usually only have so much time to read or digest information.
Nigeria is a colonial creation; I believe the state contains at least a few major cultural groups: Yoruba, Igboo, Edo, Hausa, and they all are powerful and influential civilizations.
The "nation state" is an early modern development.
Ghana, similarly, is a multinational state.
Is multinational state naturally detrimental?
 
Jul 2018
13
Poland
Africa has some very serious development handicap , on top their native political culture suck mightily
it's based on winner take all ,stuff the rest
What do you mean by "winner take all"? Can you give concrete examples that what you call the "winner take all" system is widespread in the "native political cultures" that exist on the continent?

I personally have a few quotes that give a widely different perspective :
"The Konso system allows for individual industry and material development, but provides checks and balances to ensure that the less favored individual has reasonable opportunity for competition with those who are better off. There is opportunity for material increase, but only within the framework of the social controls and values of the society as a whole" - MARKETS IN AFRICA - Page 423

"The Akan kings had no right to make peace or war, make laws or be directly involved in important negotiations such as treaties without the consent of the elders and/or elected representatives" - Boamah-Wiafe - 1993

"Igbo society is historically egalitarian and democratic in the sense that the people have never had rulers with anything approaching autocratic powers. According to Green, the Igbo 'have no hierarchy of powers rising from a broad democratic basis through ascending levels to one central peak' rather 'Ibo democracy unlike English, works through a number of juxtaposed groups and a system of balances rather than on a unitary hierarchical principle'. This egalitarian principle is expressed in the famous statement: 'Igbo enwe eze' (Igbo do not have no kings)" - Emerging Perspectives on Chinua Achebe - Volume 1 - Page 86

"In the literature at large, then, we are exhorted to join the camp that sees the state as the source of collective prosperity or the camp that sees the state as the source of oppression. But the evidence forces us to realize that in pre-colonial Africa states were both." - Essays on the Political Economy of Rural Africa - p. 41

"The evidence suggests that, while there was inequality in the states of pre-colonial Africa, those who held positions of privilege had to insure that the benefits created by the states were widely shared." - Essays on the Political Economy of Rural Africa - p. 42
And even if it was true, how could you put the blame on "native political culture"? No African countries currently use a political system influenced by its indigenous political culture except Swaziland(though it differs a lot from the original system), Somaliland, and Botswana... Do you have any examples of presidents in post-colonial Africa that were elected by the consensus of a Council of Elders after a palaver under a baobab tree or by matrilineal kinship?

If you are interested in "native political culture", I suggest you read the part I of "Essays on the Political Economy of Rural Africa" by Robert H. Bates, that will first analyze stateless societies and then centralized ones. The author even gives tables that will give you an idea of how widespread certain features were. He thus gives a neutral analysis of the different "native political cultures", free of colonial biases and Afrocentrist fantasies.
 
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Jul 2018
13
Poland
The blogger even repeats the idiotic and outrageous "women do or did most or all of the agricultural work in African societies rather than men" myth that some Europeans created and kept repeating (and sometimes still repeat to this day).
Please can you explain this myth?

According to this wikipedia article women do produce most of the food in the region, although it seems that the division of labor by gender is equal :
Women and agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa - Wikipedia
 
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Ighayere

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
2,651
Benin City, Nigeria
Please can you explain this myth?

According to this wikipedia article women do produce most of the food in the region, although it seems that the division of labor by gender is equal :
Women and agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa - Wikipedia
It's made up nonsense.

Read this article:

"How much of the labor in African agriculture is provided by women?" by Amparo Palacios-López, Luc Christiaensen, and Talip Kilic

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306919216303852

http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/979671468189858347/pdf/WPS7282.pdf

Keep in mind that even the 40% figure that is arrived at in the article is all post-colonial. In pre-colonial times, even more of the agricultural labor would have been done by men, particularly male slaves in those areas which had slavery. However, among some stateless societies (which probably had a lower prevalence of slavery), there may have been more women involved in agricultural labor as is the case today, and so the distribution of labor in those societies might have come closer to what exists now. But overall, there would have been even more men involved in agriculture in the past than today, so the percentage of the agricultural labor done by women would have been substantially less than 40%.

In a country like Nigeria where a large amount of food is actually imported (which is an entire topic in itself), men are less involved than they would have been in the past (and yet most agricultural labor in Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, is still done by men), and not just because of the end of slavery, but because a lot of men simply have even more important and demanding work to do than farming. Anyway, none of this has any great significance. The perpetuation of the myth has nothing to do with showing that African women are important contributors to agriculture, important to economic productivity, etc. Demonstrating that African women play an important role in agricultural production could have been achieved easily without the creation and propagation of this dumb myth. What it all derives from is bias. Nothing more, nothing less. Any one of the people promoting that myth explicitly, or implicitly (such as the anthropologist Jack Goody, who made some other errors in some of his other work on Africa, apart from his involvement with this myth), could have asked themselves whether, even in those (much less prevalent) precolonial African societies where women may have been doing a more substantial part of the agricultural labor (perhaps closer to half), it was not also the case that men were doing some other things that were also physically demanding, like mining, construction, carpentry, blacksmithing, etc. But they wouldn't bring up this simple point when discussing the imaginary overwhelming preponderance of women in agricultural labor, because the entire point of creating and promoting the myth is simply to make up some fictitious aversion to work on the part of the males, an aversion which never existed among the vast majority.

Take for example Botswana. In colonial Botswana, British colonial policy (specifically the "hut tax") resulted in a large portion of the male population of Botswana leaving the country to work in mines in South Africa, in order for them to be able to pay the tax that the British applied to the colony. The payment of this tax provided the administration with some revenue to pay for its administrators' salaries, and the migration of male labor from Botswana provided an important source of additional labor for private businesses in South Africa involved in mining, but it also altered the family structure in Botswana and created a large number of female-headed households (which is part of why the single mother phenomenon is so prevalent there, as opposed to many west African countries where single motherhood remained relatively low, and is still substantially lower today than in southern African countries). Now, if it were found that the heads of many female-headed households in Botswana were especially prominent in a particular economic sector such as agriculture, and that women had come to dominate the agricultural labor force, how would it somehow follow that the male population of Botswana was or is shiftless and not involved in work, when we already know how heavily involved the males were (and still are) in other work? In fact, the female percentage of the agricultural labor force in Botswana was at around 39% (see p. 14 of this article for data for 2005-2006: http://adapt.it/adapt-indice-a-z/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/klaveren_-tijdens_-williams_-martin_2009.pdf) a decade ago, so even in this area, women were still not doing most of the agricultural labor (most of the livestock rearing in Botswana is done by men for example), even after the increased participation of women in smallholder agriculture (small farms growing a few crops like maize or sorghum) in modern times as a result of male labor migration.

But of course some clever idiot might go to Botswana, take a survey of farmers growing a a few crops in some small farms in a rural area, and then if he sees that these farmers are mostly female, loudly proclaim that the men in Botswana don't work. . .because that's the entire point of the myth. That's what it's about. Nothing more, nothing less. The people who promote the myth are not actually interested in showing how significant the contribution of women to the agricultural sector in this or that African country is, they are interested in making claims about "those shiftless men don't work" and so on.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,722
SoCal
By a "similar theme" do you mean writings on the area of the Gold Coast (modern Ghana) from Europeans, or do you mean 19th century writings on west Africa generally, or what exactly?
I meant Europeans speculate on how to best achieve well-being for Africans during the 19th and/or early 20th centuries. A book about this topic can talk about any specific group of Africans, or about Africans in general.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,722
SoCal
Well I am not exactly waiting with bated breath for a response, considering that all you probably would be doing is attempting to legitimize the pseudo-historical and pseudo-scientific ramblings that you found on some racial extremist's blog. If you do respond, it would be better to read a quality response, that shows some actual thought and research. Do not waste time responding simply for the sake of responding, if you do not have something insightful and thoughtful in your reply.
It's entirely possible that the author of that blog was mistaken about some of what she wrote. If so, I suspect that it was an honest mistake considering that she genuinely does appear to be concerned for the well-being of Africans considering that she (it's a she) offers various solutions to help Africa improve.

Still, one does wonder whether there was some truth in what she said. After all, even a broken clock is right twice a day. For instance, would you deny that Sub-Saharan Africa currently has a low average IQ? Or do you consider analyses such as this one to be "racist pseudoscience"? :

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/0c14/de5a9f7de7f6e09d55752b4dc736026b3e61.pdf

The reason that I am focusing on average IQ here is that both the economist Garett Jones and the blogger Anatoly Karlin previously wrote about the correlation between average IQ and economic prosperity. For instance, here is an Anatoly Karlin post about this topic:

Education as the Elixir of Growth III

Is there any truth to what they say on this topic? If not, why not? (Also, please keep in mind that one can talk about average IQ without speculating about the causes of this.)
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,722
SoCal
It conflicts with what you say because you describe "redrawing borders" as if it is just a walk in the park when Europeans achieved their "redrawn borders" at the cost of a mountain of skeletons. They didn't just talk it out with each other, come to terms that everyone somehow agreed with, and then start drawing lines on maps. If something like what occurred in Europe was to occur now in Africa it would be portrayed as the complete descent of the continent into chaos and it probably would not be allowed to simply occur without outside intervention.
That's a good point, but it is worth noting that border redrawing--at least within a country--can be done peacefully. For instance, look at the Soviet Union or post-1991 Ethiopia. In both of these cases, this border redrawing appears to have been peaceful. Heck, even the collapse of the Soviet Union was relatively peaceful. Maybe something similar could have been done with multinational states such as Austria-Hungary had they survived--for instance, with the United States of Austria plan:



For that matter, India and Pakistan were also divided based on ethnic lines. Of course, I am unsure if this process was completely peaceful in both of these cases. Still, it certainly wasn't anywhere near as bloody as, say, World War I.

Anyway, if Ethiopia can create an ethnic federation (even if, for the moment, it isn't much of a federation in practice), why exactly can't other African countries do the same thing?
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,722
SoCal
Also, I have taken a full look at one of the sources that the author of that blog post was using and her analyses of this source appears to have been spot-on:

Black IQ - Nigeria: Black Man Agrees With Dr. Watson

What the author of this article (source) above is saying is that Africans either don't have as much intelligence as other groups or that Africans do have as much intelligence as other groups but simply don't use their intelligence as much--and that this is why exactly Africa is such a mess and hellhole right now. This article certainly does appear to be a rather damning criticism of Africans coming from a specific Nigerian journalist.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,722
SoCal
@Ighayere: BTW, what are your thoughts as to why Haiti stagnated after independence? Do you think that the causes are similar to those of certain African countries?