Thursday, October 30, 2014
Walter Williams succinctly
demolishes a host of myths about the causes of African poverty, most notably
the idea that it is a legacy of colonialism:
Poverty is not a cause but a result of Africa's problems. What African countries need the West cannot provide. They need personal liberty. That means a political system in which there are guarantees of private property rights, free markets, honest government and the rule of law. Africa's poverty is, for the most part, self-inflicted. Some people might disagree because their college professors taught them that the legacy of colonialism explains Third World poverty. That's nonsense. Canada was a colony. So were Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong. In fact, the richest country in the world, the United States, was once a colony. By contrast, Third World countries such as Ethiopia, Liberia, Nepal and Bhutan were never colonies, yet they are home to some of the world's poorest people.Williams, not content merely with a tearing-down by counterexample, cites several lines of strong evidence in favor of his view that the continent needs freedom. Furthermore, our usual response of sending foreign aid is actually making it more difficult for Africans to win freedom for themselves by empowering despots.