Category Archives: Africa

‘In South Africa, More People Have Loans Than Jobs’

Africa, Culture, Debt, South-Africa

“Household debt is hobbling the black middle class” of South Africa. Via The Economist:

* South Africans are the world’s most avid borrowers, according to the World Bank. A study published in 2014 showed that 86% had borrowed money in the previous year.
* Most borrow from friends or family, but an astonishing 25m out of about 37m adult South Africans owe money to financial institutions or other corporate lenders (such as utilities or shops that allow them to buy now and pay later).
* Fewer than 10m people are formally employed (although many more work on farms or in the informal economy, where statistics are not reliable).
* Many South Africans are ignorant of the basics of personal finance, a trait that transcends income levels. Neil Roets, who heads Debt Rescue, a debt-counselling firm, says new clients are first asked for their household budget. Most do not have one. “We get people coming in who earn very big salaries…and have never learned how to work with money.”

MORE about the great South-African success brought about by the “Anglo-American axis of evil.”

Related:

Why Trump Pooh-Poohed “S-ithole” Countries (Part 2)
Trump’s ‘Shithole’ Controversy Deconstructed (Part 1)

NEW COLUMN: Why Trump Pooh-Poohed “S-ithole” Countries (Part 2)

Africa, America, Donald Trump, Human Accomplishment, IMMIGRATION, Individual Rights, Political Philosophy

NEW COLUMN, now on Townhall.com, is “Why Trump Pooh-Poohed “S-ithole” Countries (Part 2).

Part 1 was “Trump’s ‘Shithole’ Controversy Deconstructed.

An excerpt from Why Trump Pooh-Poohed “S-ithole” Countries (Part 2):

… be it Africa or Arabia, the Left labors under the romantic delusion that the effects of millennia of development-resistant, self-defeating, fatalistic, atavistic, superstition-infused, unfathomably cruel cultures can be cured by an infusion of foreign aid, by the removal of tyrants such as Robert Mugabe or Jacob Zuma, or by bringing the underdeveloped world to The West. (Left-libertarian Katherine Mangu-Ward actually told Tucker Carlson that, “If we had a billion people in America, America would be unstoppable. That would be amazing.”)

Alas, bad leaders are not what shackle backward peoples. Not exclusively, at least. And Africa’s plight is most certainly not the West’s fault. Rather, Africa is a culmination of the failure of the people to develop the attitudes and institutions favorable to peace and progress.

However, while human behavior is mediated by values, we’d be intellectually remiss to deny that the cultural argument is flawed. It affords a circular, rather than a causal elegance: people are said to do the things they do because they are who they are and have a history of being that way. See what I mean by flawed?

What precisely, then, accounts for the unequal “civilizing potential,” as James Burnham called it, that groups display? Why have some people produced Confucian and Anglo-Protestant ethics—with their mutual emphasis on graft and delayed gratification—while others have midwifed Islamic and animistic values, emphasizing conformity, consensus, and control?
Why have certain patterns of thought and action come to typify certain people in the first place? …

… READ THE COMPLETE COLUMN. “Why Trump Pooh-Poohed “S-ithole” Countries (Part 2)” is on Townhall.com, where you can read Part 1: “Trump’s ‘Shithole’ Controversy Deconstructed.” 

Sign up to receive my weekly column, now in its 19th year, here: http://www.ilanamercer.com/mailing-list/.  Catch up @ ilanamercer.com.

NEW COLUMN: Trump’s ‘S-ithole’ Controversy Deconstructed (Part 1)

Africa, Donald Trump, IMMIGRATION, Race, The West

Trump’s ‘Shithole’ Controversy Deconstructed (Part 1)” is the current column, now on Townhall.com (WND.com, Storia.me, Constitution.com, etc.):

President Trump’s questioning of immigration into the United States from what he crudely called “s-ithole” countries masks a more vexing question:

What makes a country, the place or the people? Does “the country” create the man or does the man make the country?

To listen to the deformed logic of the president’s detractors, it’s the former: the “country” makes the person. No sooner does an African or Haitian immigrant wash up on American shores—thanks to random quotas and set-asides, lotteries and other government grants of privilege and protection—than the process of cultural and philosophical osmosis begins. American probity and productivity soon become his own.

As an African libertarian—an ex-South African, to be precise—I took the liberty of addressing the matter in the book “Into The Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa,” in which a Cameroonian scholar, Daniel Etounga-Manguelle, among others, is extensively cited.

Easily one of the most controversial thinkers on the causes of underdevelopment in Africa, Etounga-Manguelle, a former adviser to the World Bank, contends that “What Africans are doing to one another defies credulity. Genocide, bloody civil wars, and rampant violent crime suggest African societies at all social levels are to some extent cannibalistic.” Why so? In part, because of the inveterate values held by so many Africans.

Etounga-Manguelle and scholars like him, cited in “Into The Cannibal’s Pot,” are responding to an “explanatory vacuum” that has opened up among honest academics.

All have been willing to admit that constructs like racism, discrimination, and colonialism no longer serve as credible causal factors in divining underdevelopment and delinquency.

None has been called upon to enlighten the greater public.

In such intellectually candid circles, the intellectual “vacuum” is being filled with reference to culture, namely the “values, attitudes, beliefs, orientations, and underlying assumptions prevalent among people in a society.”

The idea that culture is benign and harmonious if not disrupted is a delusion, argues anthropologist Robert B. Edgerton, who also believes that in Africa, “traditional cultural values are at the root of poverty, authoritarianism, and injustice.”

By taking account of culture, posits David Landes, a Harvard economic historian, and author of The Wealth and Poverty of Nations, one could have foreseen the postwar economic success of Japan and Germany. The same is true of South Korea (versus Turkey), and Indonesia (versus Nigeria).

Before the end of free speech on American campuses, Etounga-Manguelle, aforementioned, attended a symposium on “Cultural Values and Human Progress” at Harvard, circa 1999. He had come to bury and not praise the cultures of his Continent. …

READ THE REST. Trump’s ‘Shithole’ Controversy Deconstructed (Part 1)” is the current column, now on Townhall.com.

Read the weekly column on WND.com, The Unz Review, Storia.me, Constitution.com, and other outlets. Sign up to receive my weekly column, now in its 19th year, here: http://www.ilanamercer.com/mailing-list/.  Catch up @ ilanamercer.com.

NEW COLUMN: ‘Shithole Countries’: What Makes A County? The Place Or The People?

Africa, Donald Trump, Human Accomplishment, Individualism Vs. Collectivism, Race

“‘Shithole Countries’: What Makes A County? Place Or People?” is the current column, now on The Unz Review, America’s smartest webzine. An excerpt:

President Trump’s questioning of immigration into the United States from what he crudely called “shithole” countries masks a more vexing question:

What makes a country, the place or the people? Does “the country” create the man or does the man make the country?

To listen to the deformed logic of the president’s detractors, it’s the former: the “country” makes the person. No sooner does an African or Haitian immigrant wash up on American shores—courtesy of random quotas, lotteries and other government grants of privilege and protection—than the process of cultural and philosophical osmosis begins. American probity and productivity soon become his own.

As an African libertarian—an ex-South African, to be precise—I took the liberty of addressing the matter in the book “Into The Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa,” in which a Cameroonian scholar, Daniel Etounga-Manguelle, among others, is extensively cited.

Easily one of the most controversial thinkers on the causes of underdevelopment in Africa, Etounga-Manguelle, a former adviser to the World Bank, contends that “What Africans are doing to one another defies credulity. Genocide, bloody civil wars, and rampant violent crime suggest African societies at all social levels are to some extent cannibalistic.” Why? In part, because of the inveterate values held by so many Africans.

Etounga-Manguelle and scholars like him, cited in “Into The Cannibal’s Pot,” are responding to an “explanatory vacuum” that has opened up among honest academics.

All have been willing to admit that constructs like racism, discrimination, and colonialism no longer serve as credible causal factors in divining underdevelopment and delinquency.

None has been called upon to enlighten the greater public.

In such intellectually candid circles, the intellectual “vacuum” is being filled with reference to culture, namely the “values, attitudes, beliefs, orientations, and underlying assumptions prevalent among people in a society.” …

…  Human behavior is, indubitably, mediated by values. Nevertheless, we’d be intellectually remiss to deny that the cultural argument affords a circular, rather than a causal, elegance: people do the things they do because they are who they are and have a history of being that way.

What precisely, then, accounts for the unequal “civilizing potential,” as James Burnham called it, that groups display? Why have some people produced Confucian and Anglo-Protestant ethics—with their mutual emphasis on graft and delayed gratification—while others have midwifed Islamic and animistic values, emphasizing conformity, consensus, and control?

Why have certain patterns of thought and action come to typify certain people in the first place?

Such an investigation, however, is verboten …

READ THE REST. The essay, “‘Shithole Countries’: What Makes A County? Place Or People?” is the current column, now on The Unz Review, America’s smartest webzine.