Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Display:
One mental trap that it is important not to fall into, however, is to assume that there can be only two options available to African people: To carbon-copy European industrial society or remain in mud huts using hand-made tools.

How to make a modern society based on the parts of their society that Africans value the most is a question that is way above my pay grade, though.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 26th, 2010 at 07:10:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree, but it is a trap that seems amazingly irresistible, especially if you're poor. Has simplicity in living ever been anything more than a minority reaction to a dominant culture of growth and power in the history of civilization?  It also means that it matters a lot who speaks of it. It's just never going to be a very compelling argument for someone from Europe or North America to tell someone in Africa they can live without a cell phone and all the trade-offs in life they need to make to have one. It might be more compelling though when an African leader from an urban or rural slum can make that argument, but the track record on that sort of revolutionary action by indigenous leaders instead of by western interlopers has been pretty bleak so far -- Pol Pot, Sendero Luminoso, Cultural Revolution, etc. Is there a compelling alternative for people to growth and power a la capitalism?
by santiago on Thu Aug 26th, 2010 at 08:05:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All you have to do is tell them that they won't have to deal with enforced dictatorships, won't have to deal with colonial expropriation, and won't find themselves in wars.

That's usually pretty convincing to people who have just had their homes blown up.

Have Africa's resource wars been any less damaging than Pol Pot's legacy? Or do you only count socialist sociopaths in your calculations?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Aug 26th, 2010 at 08:15:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If they want to adopt a European industrial model, then I certainly won't gainsay that decision - after all, I quite like living in a European industrial state. All I'm arguing is that if and when first-world countries help with industrial development in third-world countries, it should be done on the basis of informed consent and a good-faith effort to present a range of realistic options, rather than "our way or the highway." It's a little more work, but I suspect that the results will be much better and more durable.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 26th, 2010 at 08:27:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ugh. Break out the hologram generator if you are wanting for choices.

And why aren't the great killers of the Capitalist Revolution, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan and Bush up there with Pol Pot. It wasn't for want of trying

And the poor workers who have to spend all day herding the people on the ExpressWaysTM during their multi-hours of Daily AMRadioHateTM. Does anyone think about them? They can't take their herd out to the drive in for a soda and a movie, or a long walk on the beach, they can't even take their work home with them. They don't even get any of the curds and whey that the drivers or cars make.

I wanted some of that Domestic Tranquility stuff, but it turned into a sub-heading for Common Defense. General Welfare and Posterity are just gonna have to wait.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Sun Aug 29th, 2010 at 07:34:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Gandhi had some strong arguments as to why indians should avoid the trappings of the western lifestyle (while importing and improving some western ideas). Lived the part to. Out of style in India now, but it did inspire much of the western green movement.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Mon Aug 30th, 2010 at 04:27:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Display:

Occasional Series