Friday, August 28, 2009

Oh, the Poor African Children

It was recently brought to my attention that there are problems in Africa that we should be worrying about more than our own government.
Maybe, but I would much rather discuss the problem and the solution rather than trying to take responsibility for the problems in the rest of the world.
The problem, as stated, is that the conditions in Africa are bad. Specifically, we see tyrannous warlords/dictators taking advantage of people, there is a shortage of food/wealth, child labor is rampant, disease is rampant, children are stolen from parents to become soldiers, war is rampant, and nothing seems to be happening to fix it.
I think it would be fitting to first talk about why these problems exist. Because of PROPERTY RIGHTS, or the lack thereof. I should qualify this statement: the removal of property rights has acted as a prism in the spreading of the beams of hatred that have come into play since the colonial era. What is this beam of hatred? It is racism, or nationalism, or religious discrimination. They are all part of the same thing in Africa. Africa was organized into tribes before the imperialist era. Then we came in with our boom-boom sticks and moving castles and took away their rights. Africans didnt like that, so after WWII, we decided that it was bad to govern them like that. So we organized them into autonomous states. The problem is that we failed to consider that putting 3 different tribes together in one government might not end up as a happy story. Well, it didnt. I am going to speak on Nigeria, mainly because I have studied it the most. Nigeria, previously owned by the British, now with its own autonomy, is a mess. There are 3 main ethnic groups that are at odds with each other at a time. There are massive amounts of political parties. And whoever takes control of the military takes control of the country.
These people are blinded so much by their own tribal hatreds that they are constantly in a state of war with each other and the state.
Solve the problem of tyranny, solve the problem of Africa.
If free trade was allowed to occur with protected property rights, people in Africa could enter the marketplace, trade, make money, get food, live a good life (by their standard).
If property rights were protected, children wouldnt be taken off to war every day.
If free trade had occured, people wouldnt have to drink the dirty water and eat the dirty food they eat and disease wouldnt be such a problem.
If we would stop giving them pain relievers (food, medical supplies, schools), and start curing the disease (tyranny/racism), Africa would be a much different place. Not that pain relievers are bad, but they are only short term, limited solutions.
Now, of course, it is foolish to think we can fix racism, but we can fix the reasons for racial activism. If, for example, the 3 ethnic groups in Nigeria didn't have to vie for power in the same state, they would have a lot less problems. Conflicts come from people choosing whats right for their own ethnic groups over others. If every ethnic group could choose for themself what is good for them, maybe they wouldnt be so mad about the different governments in power. I'm not saying that they wont compete for resources, but they would have an incentive to start caring for their people instead about what everybody else is doing.

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