We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

If only…

George Monbiot begins a banker-bashing article in the Guardian with these words,

If wealth was the inevitable result of hard work and enterprise, every woman in Africa would be a millionaire.

Inevitable result? That is a lot to ask, in Africa or anywhere.

If in most of Africa in the last half-century the probable, or, Dear God, the permitted, result of the hard work and enterprise of women – or men – had been a modest increase in wealth, and not, as it mostly was, the expropriation of whatever you had gained and a chance to be murdered as a hoarder or class enemy by whatever Derg or other bunch of socialist thugs was calling itself the government that week, why, then Africa might have thrown off poverty the way Taiwan and South Korea did.

As Adam Smith said, “Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism, but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice: all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things.” Let us remember those who died in avoidable famines because that “little else” was too much to ask from Africa’s leaders, and from their Guardian reading admirers.

Even Africa is now slowly but surely getting richer, now that the worst of the folly has been thrown off. Inevitable wealth as the result of enterprise and hard work was not necessary to bring about this result. Just a half-decent chance at it.

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11 comments to If only…

  • Hmm

    Apologies Natalie for this comment – but when it comes to that undividual George Monbiot I cannot but do the poor man an injustice – I always prejudge him..

    For I cannot read his writing without thinking…

    …Is it just me, or is almost every piece he writes a true cry from the heart- the cry of a small voice yelling – “Look at me mummy – I’m an activist”….”

    Sad sod that I am: I also find it vaguely funny that the despicable (hypocritical) Mr (damn, it’s so hard not to write ‘Moonbat’) Monbiot’s name anagrams to “Monibot”.

  • thefrollickingmole

    Id take a Norman Borlaug over a dozen wankers like monopod any day.

    HERES why Africa still struggles(Link).

    Sorry for the length, but it again demonstrates its not enough to lift people from starvation, they must do it in a virtuous way.
    Disgusting greenies.

    Production in AfricaIn the early 1980s, environmental groups that were opposed to Borlaug’s methods campaigned against his planned expansion of efforts into Africa. They prompted the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations and the World Bank to stop funding most of his African agriculture projects. Western European governments were persuaded to stop supplying fertilizer to Africa. According to David Seckler, former Director General of the International Water Management Institute, “the environmental community in the 1980s went crazy pressuring the donor countries and the big foundations not to support ideas like inorganic fertilizers for Africa.”[22]

    In 1984, during the Ethiopian famine, Ryoichi Sasakawa, the chairman of the Japan Shipbuilding Industry Foundation (now the Nippon Foundation), contacted the semi-retired Borlaug, wondering why the methods used in Asia were not extended to Africa, and hoping Borlaug could help. He managed to convince Borlaug to help with this new effort,[31] and subsequently founded the Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA) to coordinate the project.

    Nigerian exchange students meet Norman Borlaug (third from right) at the World Food seminar, 2003The SAA is a research and extension organization that aims to increase food production in African countries that are struggling with food shortages. “I assumed we’d do a few years of research first,” Borlaug later recalled, “but after I saw the terrible circumstances there, I said, ‘Let’s just start growing’.”[22] Soon, Borlaug and the SAA had projects in seven countries. Yields of maize and sorghum in developed African countries doubled between 1983 and 1985.[not in citation given][32] Yields of wheat, cassava, and cowpeas also increased in these countries.

  • Robin Goodfellow

    Look at the history of South Korea, Taiwan, or a lot of other countries. No one would say that their governments over the past several decades have been inspired, benevolent, or even arguably “good”. But they were just short of not quite bad enough to allow those countries to become first world nations.

  • Andrew Duffin

    Digging holes in the ground and filling them up again would be pretty hard work, but it wouldn’t make me rich.

    Oh wait, George Moonbat probably thinks it would.

  • To me it is also Rule of Law and the absence of war that enables people to thrive. That, plus the means and ability for peoples to relocate into cities where they will not be subject to the vagaries of subsistence farming which is, though quaint to some, almost criminal to work to perpetuate by such stupid programmes as buying goats, GOATS! of all creatures, for such people.

    I get the feeling that certain favourite charities of this Blog have a desire to do just that – perpetuate quaint subsistence farming, and would probably do nothing to help people leave the endless back-breaking drudgery of scratching a living or finding yourself too far from plenty when that scratching fails.

  • Laird

    Tim, when you say “certain favourite charities of this Blog”, what Blog are you referring to? The Guardian’s?

  • lucklucky

    Private property>Investment security>specialization>productivity.

    Things that Monbiot can’t even think about.

  • Runcie Balspune

    If wealth was the inevitable result of hard work and enterprise, every woman in Africa would be a millionaire.

    … and every dross-spewing journalist would be penniless.

    Perhaps it evades dear George, that his nearest and dearest colleagues are earning six figure salaries by just writing.

  • bobby b

    If wealth was the inevitable result of hard work and enterprise, every woman in Africa would be a millionaire.

    Monbiot’s communist and socialist friends are NOT going to be happy when they hear about what he said.

    Wasn’t it Van Jones who just recently discussed how it’s the workers in a factory who are indispensable, and how they could simply kick the rich owners to the curb and carry on successful businesses because they’re the ones with the knowledge and the power?

    So maybe rich and competent owners aren’t merely vampires feasting off of the poor after all?

  • If wealth was the inevitable result of hard work and enterprise, every woman in Africa would be a millionaire.

    He’s not dealt with our HR department.

  • Paul Marks

    Real prosperity (as opposed to the credit bubble variety) is not created over night.

    Even if most of Africa had not followed socialist polices – and it did, something that George Monbiot “forgets” to mention, real properity could only have come to Africa over generations of not just hard work – but CAPITAL ACCUMULATION.

    The veryt thing that George Monbiot, and the Guardian crowd, hate and despise.

    When they are not doing it themselves of course.