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Nov 11, 2008

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Eric Judge

Hi,
This is my first comment here though I have been following the site for some time. Thanks for providing sound reasons for helping me to realize that economic issues in the world are more multifaceted then they are usually explained by the pundits.
About this post, it reminds me of Jared Diamond's book collapse. He looks at the case of Rwanda and notes that it is was a very successful country in many ways, just over populated with many young men who didn't have any land or chance of land. So the issue there wasn't so much poverty but lack of enough land to go with a robust population.
I am not sure if the pop. was fueled by the type of prosperity that you are speaking of or not.
Also the ethnic issues of Rwanda were largely a consequence of colonialization and not a given feature of the nation prior to this time period (or so I have heard). I would be interested if in this book the author addresses the history of exploitation and colonialization of sub-sahara africa and factors that into his evaluation of poverty.
Truly thanks for the post, and for the blog.
You're a needed voice in my thoughts.

eric

Michael W. Kruse

Thanks for your kind comments, Eric.

There is no question that colonialism was dark development in Western history. However, it is not the case that most colonized cultures were in some pristine state of prosperity and then colonialism subjected them to poverty. More typically, the colonial powers suppressed development.

While we can look historically at the tragedy of colonialism, we are now thirty, forty, even fifty years beyond when most nations were colonized. The performance of once colonized nations is all over the map. Therefore, I don't think the performance of the poorest nations can generically be ascribed to colonialism.

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