A World so different to the one I grew up in.
Let’s hope that Africa can achieve victory against poverty as well. Some of the countries there ( Congo DR for example) are abysmal.
dropoffyourkeylee: "Let’s hope that Africa can achieve victory against poverty as well. Some of the countries there ( Congo DR for example) are abysmal."
We should all hope that. But it clearly will be a long project. It's interesting to consider why? There's a sort of expectation that you have an election, someone wins, then you have democracy and within a few years everything will be OK.
Well, backtrack a bit. British democracy, is mythologised as starting in the thirteenth century with the Magna Carta. I suggest that's bullshit. (All it did was - basically- was an agreement that the powerful families in the land, also had a say). But even if true, it then took near to 1000 years to achieve full democracy. And, even so what the UK calls 'democracy,' is really an oligarchy. Two different oligarchies (power groups) vie for power and present the electorate with a list of candidates and ask the electorate to vote for them. They also (far too often) present a list of policies which are thinly disguised bribes to certain elements of the electorate. Once in power the victorious oligarchy will often ignore the will of the people.
In the case of the D.R.Congo, another factor militating against the good order needed for progress toward poverty reduction is its recent history. To save me some time, here's an extract from the Wikipedia entry on that country:
Quote: "European exploration of the Congo was carried out, first led by Henry Morton Stanley under the sponsorship of King Leopold II of Belgium. Leopold formally acquired rights to the Congo territory at the Conference of Berlin in 1885 and made the land his private property, naming it the Congo Free State. During the Free State, the colonial military unit, the Force Publique,forced the local population into producing rubber, and from 1885 to 1908, millions of Congolese died as a consequence of disease and exploitation. In 1908, Belgium, despite initial reluctance, formally annexed the Free State, which became the Belgian Congo."
and, "In the Free State, colonists brutalized the local population into producing rubber, for which the spread of automobiles and development of rubber tires created a growing international market. Rubber sales made a fortune for Leopold, who built several buildings in Brussels and Ostend to honor himself and his country. To enforce the rubber quotas, the army, the Force Publique, was called in and made the practice of cutting off the limbs of the natives a matter of policy.
During the period of 1885–1908, millions of Congolese died as a consequence of exploitation and disease. In some areas the population declined dramatically – it has been estimated that sleeping sickness and smallpox killed nearly half the population in the areas surrounding the lower Congo River."
In Leopold's brutal control of the area, the social structure of the area was destroyed. For real progress, it will be necessary to re-build in some way the social order that makes good order possible. It is unlikely to happen in the short term.