Bit of a cheek isn’t it?

More than climate, culture or history, it is the strength of a country’s political systems that determines whether its people live in poverty. As it has been put before, bad governance is the main reason poor countries are poor. Governance is destiny.

D Cameron is going to provide advice on good governance is he?

32 comments on “Bit of a cheek isn’t it?

  1. It’s culture. You won’t have good governance if your culture is corrupt and has been so for decades or centuries. You could ‘impose’ a pristine sound government on a corrupt country and it would be rotten within a decade.

    Culture, property rights.

  2. Government, culture – and perhaps genes.

    The problem is that it is all a chicken and egg problem. We can see that good government made Hong Kong rich and the Mainland was not so lucky. But the culture of Jamaica is very similar to the culture of the United Kingdom. Well in some ways. Not helped them much.

  3. So non-EU territories and countries like LIE, SWI, AND, IoM, Gue, Jer, ICE and, NOR are richer than their nearest EU neighbours. This is down to good governmental systems ( or the absence of a bad one ) based on the Cameron argument. Which is a view I’d have no problem with, except that up till 9 months ago he didn’t have that view and campaigned to Remain.

  4. He doesn’t mention geography, but it underpins a lot of the rest. Flat regions with navigable rivers and/or navigable coastlines enable trade, which in turn promotes an open culture (prime example: the Netherlands). By contrast, mountainous terrain inhibits trade and turns cultures inwards: this leads to clannish behaviour and violent raids on the flatlands (examples: Afghanistan/Pakistan, Scotland).

    Even in the new world we see the same pattern: open cultures in the flat areas of New England, closed cultures in the mountains of Appalachia. Geography dictates culture, and culture in turn dictates governance. Efforts to impose good governance from outside don’t generally meet with much success. Although one has to admit that the EU has done a decent job of dragging eastern Europe into modernity (compare e.g. Poland and Romania with Belarus and Ukraine).

  5. bad governance is the main reason poor countries are poor. Governance is destiny

    No, you big-faced spastic. The main reason poor countries are poor is because they’re full of shiftless, retarded people who only perk up when there’s a chance to murder the white farmers who feed them, steal stuff, or slaughter a bunch of people in the name of their smelly brown god.

    Sort of like how we used to have first world standards of governance in, say, Tower Hamlets. But now we don’t, thanks to King Cnuts like Cameron and the tidal waves of shittigration they sponsored to hand over our children’s birthright to hostile foreigners.

    Demography is destiny, you pork-stuffing posh twat. Now fuck off back to In The Night Garden and never speak again.

  6. Andrew M

    Thomas Sowell expands on this in ‘Wealth, Poverty and Politics’, and the evidence is overwhelming.

    Inequality is built in to the human condition, ‘cos the world is made up of geographically very different places.

    Wealth is created where there is lots of contact between communities. Flat on the coast with navigable rivers best. Poor schooling (who wants to be a teacher with the Hillbillies?), late introduction of technological advances, interbreeding etc. happen in isolated communities (frequently mountainous). The results are not usually favourable for wealth creation, cultural advancement and opportunity.

    Unbridled corruption (and we have to look at Africa) is not helped by the Western habit of aid (and I am not talking of emergency aid). The money is used to cement power, favour tribe/race and family, hang on to power and the cash frequently ends up in Switzerland.

    Trade is the way out and we should be facilitating trade not abusing African countries with aid.

    Import African agricultural goods for example. Oh, sh*t!, the import duties are so high in the EU we can’t afford it. Still French farmers can drive luxury 4 X 4 on the sales of 4 escargot per year. So OK, no?

  7. Cor, that’s a real “wet streets cause rain” statement from Cameron. It is climate, culture and history that over time determine the strength of a country’s political systems. They are not independent variables!

    Even if the political systems are imposed from outside – it’s that “history” thing right there!

  8. By contrast, mountainous terrain inhibits trade and turns cultures inwards: this leads to clannish behaviour and violent raids on the flatlands (examples: Afghanistan/Pakistan, Scotland).

    And then along came the Swiss. People are strange.

  9. Camoron is arrogant poli-pork scum so its natural that he thinks tin gods like himself are all that matter.

    Culture and custom and habit do the job . And the biggest factors in all of these is both personal freedom and property rights.

    And not importing third world yobs also helps.

  10. Andrew M – “Flat regions with navigable rivers and/or navigable coastlines enable trade, which in turn promotes an open culture (prime example: the Netherlands).”

    Bangladesh? Russia?

    “By contrast, mountainous terrain inhibits trade and turns cultures inwards: this leads to clannish behaviour and violent raids on the flatlands (examples: Afghanistan/Pakistan, Scotland).”

    As Tim N says, Switzerland?

    Ironman – “It might perhaps be genes – says the Thick.Racist.Prick”

    Oh come on. I was expecting a much better effort from you. It may be genetics. You can’t prove it isn’t. In the end, a genetic assumption is likely to prove more reliable and robust than anything else. At least over the past 100 years, the obvious racist assumption would have been a vastly better predictor of outcomes than anything else. There is no sign, not even the slightest hint at a beginning of a hint, that it will not be true over the next 100 years as well.

  11. Not climate, culture or history but rather the strength of a country’s political systems ?

    Piffle! As abacab says, these are all interrelated and anyone with the slightest, most meagre awareness of colonial and post colonial history would know this.

    Programme and project aid is an excellent method of disincentivising local initiative and entrenching a culture of graft in the recipientcountry.

    On the bright side, David Cameron is going to need to write lots of stuff like this before the Guardian readership warm to him to any signifiant extent.

  12. “As Tim N says, Switzerland?”

    Now, yes.

    But not in the early middle ages! Much brigandry and so on went on between the mountains and the plains, and from one valley to the next.

    But Switzerland is a small place with a small population, with short lines of communication so pacified itself with trade between mountains and plains very early.

  13. Not sure how to explain Switzerland. Perhaps the mountains are simply too high to support viable communities, hence most people live in the valleys. They score well on the metric of having lots of navigable waterways.

  14. SMFS,
    Bangladesh? Tricky to explain away. On paper it looks perfect: flat, lots of waterways, fertile land, etc. My best guess is that like China and Israel, it spent too much of the 20th century stunted by socialism. Free market reforms mean it should power ahead. I don’t know much about the country though.

    Remember that the theory is geography -> trade -> culture -> governance; geography is only important insofar as it enables trade. If poor governance (e.g. socialism) means trade is stymied, good geography can’t save you.

    Modern technology means the importance of natural geography is diminished. Two centuries ago a country needed rivers; today they need motorways. Motorways are built by governments, not provided by nature.

  15. Bangla did suffer horribly from bad socialism. Last couple of decades? 6% per year GDP growth. It’s changing, gloriously.

  16. Switzerland might have benefited from being a hub in Europe. Being an easy to defend place at the intersection of four large and wealthy countries (thinking France, Germany, Italy (well North Italy), Austria (in it’s day) is bound to have had some benefits.

    The genetics thing is very hard to prove. The Western phenomena (specifically excluding Russia) had its origin in a fairly small area which benefited from possibly a series of historical accidents. The West expanded to include North America and Australia/NZ, purely due to Britain. There is nothing to suggest that the same thing couldn’t have happened to a different “race” in different circumstances. Indeed, the Far Eastern countries to business and technology well – without seemingly having adapted to our cultures or systems of governance much. This should be enough to disprove the genetics theory. The fact that Africa/ME haven’t done so well could be explained by other factors including geography and climate (also population density in Africa and parts of ME is very low), and yes culture.

    On a lighter note I would say that the UK surviving, possibly barely, the Cameron era, is evidence of the strength of its institutions. (I don’t actually believe this – I think the UK is going down the toilet – but hey.)

  17. Rome built on seven hills, quite a way from the sea with no tide to help navigation up and down the Tiber.

  18. Rome built on seven hills, quite a way from the sea with no tide to help navigation up and down the Tiber.

    Hmm, yes. And they were well known for their passivity and expansion through trade rather than military conquest.

  19. The 0.7% target was arbitrary, disruptive, wasteful and aimed at increasing Cameron’s standing at global gatherings.

    Shouldn’t he have formed this commission and let it come to some conclusion *before* considering the foreign aid target?

    This is a fine example of bad, strong governance.

  20. @Andrew M

    Most of the people in Bangladesh are non-white. So that explains Bangladesh. Obviously. Come on man, keep up there at the back! On the Right, quick march!

  21. David Cameron famously was unable to explain what ‘Magna Carta’ meant so it follows that culture and history would not be his strong suits.

    If his shot at governance was unimpressive, that leaves him climate and even then, Boris and Michael Gove might think him rather a fair weather friend.

    Destiny, eh…

  22. “We can see that good government made Hong Kong rich”

    Hmm.

    I reckon it got rich because the great Sir John Cowperthwaite absolutely refused to let the government bugger things up. If you remember, he resolutely would not allow the civil service to gather economic statistics in case some damn fool was tempted to use them for something (ie meddling).

    So, not so much “good government” as “less government is good”. Not really the same thing, are they?

  23. …and Bangladesh is majority Muslim: “How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries..” etc etc.

  24. Russia?

    The vast open spaces seriously affect the mentality there. In the olden days you might as well have lived on a desert island. The German soldiers went a bit nuts trying to get their heads around the massive distances. They said the sky was “enormous”. I never knew what they meant until I went there myself.

  25. Genes almost certainly have a role in the explanatory mix. In the average IQ league, east asians lead, closely followed by whites. Afros are always on average well behind. Depending on the study you choose, the average IQ of sub-saharan Africans is 65-85 – and its not much higher in Afros in the UK, US or South America.

    Also, Afros generally have poor impulse control and some 5% have a genetic mutation that predisposes them to extreme violence. Only 0.5% of whites have the same mutation.

  26. @Andrew M

    “Even in the new world we see the same pattern: open cultures in the flat areas of New England, closed cultures in the mountains of Appalachia. Geography dictates culture…”

    New England was largely settled by the English, Appalachia by Scots/ Irish, so still more genes than geography.

  27. Sir John Cowperthwaite did make some mistakes, though, refusing to allow improvements to the transport infrastructure and primary education. A couple of the things that boosted the UK in the 19th century was the huge expansion in transport (the railways) and universal primary education, so the workers could be instructed in operating the factory equipment.

  28. We’ll into 20th century, some Swiss community still have the practice of having armed relatives stand vigil after funeral. This is to prevent their enemies from desecrating the newly entombed.

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