Elsewhere

Some governments haven’t done this first and vital task. Some are even the cause of the lack of legal and economic certainty themselves. Economists may call this a lack of institutions, Mr Trump may call it being a s***hole. One is more polite than the other but both are true. Abject poverty is the result of government failure these days, nothing else.

17 comments on “Elsewhere

  1. Well done Tim getting into the Times. We can’t actually read it of course, as its payment protected 🙂

  2. “Abject poverty is the result of government failure these days, nothing else.”

    Ah, but politics is downstream of culture, so something that you put in the category “nothing else” may be, in fact, the fundamental problem.

    I did like your splendid use of “U-bend”.

  3. You can have all the free markets you like, if you do not have the right population you will still be poor. Botswana has done everything right. And it is not as much of a sh!thole as, say, Zimbabwe. But it is not rich either. In the time it has taken Botswana to go, essentially, nowhere South Korea has become an industrialised wealthy nation. Yet South Korea’s government has been “wrong” more often than Botswana’s.

    Bermuda and Jamaica have followed very different policies. With Bermuda being more in line with Adam Smith. But it is still a very poor Black country with a small number of very rich White people.

  4. SMFB
    So Bermuda believes in raising enormous amounts of public revenue by Land Value Tax does it? Like Adam Smith said?

  5. I wonder why, in all of the things that Adam Smith said or (as far as we are concerned) wrote, most of which DBC fundamentally disagrees with, the one aspect he’s picked for his monomania (despite hideously misunderstanding it) is LVT?

    Suggestions welcome.

  6. Don’t worry about DNR – he’s just wandering about in the rain and he’s forgotten his umbrella again. They’ll fetch him in when they notice he’s missing.

  7. SMFS, Botswana has diamonds (which belong to De Beers) and much of the country, apart from the Okavango Delta, is scrubland or salt pans. The only reason it isn’t a shithole is that it doesn’t have the tribal infighting other African countries do.

  8. A writing tip, Mr. Worstall.

    Whenever writing about someone the Left doesn’t like, you should start with a declaration of orthodogy.

    First line:

    ‘Donald Trump has just — allegedly — described certain countries as “s***holes”.’

    Rewrite:

    Donald Trump, that ignorant, racist bully, has just — allegedly — described certain countries as “s***holes”.

  9. “Abject poverty is the result of government failure these days, nothing else“

    Absolutely false. The populations of some countries are simply inclined to abject poverty for various reasons including destructive and/or nihilistic and/or violent culture, genetically limited intelligence, a genetic predisposition to violence, and so on.

    You can only polish a turd so much before it falls to bits and covers your hands in shit. Because just not to bother in some cases.

  10. @ SMFS
    The CIA rank Bermuda at 8th in GDP/head; population is 54% black, 31% white. It has a HDI of .981, which makes it as far from a sh!thole as most people can get.

    @ DBC Reed
    NO! It levies consumption taxes, which Adam Smith also liked.

  11. Based on what I’ve seen in observing African immigrants for the past 16 years – mostly from Somalia – confirms Timmy’s thesis, but only up to a point. Yes, Somalia is a shithole (one of the worst). And yes, most of that derives from the fact that Somalians haven’t been able to put together an even marginally functioning government since the 1970s. However, one of the primary reasons – if not the primary reason – Somalians cannot erect and maintain a functioning government is due to culture. Call it Tribalism.

    While Somalians may call themselves Somali, they do not really think of themselves as such. They identify themselves and other by clan/tribe. Western style nationalism is little more than window dressing. Add to that situation the fact that half of the clans hate each other, and what you get is a population that prefers anarchy to being governed – even legitimately and temporarily – by members of another clan.

    Somalia is a shithole country. And Somalis are well aware of that fact. A number of them has said as much to me at different times. In fact, I’ve had more than one Somali tell me this: “We came to America because we cannot govern ourselves.” And note that even in the U.S., Somali clan self-segregate… You’ll find very different clans populating Minneapolis and Columbus, and it’s because they simply refuse to reconcile or accommodate.

    Institutions matter, economic systems matter, rule of law matters, but so does culture…

  12. Dennis, yes, not every culture is equally good at everything (Sowell), and African tribal cultures are not as good as Western individualistic cultures at economic improvement. However, endemic abject poverty is overwhelmingly the result of government action, including preventing the function of other national institutions.

    By the way, whatever Trump said was to ask a colleague, supposedly privately, why he favored easy immigration from Haiti when it did nothing to benefit the US. (Answer: It benefits the Democratic Party and welfare caseworkers.) Dems have a losing hand and this is why the focus is on Trump’s blunt language and why it is getting so hysterical.

    Separately, Bill Clinton, the Clinton Family Foundation, its administration of hurricane relief, and its crony franchises for gold mining, ensured that Haiti would continue to be a shithole. Doesn’t mean the people are bad; does mean that admitting more of them will do little other than showcase the compassion of politicians.

  13. However, endemic abject poverty is overwhelmingly the result of government action, including preventing the function of other national institutions.

    In any instances, that is true. However, in the case of Somali, there hasn’t been a functioning government roughly 40 years. What has impoverished that nation (if you can call it that) is what has moved in to fill the void left by the lack of a functioning government – militias, warlords, etc.

    Westerners like to think of what goes on in Africa in Western terms… And I’m afraid that very often it just doesn’t work that way.

  14. “Absolutely false. The populations of some countries are simply inclined to abject poverty for various reasons including destructive and/or nihilistic and/or violent culture, genetically limited intelligence, a genetic predisposition to violence, and so on.”

    We used to be exactly the same about 250 years ago.

    Hasn’t anyone else read “The Mystery of Capital”?

  15. Lynn and Vanhanen (2002, 2006) found that the wealth of a nation is largely determined by three factors:
    * the intelligence of the population;
    * the extent to which the country has a market economy; and
    * natural resources.

    The first two being the most important, and equally so.

    References:
    LYNN, Richard, 2006. Race Differences in Intelligence: An Evolutionary Analysis. Augusta, GA: Washington Summit Publishers.
    LYNN, Richard, and Tatu VANHANEN, 2002. IQ and the Wealth of Nations. Human Evolution, Behavior, and Intelligence. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.

  16. @ NiV
    No way Jose
    In 1768 England was one of the top countries for GDP/head.
    If you want to make that point, you want to say “550 years ago”

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