So, piece complaining that kids aren’t taught history properly in school. Fair enough. But which contains this line:
Aged 11, my son learned in a geography class that one of the many reasons Ghana (the Gold Coast to its 19th-century British rulers) was economically less developed was because of its colonial past. It had been stripped of its wealth by the British. Just one bland sentence.
Well, yes, that’s very Marx and Lenin on imperialism. But it’s not actually true, is it?
Ghana did rather well under the Empire. It was Nkrumah and successors who screwed the pooch.
As it happens I’ve got Angus Maddison’s spreadsheet open for something else. Ghana, in 1950, had GDP per capita of $1,122 (these are international dollars, so adjusted for inflation over time and price differences across geography). In 1984 it was $933.
Significantly worse than Gabon (French colony) and about the same as Liberia at the start (not colonised). Better than Kenya (British colony).
And there’s the other side to it as well. If the British knicked all the money then why didn’t it make Britain rich? Because the colonies didn’t, did they?