Thursday, January 30, 2014

Oh, It's a Diamond, Alright

Sub-Saharan Africa has experienced literally zero economic growth over the past 50 years. The potential causes that have been forwarded to explain this include colonialism (or at least the after-effects of it), environment/geography (hot climates, the fact that a lot of these countries are land-locked, etc.), and government corruption (foreign-aid in fact propping a lot of these miserable countries up). It's an absolutely pitiful situation over there but there is in fact one wonderful success story; Botswana..................................................................................Yeah, that's right, folks, the country that was as recently as 1966 the third poorest country on the planet has seen a GDP growth of 9,743% (from $70 a year to $6,900 a year) over the past 47 years. One of the reasons for this is that Botswana has a rich abundance of natural resources (diamonds, especially) and, while, yes, I do in fact agree with that, please, allow to proffer another possibility. Might I suggest that the reason for Botswana's meteoric rise is the fact they have for the most part in their history embraced a free market approach. The Heritage Index of Economic Freedom, for example, has recently rated Botswana as the 27th freest country in the world and because of recent reforms has upgraded their economy from "mostly unfree" (they had a few hiccups in '70s and '80s) to "mostly free". Other economists such as Troy University's Scott Beaulier have pointed to Botswana's high level of regulatory efficiency and market openness, their relatively low taxes, political stability, an educated workforce, the existence of property rights (in other mineral rich countries it is often the government which secures the booty), low corruption, a sane level of government spending, and a tolerance for foreigners......................................................................................Compare these factors with the absolute misery that's been taking in place in neighboring Zimbabwe and the miracle of Botswana is even more amazing. I guess that when you're far too busy slaughtering people you just don't have the time or the inclination to worry about little things like a 100,000% inflation rate.


BB-Idaho said...

Yes, Botswana is an amazing little country. Consider much of it is Kalahari Desert, agriculture occupies 80% of the
population-but contributes only 2% of its GDP and it has been
struggling with HIV-AIDS . There is some disagreement
over the efficacy of the DeBeers/
Botswana 5050 ownership in the diamond business vs S. Africa's
tendency to avoid gov't ownership, but tax heavily, perhaps of interest to economic

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

Tourism is really starting to take off as well I'm hearing.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

And that 97% figure is one of the most discredited statistics in human history. It was based on a very small sample and it only included 2 very general questions in which even I would have probably answered, yes, to. That, and it obviously didn't include many meteorologists, one group that largely thinks that climate change is mostly natural.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

97% - LOL!!!!!

BB-Idaho said...

Anthropologists are intrigued with Botswana as well. The nomadic San people are indigenous there. Genetic studies suggest they are the most ancient of humans, [the proverbial Eve?]speak a strange Khoisan
language of various clicks, and
of course like most indigenous folk are being marginalized. IMO,
that would be a tourist draw as well. (like European tourists fascinated with Shawnee & Navaho.)

dmarks said...

BB: You said something about education and Koch bros elsewhere, but I can't find the post. Hope Will doesn't mind me responding here, from memory.

There are indeed so many who have been served so well by traditional public schools. But there are also so many that have been served so badly, such as those inner city populations, where the teachers get rich and say nothing is wrong and the education scores are pathetic. I do not accept the status quo. Children in those schools are important too.

Like with healthcare, I believe in improvement that fixes what is wrong but does not destroy everything.

As for Koch bros? I hope you hit me hard if I quote from one of their blogs.