The enfeebling of the Europeans’ position in the world is self-caused: They alone are responsible for their own heaped-up aberrations and follies over the first half of the past century. This weakening entailed the corresponding and virtually automatic rise of the United States.And here's something else on Africa from Anthony Daniels' review of Robert Guest's The Shackled Continent: Africa's Past, Present and Future:
Strikingly, Americans continue to increase their lead, even since the consolidation of the European Union. That a united Europe hasn’t yet risen to the challenge is obviously not for lack of material and human resources, but rather for lack of understanding of how to use them. Inhibited by ideological prejudices, Europe, despite her successes, continues to live overshadowed by America. Witness the fact that the health of her economy is dependent on the state of America’s economy: Whenever the latter goes into recession, as in the beginning of 2001, Europe falters.
Elsewhere, American-style market capitalism is equally successful and dominant. Third World countries have developed at sharply different rates basically according to the degree to which they have respected free markets, and left economic activity to private enterprise rather than to undertakings of the state. Even in nations like China where political communism has artificially prolonged its existence, it has done so only by thoroughly expunging economic socialism through privatization, appeals to foreign investors, deregulation of commerce, and establishment of cross-border trade agreements. Only Cuba and North Korea have clung to economic collectivism, with utterly disastrous results...
Resentments that lead to the rejection of every idea that comes from America simply because it is American can only weaken countries. To follow such a course is to let phobias become guiding principles. Does anyone really believe today that nations which substitute government edicts for economic markets are likelier to prosper? Must we close our eyes to the achievements of the last 50 years of increasing economic liberty, when worldwide production grew by a factor of six and the volume of exports by a factor of 17? Must investment capitalism abroad, the engine of extraordinary, racing progress for many previously poor countries, be banned just because it often brings links to America?
We French have had little to say against Saddam Hussein, Muammar Qaddafi, Kim Jong Il, Fidel Castro, Robert Mugabe, the imams of the Islamic Republic of Iran, or the bosses of China and Vietnam. We reserve our admonitions and our contempt and our attacks for the U.S., for Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, and for Europeans like Margaret Thatcher, Silvio Berlusconi, and Tony Blair, because they are insufficiently hostile to capitalism. Our enemy is not the dictator but the free market economy.
Anti-globalizers make the same mistake. What’s important to them is not the eradication of poverty. Rather, it is the propaganda value they gain from linking poverty to the spreading market economy. But this puts them on the wrong side of all evidence, of reality, of history.
Life expectancy in Third World countries has more than doubled during the free-market dominated second half of the twentieth century. In India, food production has grown by a factor of ten, leading to the elimination of massive famines. In Latin America, per capita income doubled between 1950 and 1985. Over the past 50 years, Latin America on the whole has experienced an annual growth of 5 percent. No European country can boast an equivalent rate. These figures show to what an extent the mantras about ever-increasing poverty spring from ignorance or simple dishonesty. Where poverty continues to exist today it is almost wholly due to ruinously inefficient public sectors.
This is most obvious in Africa, the only Third World continent to have actually declined. Impoverishment there has political, not economic, causes. It is statism, not the market, and socialism, not capitalism, that has destroyed the African economies. After independence, the African elites who formed the political leadership generally adopted the Soviet and Chinese systems. Thus they were able to assume absolute power with access to the levers of personal enrichment. And from communism they borrowed an infallible recipe for agricultural ruin: collectivizing the land, from Algeria to Tanzania, setting up “cooperatives” that quickly became unproductive.
In these fatal mistakes the Third World has had false friends. In particular, the privileged pseudo-revolutionaries of Seattle and Göteborg have encouraged them down the primrose path of anti-capitalism. Lacking any real knowledge about the African cataclysm, and careless about finding remedies, the anti-globalist agitators prefer hurling brickbats at their perennial hobgoblin to the moral imperative of saving and improving lives.
For many years, the whole purpose of education in Africa, from the pupil's and student's point of view, has been to obtain a position in government from which to extort and expropriate from others. "Seek ye first the political kingdom", said Kwame Nkrumah, and that is precisely what Africans have been doing ever since, with disastrous results.
The more African bureaucrats and politicians extort and expropriate, the less there is to extort and expropriate, which makes the competition for power ever more desperate and violent. And the wholly parasitic nature of the elite explains why both the expansion of education and the existence of natural resources in an African country conduce not to prosperity, but to civil war and impoverishment.