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Why Did Civilization Lag in Africa?

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Great Theater of Miletus, Turkey: capacity 15,000 to 25,000

In Freakonomics in 2012, superstar economist Daron Acemoglu and his sidekick James A. Robinson used a Q & A with readers to promote their book Why Nations Fail and its all-purpose theory that “extractive institutions” rather than “inclusive institutions” were to blame for anything bad that ever happened anywhere in the history of the world.

Q. I am from Haiti, a country that you guys speak of quite often. I moved here to the States about ten years ago for school. Anyway, I’ve always wondered why countries dominated by blacks have done so terribly (and I am not trying to make us look stupid)? My questions stems from the fact that even within Haiti, the wealthier people are the sons and daughters of ex-pats from Europe or Syria, but in the larger picture, countries heavily dominated by blacks tend to fail. I don’t know many countries in the world where blacks are at the top of the social pyramid; it is concerning. Does it have to do with slavery; more than slavery, education? And how would it be solved in a 30-year plan for example? -Jean-Marc Davis

A. The fact that nearly all countries which are headed by black people are poor is a coincidence.

There is nothing intrinsic about black people that makes such countries poor. Just look at Botswana — it is run by and for black people, but it is one of the great economic success stories of the past 50 years. The same is true of several Caribbean countries, such as the Bahamas. The reasons for this are several-fold. Let’s focus just on Africa. Historically (before European influence), Africa developed extractive institutions for reasons that are not well understood.

For instance, the fact that the construction of centralized states in Africa lagged behind Eurasia is not really understood. This history of extractive institutions then created a terrible vicious circle in the early modern period. First, the slave trade destroyed states and made economic institutions more extractive, and the poverty of Africa then allowed it to be colonized by Europeans. This left a legacy of extractive institutions with which African countries have been struggling since independence. But there is nothing inevitable in this process. Fifty years ago, you would have asked “How come every country run by Asians is poor”?

We don’t ask that because we know that many Asian countries have changed their development paths. They, of course, had advantages Africa did not have, such as a history of centralized states. More broadly, there is nothing inevitable about the fact that the Industrial Revolution happened in Britain and soon after spread to Western Europe and these countries’ superior technologies allowed them to colonize large parts of the world. This was the outcome of a long contingent process of institutional change. This process did not happen in Africa, but that has nothing to do with black people but rather different histories of institutions and different shocks. In the book, we illustrate this by talking about Ethiopia. In 400AD, Ethiopia looked very similar to states in the Mediterranean basin, but then it experienced very different shocks and while these other societies changed, Ethiopia got stuck.

Obviously, this explanation wouldn’t strike anybody better informed and more objective than Daron Acemoglu, the Malcolm Gladwell of MIT, as terribly persuasive. (Of course, I often wonder if implausibility isn’t considered a virtue these days. If the point is to demonstrate your True Faith, then Acemoglu and Robinson’s opening tactical salvo of “The fact that nearly all countries which are headed by black people are poor is a coincidence” isn’t as funny as it would sound to the Man from Mars. If the point is not science but witch-sniffing, then making assertions so lunkheaded they are bound to raise a smile in anybody with an active brain is brilliant, even if it’s simultaneously stupid).

So, rather than critique Acemoglu’s thrashings, let me try to work out a fundamental explanation for why Africa, the home of anatomically modern humans, was long so far behind even other tropical lowlands such as the Yucatan.

I’ve put up a picture above of an immense ruin I visited five years ago, the theater in Miletus in what’s now southwestern Turkey, because there are a lot of ruins in this world. Turkey is full of ancient ruins (as are Mexico, Guatemala, and Peru).

This theater in Turkey is particularly jaw-dropping because it’s not just the usual hillside converted into seating, like in Ephesus or Bodrum/Halicarnassus. You drive through empty, flat farmland and them you come upon this old theater that struck me at the time as, “Not as big as Wrigley Field.” It’s definitely less massive than most current major league baseball stadiums, but I couldn’t say offhand how it compares in size to NBA/NHL arenas like the Staples Center. I’ve seen estimates that it seated 15,000, 18,000, and 25,000. In any case, it’s built on the same pattern as modern outdoor sports facilities, with big tunnels under the stands to help you get to and from your seat without having to walk in front of most spectators who arrived earlier.

There’s an explanation for why this vast ruin is in the middle of an empty field today: back in Ancient Greek times, Miletus used to be a big port city. But the meandering Meander River silted up the harbor, so it’s now five miles inland from the Mediterranean. Miletus was a big league city in world cultural history: it was the home to Thales, whom the two most famous logicians in history, Aristotle and Bertrand Russell, considered the father of philosophy and/or science.

Is this sports and entertainment facility the creation of extractive or inclusive institutions? Well, I suppose you could argue it either way. But the clear lesson is that, in any case, to pay for and erect this grandiose edifice there clearly had to be a lot of institutions and a lot of surplus to extract. Otherwise, you couldn’t pay for this theater, as well as all the philosophers and scientists associated with Miletus (such as, besides Thales, Anaximander and Leucippus).

Why this meandering reminiscence of mine about a random ruin in Turkey? Because sub-Saharan Africa has remarkably few ruins for its immense size.

This fact is not well known. It is so hazy in the contemporary mind that Henry Louis Gates managed to sell PBS on a six episode miniseries about African ruins called The Wonders of Africa without, apparently, anybody in PBS management calling his bluff about the lack of wonders that his camera crew would wind up documenting in one of the most boring documentary series of the 21st Century.

The only book I’ve read that has wrestled seriously with the implications of sub-Saharan Africa’s relative lack of ruins is John Reader’s extraordinary Africa: Biography of a Continent.

Reader’s argument is that the reason there are few ruins is because there was little wealth in sub-Saharan Africa before outside interventions. The Economist’s 1998 review of Reader’s book noted:

Much of Africa’s history is explained by its fragile soils and erratic weather. They make for conservative social and political systems. “The communities which endured were those that directed available energies primarily towards minimising the risk of failure, not maximising returns,” says Mr Reader. This created societies designed for survival, not development; the qualities needed for survival are the opposite of those needed for developing, ie, making experiments and taking risks. Some societies were wealthy, but accumulating wealth was next to impossible; most people bartered and there were few traders.

In fact, there were few people. Whereas the rest of the world tended to butt up against Malthusian limits on the amount of food that the burgeoning population could wrest from the ground, tropical Africa had plenty of land but strikingly few people.

The problem, according to Reader, was that African humans had a hard time outcompeting other living things in Africa, such as diseases (falciparum malaria and sleeping sickness, most notably) and giant beasts (such as elephants).

To put this in Darwinian terms, humanity not only evolved in Africa, but, unfortunately for the humans, co-evolved along with animals and germs, which gave humanity’s rivals a more than fighting chance. When humans arrived in the New World, in contrast, we killed and ate the local elephants (wooly mammoths) in short order because they didn’t understand how dangerous these two-legged creatures with pointy sticks were to them. In Africa, the elephants had seen us coming for millions of years and had time to evolve behavioral defenses against us.

A herd of elephants seems cute to us in America today, but one can eat an entire African village’s crop of food in a day, leaving it starving. So, as Reader notes, humans and elephants in Africa tended to form patchworks of habitation, with humans only living in areas where they could muster enough density of population to drive off the elephants and giraffes and predators.

But too high a density of population, such as in cities, made people sitting ducks for diseases borne by mosquitoes and tsetse flies. The germs in tropical Africa were even worse than the megafauna. Thomas Pakenham’s 1998 review of Reader’s book in the New York Times explains:

Why did Africa south of the Sahara fare so badly in the last three millenniums? Reader explains Africa’s handicaps in terms of disease and climate. He contrasts the happy colonists who ”by leaving the tropical environments of the cradle-land in which humanity had evolved . . . also left behind the many parasites and disease organisms that had evolved in parallel with the human species.” Up to a point, this must be right. In the African Garden of Eden lurked enemies all the more potent because they were invisible: the malaria bug and other lethal organisms. The liberation of Africa from these enemies began with the period of European exploitation and has continued, somewhat haphazardly, as European drugs are exported to Africa.

For example, from Wikipedia:

Plasmodium falciparum is a protozoan parasite, one of the species of Plasmodium that cause malaria in humans. It is transmitted by the female Anopheles mosquito. Malaria caused by this species (also called malignant[1] or falciparum[2] malaria) is the most dangerous form of malaria,[3] with the highest rates of complications and mortality. As of 2006, there were an estimated 247 million human malarial infections (98% in Africa, 70% being 5 years or younger).[4] It is much more prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa than in many other regions of the world; in most African countries, over 75% of cases were due to P. falciparum, whereas in most other countries with malaria transmission, other, less virulent plasmodial species predominate. Almost every malarial death is caused by P. falciparum.[4]

Humans in Africa evolved a brutal defense against this version of malaria, the sickle cell genetic mutation, which provides some protection if you get one copy of the allele, but (without modern medicine) kills you if you inherit two. We wouldn’t have such an inelegant genetic protection if humans in Africa didn’t need it against such a massive killer. (The less vicious vivax malaria has a safer mutation to protect Africans, the Duffy gene.)

So, tropical Africans couldn’t learn to live in dense urban populations, with all the advanced trades made possible by the concentrations of city life. They largely remained small villagers scratching a living from the ground.

Also, in contrast to the rest of the world, where sexual restraint had its Darwinian advantages in avoiding the Malthusian Trap, tropical Africans found it advantageous to procreate as thoughtlessly as an NFL star like Adrian Peterson, Antonio Cromartie, or Travis Henry. Children weren’t likely to starve because their working mothers could grow enough food for them in the thin tropical soil (without fathers needing to do the heavy lifting of plowing, as on continents with better soil).

And the children were probably going to die of random diseases anyway, for which no amount of paternal investment could protect them before modern medicine. (For example, the hypothesis that yellow fever, which originated in Africa, was spread by mosquitoes was first proposed by Cuban doctor Carlos Finlay only as recently as 1881 and proven by American doctors such as Walter Reed and William Gorgas around the turn of the 20th Century.) So, it made more Darwinian sense in tropical Africa for men to procreate with abandon than to parent carefully.

Is Reader’s late 1990s theory of the difference between Africa (and thus Africans) and the rest of world true? It’s similar to Jared Diamond’s theory in the contemporary bestseller Guns, Germs, and Steel, but is far more detailed, plausible, and interesting. Unlike Diamond’s rather airy theory, it has the advantage / disadvantage of explaining much that we see in modern America as well. Reader didn’t really want to draw out the modern implications in the manner of J.P. Rushton, but it’s pretty obvious reading his book that there are connections between prehistoric Africa and inner city black America.

In the decade and a half since Reader published his highly readable Africa: Biography of a Continent, has any economist, evolutionary theorist, or geneticist directly grappled with testing his model?

Not that I’m aware of. Instead, we have goofs like Acemoglu dominating our intellectual life, such as it is. Isn’t it about time to give serious attention to John Reader’s theory?

 
• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Africa, Daren Acemoglu

361 Comments to "Why Did Civilization Lag in Africa?"

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  1. Cavalli-Sforza thought Africans were the biggest outliers of humanity. …

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  2. “The fact that nearly all countries which are headed by black people are poor is a coincidence” isn’t as funny as it would sound to the Man from Mars.

    This is a great template for poking fun at PC holy cows while appearing not to, with some plausible deniability.

    “The fact that on average, blacks commit an order of magnitude more violent crime than white people is a coincidence.”

    “The fact that nearly all the perpetrators of grooming of teenage girls in Rotherham were Pakistani Muslims, is a coincidence.”

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  3. Reader’s theory may well be true, but think about this.

    Most nations, not just African ones, did *not* invent the Industrial Revolution. Some, however, were able to simply reverse engineer some of it and take advantage of it to build more advanced societies.

    In Africa (and perhaps other places), not only have they not been able to create civilization from the template that was handed to them by the 1st world (and I do not refer just to the colonizers), when it was built for them (like water treatment plants, etc.), they have not been able to maintain it.

    I used to be a pragmatist. Now, at 58, I am a fatalist about some things.

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  4. Well, you’re going to have to qualify Africa as “sub Saharan Africa” because Egypt is clearly in Africa and was engaged in some civilization – writing, agriculture, monumental architecture, art, speculation for 2000+ years before Thales was born.

    And by American standards those Egyptians were black.

    But it’s ecologically different from the rest of Africa.

    Fifty years ago, you would have asked “How come every country run by Asians is poor”?

    In 1964 I would have been noticing African style poverty in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong?

    Granted I’m not an MIT economist but………….no.

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  5. Humans are not an invasive species in Africa.

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  6. When humans arrived in the New World, in contrast, we killed and ate the local elephants (wooly mammoths) in short order because they didn’t understand how dangerous these two-legged creatures with pointy sticks were to them.

    Along with all the horses, a fact that rarely gets mentioned. In retrospect, not a very clever move.

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  7. —-
    Fifty years ago, you would have asked “How come every country run by Asians is poor”?
    —-
    no, no one would have asked that, because anyone back then who had met any east Asians in person could see that they are smarter and harder working than African-Americans, despite the latter living in one of those magical inclusive economies. Also, Japan industrialized without foreign aid and few natural resources over 100 years ago, defeated the Russian Empire in a war, and built one of the most advanced militaries in the world by 1941. Which African country has done anything comparable?

    was the Empire of Japan, and for that matter is modern China, an inclusive society? I wonder how far Acemoglu can contort the definition to accommodate the counter-evidence.

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  8. “”””look at Botswana — it is run by and for black people, but it is one of the great economic success stories of the past 50 years.”””

    Botswana is run by international mining companies which extract most of the wealth. The vast majority of people in Botswana are subsistence farmers who see little of that wealth. Its only considered successful by people who define it this globalist definition of success

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  9. You have a varied group of people that post here. I am from the South, and not more than two generations removed from people who were small farmers (and part time lumberjacks and part time cotton pickers on other people’s farms).

    In most of the South the soil is awful for farming. Dreadful actually. If you visit Iowa, Missouri, Ohio, even Pennsylvania you are just struck by how healthy and vigorous the plants are, compared to what you are used to.

    Obviously Mississippi is different (and Louisiana) due to the River if nothing else, but this is just not a good agricultural province.

    Anyway my two cents. New England traders and whalers, Northern and Midwestern manufacturing, oil, mining and herding in the West, all gets lots of time in economic histories.

    But for a good bit of this country’s history agriculture was THE industry. And the South was behind the 8 ball in that respect from the get go.

    And while there is more written about the Civil War than anyone will ever want to read, I have seen some accounts that the dismal propects of agriculture in some of the eastern Dixie states provided impetus to starting the war. I can’t really remember the argument, I’ll google it if someone likes.

    It was only a theory though, and if not popular those things can be tricky to track down in the original form.

    Edit: I posted this because in my experience getting food from tropical soils is a struggle. This thing about the women can do it all, just doesn’t seem to jibe with my experience.

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  10. Why did civilization lag in Africa? | Reaction Times
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    […] Source: Steve Sailer […]

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  11. No one ever utters the obvious answer. It isn’t that complicated.

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  12. Anonymous
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    So, we need to drive the elephants out of Detroit?

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    That’s why Carthage fell, all the demobilized elephants wreaked too much havoc.

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  14. Reader didn’t really want to draw out the modern implications in the manner of J.P. Rushton, but it’s pretty obvious reading his book that there are connections between prehistoric Africa and inner city black America.

    Steve, this is where you sort of lose me. When recent history of slavery and marginalization can explain (at least to some extent) the dysfunction of inner-city black America, why must we jump back many millenia to discover the supposed roots of those causes in tropical insects and pachyderms?

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  15. Is there any data on PISA scores or IQ in Bostwana? Has all their wealth made them smarter than other black countries?

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  16. Could the answer be because Homo Sapiens aren’t very smart, and that everyone else outside of Africa (not counting Australian aborigines) are not pure Homo Sapiens but rather cross-breeds between Homo Sapiens and the Neanderthals and Denisovans?

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  17. Obviously, this explanation wouldn’t strike anybody better informed and more objective than Daron Acemoglu, the Malcolm Gladwell of MIT, as terribly persuasive.

    If you wanted to persuade people you’d quit any serious inquiry into history or economic development, this statement will do it.

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  18. Just look at Botswana — it is run by and for black people, but it is one of the great economic success stories of the past 50 years.

    I’m no expert, but my understanding was that sparsely-populated Botswana was basically run jointly by the mining companies and the local hereditary tribal king; the mining companies share some of the profits with the locals, while the king is trying to think of long-term investments so his people can continue to make money after the diamonds run out. That arrangement- foreign business interests working with a compliant local autocrat- strikes me as not terribly different from the early stages of the dreaded “colonialism”. Nobody remembers this today, but European government takeovers of their colonies often took place in response to misbehavior by the monopolistic businessmen who were effectively in charge.

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  19. Acemoglu’s willful blindness is perfectly illustrated by his foolish statements on Asia like “Fifty years ago, you would have asked “How come every country run by Asians is poor”?”

    Even in 1950, when Asia was probably poorest vis a vis the West, the reasons for its poverty were perfectly obvious. Japan had just lost a major war that involved major targeting of its civilian areas and infrastructure, China was ending 50 years of war which resulted its best administrators and businessmen going into exile in Taiwan or Hong Kong, Korea was involved in a civil war, and SE Asia had been occupied during the war and had various insurgency movements getting started.

    An intelligent observer would note (and many did) that before the disruption of war Asian countries were making alot of progress, which you could reasonable expect to continue once the rubble got cleared and things settled down.

    Japan is the most obvious case, but Japanese-run Korea had infrastructure and civil administration far in advance of anything in sub-Saharan Africa even today. Pre-war Malaya, Vietnam, and Thailand were showing steady growth and were reasonably well run. China was more of a mixed bag, but the regions around Shanghai where Nationalist administration was centered were quite developed. Even after the Communist takeover, China made rapid progress industrializing on the Soviet model (until Mao derailed everything with his various idiotic schemes)

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  20. Whatever it was, I’m sure it was all our fault: http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/9/ebola-health-workersevacuationwestafricaspublichealth.html

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  21. “A herd of elephants seems cute to us in America today, but one can eat an entire African village’s crop of food in a day”

    Why didn’t the Africans organize infantry squares of Africans to confront the elephants. And then use that social organization as the foundation of an Empire (or Tyranny if you think that way)

    I saw in a nature movie about pygmies how they hunt elephants. A lone super athletic dwarf with a sharp stick ran under the elephant and jabbed the soft flesh under the the elephant puncturing the elephants bladder. About a half hour later the butchering crew showed up and sliced it up. So elephants were not a problem at least for pygmies.

    Various cultures from North Africa to South East Asia have domesticated elephants as work animals.

    Didn’t the mammoths die off because heterosexual white males ate them all, against the advice of liberal feminists to leave a few to breed?

    The American Indian horse culture appears almost immediately after they acquire a few stray horses from the Spanish. Africans had access to horses and camels immediately after they were domesticated.

    Now the disease thing I don’t know what to say other than it appears that large areas of Africa are OK disease wise.

    Somewhat forgotten is that Mali and Ethiopia had established cultures along the lines of ancient Empires, or tyrannies depending on your world view. Mali gets blown back into the desert when they are bypassed by sailing ships and lose out to North Africans armed with guns. Otherwise Mali compared well to typical ancient European cultures. In the 1800s the Zulus were prepared to start an Empire (or Tyranny), they ran into modern European armies but I doubt the Romans would have been able to defeat the Zulu in the Zulus own territory. So the Africans were about a millennia behind Europe. Northern Europe was a millennia behind the Mediterranean, but caught up in what seems to be a generation. So the inherent backwardness of Africans might just be an illusion.

    Ancient Africans figure out how to make consumer products all by themselves:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost-wax_casting#Africa

    One explanation I read somewhere was Africans had no access to the kind of trees that you can make large ships out of. As far as I know every Empire ultimately needed ships and barges to move goods and soldiers. If you cannot move your soldiers around it is tough to collect taxes which makes Empire, or Tyranny impossible.

    “Fifty years ago, you would have asked “How come every country run by Asians is poor”?”

    To the extent actual people ask that it is because all the Asians they know in America are very smart. The reality is only a few academics ask why Africa is poor, typical middle aged racists who only know about African culture from American Blacks don’t wonder why Africa is poor, they think they know why.

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  22. It’s worth noting that much this primarily applies to sub-Saharan Africa’s farming/herding groups. The more primitive hunter-gathers, for example, have lower polygyny rates and higher paternal investment.

    Of course, population densities were kept low in H-G’s by constant tribal warfare.

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  23. This would be a good post to add one of those maps of most of the rest of the world overlaid on the African continent that are lately popping up everywhere. It’s as big as China, Europe, India, continental US, and Japan combined and has nothing but the pyramids, the ironic exception the proves the rule.

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  24. I haven’t read Reader, but I’ve read Diamond, and Diamond had similar or less detailed observations. He may also have read “Biography of a Continent”.

    Anyway, it makes sense that Africa had too many large animals and diseases, and the soil was too think, for much in the way of civilization to develop. Transportation is also bad, there are variations of the great Eurasia steppe corridor, which is how the Bantu spread throughout the continent, but not much in the way of inland waterways or good harbors. The trade winds and the big desert made trade links with Europe very difficult, and except for the Congo the rivers tended to have big cataracts making them useless for transport. The Bantu barely beat the Europeans to what is now South Africa, the one really nice part south of the Sahara.

    There were areas just south of the Sahara where civilizations of sorts developed, but these were for obvious reasons backwaters and derivative of the places on the other side of the Sahara, and tended to be Nilotic instead of Bantu.

    Incidentally, I think alot of the HDB handwringing about Blacks being behind on this or that measure is overblown. Civiliation in geolgoical terms has barely got started, the first cities (really overgrown villages with temples) emerging 8000 years ago. If you divide up humans into 3 to 5 races, one race by definition is going to be third or fifth on the various metrics, though Whites and Asians have traded first and second place with each other periodically. The descendents of the people who left Africa and went into virgin territory have tended to outperform the descendents of those who stayed behind.

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  25. This account seems largely plausible for tropical Africa, but there are vast swathes of the continent that are nearly Edenic. Leaving aside possible climate shifts over the past 10000 years, Southern Africa from Lake Victoria to Capetown isn’t tropical, and has a super-abundance of terrific topsoil and natural resources.

    Were the animals really that much more fearsome and numerous that they prevented civilization from developing? Didn’t seem to obstruct the Boers. And the co-evolution notion providing advantages to animals seems sketchy anyway.

    Isn’t the central point of the now-derided but nevertheless true account of man’s conquest of nature, that it was a struggle? To cite difficulties in that endeavor as explanation for failing is really begging the question.

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  26. Isn’t it great that 550 or so years after 1453 the Turks have finally decided to assault the last bastions of European supremacy.

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  27. goofs like Acemoglu

    Yes, but he probably has a rather low Cromartie Index. So that’s something.

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  28. Hi Steve, you linked to a post on your old blog:

    http://isteve.blogspot.fr/2007/11/african-dna-testing-services.html

    when you could have stayed on the unz site by linking to the version on the unz site:

    http://www. unz.com/isteve/african-dna-testing-services/

    In case you do this because it’s too much trouble to figure out the link and don’t know this, fyi it’s easy to find the equivalent post on the unz site from the URL of the post on blogspot:

    Just take the text part of the URL, for example “african-dna-testing-services” (without the “.html”part, and add it to the end of “http://www.unz.com/isteve/”, which gives you:

    http://www.unz.com/isteve/african-dna-testing-services/

    Great post by the way, but you know that :)

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  29. Anonymous
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    But the climate of large parts of the Indian subcontinent and much of tropical south east Asia are as equally fatal to life as Africa, the humidity being the ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes, snakes and all other assorted tropical nasties, but these regions even in pure modern times were never sparsely populated.
    As a speculation, Indians of the so called ‘non martial races’ is other than the big, bold Sikhs, Pathans, Punjabi, Rajputs etc of the north, seemed to have evolved the survival strategy of breeding fast, but breeding to a rather physically ‘gracile’ form, which in previous ages never really survived beyond child bearing.

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  30. I took an African History class because I desperately wanted an answer to this question. While the result was somewhat disappointing, low population density was a stumbling block to development that plagued Africa until modern medicine inadvertently lead them into the Malthusian nightmare of today.

    Building cities in tropical rain forests has only been done twice in pre-modern times: the Mayans of Central America and the Khmers in Southeast Asia. Both collapsed due to various but often similar pressures. So, it isn’t too surprising that Sub Saharan Africa’s most famous ruins are in more arid and almost temperate Zimbabwe.

    If any group could benefit from a formal eugenics program it is sub Saharan Africans. Yet promoting disgenics has been the norm

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  31. The Mayan area is definitely not tropical — 15-20 deg N, about the same as Khartoum to Abu Simbel. The remains in South America are in the highlands — think Ethiopia/Sanaa. Interested to know why there are so few substantial ruins in North America.

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  32. “The problem, according to Reader, was that African humans had a hard time outcompeting other living things in Africa, such as diseases (falciparum malaria and sleeping sickness, most notably) and giant beasts (such as elephants).”

    Does this assertion by Reader lend credence to Rushton’s theory on African breeding habits. Presupposing Reader was correct and Sub-Saharan African’s were unable to create advanced civilizations because of environmental factors (let’s call it elephant privilege) wouldn’t having as many children as possible be a beneficial adaptation?

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  33. Australian fauna differs from African fauna more than the Eurasian fauna does. The animals that out-of-Africans encountered in Australia were not adapted to dealing with humans at the time of contact. Yet civilization failed to develop in Australia until the time of British colonization.

    The Ice Age theory seems more plausible to me. Caucasoids and Mongoloids went through the last Ice Age. Negroids and Australoids did not. Caucasoids and Mongoloids went on to found civilizations. Negroids and Australoids did not.

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  34. I can’t see how it could be a coincidence if Africa were a small continent, but it’s a vast continent with all sorts of varieties in climate, soil, and etc.
    So, the notion that the 10,000s of tribes of Africa all failed to develop civilization due to coincidence is really against the odds.

    As for Botswana, it may be impressive by African standards, but that’s not saying much.

    At any rate, the nature vs culture argument fails over a long stretch of time because not only does nature shape culture but culture shapes nature. Surely, a culture that prizes warrior genes will have warriors have more kids, whereas a culture that disfavors warrior genes will weed such genes out. Civilization professionalized the military. In primitive tribes, every man is expected to be a warrior. In civilization, a select group is trained and bred to be warriors, but everyone else is helotized and warrior attributes among them is repressed and/or weeded out.

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  35. Could you say the same for South America? Although they had more advanced civilizations in Mexico and the Andes.

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  36. “It’s worth noting that much this primarily applies to sub-Saharan Africa’s farming/herding groups.”

    Here’s the problem with farming vs hunting dichotomy in Africa. Many tribes did some farming and did some hunting. They herded but also hunted. It was the rare case where African communities subsisted entirely on complex farming such as the kinds that developed in Europe and Asia.
    Africans were like American Indians who planted some corn but also hunted for food.

    And some warrior tribal groups could develop rather complex organizations. The Zulu empire for example. They were nomadic warriors but were good at forming and moving armies and conquering other tribes.

    “The problem, according to Reader, was that African humans had a hard time outcompeting other living things in Africa, such as diseases (falciparum malaria and sleeping sickness, most notably) and giant beasts (such as elephants).”

    This brings up India that had elephants, tigers, leopards, crocodiles, cobras, malaria, bears, and buffalos, but Indians did manage to build complex civilizations. One could say Asian elephants and buffalos aren’t as aggressive as African ones, but tigers and leopards were ferocious.
    So, how does one explain this?
    Steadier rainfall made for more fertile soil over large areas?

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  37. As to the English-speaking Carribean generally and Bermuda specifically, they are mostly genuinely nice places. If I had the money of Michael Bloomberg(who has a huge estate at the end of the island near the airport) would readily find living there to be as pleasant as possible. But 3 things stike you when you interact with the locals; the significant centuries-long British influence, the fact that many of the locals have lived in the US and choose to go home, and the banking and tourist money from both countries. There is a huge banking presence and a steady flow of cruise ships . Everyone there wants things stable and to make money. Unlike Jamaica, it’s a very pleasant and moneyed place.

    Jamaice among the English isles is the exception. And it’s because while there is tourism, big banking is not going to trust what amounts to a narco state.

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  38. Good point about the Americas. Michael Hart’s “Understanding Human History”, which you’ve discussed before, was very on point showing how the western hemisphere complicates Jared Diamond’s (a priori plausible) theory about north-south vs east-west axis.

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  39. Isn’t IQ and the wealth of nations — or, if you prefer, La Griffe du Lion’s smart fraction-theory — an even more parsimonious explanation?

    In the case of Haiti, the European middle-class was slaughtered or emigrated at the time of its revolution, while in more recent decades the few educated Haitians have mostly emigrated to the United States and other advanced countries, leaving Haitian society with very little human capital. Contrast this to the Dominican Republic, which occupies the other end of the same island but has a very different history and demography.

    The Bahamas are 80 percent black, but 20 percent white, with a British institutional heritage which has remained intact.

    Botswana looks to be a much more important exception to the rule. While it has British political institutions and English is the official language, there are only 60,000 whites out of a total population of two million. Diamond mining provides 40 percent of government revenues but a much smaller fraction of per capita GDP. So, does this disprove smart-fraction theory? I don’t know. Maybe.

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  40. “Just look at Botswana — it is run by and for black people, but it is one of the great economic success stories of the past 50 years. ”

    Isn’t Botswana run by and for De Beers?

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  41. Here is an interesting fact about Botswana’s economy (from Wikipedia): “Agriculture still provides a livelihood for more than 80%[citation needed] of the population but supplies only about 50% of food needs and accounts for only 3% of GDP.”

    So whatever the average GDP per capita, this does not speak well for the presumably bottom 80 percent of the population. What is Botswana’s Gini co-efficient?

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  42. Is there any data on PISA scores or IQ in Bostwana? Has all their wealth made them smarter than other black countries?

    See this post of mine:

    Welcome Readers from Portugal! | JayMan’s Blog

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  43. It’s a thought-provoking theory, but it involves painting over a pretty huge canvas with essentially two broad strokes: Malthus and Darwin.

    If the primary inhibitor of development is an incessant war for survival, then why did the North American Indians fail to construct wonders to compete with the Aztecs, Mayans and Incans? AFAIK, they had the element of surprise against the huge beasts and nothing like malaria to contend with.

    Nor does it seem that widespread polygamy is the ideal format for volume procreation and survival – it robs a plurality of men of sexual partners, contributing to environments of perpetual warfare and bloodshed. Fathers fighting against sons, brothers against brothers, etc. If a Malthusian trap can tame the sexual urge, why can’t a system that produces endless war? Starvation and homicide would seem equally deadly.

    I think there is an ideological aspect that, while not completely independent of Malthusian/Darwinian factors, plays a significant role that can’t be entirely subordinated to them.

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  44. JayMan, thank you, you are an invaluable asset to the HBD community.

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  45. And by American standards those Egyptians were black.

    No, unless your argument is that by American standards any non-Northern-European demographic is black. Also, ancient Egyptian artwork depicts a wide-range of skin-hues for humans. Seems the area had quite a bit of experience with diversity of the centuries.

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  46. “One explanation I read somewhere was Africans had no access to the kind of trees that you can make large ships out of.”

    Yes, I understand that Africa is nearly devoid of trees – due, undoubtedly, to disease and all those damned elephants.

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  47. “Botswana is run by international mining companies which extract most of the wealth. The vast majority of people in Botswana are subsistence farmers who see little of that wealth. Its only considered successful by people who define it this globalist definition of success”

    This appears to be correct. 50% of Botswanans live on less than $2 a day, compared to 4-5% of Turks and Mexicans. This is despite the fact that, if you look at just GDP per capita, Botswana seems to be similar to Turkey and Mexico.

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  48. Rifleman –

    First the Ancient Egyptians were not Black but brown, they left plenty of hieroglyphs depicting themselves and its clear they were not Black, Nubians by contrast were depicted accurately as Black as they are today.

    Second, the Egyptians did a LOT of stuff that was innovative for the time and over a period of about 4,000 years operated fairly continuously as a culture and self-ruling civilization that produced jaw-dropping buildings. Not only did the Egyptians create beer, bread, irrigation, bronze artifacts, and a massive program of domestication of animals (they even tried to domesticate hyenas which failed btw thankfully), Greeks familiar with the Acropolis were more impressed visiting the ancient city of Thebes with its nearly 3,500 year old building program. One massive temple on top of another.

    Thirdly, the Asian societies of China and India had in 1960, massive ruins that showed just how impressive their societies had been at one point. For example, in China there still exists mostly today a massive North-South canal built in the 1100s that goes from Beijing or thereabouts to near Shanghai IIRC. This canal had to pass through East-West rivers, mountains, and the like. It is truly impressive and when Marco Polo saw it he could not believe it. He could not even muster the effort it took to build the thing.

    The tomb of the First Emperor, with the terracotta warriors individually representing the soldiers in his army is also impressive, it had a pool of mercury to act as a giant mirror, and stars made of gems on the ceiling. There are even BIGGER tombs that resemble mini mountains around barely explored.

    Finally, there is the behavior of African and Asian peoples. While Asian men who rise to the very, very top, create harems, Asian men do not behave like Africans — undisciplined, “wild,” with casual sex with women who will then go on to have sex with other men. THAT is something Asian men simply do not do — share women as a low-value instrument of reproduction. No Asian emperor for example shared his concubines with his soldiers. And outside the big men there were no real harems and especially not the casual and chaotic sex/reproduction methods of African men. Asian women were most definitely as today, one-man women. They might switch to a different man but never entertain multiple men at the same time. Asian societies remained densely populated, high-paternal investment societies unlike Africans. [Egyptian society from what we can reconstruct was the same, so Egyptians differed radically in family formation from Africans. And were more akin to Asians.]

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  49. Quote: ” In civilization, a select group is trained and bred to be warriors, but everyone else is helotized and warrior attributes among them is repressed and/or weeded out.”

    This is demonstrably untrue for most of Western Civilization. Indeed for Egyptians and Babylonians. We have fairly good records for the latter two, and outside a small professional warrior caste both civilizations used mass-levies to create their fairly formidable armies.

    Yes the Spartans were all professional military, relying on a vast slave state for labor, but every OTHER city-state in Greece including their key allies the Thebans were small farmers and agriculturalists. This was also true for all of the Republic and most of the Roman Empire. Small time olive farmers like the Greeks would take up arms for a set period. Even during Feudal times the small amount of mounted knights, often only a few hundred, as they were very, very expensive, were supplemented by fairly large feudal levies where peasants were armed with spears and various agricultural implements like scythes, etc. In the gunpowder era, knights were done away with and it was all a peasant army. The same was true for the Japanese and the Chinese both before and after gunpowder — a small professional elite warrior class and the bulk of the armies being peasants.

    The Greeks considered themselves superior to the Warrior barbarians because their armies were people who could slaughter all day. Indeed the Battle of Hastings and Cannae both lasted about 14 hours or so; if accounts are accurate. Meaning the slaughter was organized, it was conducted like an agricultural work party, and the height of bravery was not individual daring-deeds but staying in line and killing people alongside your fellows. The Greek armies were formidable as giant impaling pincushions advancing steadily, the Roman Legions flowed around like fingers on a hand in columns to stab people to death with their short swords (heavily armored in front with a massive shield, you can see how they fought by their armor).

    You are making the fundamental error of confusing the period of say, 1815-present for the entirety of human history. Outside non-European/Asian societies yes a warrior caste existed and most everyone else did little fighting in organized armies or everyone was a tribal warrior. But European and Asians mostly fought in massive and decisive engagements with a conscription/volunteer model. A hybrid system. Enough professional military people to keep critical knowledge and skills alive, but one avoiding the massive costs of a massive professional military and the risks to the sovereign thereof.

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  50. We have it backwards.

    Africa has too many inconvenient animals because Africans didn’t kill them off. Europe once had mammoths, lions, and wolves…

    Dangerous animals kill things that get to close to them even if they’ve never encountered humans. Killing mammoths and lions in Europe was likely no easier than in Africa.

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  51. One often sees explanations of the shortcomings of SubSaharan African populations based on climate/germs/parasites.

    But I don’t see how this works. Presumably, the germs/parasites part of the explanation stems ultimately from the warm climate.

    But how does this explanation square with the apparent fact that all of the most advanced “models” of hominins came out of Africa, not elsewhere, where, presumably, the climate wasn’t so warm? Homo erectus was a primitive hominin which made its way out of Africa, but which was surpassed by the Neandertals, which arose Africa, and also made its way out of Africa, but which was in turn surpassed by homo sapiens sapiens, which also arose in Africa. If climate was so decisive, why didn’t the highest form of human being come from these other groups?

    I realize that the last ice age would have had an impact on the climate in SubSaharan Africa, but, still, why would SubSaharan Africa be a better place to bring about the most advanced human group, rather than these other areas?

    How is this supposed to work?

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  52. There are substantial ruins in North America. Its just that the Mississippians built in earthworks. See the Mound Builders. De Soto and other Spanish explorers saw the last hurrah of the Mound Builders, one hypothesis is that Spanish-carried diseases wiped out those civilizations, two hundred years later in the 1700′s local Indians had no knowledge of the peoples who had built them.

    De Soto described a fairly intense agricultural society, that had enough extra resources to build the mounds and support a dedicated priestly caste.

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  53. One explanation I read somewhere was Africans had no access to the kind of trees that you can make large ships out of. As far as I know every Empire ultimately needed ships…

    These are all “just so” stories.

    The Incan Empire didn’t build ships or have horses, but they did pretty well:

    Chasquis [trained runners] were dispatched along thousands of miles, taking advantage of the vast Inca system of purpose-built roads and rope bridges in the Andes of Peru and Ecuador.”

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  54. Why Did Civilization Lag in Africa?

    In fairness to Africa, civilization “lagged” in most places. North and South America were still basically in the Stone Age when the Europeans showed up.

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  55. I think that’s what Occam would say.

    Have you seen the guy at Vault Co? He takes it a step further with a bunch of how & why for getting from neanderthals to modern humans that is so crazy he might even be half right.

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  56. In fact the human genome contains long sequences of the genes of ancient viruses.

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  57. What did Africans in colonial 17th century Virginia behave like? Strikes me that they behaved rather like everyone else.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Key_Grinstead

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Johnson_%28colonist%29

    If the damned Founding Fathers had only freed the slaves in the early 1800s, we wouldn’t be in this mess today. “African-Americans” would never have formed.

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  58. If you wanted to persuade people you’d quit any serious inquiry into history or economic development, this statement will do it.

    And yet, you keep coming back. Strange. Surely there are other HBD sites you could troll with greater impact? Or do you just troll them all?

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  59. We all know why civilization lags in Africa. It’s not some big secret.

    Botswana is run by international mining companies which extract most of the wealth. The vast majority of people in Botswana are subsistence farmers who see little of that wealth. Its only considered successful by people who define it this globalist definition of success

    Thank you thank you thank you. I am getting so damn sick of corporate globalists pointing to Botswana as if it’s indicative of some kind of hopeful trend. It’s worth noting that until 1990 the country didn’t even have an army and was careful to avoid siding openly with the ANC.

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  60. I had the same thought. Here’s a map of the malarial and non-malarial parts of Africa and the non part in sub-Saharan is hardly tiny. Maybe half the size of Western Europe?

    http://www.cdc.gov/malaria/about/distribution.html

    No marauding elephants around these parts, too, I think.

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  61. Steve, this is where you sort of lose me. When recent history of slavery and marginalization can explain (at least to some extent) the dysfunction of inner-city black America, why must we jump back many millenia to discover the supposed roots of those causes in tropical insects and pachyderms?

    Very droll.

    However, a simple selection argument would suggest that slavery and marginalization cannot explain the dysfunction of inner-city black America, while low IQ and low impulse control (which are correlated) can.

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  62. Numinous – When recent history of slavery and marginalization can explain (at least to some extent) the dysfunction of inner-city black America

    What “recent history”? Slavery was abolish in America a century and a half ago, and the “dysfunction of inner-city black America” has only really taken off in the last fifty years. You can’t blame the dysfunction of inner-city black America on slavery.

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  63. IQ

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  64. The most recent assessments of Botswana’s labor force have 30% employed in agriculture, and that’s all enterprises, not merely subsistence farms. Rather short of ‘the vast majority’.

    Natural resources rents amount to about 4% of Botswana’s national income, which is about the global median. Value added in non-manufacturing industries bounces around some but generally accounts for about 30% of total value added in the economy. Given what’s about normal for value added in utilities and construction, that suggests that about 25% of value added is attributable to extractive industries.

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  65. While we’re at it, about 87% of the adult population in Botswana qualifies as literate and 96% of the youth population. About 56% of the labor force has primary education and 26% have secondary education. The secondary education figure would be similar to early 20th century America. There’s quite a bit of human capital being built up.

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  66. because anyone back then who had met any east Asians in person could see that they are smarter and harder working than African-Americans,

    I gather you yo-yos have your story and your stickin’ to it.

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  67. Again, the figure is wrong and your source is one no one prudent would rely upon. Why does this not surprise me?

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  68. I believe that they have found evidence of such crossbreeding among sub saharan africans.

    The answer, from HBD, isn’t terribly complicated. The disease load and heat shaped their evolution in such a way as to be able to survive in that environment without aid and assistance, prior to the advent of modern medicine and air conditioning whites were really not able to make any headway at all in going into africa. But these adaptations do not lend themselves to forming nice places to live.

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  69. On 1964 South Korea, still reeling from the war 11 years ago, was at the same level with Ghana, the richest subsaharan nation at that time.

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  70. “I can’t see how it could be a coincidence if Africa were a small continent, but it’s a vast continent with all sorts of varieties in climate, soil, and etc.”

    I meant

    “I can see how…”

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  71. If you look at the Human Development Index ranking ( http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Human_Development_Index ), Botswana is ranked 109, “medium human development”. There are a few black island countries in the “high human development” category (such as the Bahamas at #51), but none in the “very high human development” category (the top 25).

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  72. What is Botswana’s Gini co-efficient?

    -Among the highest in the world. Also, Botswana isn’t even very electrified for its GDP per capita -Somaliland(!), Sudan, Senegal, and Mauritania(!) have a larger percentage of households electrified than Botswana.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/163739/powering-africa-challenge-charge-wellbeing.aspx

    Botswana remains very light in population due to extreme promiscuity combined with HIV.
    Also, there is only one region of the insular part of Africa that is even remotely conductive to genuine civilization-Zimbabwe. So a whole lot of insular Africa’s lack of civilization before the imperialist period is due to Africa’s terrible environment. Comparing the Yucatan with the Central African Republic is comparing apples with oranges. Africa had much more toxic tropical diseases than any forest in the Americas before the time of Columbus.

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  73. “I saw in a nature movie about pygmies how they hunt elephants. A lone super athletic dwarf with a sharp stick ran under the elephant and jabbed the soft flesh under the the elephant puncturing the elephants bladder. About a half hour later the butchering crew showed up and sliced it up. So elephants were not a problem at least for pygmies.”

    Piggies lived in the forest so they could hide behind trees.
    But many Africans didn’t live IN the forest. If a herd of elephant came your way, you better just run like a mothafuc*a.

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  74. India has more people living in poverty than the whole of Africa, yet this kind of website never speculates over the genetic/essentialist reasons for why Indians fail to succeed. Ergo, it’s obvious these questions wouldn’t be asked if there weren’t constant social friction between Blacks and Whites in the USA.

    Here in the UK we have a well integrated African/West Indian black middle class, and asking whether their race makes them destined to fail at civilization sounds totally absurd. When you’re surrounded by intelligent people of all colours, you hardly notice anyone’s race. I’m sorry American society is so divided, and your cities are virtually apartheid, as I’ve seen for myself. But you can’t blame your and their cultural ills on biology.

    (I admit the UK haven’t integrated South Asian Muslims so well. But nobody thinks our problem with Muslims is down to their genetics, either!)

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  75. Instead of geology/geography vs biology, we need to consider the fact of geo-biology.
    The fact is the geology/geography of Africa affected black biology.

    Suppose, 1000 yrs ago, 1000 Greeks were dropped in some place in Africa and 1000 black Africans were dropped in some empty part of Greece. Suppose their minds are wiped of their culture and identity. Both Greeks and blacks only know esperanto for language and have basic skills of survival.

    Would Greeks in Africa act like blacks?
    Would blacks in Greece act like Europeans?

    Eventually, as time passes by, their genetics may indeed change in accordance to natural forces, but both groups are going to react to their natural environment in the way their genes designed them to be.

    It’s like a polar bear placed in warm climate is still gonna have polar bear habits, and a brown bear placed in the Arctic is still gonna have brown bear characteristics.

    Also, some people developed a more proactive approach to nature whereas other groups are only reactive.

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  76. anonymous
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    “Also, Japan industrialized without foreign aid and few natural resources over 100 years ago…”

    Not entirely true and a story that should be more well known… Not to take anything away from the Japanese, but Thomas Blake Gloverwas a Scottish merchant in Bakumatsu and Meiji period Japan. … initially buying Japanese green tea. … based in Nagasaki… his home… first Western-style building in Japan.

    … in the Meiji Restoration… Glover supplied… arms and warships. … in violation of Treaty agreements… … In the end Glover provided the needed rifles directly from Nagasaki… In 1863, Glover helped the Chōshū Five travel to London… helped send fifteen trainees… responsible in 1868 for bringing the first steam railway… assisted in toppling the Tokugawa Shogunate…

    …responsible for commissioning one of the first warships in the Imperial Japanese Navy… built by Alexander Hall and Company in Aberdeen…

    …began to develop Japan’s first coal mine at Takashima. He also brought the first dry dock to Japan…

    …Glover was a key figure in the industrialisation of Japan, helping to found the shipbuilding company, which was later to become the Mitsubishi Corporation… helped establish the …Kirin Brewery…

    … referred to as the “Scottish Samurai” in Scotland. A Scottish Samurai award has been initiated by Aberdeen Sports Council.”

    Seems this was one Scottish guy who profited quite a bit from ignoring the niceties of British laws… and being in on the ground floor of the right “regime change”. Interesting link between the Imperial Japanese Navy and the Aberdeen shipyard. For all he did he didn’t profit much from it in the end. Maybe there’s a lesson in there somewhere.

    It’s odd to think that the first coal mine in Japan was dug as late as 1868, under Glover’s direction.

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  77. No, Reader’s theory is neither plausible nor interesting. It’s just another way of accusing whites of being privileged. It’s saying that whites were just lucky to live in good places and that if Africans had lived in good places, they would have built great civilisations just as the whites had done. Yeah, right.

    Look at Japan, for instance. With earthquakes and tsunamis and whatnot, that is a place that really wants to kill its inhabitants. And, of course, that means that the Japanese never built up any sort of civilisation, especially with the lack of many resources there. That’s right, their numbers stayed small and they never made paper, ink, swords, armour, ships, palaces or anything like that. They never had any sort of central government or any way of dealing with Westerners when they finally came to the place. Um, well, except that they did.

    Look at the Roman Empire. According to this theory, it must have been an Eden without any diseases. Except that the Romans did suffer from diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and typhoid fever, not to mention a few plagues now and again. All of which meant, of course, that the Romans could never have built any sort of civilisation.

    The list goes on. Hey, in India they have elephants and they managed to build a thing or two, didn’t they? Or is that just some fiction put about by privileged white people?

    Of course, we could always look at our own times and see that when Africans are moved to a northern climate, free of elephants and malaria, they just thrive. They took a city built by white people and made it even better. At least, that’s what you see in 83% black Detroit, don’t you? Don’t you?

    Anyway, getting back to Reader’s so-called theory, if Africa was so bad, why didn’t the Africans just leave? If the ‘out of Africa’ theory is to be believed – and I am very sceptical – some groups did. How did they do that, by the way, if there were all those elephants and there was all that disease?

    None of this washes, not at all. The people make the place. Africans didn’t build any sort of civilisation because they are Africans and that is all there is to it.

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  78. anonymous
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    “…in my experience getting food from tropical soils is a struggle.”

    This is one reason EMBRAPA, the Brazilian ag research institute, has had a world-wide impact.

    It’s counter-intuitive to a lot of people that many tropical soils, such as the Amazon and likely a good bit of sub-Saharan Africa, are relatively poor farming soils.

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  79. “I used to be a pragmatist. Now, at 58, I am a fatalist about some things.”

    From Tim Butcher’s “Blood River” – in 2000 he followed H.M.Stanley’s route across Africa and down the Congo River:

    “The ground was brown with mud and rotting vegetation. No direct sunlight reached this far down and there was a musty smell of damp and decomposition. Above me towered canyons of green, as layer after layer of plant life filled the void between forest floor and treetop. I felt suffocated but not so much from the heat as the choking, smothering forest.

    I took a few steps and felt my right boot clunk into something unnaturally hard and angular on the floor. I dug my heel into the leaf mulch and felt it again. Scraping down through the detritus, I slowly cleared enough soil away to get a good look. It was a cast iron railway sleeper, perfectly preserved and still connected to a piece of track.

    It was a moment of horrible revelation. I felt like a Hollywood caveman approaching a spaceship, slowly working out that it proved life existed elsewhere in time and space. But what made it so horrible was the sense that I had discovered evidence of a modern world that had tried but failed to establish itself in the Congo. It was a complete reversal of the normal pattern of human development. A place where a railway track had once carried train-loads of goods and people had been reclaimed by virgin forest, where the noisy huffing of steam engines had long since lost out to the jungle’s looming silence.

    It was one of the defining moments of my journey through the Congo. I was travelling through a country with more past than future, a place where the hands of the clock spin not forwards but backwards.”

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  80. anonymous
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    “When recent history of slavery…”

    2014 – 1864 = 150 years. Is a century-and-a-half really recent? I also suspect you might not universally apply this definition of “recent”.

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  81. Sub-Saharan African rivers are unnavigable, its coastlines have few good harbor sites, its rain forests and grasslands are ridden by diseases harmful or fatal to both humans and their domestic animals, its water sources frequented by dangerous wild animals and its people of low intelligence.
    It would be unreasonable to expect any flowering of civilization under such circumstances.

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  82. This isn’t even a question. The answer is, duh, because they’re hella stupid and lazy.

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  83. Also, Africa is about 4,500 miles wide from east to west south of the Sahara.

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  84. This isn’t even a question. The answer is, duh, because they’re hella stupid and lazy.

    Nope. That is the lazy person’s way of thinking about it. They were very well adapted to their environment. Unfortunately, other humans became very well adapted to a different environment that had higher cognitive demands and a strong work ethic and can also live in the environment that SS Africans were well adapted to. They might be displaced one day.

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  85. “Here in the UK we have a well integrated African/West Indian black middle class, and asking whether their race makes them destined to fail at civilization sounds totally absurd.”

    We got ‘well-integrated’ black/west indian middle class here too. Look at the likes of Obama and Holder. There is a large black middle class here.
    But we also have lots of problem blacks.

    Btw, was it the well-integrated blacks who were burning London down a few yrs back?
    Also, keep in mind that smart blacks in UK and US have a white society in which to integrate with.

    But in all-black nations, there is no whiteness-maintained-by-whites for blacks to integrate into. So, blackness dominates, and boy oh boy, it sure does suck.

    Also, keep in mind that distance between UK and Africa/Jamaica tends to favor those with some education with the means to make the trip.
    In contrast, US brought over lots of low IQ blacks during the slave trade. There was less demographic filter.

    But well-integrated or not, how does it feel for white British guys to be seen by their own women as a bunch of wussy boys in contrast to Negro men? Lots of British women get it on with black men, which means that they racially-sexually prefer Negro men over white men. It means they regard white men, the males of their own race, to be subpar/inferior men.

    Is this the future that white British men want for themselves and their sons?
    Wussy and pathetic.

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  86. Anonymous
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    Botswana is run by international mining companies which extract most of the wealth. The vast majority of people in Botswana are subsistence farmers who see little of that wealth. Its only considered successful by people who define it this globalist definition of success

    How much did coal miners in West Virginia get paid? Not very much. What did rednecks in coal-rich counties get from coal-mining companies?

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  87. Anonymous
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    Botswana is run by international mining companies which extract most of the wealth. The vast majority of people in Botswana are subsistence farmers who see little of that wealth. Its only considered successful by people who define it this globalist definition of success

    How much did coal miners in West Virginia get paid? Not very much. What did rednecks in coal-rich counties get from coal-mining companies?

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  88. Tokyo hosted the 1964 Olympics and Japan was well beyond African style poverty by then. The others weren’t as advanced as Japan but they were beyond African style poverty.

    Before or shortly after WWII, or shortly after the Korean War for South Korea, there would’ve been some validity to this.

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  89. “No, unless your argument is that by American standards any non-Northern-European demographic is black. ”

    The average Egyptian does have some Sub Saharan African admixture, this is 100 percent fact. So using the American Jim Crow one drop rule, the average Egyptian would be considered “Black”.

    Why it it that the average Egyptian has darker skin than the average Israeli for example, even though the weather in both countries is very similar.

    It is certainly not because Egyptians spend more time at the beach and tanning salons than the Israelis. The reasons why Egyptians on average are darker than Israelis is in the GENES.

    Egyptians are racial mutts.

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  90. “Tokyo hosted the 1964 Olympics”

    There was also Japan’s high tech carrier armada conquering about 1/8th of the world’s surface a couple of decades earlier. You can look it up: it was in on all the papers on December 8, 1941.

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  91. Two points:

    A) There’s selective migration, meaning the blacks in England aren’t representative of blacks in general

    B) Even with selective migration, blacks in England have a crime rate way over the national average:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_and_crime_in_the_United_Kingdom

    Blacks are poor and crime prone compared to other groups everywhere and always. Richard Lynn’s Global Bell Curve shows this applies to Africa, America, Latin America, Europe, wherever you want to look. It’s incredible anyone could deny this.

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  92. “But well-integrated or not, how does it feel for white British guys to be seen by their own women as a bunch of wussy boys”

    This is how you know most British men are wussy boys, most of them do not believe that citizens should have a right to own a gun.

    Which is why there is no gun culture in The U.K like there is among White men in The United States. Most British men would shake and sweat at the more thought of holding an Uzi in their hands for example.

    Men who are anti-gun tend to be very emasculated. Meanwhile the enemies of The U.K the Muslims have absolutely no problem with guns what so ever.

    This is how you know the alpha male Muslims are going to win the culture war against the beta male Brits.

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  93. Today’s local freebie paper contained one consequence of African evolutionary conditions:

    http://metronews.ca/news/ottawa/1158914/ottawa-man-kidnapped-and-left-in-wooded-area-after-violent-robbery/

    A 25-year-old man is safe after being kidnapped for two days and abandoned in a wooded area in Gananoque following a robbery earlier this month…

    …On Sept. 15 and 16, police arrested Laura Brahaney, 25, of Ottawa, Lisa Wooley, 27, of Scarborough, and Traevonne Mattis, 28, of Etobicoke in relation to this incident. Their charges include robbery, forcible confinement, kidnapping, uttering threats, extortion, and possession of a weapon.

    A fourth suspect remains at large. Police say he was referred to as “J” by his associates. He is described as black, approximately 25 years old and about six feet tall with a medium build.

    I think I need to turn myself in at the nearest Thought Police Station. I’m starting to notice things.

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  94. Via WIKIPEDIA

    In June 2010 The Sunday Telegraph, through a Freedom of Information Act request, obtained statistics on accusations of crime broken down by race from the Metropolitan Police Service.[n 2] The figures showed that the majority of males who were accused of violent crimes in 2009–10 were black. Of the recorded 18,091 such accusations against males, 54 percent accused of street crimes were black; for robbery, 59 percent; and for gun crimes, 67 percent.[25] Robbery, drug use, and gang violence have been associated with black people since the 1960s.[26] In the 1980s and 1990s, the police associated robbery with black people. In 1995, the Metropolitan Police commissioner Paul Condon said that the majority of robberies in London were committed by black people.[27]

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  95. In most of the South the soil is awful for farming.

    That’s partly because intensive cotton farming depletes soil more than other crops.

    If you visit Iowa, Missouri, Ohio, even Pennsylvania you are just struck by how healthy and vigorous the plants are, compared to what you are used to.

    Much of these states were covered by thick forests, which when cleared produce very rich soil.

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  96. “This is how you know most British men are wussy boys, most of them do not believe that citizens should have a right to own a gun.”

    Actually from what I have heard from friends who have had a lot of interaction with brits (lower class in dives, and whatever classes join the British military), they are a lot more likely to fight than Americans are.

    And they are better at it. They also drink more booze than all but a select few sorts from the US (I’d list this, but it is not all encompassing, and you may think I missed one, but Uncle Sam does have some that can compete in this dubious Olympics).

    Also, from the same sources, they are better soldiers in general than we are (Germans too).

    Both of these anecdotes date from the 80′s btw. Dunno maybe Blair wussed them up pretty badly in the 90′s, my data may be dated.

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  97. “Robbery, [b]drug use[/b], and gang violence have been associated with black people since the 1960s.”

    See this is where my personal experience doesn’t go along with reported stats, or even popular conception.

    In my experience, whites drink a LOT more than blacks. And use more of every other drug under the sun.

    Except for crack, which is no longer seems to be used as much as it was. And there have to be black meth users, but there seems to be a color line with this.

    I’m not weighing every substance that goes into a black body with a scale, or even handing out questionnaires. But do things really differ this much in other parts of the country? Because in the southern US, it doesn’t even seem to be close.

    Edit: I did see that your excerpt came from the UK. More shocking with a lower percentage of blacks in the population, but honestly that report could have easily come from a US city.

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  98. Widespread gun ownership in the U.S. discourages the kind of casual brawling popular in Britain and Ireland.

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  99. ““Chasquis [trained runners] were dispatched along thousands of miles, taking advantage of the vast Inca system of purpose-built roads and rope bridges in the Andes of Peru and Ecuador.”

    Wikipedia gives the dates of the Inca Empire as 1438–1533 and the Aztecs start up in 1427. So if Europeans got there 100 years earlier there would have not been much to see, while if they arrived a few hundred years later it might have disappeared as so many other other temporary civilizations like the Hohokam did. So the Inca and other S American monument building civilizations might not be representative in the same way the various African civilizations are discounted as irrelevant. Since some like to come up with biological reasons (IQ, lack of self control) for why African civilisations (tyrannies?) failed, maybe there are biological reasons for why South American civilizations failed. Instead of intelligence maybe S Americans do not respond to authority and instinctively overthrow it. Which would also explain the post columbian chaos in S America. It may also predict chaos in the US that surpases what the Blacks were capable of in the 60s and 70s. Good luck with that.

    More impressive than piling rocks up into pyramids are the rifled blow guns of the Amazon Indians and the technology of the Eskimos.

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  100. When we use terms like “Incas” and “Aztecs” we’re just referring to the rulers who happened to be in charge when the Spanish showed up. The locals had been building giant works for far longer than the Incas and Aztecs had been in charge. The giant pyramids north of Mexico City, for example, predate Aztec rule by many hundreds of years.

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  101. The aqueducts of ancient Peru were civil engineering works both of high competence and civic-minded intent. The Peruvian-Bolivian ruins seem less bloody-minded than the central Mexican ones.

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  102. Egyptians today are probably a bit different ethnically than they were in ancient times.

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  103. “(I admit the UK haven’t integrated South Asian Muslims so well. But nobody thinks our problem with Muslims is down to their genetics, either!)” – give it a few centuries.

    “Here in the UK we have a well integrated African/West Indian black middle class” – Likewise, your experience counts only very recent history. Time will tell whether the UK has succeeded or not.

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  104. “Actually from what I have heard from friends who have had a lot of interaction with brits (lower class in dives, and whatever classes join the British military), they are a lot more likely to fight than Americans are.”

    How the hell is a British Chav fist going to stop an Islamic terrorist who is coming at him with a gun or a machete ?

    The Muslim will blow his fists off clean with a gun or cut his fists off clean with a machete. You don’t bring just your fists only to a fight with Islamic extremists.

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  105. Never mind parts of Africa that were separated from centers of civilization.
    Even an intelligent people, if left in isolation, are going to achieve less.

    But look at the upper half of Africa where blacks came in contact with the high civilizations of Egypt, Libya, and etc. They had contacts with the cradle of civilization long before Northern Europeans did.
    And for awhile, there was stuff like the kingdom of Nubia. And much later on, there was Timbuktu.
    But why didn’t black achievement go beyond some degree of pale imitation of higher civilizations?

    So, never mind the pygmies and Bushmen. Why didn’t much come of Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, and etc. that were in contact with higher civilizations?
    How come South American Indians, who were totally isolated from the Old World, all on their own created more astounding architecture?

    But then…

    maybe in some sense, blacks could take pride in not having been able to create civilization.
    To create civilization, the slavish genes have to outnumber the savage genes. It’s like dogs are easier to control than wolves. And yet, wolves are freer, wilder, and more robust. Dogs are more useful but they take orders and are wussy creatures.

    The races that created civilization tended to be more slavish. Maybe nature made them more slavish, and then, civilizational factors compounded the slavishness by weeding out the savage genes. So, as a group, they could achieve more but this happened at the cost of individual savage gene that was more robust, rambunctious, colorful, exuberant, and etc.
    It’s like Chinese and Japanese built high civilizations, but they are colorless, can’t sing, can’t dance, are mostly skin-and-bones, tend to be timid and sheepish, and look like dickless space aliens at the end of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS. It’s like the natives of Mexico may have built Tiachuchatlan(sic) but they are a timid, sheepish, and colorless bunch. For them to be useful for building civilization, they had to be more slavish than savage.
    Now compare the wolfish Mongols with the doggish Chinese. Mongols, by Asian standards, are big and robust and have barbarian souls. They don’t like to take too much shit. They built less civilization but there’ something vital about them–and Mongol sumo guys bounce Japanese guys like ping pong balls.

    Because Negroes failed to develop civilization, they came to be subjugated by other races. And they became slaves in Arabia and the New World. But in terms of their nature, blacks are least fit to be slaves. They have the savage gene than slavish gene. From a social viewpoint, the savage gene is problematic as too many Negroes be running wild and be acting like lunatics. But many people also find it vibrant, exciting, manly, sexy, badass, and etc. Look at the worldwide success of rap music. No one watches Chinese sports, but many millions of Chinese love to watch NBA where big ass Negroes dunk the balls while being cheered on by blonde women cheerleaders who now salivate over having sex with big muscular Negroes who be seen as the superior males.
    Among all the arts, music is the most spontaneous and powerful, and blacks have been, pound for pound, the most dominant force in pop music in the 20th century with their contribution to or invention of blues, jazz, rock n roll, soul, reggae, rap, and etc. Such music arose from the savage genes, and it turns a lot of people on. No one listens to the music-of-slavish-genes of the Mexicans or Chinese.

    So, in some ways, blacks may take pride in not having built the pyramids and the great wall. They were too strong, too badass, and too wild to be subjugated to hauling bricks to build stuff for oppressive kings and queens. They preferred to be free and run wild and chuck spears at hippos and run from hippos when hippos hand enough of the Negroes and turned around to chomp off the Negroes’ ass.

    For every gain, there’s a loss. Chinese may have built a great civilization, but look at those scrawners. Non-asian women feel no excitement about Chinese men, and just about any good-looking Chinese woman in the US would rather marry a whitey, Jew, or Negro than some yellow scrawner. Asian women are the story of the horniness of women with hots for bigger/tougher warriors. Despite matter of IQ, if a white guy was given a chance to become a Negro or a yellow, I’ll bet he’d rather be Long Dong Silver than Wong Dong Lee.

    Humanity operates according to three main principles: convenience, conversion, and convulsion.

    Civilization improved matters of convenience, and this is especially true of the West. Think of all the great Western scientists and techno-inventors who created stuff like cars, refrigerators, airplanes, machines, toilets, and etc, etc, that made life so much easier, more comfortable, and more convenient. We owe so much to such people, but how come they are almost invisible to us? Because the purpose of convenience is to serve us and make us forget it even exists. We don’t think about the technology of plumbing every time we use the faucet to drink water or flush the toilet. We are very glad to have such things, and they make life easy. But they don’t turn us on. It doesn’t move us sensually or emotionally. Once the air conditioning is on, we don’t think about it. Elevators are useful but we don’t get excited about being inside an elevator. Western civilization has been the king of convenience, but how many white folks are reading books about past inventors to get their jollies? Think of the guy who invented modern textile technology. He did something very great. But I don’t know his name and likely neither do you. Machines are useful for exist to serve us and make life more convenient. And convenience is nice, even essential, but it’s utilitarian, not orgasmic.

    Then there is the matter of conversion. It operates in the field of ideas and emotions. Religions and ideologies are conversionary. Religions and ideology may require time and patience for us to appreciate. To understand Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Taosim, or whatever, we have to do calm down, control ourselves, do some reading and thinking. Or some prayer and meditation. To understand ideologies, we may have to attend meetings, read certain texts, go to lectures, read pamphlets, and etc. In the end, religions or ideologies may be very fulfilling and moving. They may provide us with the meaning of life, a sense of truth and righteousness, and etc. They would make us realize that there’s a higher meaning to life, i.e. life isn’t just about material well-being but about spiritual, moral, or intellectual pursuit of truth. The Middle East, Asia, and Europe achieved great things in conversionariness. Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Greek philosophy, Confucianism, and many schools of thoughts arose from those civilizations. Conversionary stuff may not make life easier in the physical/literal sense–as the stuff of convenience do–, but they are compelling because they imbue us with a sense of truth and meaning. And this is why some Muslims in the West still cling to their old faith. Sure, the modern West offers a great deal in terms of convenience–medicine, technology, and etc–, but it’s not very meaningful to worship a refrigerator, ponder the significance of a carburator(sic), or meditate on the truth of a toilet. People find meaning by thinking about God, myths, high art, philosophy(ultimate meaning of life), history, moral progress, and etc.

    When it came to matters of convenience and conversion, black African produced next to nothing. No great science/technology/invention. No great religion, philosophy, ideology, and school of thought.

    But then, there is the power of convulsion. Human eyes, ears, skin, and genitalia are all erogenous-like zones. Convenience makes them comfortable. Conversion makes them feel meaningful. But it’s convulsion that makes their senses explode like Juicy Fruit gum and go crazy.
    Convenience is like a perfect chair that makes the ass comfortable. Conversion is the book one holds while sitting on the chair. In contrast, convulsion may not offer any long-term utility or any deep meaning, but it provides intense explosions of pleasure. It’s like a vibrator-dildo up a nympho’s pooter.

    Now, we could argue that humanity should be wiser and favor convenience and conversion over convulsion, but the power of pleasure is so powerful for a lot of people that they’ve come to favor convulsion over all else. It’s like if you give cocaine to a monkey, it will just want more highs.
    It’s like once a boy or girl experiences orgasm, he or she has to look for more and more and more.
    It’s like once young ones listen to pop music, they don’t wanna do anything else. It’s like sports addicts are crazy about sports.

    It is in the convulsion territory that blacks pose the greatest threat to the white race. Though convulsion may be the opposite of convenience and conversion, paradoxically the power of convulsion became magnified because of the success of convenience and conversion. The Western triumph in convenience led to huge technological advances. As people in the West have all the basic necessities and own TVs/stereos/computers, their minds are barely on convenience(even as their lives owe so much to it). In the 19th century, white farmers struggled to make a living. They had to grow food and so their minds were mainly fixated on making life easier through better convenience with better methods of farming and tool-making. Also, as there was no radios, TV, and stereos, fun and pleasure amounted to folk dances and get-togethers. And as morality and spirituality guided society, sexuality was carefully regulated.

    But today, we have enough food and water. We don’t have to worry about disease and cold. Our social mores are more libertarian and freewheeling and hedonistic. So, people take basic necessities for granted and instead seek wild/intense pleasure through sports, music, movies, TV, porn, dating-services, and free sex.

    Conversion also paved the way for the rise of convulsion. Why? Because conversion-dialectic led to the emergence of the kind of political/social/moral philosophies that best served to create and maintain modern societies of peace, law, and order. Once such socio-economic-political success was achieved, people began to take ideas for granted. I mean how many people regularly read the documents of the Founding Fathers? How many read up on the history of advancement of law and ethics from Roman times to the present? Though some people do find intellectual fulfillment in reading and stuff, most people don’t care much about ideas as long as life is pretty good for them. What passes for ‘ideas’ today is WWG and WWT.

    But one thing people are mad about is pleasure and more pleasure. If you’re dying of thirst, a glass of water will suffice as pleasure. But if you have all the water in the world, you want something like ice cold beer or soda pop with the fizzle.
    Since the success of the Modern West put people’s minds off convenience and ideas–as their usefulness are taken for granted–, people are looking for more and more pleasure.

    And it is in the area of convulsion that Negroes are beginning to take over.
    Look at sports. Muscled Negroes dominate. White girls cheer for black studs and line up to have sex with Mandingos who give them the biggest orgasms. White boys in the stands cheer for black athletes like crazy. The emotional response of white male fans of black athletes is almost orgasmic. White boys turn quasi-homo in their worship of black muscle and masterfulness. They act just like white cheerleaders. They scream their heads off like they’re having orgasm all over their bodies.
    And look at rap music. Black guys sing about how badass they is. How white girls worship their muscle and big dongs. And white girls have conniptions listening to that stuff. They ‘twerk’ their asses to rap as if they’re mounting big Negroes. And white boys listen to that stuff too and get quasi-homo jollies in their worship of black muscle and masterfulness. White rock critics sing hosannas to Kanye West. White guys try to emulate black rappers. White homo guys look for black guys to pump them in the ass.
    Intense sexual pleasure can be had through feelings of conquest or feelings of submission. White girls and white guys find great orgasmic pleasure in submitting to Negro masterfullery–or vicariously ‘sharing’ the conquest by the Negreos. There was even an article in DETAILS mag about how white elites are having “mandingoes” hump their wives on their own beds. White wives must have the big Negro, and white guys can only get off by submission fantasies before the badass Negroes.
    The power of convulsion is huge. It’s like WUTHERING HEIGHTS where some hussy runs off with Heathcliff. Or kate chopin’s THE AWAKENING which I haven’t read but I think it’s about some white woman getting turned on by a mulatto. Or Jane Campion’s shitty PIANO where some white hussy goes off with some white guy who’s gone native and acts like a Maori warrior. She feels ‘liberated’ by sexually submitting to the ‘savage’.

    We may admire the Japanese contribution to the technology of convenience, but in the area of convulsion, Japan fails at least in its maledom. Japanese males are seen as a bunch of scrawns. Hard-working drones who make good radios but zero in convulsion factor. On the other hand, Japanese women may offers some convulsion goodies since men prefer women who are feminine, and it seems men all over the world have fantasies about me-so-horny mamasans.

    Negroes achieved zero in convenience and conversion, but they seem to be masters of convulsion. And yet, this triumph of the Negro has been made possible by Western triumph in convenience and convulsion. Western invention of electronics, TV, stereo, and etc. made black music accessible in the bed room of every white boy and white girl. Western moral-intellectual development led to the feelings of ‘white guilt’, and MLK-ology is the reigning ideology of White folks.
    So, even though blacks are only really good at thuggery, humpery, and jiveassery, their power in this areas have been magnified as pleasure-drugs all over the globe through Western media. And ease of travel have sent Negroes all over the world to hump women of all color.
    Pleasure may be fleeting, but it is intense(just look at the loonies who totally lose their minds during Santana’s ‘Soul Sacrifice’ in WOODSTOCK), which is why some druggies are hopeless. They know that the drugs that give them convulsions are destroying them, but they are so addicted to the pleasure, they gotta have more and more and more. It’s like the orgasmo-orb in Woody Allen’s SLEEPER.

    Just look at the state of UK today. You still have elites who are well-mannered, well-read, and well-spoken, but the main cultural interest now revolves around convulsion, especially in relation to the Negro. Andrew Sullivan the homo may find meaning in books and surely finds life easy with the modern conveniences(created by so many white scientists and inventors), but where does he find the greatest pleasure in life? By having some muscled big-donged Negro pump him in the ass. That pretty much sums up the essence of what the British elites stand for nowadays.

    Today, Eskimos control much of the convenience industry–especially in high tech–and the conversion industry(academia, media, publishing, etc). Control of areas like Silicon valley and finance technology gives Eskimos tremendous amount of money. And with that money, they’ve bought up all the media and fund much of the academia. And they use their control over conversion-spheres to promote ‘white guilt’ as the main moral-spiritual ideology of the age.
    And as Eskimos own much of sports, media, TV, music, and porn, they work in cahoots with Negroes to push the Negro dope or Negrope on white junkies who are totally addicted to orgasmic convulsions from sports, rap music, porn, and even watching one’s own wives be humped by Negroes.

    http://www.details.com/sex-relationships/sex-and-other-releases/200703/meet-the-mandingos

    So, as we look to the future, the issue is no longer who created the greatest civilizations but who produces the biggest convulsions?
    Though non-blacks created the greatest civilizations, the price they had to pay was the rise of slavish genes over savage genes. The greater degree of slavishness among whites, near easterners, hindus, and yellows enabled them to build bigger cities and get along better and obey orders. But they also grew wussier, wimpier, doglike, Dan Quayle-like, and Tony Blair-like.

    Just like Japanese built high civilization but get bumped around by bigger tougher Mongols(who excite the Japanese ladies who also run around Yokohama looking for Negro studs), white folks built greater civilization but at the cost of becoming dweebier and doglike.
    Even though the dweeby and doggish naturally fear the wolfish and savage, they are also turned on by demonstrations of great wolfish pitbullish power. It’s like dogs will be more impressed by wolves, and female dogs will have bigger orgasmic convulsions with male wolves.. and in time male dogs will find their jollies as quasi-homo bitches of male wolves.

    The future of wolfish negro males and doggish white males:

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  106. “Here in the UK we have a well integrated African/West Indian black middle class, and asking whether their race makes them destined to fail at civilization sounds totally absurd. When you’re surrounded by intelligent people of all colours, you hardly notice anyone’s race. I’m sorry American society is so divided, and your cities are virtually apartheid, as I’ve seen for myself.”
    __________

    The U.K., showing the world the path to racial harmony. Show us the way, U.K.!
    I, for one, can hardly wait until the vibrants are raping all our pubescents, what a civilization we’ll build then!

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  107. A look at the CIA World Factbook shows Botswana relies on diamonds for about 30% of GDP, making it roughly comparable to the economic situation of petrostates.

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  108. Aren’t you guys forgetting about the Kush (Nubian) Empire and their pyramids?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nubian_pyramids

    While we could argue that Egyptians weren’t black, the Kushites (nubians) were black for sure.
    And they were a close related kingdom to Ancient Egypt, to the point that later on some Kushites became Pharaohs.

    If the Kushites could develop a written language (unfortunately never translated) and create big monuments, I think the HBD and race explanation for Africa lack of civilization is very weak.

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  109. Shorter version. Why oh why won’t the cheerleaders look at me. It must be because I’m white and whites are callow nerds.

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  110. Egypt is clearly in Africa and was engaged in some civilization – writing, agriculture, monumental architecture, art, speculation for 2000+ years before Thales was born.

    And by American standards those Egyptians were black.

    I guess you are cribbing that locution “by American standards” from Wikipedia who got it from Stuart Tyson Smith. But, you know, the sentence you cribbed means the opposite of what you want it to mean. Here it is from Wikipedia, quoting Smith:

    Any characterization of race of the ancient Egyptians depends on modern cultural definitions, not on scientific study. Thus, by modern American standards it is reasonable to characterize the Egyptians as ‘black’, while acknowledging the scientific evidence for the physical diversity of Africans

    That is, the Ancient Egyptians were white (that’s what “acknowledging the scientific evidence for the physical diversity of Africans” means). On the other hand, since us guys are in charge of The Narrative, we get to define them as black (that’s what “by modern American standards it is reasonable to characterize the Egyptians as ‘black’” means).

    Let’s ask some Copts if they are black.

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  111. Japan was a very poor country (due to low labor productivity due to overpopulation), very near the Malthusian limit, before its opening by the United States:

    https://www.academia.edu/3183761/Wages_prices_and_living_standards_in_China_1738-1925_in_comparison_with_Europe_Japan_and_India

    In Africa, only Malawi and Egypt were as poor as Japan:

    http://www.history.northwestern.edu/graduate/documents/StructuralImpedimentstoAfricanGrowth.pdf

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  112. Japan before 1853 was a country constantly banging up against Malthusian limits on calories, but also had a rapidly progressing culture that included professional sports (sumo, including statistics from the late 17th century onward), entertainment superstars in Noh theater, brilliant artists like Basho making wood cuts for the mass market, and so forth. Japan had the second most dynamic culture in the world outside of the West, during a period of stasis in decade in most of the rest of the world.

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  113. Or the numerous accomplishments of Ethiopians.

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  114. Japan also had rice futures trading in the 17th century. The Chicago Board of Trade wasn’t founded until 1848.

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  115. For example, in China there still exists mostly today a massive North-South canal built in the 1100s that goes from Beijing or thereabouts to near Shanghai IIRC. This canal had to pass through East-West rivers, mountains, and the like. It is truly impressive and when Marco Polo saw it he could not believe it. He could not even muster the effort it took to build the thing.

    It’s much older than that. From Wikipedia:

    The Grand Canal (also known as the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the longest canal or artificial river in the world and a famous tourist destination.[1] Starting at Beijing, it passes through Tianjin and the provinces of Hebei, Shandong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang to the city of Hangzhou, linking the Yellow River and Yangtze River. The oldest parts of the canal date back to the 5th century BC, although the various sections were finally combined during the Sui dynasty (581–618 AD).

    The total length of the Grand Canal is 1,776 km (1,104 mi). Its greatest height is reached in the mountains of Shandong, at a summit of 42 m (138 ft).[2] Ships in Chinese canals did not have trouble reaching higher elevations after the pound lock was invented in the 10th century, during the Song dynasty (960–1279), by the government official and engineer Qiao Weiyo.[3] The canal has been admired by many throughout history including Japanese monk Ennin (794–864), Persian historian Rashid al-Din (1247–1318), Korean official Choe Bu (1454–1504), and Italian missionary Matteo Ricci (1552–1610).[4][5]

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  116. “That is, the Ancient Egyptians were white”

    What about modern day Egyptians are they White too ? Because if they are that would make Israelis Albinos. Since the average modern day Egyptian is darker than the average Israeli.

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  117. This actor is a quarter Jamaican and he still looks Whiter than the vast majority of Egyptians.

    http://www.contactmusic.com/pics/lf/ill_manors_premiere_4_310512/stephen-graham-ill-manors-world-premiere-held_3917882.jpg

    Egyptians are not the epitome of Whiteness, neither from a physical phenotype sense nor in the genetic sense.

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  118. “So, as a group, they could achieve more but this happened at the cost of individual savage gene that was more robust, rambunctious, colorful, exuberant, and etc.”

    Human evolution has long been more about the group than the individual. In many ways, society is primarily a tool for binding individuals together as a singular entity to compete against other similar entities. Blaha’s ‘Civilizations As SuperOrganisms” is an informative read that can lay a foundation for understanding in this area. It is a far more robust philosophy than your ‘everyone is horny for negroes’ theory. Methinks thou doth project too much.

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  119. “I doubt the Romans would have been able to defeat the Zulu in the Zulus own territory. ”

    Ha ha, no. Assuming the Romans got to South African and weren’t killed by various diseases, and they weren’t vastly outnumbered, it would be a walkover. Roman armor, discipline, mediocre cavalry, engineering, and most importantly combined arms tactics would prevail, though there would doubtless be occasional losses due to ambushes and the like. Which the Romans, being made to sterner stuff than moderns, would shrug off.

    The Zulus were mostly fast moving light infantry with good discipline but lacking in sophistication.

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  120. Japan wasn’t entirely isolated during the period of sakoku – although contact with the Western world was limited to the Dutch outpost on Dejima in Nagasaki (I think the island no longer exists), but the Japanese did keep abreast to some extent of scientific and technological developments in Europe.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rangaku

    For example, I think there were a few indigenous Japanese mechanical clocks prior to the 1850s.

    By the way, I recall reading once that the flintlock musket is ultimately Japanese in origin – the flintlock mechanism was adapted from a type of lighter (for tobacco) the Japanese once used, although it was mostly Europeans that adapted and made use of it.

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  121. ” The fact that nearly all countries which are headed by black people are poor is a coincidence.”

    Here’s my reaction to that line: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rm81LSKJC2k

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  122. “How much did coal miners in West Virginia get paid? Not very much. What did rednecks in coal-rich counties get from coal-mining companies?”

    Yes, well, no one claims that West Virginia is some sort of economic miracle, which is wise, because it self-evidently is not. And as you so effectively point out, albeit by implication, neither is Botswana. And yet people claim that it is.

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  123. First of all, Homo Heidelbergensis had 4 descendants, Neanderthals, Denisovans, Homo Sapiens, and a species I’ll call Number 4. We know Number 4 exists because of gene studies. Neanderthals, Denisovans, and SOME Homo Sapiens do not have any genes from Number 4. However, SOME Homo Sapiens do.

    Number 4 lived in Sub-Saharan Africa, and bred with the Homo Sapiens population there. About 13-15 percent of the genes of Sub-Saharan Africans comes from Number 4. Genetic Anthropologists have been keeping their mouths shut about the existence of Number 4 because it’s political dynamite and career-ending for anyone to talk about it to the general public, although you can find plenty of academic papers about Number 4 if you bother to look around. That’s why no one has even named Number 4 yet. Number 4 was also apparently dumber than a post.

    Another point. Why did Eurasians become smarter? Anthropologist William Calvin wrote a book on the subject call the Ascent of Mind, which you can read online here:

    http://www.williamcalvin.com/bk5/bk5.htm

    His answer, which is a good and sensible one, is the evolutionary stress of dealing with winter.

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  124. If the Kushites could develop a written language (unfortunately never translated) and create big monuments, I think the HBD and race explanation for Africa lack of civilization is very weak.

    Kush was a pale (ahem) imitation of Egypt. As with Ethiopia, it only looks impressive when compared to the rest of Black Africa. The Meso-American civilizations (Olmecs, Mayans, etc) had less of a head start and still accomplished more.

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  125. You guys sure do love responding to obvious trolls and spammers.

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  126. Anonymous
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    I doubt the Romans would have been able to defeat the Zulu in the Zulus own territory.

    Zulus had leather shields and wore no armor. Three salvos of pilum would do a lot of damage. Romans had thick wood shields and metal armor that protected the head, chest and legs. Also, Roman siegecraft was the best in the world. The Zulu’s walled cities and forts would would be quickly captured.

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  127. Well living in NYC, you see a lot of things, and if you’re cognizant of race and all that, you begin to notice things.

    One thing that I’ve noticed is that there are a great deal of obviously White/Black mixed people who are more than capable of entering the upper-middle class of well-spoken, easy-going, thinking-ahead professionals.

    Of course, the opposite happens as well. But still, it’s not all bad news.

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  128. Anonymous
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    Northern Europe was a millennia behind the Mediterranean, but caught up in what seems to be a generation.

    No, they weren’t so primitive.

    From “De Bello Gallico” and Other Commentaries about the Veneti in French Brittany.

    They had ocean going ships with sails and trade routs to Britain:

    VIII
    the Veneti both have a very great number of ships, with which they have been accustomed to sail to Britain,
    XIII
    The ships were built wholly of oak, … the benches … were fastened by iron spikes of the thickness of a man’s thumb; the anchors were secured fast by iron chains instead of cables, and for sails they used skins and thin dressed leather.

    In battle, they were a match with Roman galleys:

    XIII
    The encounter of our fleet with these ships was of such a nature that our fleet excelled in speed alone … for neither could our ships injure theirs with their beaks (so great was their strength), nor on account of their height was a weapon easily cast up to them

    They had a large fleet that could fight a naval battle with the Romans:

    XIV
    about 220 of their ships … sailed forth from the harbour … and drew up opposite to ours

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  129. Nominal GDP per capita. This is ahead of where China was 10 years ago. Includes the largest African country, the largest South Asian country and the largest mainland South East Asia country….

    129 Moldova 2,229
    130 Sudan 2,039
    131 Solomon Islands 1,950
    132 Vietnam 1,901
    133 Uzbekistan 1,867
    134 Nicaragua 1,839
    135 Ghana 1,729
    136 Nigeria 1,692
    137 Djibouti 1,594
    138 Kiribati 1,570
    139 Zambia 1,541
    140 India 1,504
    141 Laos 1,476
    142 Yemen 1,468
    143 Pakistan 1,307
    144 Kyrgyzstan 1,280

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  130. Nominal GDP per capita. This is ahead of where China was 10 years ago. Includes the largest African country, the largest South Asian country and the largest mainland South East Asia country.

    129 Moldova 2,229
    130 Sudan 2,039
    131 Solomon Islands 1,950
    132 Vietnam 1,901
    133 Uzbekistan 1,867
    134 Nicaragua 1,839
    135 Ghana 1,729
    136 Nigeria 1,692
    137 Djibouti 1,594
    138 Kiribati 1,570
    139 Zambia 1,541
    140 India 1,504
    141 Laos 1,476
    142 Yemen 1,468
    143 Pakistan 1,307
    144 Kyrgyzstan 1,280

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  131. There is one particular African accomplishment that doesn’t get talked about very often; the so-called Bantu Expansion. What we think of today as typical Sub-Saharan Africans originally inhabited only West Africa (in a territory covering roughly Cameroon to Senegal) and parts of East Africa (Southern Sudan to Tanzania). The former group included the Bantus, while the latter included the Nilotic-speaking peoples. Ethiopia was basically a mix of Nilotic and Caucasian backwash from the Middle East.

    A big swath of Africa was, until only about 1000 years ago, inhabited by very different peoples from the ones mentioned above. The Congo River basin was peopled by mostly Pygmies. And the Southern cone of Africa – modem-day SA, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, etc. . was inhabited mostly by the Khoisan (Bushmen), arguably the most archaic group of humans in existence. These groups could be considered racially very distinct from the more northerly Sub-Saharan Africans (the Khoisan more so than the Pygmies). At any rate, a group out of West Africa we know as the Bantus left their homeland and over the course of several centuries utterly swamped the Pygmies and Khoisan. So much so that these groups now only exist in small inconsequential pockets throughout their former range. What the Bantus did to these groups in most circles might be considered genocide. Of course, I doubt you hear too much about the plight of the Bushmen in the mainstream media. Or when you do, it’s to blame Whites.

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  132. Again, the World Bank figures indicated that all non-manufacturing industry accounts for about 30% of value added. That would incorporate utilities, construction, and any mining or quarrying outside diamonds.

    It’s not comparable to Saudi Arabia or the Gulf states, which have huge populations of imported labor and wherein natural resources rents can approach half of domestic product.

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  133. Another good read along these sorts of lines but not quite about Africa is an essay called “The Arrow of Disease” published in Discover magazine back in 1992 but still seems to be quite passed around and autocompletes with an entry of “The Arrow of ” because it remains so widely read.

    http://discovermagazine.com/1992/oct/thearrowofdiseas137

    It explains why infectious disease and epidemics were something the Europeans brought upon New World peoples but not the reverse. And how Yellow fever was an African disease brought to the New World by slaves. It covers the theory behind epidemics and immunity. I found it very seminal and instructional in understanding how core the immune system is not only evolution but to current human existence.

    People forget that just a short while ago, fear of disease and of epidemics dominated human thought and social organization. And importantly, it set the basis of much of race relations. It was the fear of epidemic that drove much of segregation, separate bathrooms, drinking fountains, whites only hotels and restaurants. The flu epidemic of 1919 killed more people than World War I. Malaria wasn’t eradicated in the American South until the 1950s. To me, imagining the past without thinking of parasite load and disease is probably the biggest and most erroneous form of anachronistic thought. It is just unimaginable to people that South Florida was practically uninhabitable until the 20th century, and that to venture down to Panama was to risk death, and the same could be said for much of the tropics.

    When Haiti revolted, Napoleon yanked troops off the battlefield in central Europe, because the loss of the sugar revenue produced by the island was akin to loosing production of a major oil field in today’s world. It was said that at the time of Revolutionary War, a single Caribbean Island had the GNP larger than all 13 US Colonies. It was urgent to France that the rebellion be quelled and Haiti returned to Sugar production for France. When the ships carrying the troops arrived near Haiti, Yellow Fever broke out and the epidemic killed off most of the soldiers. Haiti had to be abandoned due to disease.

    I also find it interesting that when I tried to find some possible online copy of the Reader book, A Biography of Africa, and I searched for the title in Google, by the second page of search results it was already veering off into subjects and titles that were close or other subjects about African history. I have a bit of a casual background in evolutionary biology, of parasite loads, and the effect of disease, and much interest in the immune system as a function of sexual choice, it’s effect on the Endocrine system, on psychiatric illness, and even on personality. So the subject of this post and the Reader book is entirely plausible and logical to me as an explanation of African ecology and history.

    Yet I find it amazing that any mention of this book begins to trail off after merely 1 page of google search results, the majority being where to buy the book, and very little works or papers that cite the writing.

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  134. Why Did Civilization Lag in Africa?

    A better question is why does civilization lag in Africa?

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  135. Incidentally, I think alot of the HDB handwringing about Blacks being behind on this or that measure is overblown. Civiliation in geolgoical terms has barely got started, the first cities (really overgrown villages with temples) emerging 8000 years ago.

    You’re not paying attention. Black dysfunction is blamed on Whites and used as a justification for wiping Whites off the face of the earth. This is not just “handwringing”.

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  136. anonymous
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    Once I was in a library (row) with the entire UK government equivalent of the “congressional record”, going back to who knows when. All the transcripts of the government inquiries, and so on. I pulled a random book and flipped to a random page.

    Turned out to be from the early days of British activity around Sierra Leone (late 1700s?). An inquiry was going on into the need to send lumber from the Baltics to a small outpost on the west African coast to build the outpost’s wooden buildings in Africa.

    The committee was interrogating one man, the fellow who seemed to be single-handedly running the place, not with a sense of hostility but almost a sense of wonder. It seemed this man was treated as an unusual specimen for his ability to live in Africa without getting sick. Did he have any special tricks or suggestions as to what the government could do? There where two line of questions:

    * Why wood from Africa, when the outpost was surrounded by forest and willing labor? The fellow’s answer was essentially that it would never work to try to get native labor to cut and machine lumber to the standard required for good buildings. He made a convincing case that it was cheaper to get quality machined lumber all the way from the Baltic then to try to produce/manufacture it in Africa.

    * How he survived when others died… he had no idea, but he did have a stout house built on a promontory in the “good winds” of the ocean, if I recall correct.

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  137. The Mayan area is definitely not tropical — 15-20 deg N, about the same as Khartoum to Abu Simbel.

    In other words, it is part of the tropics. By definition a latitude of 15-20 degrees is in the tropics.

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  138. Just a bit of a plug about Rice University to those who do not know. Rice is ranked 19 by US News and World Report. And frankly I think that is lower than it should be ranked. Consider that the top 20 contain the Ivy League, Stanford, Duke, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Cal Institute of Tech, to be ranked 19th is among a pretty tough crowd. Rice is ahead of Berkeley, Georgetown, Tufts, Emory, USC, UCLA, Carnegie Mellon. It is considered the #9 best value, ranking vs price, where Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Yale, MIT are names on that list.

    My favorite story about Rice was a few years back, Rice played Texas in Austin. The starting QB for Rice was from Austin. Both of his parents were Texas Exes, long time season ticket holders. For the Rice game they wore their son’s Rice jersey and sat in the middle of the UT season ticket crowd, most of whom where Texas graduates. Instead of razzing the parents, the fans treated the parents with much respect because it was as if they had succeeded in the best way as parents. They raised the Rice QB. You just don’t do better than that. Not in Texas anyway.

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  139. anonymous
    says:
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    Who in the recent Scottish vote gets the Scottish Samurai award?

    The Scots must get pretty bored during the bad days of winter, I imagine.

    Maybe that’s the problem in Africa. They can always go outside and play.

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  140. No horses and camels: you forgot the tse-tse flies.

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  141. Here in the UK we have a well integrated African/West Indian black middle class, and asking whether their race makes them destined to fail at civilization sounds totally absurd. When you’re surrounded by intelligent people of all colours, you hardly notice anyone’s race.

    Yes, of course, just as you don’t notice anyone’s sex or age. How stupid do you think we are?

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  142. Egyptians are not the epitome of Whiteness, neither from a physical phenotype sense nor in the genetic sense.

    The contention is that Egyptians 4000 years ago were not the same as today’s Egyptians.

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  143. Egyptians are not the epitome of Whiteness, neither from a physical phenotype sense nor in the genetic sense.

    Yes, as we all know, skin hue is the be-all-end-all of racial demarcation.

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  144. I see Botswana has the 3rd highest Gini index on earth: http://www.photius.com/rankings/economy/distribution_of_family_income_gini_index_2014_0.html

    What kind of success story is that?

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  145. Art Deco
    says:
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