Why Africa Remained Poor | Thomas Sowell
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Sowell Explains
This is the part 7 of an 8-Part series on Geography and Culture. See here for the complete series: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7s6piXiFK-TaMDsKM4I7IS7iaNiyONEM
Legate 7
People only blame empires for Africa being poor. Again colonialism isnt the only cause of poverty. If it was then why is the USA so rich? It was a colony of Britain.
David Mizak
The remarkable information you provide to your viewers needs to be applauded. I sincerely appreciate your effort to expand your viewers knowledge. A sincere thank you!
I'm glad to be listening to your channel, you always answer most of the wondering that I have and make it clearer to me. Thank you.
Sergio Leonardo Cornejo
Most people forget cultural progress was achieved through trade, food, and health. Living in isolated places where danger is prevalent and food scarce guarantees a delay.
Absolutely fascinating.
Fadel Yacoub
Excellent presentation. There is a book authored by the Egyptian scholar Gamal Hamdan in the 1960s named " The New Africa: A Study In Political Geography" has almost the same analysis about how the geography of Africa is the main cause of the African underdevelopment . The book is in Arabic.
Bryon Grosz
Thomas Sowell always provides great insight, and this is no exception.
Christopher Jones
As a kid I believed the myth that Europeans were able to come into a continent that they were totally unfamaliar with and start enslaving people who actually lived there with no local help like clockwork: Having served in the Marines I now know that myth to have been tactically impossible
I think this means that the African people were not only depressed by their unique geography, but also preserved by it. Technological and cultural forms that would have been out competed or destroyed in other places were preserved allowing vast stretches of primitive technological forms to survive and thrive. It makes you think maybe the stimulus that prompted the rise of advanced technology in other places was as much war and conflict as trade and exchange. When a civilization develops and advanced technology they use it to conquer other regions and spread their technology as a result.
Sylvar Ogre
I am enjoying this series immensely.
Great video…it’s something I’ve always wondered about. But nothing I knew made sense.
Talha Karaman
I wish I found out about Thomas Sowell earlier. Thank you for voicing his essays.
I love the analysis he does on the geography and it makes sense. Sure slavery, colonialism, and corruption have hampered Africa, but geography does more to explain the enduring conditions that restrict development than anything else. Europe destroyed itself twice in world wars, and yet emerged and prospered afterwards. Geography is destiny.
Joan Huffman
Before 1820 more than 95% of the human race lived on less than the equivalent of $1.90 per day. Poverty has been the default condition of humanity. Producing sufficient wealth to get out of poverty is the mystery.
BeauPierre Bondurant
Dr.Thomas Sowell is an American treasure.
As much as I respect Mr. Sowell, I don't think you can blame Africa's poor economy on geography alone. There are plenty regions around the world with poor geography that have still propered at one time or another. I myself come from a landlocked European country and most of our export and import has been done by land, yet we were the wealthiest country of Europe in Medieval times. Similarily, most of Rome's prosperity northwards was by building quality roads, often in wild territories untouched by human activity, such as forests. White farmers of Zimbabwe and South Africa were able to feed their countries just fine prior to the ongoing genocide. If only geography is to blame, then how come a coastal country like Somalia is doing so extremely poorly? In other words, unfavourable geography can make your start harder, but, on it's own, is no reason to prevent you from economic prosperity. It's usually a combination of geography, biology, culture, and sometimes the unfortunate "luck" of having an extremely prosperous neighbour that's going to invide you. Saying it's only geography is a fairly PC answer. Which isn't neccessarily bad, because sometimes you need a less truthful argument to get someone to listen at all, before you spread the entire truth in front of them.
orbo Akin
Thank you so much for making this video on Africa and geography. As an African myself (Nigerian, specifically) it always annoys me when most people only attribute Africa's current problems to "colonialism or racism", effectively removing personal responsibility of us Africans, and ignore more important factors like geography, climate, socioeconomic systems, political unity and leadership. Thanks for focusing on those areas.
Tracy Gresham
Imagine having a teacher in high school that shows these 20 odd minute videos in class and has an open discussion with the remaining 40 minutes.
Thomas Sowell is such an incredibly intelligent and informative writer who has a profound understanding of some of society’s most important issues.
Ed G
I would hope that there are teachers that use your videos for instruction in the classroom. However, having watch the news, I wonder. These videos are very informative. I do know, in this country, the Corp of Engineers use as a definition, if the stream can float a canoe, it is navigable. Back when I was in school, we were always shown pictures of the great rivers in Africa but were never told how little they could be used for moving goods. Also, was surprised with the current difference in life expectancy. Did not expect it to be that great.
Miguel Romero Sanz
As a European, is important to realise that our importance and power in the world after the renaissance, is also mainly due to the geography of Europe, and not because we were smarter or better.
Mike F
I have to still believe that if Europeans were instead in Africa, they would’ve found a way to turn it into a highly successful continent. While the geography of Africa is not ideal for certain reasons (as Thomas points out), there are pros and cons to every continent. Africa is blessed with yearlong warmth, tremendous opportunity for cultivation, and an abundance of valuable resources like gold and wood. Europeans had to deal with difficulties like frigid winters and portioning enough food to last through the cold seasons.

Regardless, most modern African countries are still horribly lagging behind, despite the fact that many of the geographic barriers are long overcome by modern technology. Significantly, it is no coincidence that the African country most influenced by Europeans (South Africa) is the most advanced African country. Think about it. The true retardation of Africa is cultural not geographical in my opinion.
Been There
I lived in central Africa for 3 years. I kept gardens to supplement the local produce. The soil was very poor and washed away by the heavy rains during the rainy season. I planted a crop of cherry tomatoes that were so bitter that I had to discard them. This was a really interesting video that put a lot of what I know about the region into perspective.
Unitedkingdom Offiveeyes
He is one of the most intelligent thinkers of our time and he doesn't get enough airtime and respect than he should. If there was a man for a community to luck up to, it is Mr sowell.
LOVE this video! When you started with the waterways, my FIRST impulse was "yes, but Africa is THE oldest continent, and thus has THE largest amount of deadly diseases which have had both millions of years and a very suitable climate to replicate/mutate" and then you absolutely HIT IT later on the video. As someone who lived in Africa, I would say this is 100% accurate and can be seen in the fact that the greatest and most technologically advanced civilizations have tended to cluster around Northeast Africa (Egypt, Axum, Meroe, Kush, Punt etc) where horses, cattle and waterways make agriculture and trade possible. Again, excellent video.

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