Reaction to “The Long-Term Effects of Colonialism”

2011 GDP (nominal) per capital Political Map – darker color indicates a higher GDP per capita

While perusing through various blogs and websites trying to find inspiration on what to write about, I stumbled upon Michael Mira’s post “The Long-Term Effects of Colonialism” on his WordPress blog Notebook No. 9. Interestingly, I read this post right after my mother and I got into an discussion, well I guess a better word would be argument, about why certain societies around the world are significantly less developed than others.

Why is it that some countries in sub-Saharan Africa, southeast Asia, and the Middle East are underdeveloped socially, politically, economically, technologically, and whatever other “-ly” adverbs you want to add? Now, I realize this is a gross generalization, there are certainly large metropolises in these regions, but these are the “hot spots” we usually hear about during poverty awareness campaigns.

There have been countless works examining every imaginable aspect to this question, and the debate is still going on today. From the controversial The Bell Curve by Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray (with which I do not completely agree) to the more modern and shall we say politically correct Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn, people have been trying to answer this touchy and complicated question for years.

I want to make it clear that I do not think I have the answers nor do I think I ever will. I also do not believe that there is just one answer to this question, rather many. I am generally repelled by those who think they have all the answers and think they can pigeon-hole such complex questions with one simple answer. After all, there are very few, if any, questions in this world about human nature that we can all unanimously agree upon.

That being said, I am always interested in learning what other’s opinions towards this matter are. Please share your opinions below via comments.

by Philip Richardson


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