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Internalist Explanation

Internalist Explanation

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Published by Sarah Colegrove

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Published by: Sarah Colegrove on Dec 28, 2012
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Sarah Colegrove SOC 350 10/16/2012 Ayittey: Internal Explanation “The antidevelopment environment that prevails in most African countries is characterized by political tyranny, instability, chaos, senseless civil wars, horrible carnage, corruption, and capital flight.” (p. 32) A variety of individuals have tried to understand and explain what has occurred in Africa that has kept many of the nations within Africa from developing. Most blame external factors but others like George Ayittey take an internal view of why there is poverty, oppression, and underdevelopment in Africa. Africa has become the lost continent. While Africa is a very large continent with not only a lot of people but also with a wide variety of natural resources, it is also a place where disease, poverty, and corruption are present throughout the continent. It has become lost between the competing sectors – the traditional and the modern. “Most of Africa‟s problems emanate from its modern sector. They spill over onto the traditional, causing disruptions and dislocations and claiming innocent victims.” (p. 14) Africa faces what Ayittey calls the vampire state which is the cause of many of the problems that Africa faces. “What keeps Africans poor is their powerlessness to rid themselves of predatory governments or force existing ones to adopt the right politics in a peaceful way…those highly educated Africans…who ought to be the watchdogs have themselves joined the official gangsters and rodents.” (p. 21) This vampire state, where “„Government‟ as an entity

First. 150) Nations who have been termed as vampire states. capital flight. Ayittey offers a solution to Africa and at the core of his argument are intellectuals.” (p. practices. However. Ayittey says that they are the “wrong doctors” to fix the problem as they have not only been described as “Trojan horses for the penetration of Western capitalism into Africa” (p. They do not know how to think critically nor creatively.2 is totally divorced form the people. many of the elites are not able to take the ideas they have read about and turn them into functional practices. such as Equatorial Guinea. and repression to occur within the nation. perceived by those running it as a vehicle not to serve but to fleece the people. 252) but also because the World Bank and IMF have suffered from the same corruption and overly large bureaucracies that they accused the African countries of having. The West has played a role in all of this and has actually made Africa‟s problems worse. Second. but such means as allowing the people to starve or even violence by the government against the population stemming from the leaders. The continued interference and “help” has created more problems than would be present if they did not interfere. While many of the leaders and elites in the various African nations have been educated. They struggle to take what they have learned in the classroom and adapt it to the culture. Ayittey argues that the West needs to leave Africa to its own devices. The leaders in Africa are functionally illiterate according to Ayittey. intellectuals – leaders and . he believes that the West needs to stop interfering in Africa. embezzlement. The IMF and World Bank have given funds to these countries but the funds do not address the issues. and landscape of the people within the nation. are having the life sucked out of the nation. These predatory and vampiric nations have allowed corruption.

traditional African society worked well for Africa. I do agree with most of Ayittey‟s argument that Africa solution is in its roots and with its people. in theory.3 elites – need to be held accountable by the people and need to become functionally literate. Third. It would be difficult for many nations in Africa to rid them of the failed Western democracy that has been imposed on them through colonization. While Ayittey does have a compelling argument about Africa but he does not seem to grasp the whole picture. His solution to Africa‟s issues is beautiful. . Ayittey suggests that we start at the local levels and work our way up. but in implementation it is not very practical. The rule of despots and “Big Men” needs to be broken. They had a thriving economy and a democracy that worked for them.

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