We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Bird Dog has already commented on the Left's upside-down understanding of economics in which it is assumed that the rich gain their wealth only through taking from others. While this "zero-sum" fallacy usually arises in the context of domestic issues, enterprising Leftists have employed it in an international context as well: see, for example, any of Bono's or Bob Geldof's commentary on Africa, or the lovable George Galloway, who recently remarked that India's economy is growing so rapidly only because it is making up ground that it was "not allowed to occupy" during colonialism.
Galloway is not worth paying any attention to, of course, but even The Dylanologist's old political science professor back in college gave a similar explanation for why the economies of Africa had failed to make any gains in prosperity since independence (it was because those nasty colonialists built railroads to serve resource exploitation rather than domestic growth, in case you were wondering. And no, do not ask how the countries would have been more productive without any railroads at all).
The irony of the views of virulently anti-Western politicians such as Galloway is that they necessarily must cast the nations of Western Europe as all-powerful entities, capable of holding entire nations hostage to their will, while India and the nations of Africa are reduced to passive and helpless actors who can only be what the nations of Europe let them be. This point of view is hardly less patronizing than anything dreamed up by 19th century colonialists.
The truth? As Bird Dog has mentioned, each nation must come to prosperity on its own terms: no poor nation ever grew wealthy through aid alone, nor have war and oppression ever been able to permanantly cripple an economically vigorous country.
Photo: The splendid Masai, who do not welcome Western condescension or pity.
The Left's time honored mantra that "Wealth Causes Poverty" is just more of the Marxists schlock that they can't explain in a down and dirty colloquy with anyone who has even had the slightest wiff of "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations" by Mr. Adam Smith.
Marx for all the study that has been poured into his writings ended with a whimper, adding no coherent system or cogent writings. What he did provide was a petri dish for the disaffected and revolutionary to germinate and develop "Marxist thought", which is akin to "An Introduction To String Theory" by Britney Spears.
Hayak,Friedman,Böhm-Bawerk, Eugen , Ludwig von Mises all are far superior to Marx reagarding economics but Marx remains like the roaming carnival's main freak show attraction. No serious ecomomist takes Marx seriously, but thay must deal with him because he's Jabba the Hut over in the corner ....and then there's the world wide T-shirt concession....
Any college incoming freshman should spend part the summer before reading "Economics in One Lesson. by Henry Hazlitt".....then when their professor starts the Marx crap a few well timed Socratic questions will guarantee two things. 1. a grade no higher than a "C" and 2. the joy of watching a PhD foaming at the mouth.
Yes, wealth causes poverty, but fortunately for us, John Edwards solves poverty. See his revolutionary new 30-year plan to eliminate "poverty" in America through innovative new tactics such as "busing," "school integration," and "raising the minimum wage."
As you point out this is an interesting issue. Well, the following researchers decided to take a look at the theory that colonization had a negative impact on the economic and social development of affected country. James Feyrer and Bruce Sacerdote, both of Dartmouth College, looked at 80 small Pacific Ocean islands and performed cross-country comparisons. As close to laboratory conditions as they could find. Their question: Are the islands that experienced European colonization for a longer period of time richer today? The answer is yes and looking further at which countries produced the largest positive gain, the answer is as most informed people would conclude - the U.S., Britain and Holland. They, of course, do not make any moral judgements concerning loss of sovereignty or unintended consequences, such as the spread of fatal diseases. But the bottom line is much the same as the story told in the wonderful Alec Guiness movie "The Mouse that Roared," sometimes its good to lose a war, if you lose to the right country.
I remember this study - Dartmouth happens to be my own alma mater. But yes, it is not surprising that those countries the Brits colonized turned out well, relatively speaking. The usual line is that the USA's greatness lies in it being an "idea" nation based around the Constitution, not a particular ethnicity or religion, but a quick glance around the world shows that wherever ethnic English settled, whether in Canada, America, Australia or New Zealand, prosperous, orderly and desirable societies swiftly followed (from the standpoint of immigration numbers, they are actually the MOST desirable destinations, and have been for over a century). Even had America lost the revolutionary war and remained a series of colonies I have little doubt that the country would still have eventually become the economic powerhouse it is today.