1. Standard memberThequ1ck
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    05 Feb '09 22:254 edits
    Why didn't Africans thrive? What forces disallowed their development
    as compared to Europe and Asia?

    Why has Africa failed to reveal any technological achievements
    (comparitively speaking)?

    Why is there such a disparity??? I mean we're talking grass huts
    in the face of space shuttles and highrisers yet this is the oldest culture
    on earth!

    Is it simply a case of grow up and get the fek out of Dodge?
  2. Joined
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    05 Feb '09 23:38
    I often have wondered what makes one country so poor and another so rich.
    I used to think it was simply because those countries that are poor are poor because of lack of natural resources such as oil, coal, minerals etc and visa versa for the rich ones -but then I read somewhere that that is simply not the case and, for example, Africa has huge mineral recourses.
    So now it is a bit of a mystery to me.

    But I cannot help but wonder if the effects of the complexities of the global economy and politics is such that it simply tends to make poor countries stay poor while making the rich ones get ever richer -thus those that through an accident of history start poor stay poor while those that through an accident of history manage to get rich even for a while stay rich.
  3. Standard memberadam warlock
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    05 Feb '09 23:49
    Originally posted by Thequ1ck
    Why didn't Africans thrive? What forces disallowed their development
    as compared to Europe and Asia?

    Why has Africa failed to reveal any technological achievements
    (comparitively speaking)?

    Why is there such a disparity??? I mean we're talking grass huts
    in the face of space shuttles and highrisers yet this is the oldest culture
    on earth!

    Is it simply a case of grow up and get the fek out of Dodge?
    I think it has to do with how people relate to nature, how people see nature, and what they feel their needs are.

    China was the most advanced scientifical for quite some time. Putting to shame a lot that was being done in Europe for centuries and yet the Scientific Revolution (the quick starter of society as we know it) happened in European countries and then spread to China and some other Asian countries.

    This can be quite the long post and I don't have the patience to type all out so I'll just say a few basic things:

    In most African countries, and for China at that time, the relationship the peoples had with Nature was a relationship of reverence (and some mistery too) and search for balance. While in Europe the peoples were becoming more and more rational in the way of approaching nature. On top of that balance with Nature wasn't really held up in high regard those days. It was more a time of making things the more comfortable and more assetable to people.

    That's why that after Calculus and the Newtonian/Copernician revolution came the advent of an understanding of thermodynamics and with it an important part of waht we now call the scientific revolution. I'm being quite laconic but this is quite the long theme and with a lot of discussions in it from people that studied/thought this matter for quite some time.

    Nowadays with globalization (which really means ocidentalization) people from all over the world are starting to catching up with 17th, 18th century European world view and I expect important technological/scientific ( knowledge in general) to start pouring out from all over the place.

    One importan question that I leave for you to ponder is this one:
    http://www.infinityfoundation.com/ECITmathframeset.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Kindi
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibn_al-Haitham the guy that put the scientific method into science, formulated Fermat's principle, the concept of inertia, had a very good idea of what gravity was really about, had a very good idea and handling of calculus, and the principle of mathematical induction, etc, etc, etc... (all those concepts that people relate to 16th/17th century Europe and that were great advances in science)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurocentrism
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_science
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_in_China
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_mathematics
  4. Joined
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    06 Feb '09 05:402 edits
    Ancient Egypt was one of the most technologically advanced civilisations
    of its time, and certainly one of the most successful of all times, thanks
    to the river Nile and the fact that the people who lived there discovered
    how the floods could be used to their advantage. The main cause for a
    higher, more technologically advanced civilisation, is without a doubt the
    discovery of agriculture. It allows people to settle down, build more
    permanent houses and feed a larger population. Which in turn allows
    "thinkers" to do their thing. And here we are.

    Now, Egypt was quite isolated from the rest of Africa, and so you can't
    expect them to have had any effect on distant tribes.

    I'd also like to point out that most technological achievements of
    today is the result of a relative few. Without those thinkers to spawn the
    ideas, we'd probably still jump around in the woods, throw sticks at each
    other and scratch our butts, as opposed to just throw sticks and
    scratch butts.

    Frankly, I wonder if that was really such a bad thing. Yeah, sure, you
    could get eaten by a pack of wolves, or struck down by an angry bear,
    but all in all I think they experienced happier times.
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    06 Feb '09 06:38
    I don't think 'technological advancement' is a true measure of 'success'.
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    06 Feb '09 07:11
    Agriculture makes sense.

    I would add to that trade. That gave some an economic advantage if they could produce something efficiently.More recently it seems to be having an industrial economy along with trade that helps.

    I often wonder if a high population and education is a factor. You get a bigger pool of talent like inventors that help increase production of goods that way. When Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin I'm sure it helped the agricultural economy. Don't forget Jethro Tull, inventor of the seed drill.

    Now with an industrial economy we have only a small percentage of the population needed for labor in the agricultural sector of the economy. That leaves lots of labor for other things now. Countries that are too poor to develop are left behind because of lack of productivity. They cannot compete with the highly productive modern industrial economy.

    Most industry started in Great Britain. Industry=high productivity=lucrative trade=strong economy=power and Poof! The British Empire! It is no coincidence.
  7. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    06 Feb '09 07:171 edit
    Originally posted by Thequ1ck
    Why didn't Africans thrive? What forces disallowed their development
    as compared to Europe and Asia?
    Did Mancunian child labourers thrive?

    How about turning the question around: what accounts for the unprecedented phenomenon that was the Industrial Revolution? How did it happen and why did it happen only in Europe?

    As an aside, you may want to read up about the Ashanti Empire; it might go some way toward correcting your 'grass huts' perception.
  8. Cape Town
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    06 Feb '09 07:36
    Are we talking about why civilization started in Europe, or are we talking about much more recent history where Africa is not particularly thriving?
    For the former, the answer is simple, civilization didn't start in Europe.
    For the latter, there are many interacting factors including:
    1. Disease.
    2. Exploitation.
    3. Cultural differences.
    4. Corruption.

    Until very recently though I believe that India and China have had more poor people than Africa. I suspect that having one large country is a better system than Africa's lots of little countries. We really need to get SADC working better.
  9. Cape Town
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    06 Feb '09 07:381 edit
    Originally posted by Thequ1ck
    ... yet this is the oldest culture on earth!
    References please. I find that claim hard to believe and further fail to see the relevance to the argument.
  10. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    06 Feb '09 07:41
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    References please. I find that claim hard to believe and further fail to see the relevance to the argument.
    It's commonly assumed that homo sap got his start in Africa.
  11. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    06 Feb '09 07:43
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Are we talking about why civilization started in Europe, or are we talking about much more recent history where Africa is not particularly thriving?
    First let's clear up why Europe suddenly shot ahead technologically, after being comparatively backward for a millenium.
  12. Cape Town
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    06 Feb '09 07:44
    Originally posted by Jigtie
    ... but all in all I think they experienced happier times.
    Try it some time. I think you will change your mind pretty quick.
  13. Cape Town
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    06 Feb '09 07:45
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    It's commonly assumed that homo sap got his start in Africa.
    What has that got to do with it? Surely all current humans are therefore descended from the same group so why should one group be said to have retained the culture and all the others started a new one?
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    06 Feb '09 07:45
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    First let's clear up why Europe suddenly shot ahead technologically, after being comparatively backward for a millenium.
    When did Europe shot ahead technologically? Like in around 1700?
  15. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    06 Feb '09 07:47
    Originally posted by FabianFnas
    When did Europe shot ahead technologically? Like in around 1700?
    From the late 18th century.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_Revolution
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