I am posting a provocative article that challenges our society’s accepted cultural beliefs about climate change. Admittedly more analysis and discussion is required, but let me convey a few concepts that should provide food for thought.
The current hysteria about that the planet is facing impending doom is strongly reminiscent of the old discredited Malthusian theory that too many couples having too many children would over run the capacity of our planet to produce food. We now have over 7 billion people, and we know that our planet can feed billions more, if we properly developed its potential. In the 20th century, Malthus’ unscientific babbling was further extended by the Club of Rome and World Wildlife Fund to assert that the our planet had limited-fixed resources that could only maintain a fixed number of human beings. Of course, none of this is true, nor was it ever scientifically proven, but it became part of the popular culture. I am now approaching 68 years of age, and know how this propaganda spread from the late 1960s on. I was there and organized against it!
Tragically, our culture today has accepted the new mantra of climate change, without a healthy scientific debate and analysis. For example CO2 is not deadly, it is one of the building blocks of life. If you look at weather events over time, a century or more, you will find that there is not an increase in hurricanes, and tornadoes. If you go back hundreds of thousands of years you’ll find several ice ages and warming periods.
Also, why assume the planet has one fixed condition? Tens of millions of years ago there was no Sahara desert; it was caused by the Africa plate banging into southern Europe. Since then, the Sahara becomes moist and dry following a 22,000-25,000 year cycle based on the wobble of the earth’s axis.
If we study our planet and universe over long periods of time, we will discover all kinds on patterns and anomalies. However, they all indicate a self developing universe. Mankind is not an antagonist to our planet and its environment, but rather, a co-contributor to its growth and development, which is not finite.
The principles of our physical universe are coherent with the principle of creativity that all human being posses. This leads to another discussion for a future time.
A special note to my African friends. Beware of propaganda that tells Africans they should have less children and forego industrialization, because it will destroy the planet.
The complete article follows the excerpts below:
“The question is not whether, but to what extent human-caused changes in the atmosphere drive climate variations, and whether such changes are good or bad. Meaningful statistics (but ones that do not exist) would include responses to the following questions:
• What would be the impact of doubling atmospheric CO2?
• To what extent does water vapor cause a feedback effect?
• To what extent must we take into account the solar magnetic field’s effect on the creation of clouds via cosmic radiation?
• What is the certainty range on these predictions?
• How well have climate models of the last two decades fared at predicting the global climate during the past 5 to 10 years?
• Will the specific, foreseen changes in climate be beneficial or harmful, or a mixture of the two?
“The climate of the Earth, as it exists in the solar system, is much more complex than a foolishly simple, yes-no question about “believing in” or “denying” climate change.
“How can any such changes be determined? An individual cannot possibly notice that the climate is changing through their personal experience, which is necessarily limited in location and time. And it is absolutely ludicrous to claim that anyone could know, through their personal experience of weather, the cause of any such changes.
“Science is not fashion. It is not decided by taking a poll or by seeing what is most popular…
“A cultural paradigm shift occurred in the 1960s and 1970s, transforming the understanding of the relation of human beings to nature, and transforming the meaning of “progressive” from supporting progress to preventing it!
“From this paradigm shift arise the unstated assumptions that underlie the emotional responses that many people have to these issues. One such assumption is a definition of “natural,” which excludes human activity, implicitly creating a goal—humans should simply not exist. This goes along with the shift from global warming (a specific change that could cause problems) to climate change, taking the assumption that any change to the climate would be bad, simply by virtue of its being change. Is this really true?…”
A recent forum sponsored by Brookings Institute in Washington DC entitled: “Top priorities for Africa in 2019” produced a healthy discussion that alluded to important fundamental conceptions of economics. Although the deeper principles of what should be called economic science were not elucidated, issues raised in the dialogue serve as a useful starting point for further elaboration of that subject.
The event was organized to present FORESIGHT AFRICA, a new publication by the Africa Growth Initiative. Representative from the International Monetary Fund-(IMF), and Mo Ibrahim Foundation, joined Ambassador Linda-Thomas Greenfield, and Brahima Coulibaly, director of the African Growth Initiative, for a wide-ranging discussion on the future of Africa to a packed audience.
Members of the audience challenged the prevailing assumptions of the International Monetary Fund. One participant raised the inadequacy of the IMF’s rigid macro-analytic approach, when what is needed, she said, is a fine-tuned micro-economic intervention to deal with the scope of the challenges facing African nations. Another suggested the need for a state-funded public sector job program to put the millions of unemployed youth to work—a proposal which the IMF representative categorically rejected. The IMF’s hostility to state sector involvement belies the several hundred-year historical record of the modern economy, which is replete with successful and indispensable interventions by the state to foster economic growth.
Measuring Real Economic Growth
While the Brookings report, FORESIGHT AFRICA, provides some relevant statistics, its analysis rests on erroneous axioms of what comprises economic growth
The commonly accepted notion that African nations today are experiencing “jobless economic growth” reveals the fundamental antagonism between the analysis of the IMF and its co-thinkers, and proponents of real i.e. physical-economic growth. Jobless growth is a moronic oxymoron. Real*economic growth augments the productive power of society to increase its surplus of tangible wealth in order to sustain an expanding population at a higher standard of living. The IMF pretends to measure growth by adding up monetary values such as the price of extracted resources and real estate, stock market gains, etc. The aggregation of prices is not a measure of the economy’s growth. The only true calculation for economic growth is the result: an improvement in the living conditions of the population.
Creating Real Economic Growth
An excellent example of this defective thinking is highlighted in the article from the Brookings report entitled “How Industries without smokestacks can address Africa’s youth unemployment crisis.” Author John Page reports that Africa has not only failed to industrialize, but shockingly, its share of global manufacturing today is smaller than it was in 1980! He forecast that Africa’s working age population (15-64 years of age) will grow by 450 million between 2015 and 2035, and that “20 percent of new employment for wages will be in the service sector, and only 4 to 5 percent will be in a wage paying job in industry.” His conclusions for the future of youth employment in Africa are ill-founded and deadly when he states that since: “industry has declined as a share of output and employment…over the past four decades…Africa may not be able to rely on industry to lead structural change…”
Page then proceeds to dangerously postulate the equivalence of employment in manufacturing with tourists and service jobs. He writes: “The same forces that limit Africa’s opportunities in industry, however, are also creating a growing number of tradeable services—such as tourism and remote office services…”
“Growth in tourism is outpacing manufacturing in many African countries… It has the potential to create some of the millions of formal sector jobs Africa needs each year to employ youth entering the labor force…”
This is not an academic question for the people of Africa. We should all be level-headed about the implications of this prognostication: without industrialization Africans will die. African are dying every day due to lack of infrastructure, a diminutive manufacturing sector, and an inefficient food-producing industry. The industrialization of Africa with a massive expansion of its manufacturing base is not an option, but a life-or-death necessity!
Nor is this conjecture on my part. From the standpoint of economic science of physical economy there is no equivalence. Manufacturing, by transforming nature and producing needed goods, contributes real value to society; tourism and services do not. A variety of services are required for a functioning society, but this sector should not perform role of a primary employer for new entrants into the labor force. Tourism serves no vital task except to promote the natural beauty of a county. No new wealth is created by tourism; it is essentially collecting other people’s earned income.
Service-related jobs, whether useful or not, will never lead to real economic growth for one elementary reason. They do not contribute to the creation of new wealth. A properly organized economy would only have a relatively small percentage of its employed labor in the service sector. To do otherwise, as some African nations unfortunately are, is not sustainable, and will lead to calamity. To equate non-goods producing employment with manufacturing jobs is a grave fundamental error that should be rejected by serious economists and leaders.
Africa’s Youth Bulge Is Not A Curse
FORESIGHT AFRICA estimates that today 60% of Africa’s 1.25 billion people are under 25 years of age. That amounts to 750 million youth, a majority of which are unemployed or mis-employed in the pathological informal economy. It is projected that in sub-Saharan Africa alone, the youth population will expand by 522 million, and comprise one-third of the world’s youth by 2050. Thus, making Africa the continent with the youngest population, and potentially the largest workforce on the planet.
While these figures are striking, they do not justify enforced population reduction measures, as extremists advocate. Human life is intrinsically sacred because it is endowed with the divine spark of creativity. Contrary to popular misguided opinion, human creativity is the underlying source of all wealth; not money or even natural resources. Paleoanthropology shows us that millions of years ago before the emergence of homo sapiens-sapiens (wise-wise man), proto-humans, homo hablis, (handy man) designed tools first in the mind’s eye before shaping rocks into useful implements that were used to transform the environment for the benefit of mankind. Africa is not facing a crisis of too many people, but rather the urgency to formulate the best policies today that will incorporate millions of youth as productive members of the labor force.
What African nations most desperately need, and which will have the greatest impact of their economies, is infrastructure, infrastructure, and more infrastructure. It is not hyperbole to state that the lack of infrastructure is responsible for millions of deaths on the continent. The dearth of on-grid energy, arguably the most crucial component of an industrialized-manufacturing society, is preventing African nations from attaining the levels of economic growth required to sustain their populations.
For example. If we desire, as we should, that Africans enjoy the same relative living standard as Western nations, then each of the 2.5 billion Africans in the year 2050 should have access to at least one kilowatt (1,000 watts) of power every day. That would require, starting immediately, erecting enough power plants to generate 2,400 gigawatts of electricity. Itemize the bill of materials to build that many thermal, hydro, and nuclear power plants.
Now contemplate the number of workers that would be employed in this endeavor. Extend the same mode of thinking to constructing hundreds of thousands of kilometers of high-speed rail lines to connect the major cities, ports, and manufacturing centers across this vast continent. Add to that the number of new roads, hospitals, schools, libraries, and water ways that need to be built to provide an adequate standard of living. How many tens of millions or more youths will Africa need to employ in just the construction of primary infrastructure projects? Imagine how many additional jobs will be created in the spin-off industries.
Africa’s Future Begins Today
Trillions of dollars of long-term low interest credit must be made available to fund these projects. Only state-issued public credit will suffice for this scope of investment. The private sector, investments funds, or any other fund that is motivated by seeking high yield and quick financial returns on their investment will never, ever, underwrite the credit necessary. The overriding concern of the nation state is not making quick monetary profits, but the welfare of its citizens living and their posterity. The IMF thus far shown itself to be mentally, emotionally, and ideologically incapable of comprehending the true economic needs of Africa, or how to fund them. Those who are blinded by their erroneous view of evaluating an economy by its monetary worth, will forever be incompetent, and are not qualified to give advice, much less diktats to developing nations.
Credit issuance by the nation state is not a new or novel concept. The success of United States’ economy, which was maintained with ups and downs until its decline over the last five decades, emanated from the accomplishment of President George Washington’s Treasury Secretary, Alexander Hamilton. It was Hamilton’s understanding of credit and the central role of manufacturing that created the basis for U.S. economic growth from thirteen indebted colonies. Over the last 230 years, those leaders, in the U.S. or abroad, who were wise enough to comprehend and apply Hamilton’s understanding of national banking and credit, have been successful in stimulating economic growth for their nations.
Africa’s future does not begin in 2050; it begins now. It is incumbent on Africans, with the assistance of their friends and allies, to prioritize crucial transformative infrastructure and related projects that must be built and funded. This cannot wait. This is a war to eradicate poverty, hunger, and disease, and secure a productive life for billions of Africans living and yet to be born. Thus, this campaign should be conducted with a military-like commitment to achieve objectives and goals each month and each year. Hence, we are not waiting for the future; we are creating the future in the present.
*real and true are interchangeable terms signifying a physical (non-monetary) improvement in the economy.
Lawrence Freeman has been involved in Africa for over 25 years as a writer, analyst, and consultant. He teaches courses on African History in Maryland. In 2014 he was appointed Vice chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Lake Chad Basin Commission.
The article below discusses the sad reality: the United States it killing its most precious resource; its citizens. Human beings, because they are uniquely endowed with the power of reason, are the most valuable resource of a nation, and the impetus for economic growth. A nation with a decreasing life-expectancy, and/or an increasing mortality rate, is prima-facie evidence of a defective, and decadent culture. If a nation fails to promote and nurture the innate potential for creativity-the very essence of human life-while instead fostering a culture that degrades the mental life of its people, then that nation’s culture must be transformed, for its own survival. Thus Africa’s expanding population that is expected to grow to almost 2.5 billion people by 2050, is not a curse, but a source of potential beauty and wealth. For this to be realized, a true leader must be wise enough to formulate cultural, scientific, and economic polices today that flow from a conception of their nation’s development, one-two generations into the future.
U.S. Life-Expectancy Down: The fundamentals are unsound!
Nov. 29, 2018—Forget the stock market, inflation, and the jobs figures. According to the most vital measures of the U.S. economy, the fundamentals are very unsound.
U.S. life-expectancy at birth decreased again in 2017, according to statistics released today by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This makes the third year in a row that, contrary to the rest of the world, U.S. life-expectancy has stagnated or gone down. Such a multi-year reduction—from a peak of 78.9 years in 2014 to 78.6 years in 2017—has not occurred for 100 years, at the time of World War I and the Spanish flu epidemic.
The fact that adults between 25 and 44 years of age were the grouping that showed a statistically significant decrease in life-expectancy bodes poorly for future population growth as well. A society whose young adults of child-bearing age are dying at increasing rates, is a society headed for death.
A complementary report from the CDC also issued today points to one of the causes of the life-expectancy decline: deaths from opioid overdoses increased 9.6% between 2016 and 2017. The absolute number—70,237—is slightly less than had been anticipated in the summer, but should still be cause for alarm. The other cause of deaths that the CDC cites is the increase in suicides.
I’ve written about it before, but I have to say it again: population growth, in quality and quantity, is a hallmark of the American System of economics, and all competent economic science. The human mind is the source of invention and wealth, as human history shows, and as humanity cultivates its power over nature (including itself), it creates new potentials for progress. Through human inventive power, we have been able to advance from a culture where people had to spend all their waking hours simply guaranteeing their survival, to one where people (potentially) can eliminate poverty, harness nature, and have the leisure to develop their minds, create new inventions, and explore new worlds.
Conversely, when the human mind is degraded—as through slavery, narcotic drugs, pornography, and other degeneracy—the economy is eventually doomed. This is the process which we in the United States have been going through for nigh onto 50 years, and it’s killing us.
The last statistic I will mention is suicide. Suicide is now the 10th major cause of death in the United States, and has increased from 10.5 per 100,000 in 1999 to 14 per 100,000 in 2017. It is at the highest rate in 50 years. Here again, the United States is out of sync with the rest of the world, where the suicide rate, on average, is going down.
“Since this (drop in life expectancy) is being driven by increases in deaths due to drug overdoses and suicides and this affects the younger population, you’re talking about a lot of potential life that’s not being lived as a result of those increases,” commented Robert Anderson, chief of the Mortality Statistics Branch at the National Center for Health Statistics.
This situation is not going to be reversed by special programs to stop addiction and suicides. It’s going to take a sweeping change in the approach we citizens take toward our obligation to society and the future. Fortunately, there are models within our own American history for success. When will we start to heed them
A useful report, “Africa’s growing debt crisis: Who is the debt owed to?” by the British based Jubilee Debt Campaign, again belies the propaganda and gossip that China is manipulating African nations into a ‘debt-trap.’ This report excerpted below, using figures from the World Bank, and the China Africa Research Institute-(CARI) at Johns Hopkins SAIS in Washington DC, shows the percentage of debt owed to China by African nations is not the cause of a debt crisis. In fact, in many cases the debt owed to China is less than the total owed to Western nations and financial institutions.
It is clear that for strictly geo-political reasons many Western think tanks and various media have gone into overdrive demonizing China with false claims of a new ‘debt-trap.’ This has also led to increased attacks on African leaders, portraying them as weak and not acting in the interest of their citizens. They have been accused of succumbing to China, which has been dubbed, the new imperial power. Sadly, many Africans have been duped, or simply out of frustration and anger, joined this western orchestrated chorus.
Of course, the truth of the matter is quite different. From the early 1980s on Western financial intuitions such as the IMF, World Bank, and Paris Club, loaded up African nations with so much debt that they were unable to service the debt, forcing them into unpayable arrears. The vicious irony, is that several hundred billion dollars of debt lent by the West was never meant to actual develop African economies. It was in fact, intended to create a real ‘debt-trap’ for Africa. It has only been in the last ten years that Africa’s huge deficit in infrastructure is being addressed in collaboration with China’s non-western model of development. As I have written over many years, debt is not the problem when it is used as credit to improve the productive powers of a society to increase its physical wealth. Technologically advanced infrastructure is an excellent, if not the premiere method to drive an economy forward. This is exactly what China is accomplishing through its Belt and Road Initiative, and is at the heart of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation-(FOCAC).
Unfortunately, the dominance of the “geo-political” ideology since the death of Franklin Roosevelt has thoroughly contaminated the thinking of Westerners and Africans alike. Creating a culture (with few exceptions) of people unable to think strategically, and who cynically reject the idea that a powerful nation would extend itself to actually assist other nations. China, according to all accounts, has lifted 700 million of its people out of poverty. President Xi Xinping has pledged to help eliminate poverty in Africa, the continent with highest rate of poverty in the world. Yet, many Africans reject this offer as insincere, suggesting a sinister motive lurking behind China’s offer. This attitude, is in part, the result of today’s political culture, which has failed to understand one of the most profound universal principles: all mankind shares a common interest in the development of the creative potential of each and every human being.
Let us all agree, now, that we will all act on the this principle of the common good, and affirm as did the Treaty of Westphalia, that the interest of the other is also the interest of thy self.
“Africa’s growing debt crisis: Who is the debt owed to?”
Summary • African government external debt payments have doubled in two years, from an average of 5.9% of government revenue in 2015 to 11.8% in 2017 • 20% of African government external debt is owed to China • 17% of African government external interest payments are made to China • In contrast, 32% of African government external debt is owed to private lenders, and 35% to multilateral institutions such as the World Bank • 55% of external interest payments are to private creditors
Minimum amount of African government external debt owed to China as percentage of total debt is 18%
Creditor grouping, total debt owed, percentage of external debt owed, are as follows: China $72 billion 18% Paris Club $40 billion 10% Other governments $18 billion 4% World Bank $66 billion 16% IMF $18 billion 4% Other multilateral institutions $61 billion 15% Private sector $132 billion 32% Total $407 billion
Maximum amount of African government external debt owed to China as percentage of total debt is 24%
Creditor grouping’Total debt owed, percentage of external debt owed, are as follows: China $100 billion 24% Paris Club $40 billion 10% World Bank $66 billion 16% IMF $18 billion 4% Other multilateral institutions $61 billion 15% Private sector (excl. Chinese private sector) $132 billion 32% Total $417 billion
Checking these figures through country cases
Another way of identifying how much African government debt is owed to China is to look bottom-up at the individual data available by each government.
Of these 16 countries, 14 have figures on how much debt is owed to China (for the full analysis see Appendix 1.). Of these 14:
• 11 owe less than 18% of their debt to China (Burundi, Cabo Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Gambia, Ghana, Mauritania, Mozambique, Sao Tome and Principe, South Sudan, Sudan and Zimbabwe).
• Three owe more than 24% -Djibouti (68%), Zambia (30%) and Cameroon (29%).
• The mean average amount owed to China is 15% of a government’s external debt, and the median average is 8%
The Council of African Security and Development-CASADE has published my article regarding the debate over whether China is forcing African nations into a new ‘debt trap.’ Despite the propaganda from some Africans and Westerners, China is not the new imperialist in Africa. You can read my analysis below.
CASADE: COUNCIL ON AFRICAN SECURITY AND DEVELOPMENT
The Debate On China’s Role In Africa; A Different Point Of View
Oct 20, 2018
A Brief Response: Marshall Plan for Africa or “Debt Trap?”
The world is witnessing an increase in attacks on Africa’s relationships with China in various articles, as well as low-level, unthoughtful, messages on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Not only does that content intend to demonize China as the new colonial empire of Africa, but it also includes vulgar demeaning caricatures of African Heads of State.
Could the reason for the uptick of these kinds of diatribes be related to the successful September 3-4, Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit in Beijing, attended by leaders from almost every African nation? China has reached out to Africa and formed a special relationship which is being embraced by African Heads of State. It should be clear to any intelligent historian, that China is not acting as an Imperialist manner towards Africa.
However, what has been conspicuously, egregiously omitted from this unsubstantiated vilification of China, is the history of Western nations and institutions, which have acted as an Imperialist power towards Africa. The latest accusation is that China is deliberately entrapping African nations into unpayable debt. However, this is precisely what the IMF, World Bank, Paris Club, along with their allies in the City of London and Wall Street did to Africa immediately following the “Winds of Change.”
The motivation for this propaganda barrage is that China via FOCAC and the Belt & Road Initiative is offering African nations a pathway toward growth uncontrolled by the financial predators in the City of London and Wall Street. Contrary to the myth that China is stealing African resources; which the Western powers did first under slavery, then under colonialism, and have continued under neo-colonialism, China is actually providing credit for physical infrastructure; the sin qua non to spur economic growth.
Debt and Credit for What?
A pervasive and quite serious problem affecting well-intentioned individuals from all corners of the globe is the lack of understanding of what actually creates economic growth. Neither money, nor financial transactions, nor derivatives, nor speculation, nor rising stock markets, nor the market place are the cause of growth or synonymous with real economic growth.
Credits issued for infrastructure; water, energy, rail, roads, healthcare, and education, identifying the most vital categories, if properly organized, leads to an increase in the productivity i.e. the economic power of the society. This is measured by the ability of society to increase its physical output from one production cycle to the next. By utilizing advanced technologies embedded in new capital equipment, including infrastructure, farmers and workers can produce more efficiently. Simply providing abundant energy, high-speed railroads, and water inputs to an African nation would lead to a jump in economic output. Shortly after the death of President Kennedy, the US ceased its commitment to assist Africa nations in expanding their infrastructure.
China is committed to lending, issuing credit-yes creating a debt to fund long-term investment in infrastructure. Credit directed in this way is good debt. With non-usurious interest rates over 15-20 years, the loan can be retired from the profit it generates to society. This form of debt is not equivalent to the hundreds of billions of dollars African nations were forced to pay to the financial capitals of the world for loans to cover rigged terms of trade, and currency devaluations.
If you study the American System of Political Economy with its cornerstone; Alexander Hamilton’s national credit policy, you will realize that China is emulating the best of America’s past. For example, President Franklin Roosevelt, who successfully applied Hamilton’s principle to rebuild the Depression riddled US with state issued credits, would have little trouble understanding the principles of President Xi Jinping’s Belt & Road.
Economics and the Common Good
There is a deeper level to comprehending economic growth. Every human being is united by a universal principle often expressed as the “common good of mankind.” Yes, all human beings regardless of religion, color, ethnicity, or place of birth, share a “common interest.” We are all created with the power of creativity. Not logic, not deduction, not induction, but the power to hypothesis new ideas. The power of discovery, to discern new principles of the universe that we previously did not know but were there waiting to be revealed to the human mind. These scientific discoveries spawn new technologies which are the primary source of economic growth. Thus, it is the responsibility, nay the obligation of every society to nurture and develop that creative potential innate in all its citizens from birth to death.
For all citizens to realize their potential, live productive lives, and raise their families without fear of hunger and security, a nation must have the economic means to expand the total physical wealth of society over succeeding generations. An advanced industrialized nation requires a healthy manufacturing sector, which is also an essential component of a productive agriculture sector. The absence of robust agro-manufacturing economies in Africa is crime along with its huge deficit in infrastructure. Sadly, the West does not have the vision to assist African nations in overcoming these deficiencies. China in all, but name has launched the equivalent of a Marshall Plan for Africa.
Among the eight major initiatives that President Xi laid out at the Africa-China Summit, China will:
1.Promote industrialization; 2. Support agricultural assistance programs; 3. Work with the African Union (Agenda 2063) to formulate a China-Africa infrastructure cooperation program; 4. Increase its imports from Africa, in particular non-resources products; 5. Train 1,000 high-caliber Africans for training in innovation sectors; provide Africa with 50,000 government scholarships; and sponsor seminar and workshop opportunities for 50,000 Africans and invite 2,000 African students to visit China for exchanges.
China has come to understand that it is the common interest of its own country, and in the fact all nations, is to help Africa develop productive industrialized societies not dependent on revenue from one resource or one crop. Under these improved conditions, hunger and poverty, the underlying causes for conflict, can be eliminated. Great progress can be accomplished in Africa and the world, if the US and Europe acquire the wisdom to join China’s Spirit of the Belt & Road