23 May 2023

What Nation States Would Look Like In Africa

This is a map of Africa using ethnically drawn borders, rather than those drawn by imperial powers. Needless to say, an Africa made up of nation-states would have far more countries, almost all smaller than the existing ones, than the status quo does.

Indeed, ethnic division and small pre-colonial political units, none of which could on its own raise a large army or dominate trade in a region, were factors in addition to "Guns, Germs and Steel" that allow made colonial rule possible in Africa.

In contrast, in much of Europe and mainland Asia, wars of conquest gradually produced larger and larger kingdoms that the rulers of these kingdoms eventually homogenized culturally and linguistically, a process that much of Africa didn't experience. And, in the Americas, Australia, New Zealand, and much of Oceania, European colonists with more homogeneity replaced or overwhelmed local populations through demic replacement and cultural and linguistic transitions.

Of course, there is a certain level of subjectively involved in any such map. For example, one level of generality above individual ethnicities and languages is language families, illustrated on the map below, and membership in the same language family often coincides with cultural commonalities as well.

In between, you can look at both language families and individual languages in the same map (from here) in an image that captures not just those too levels of analysis but also the relative similarity of languages in the same family as a function of color shades:

Any map assigning a single language to a geographic area, of course, also fails to represent the fact that multiple languages are often spoken by people in the same vicinity, even the same village or neighborhood, and that in many places, multi-lingual individuals are common - often speaking one or more local languages and a national European colonial language as a lingua franca, albeit with a distinctive local dialect of that language.

What A Problematic National Debt Looks Like

In Nigeria debt service, mostly domestic, took up a staggering 96% of government revenues last year.
From here. This said, Nigeria's debt is only about 38% of the GPD. But it pays higher interest rates than the U.S. does and collects less government revenue as a percentage of GDP.

Apparently, in Nigeria (according to the source for the quote): "Part of the problem is that the government has collected little money from oil recently due to rampant oil theft, low production and the cost of fuel subsidies, which are deducted before oil proceeds reach the treasury."

By comparison, the U.S. federal government spends 13% of total federal spending as of April 2023 (about $460 billion per year) on debt service for the U.S., federal government's debt. The U.S. national debt is about 120% of the nation's GDP.

The biggest issue in the U.S. is that the interest rates that the U.S. government pays on the national debt are very low and if they increase significantly, the debt service costs could increase greatly.

Brain Injury Is Behind Many Of Society's Worst Problems

[N]early two-thirds of those experiencing chronic homelessness in metro Denver suffer from some kind of brain injury[.]
From here.

The very bottom of American society, from the people who are "problem" inmates in jails and prisons, to the chronically homeless, is pervasively full of people with brain injuries. And, mostly, these are conditions that can't be cured.

Guns Are Still A Much Bigger Problem In The U.S. Than Anyplace Else

 It isn't even close.