December 22-30

Which 100HB response was your favorite today? A place to create polls and respond.

Favorite this week?

Story including all current writer pseudonyms
2
17%
Russian Reversal
0
No votes
Entitlement, Salary, Etc
2
17%
Africa
8
67%
Other (please specify)
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 12

C is for
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December 22-30

Post by C is for »

...I'm not in the mood to come up with a song. Rats. It's probably for the best.

I did provide an Other option this week, as I skipped some that could be good. If you remember them, feel free to let us know which it was! Oh, and if you read any today that are super awesome, you can pick Other for them too. I didn't think about today. But I'm too lazy to delete this, so ...
C is for
um Administrator
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Re: December 22-30

Post by C is for »

I'd love it if more people voted on this one.
NerdGirl
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Re: December 22-30

Post by NerdGirl »

I voted! And mine isn't winning! :(
Craig Jessop
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Re: December 22-30

Post by Craig Jessop »

The Africa one was FANTASTIC.
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vorpal blade
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Re: December 22-30

Post by vorpal blade »

I don't know if the Africa answer is correct, but it was a great answer.
thebigcheese
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Re: December 22-30

Post by thebigcheese »

Agreed. The Africa answer was awesome.
Foreman
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Re: December 22-30

Post by Foreman »

Oh, hey! Thanks for the nice words, even if they were said a week+ ago. I put a lot of time into that answer, and I'm glad people at least pretended to read it. I think the concepts are pretty easy but that too many people just never bother to look into the question.

Vorpal, I'm interested in hearing what you took issue with, especially that wasn't severe enough to demote it to a bad answer. I have a hunch it might be something about not wanting to blame problems on an outside source, but instead to take personal responsibility. I say this because you strike me as a "bootstraps" kind of guy; and hey, I'm one of those, too. I don't deny there are some countries that just need to get their acts together and make things happen, but history and geography play a part in every country, period. If it's not that (sorry for taking a guess), can we open a polite discourse?
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vorpal blade
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Re: December 22-30

Post by vorpal blade »

I thought it was an excellent answer because it was full of facts and interesting ideas, many of which I hadn't known before and hadn't thought of before. I have no doubt that your analysis is balanced, well-thought out, and worthy of study and deep consideration. I know very little of the history and geography of Africa, so why did I say "I don't know if the Africa answer is correct....?" Well, partly as an admission of my ignorance. But partly because I had a sense that something was missing.

I reread your answer to see if I missed it the first time. I didn't see what I was looking for. Perhaps it is there, and I just can't see it. I guess it is just my gut feeling that there must be more to the answer than history and geography. I don't mean to dismiss your answer as "merely" history and geography, and I think they play a significant role. What I think may be the root cause of Africa's problems is likely to get me booed in many circles, although I think you will understand me. I think the main problem is with the culture of the people who live there. Their beliefs, their value systems, their superstitions, their concept of the world, their shared expectations of this life, their ignorance, and their traditions and customs – I sense that this is the underlying problem, in my ignorant estimation.

Call it faith or blindness or cultural superiority complex, but I think that if every person in Africa was truly converted to Mormonism then their problems would soon be solved. They would quickly find ways to overcome the problems of tribalism and colonialism. They would solve their geographical limitations, or turn them into strengths. I suppose you could call tribalism a sort of cultural weakness, but it didn't seem to be called that in your analysis.

So, now I've tried to put into words my vague reluctance to accept your answer unequivocally.
Foreman
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Re: December 22-30

Post by Foreman »

Thanks for the explanation, I appreciate it. One of the nice things (probably the only nice thing) about a problem so complex is that it can be approached so many different ways. Heck, I knew most of the things I typed up off of the top of my head anyway (though I tried to cite sources), but putting them all together still created some connections that I hadn't realized before. That was cool.

Anyway, you're correct that one factor is not everything. I'm a geographer, so I tend to think about things geographically. I do think that, thanks to its sheer diversity, geography is a very powerful tool, since you can encompass things like culture and religion without getting in trouble. It's not everything. It is, however, a big something. I'll analogize it like this: bad geography of a country or continent is like a single-parent household. Single parents are not absolutely doomed to failure; there are many examples to the contrary. But it absolutely does change the circumstances, usually for the worse. The single mother will almost certainly have less time and less money to spend on her children, which can lead to problems in any number of obvious ways. Same with geography. A country is not doomed to one certain fate, but some factors (being landlocked, having bad neighbors, having many incompatible groups within it, etc.) necessarily alter its available courses of action, and they have to make the best of it that they can. Sometimes it goes rather poorly.

As a side note, thanks to AIDS and stuff, there are a lot of single-parent households in Africa. So they're hurting there, too.

Anyway, I did list a few geographic issues which are pretty difficult to overcome, but I think I focused much more on cultural problems. So actually, a lot of what you said is about the same as what I said, though with a slightly different perspective: ultimately, problems of cultural incompatibility are feeding the (probably surmountable) inherent issues. I assume your "converting to Mormonism" theory was one based primarily on the efficacy of the Gospel. I hope I won't get in trouble for calling that scenario a little overoptimistic, but I do agree with the concept: anything that served to lessen the cultural divides would certainly help African nations become more stable. That's exactly the problem: these people who are all supposed to be "Sudanese" have nothing in common beyond the name. Something else in common would certainly help. But then we get into stuff called "state building," which is also viewable as "nation-destroying" (or, destroying unique cultures to create political unity). Doing this intentionally is often pretty frowned upon in today's world--typically because it's done forcefully or violently. There's some work by Bernard Nietchmann I could link you to, if you're interested in reading more about nations v. states.

Well, I feel like I'm rambling a bit, which tends to happen when I'm on a subject I'm interested in and not proofreading or editing very carefully. There are things in African culture that are definitely incorrect, no matter who you are (for instance, the lamentable belief in some places that the cure for AIDS is to sleep with 7 virgins. It's not only wrong, it's the head-slappingly opposite of helpful). But yeah...It's a lot for anyone to "fix."