January 4, 2012

SACRE BLUE:

The Post-Colonial Hangover: Some empires really were worse than others. (JOSHUA E. KEATING, JAN/FEB 2012, Foreign Policy)

Stanford University Ph.D. candidate Alexander Lee, with Professor Kenneth Schultz, looked at Cameroon, a rare country that includes large regions colonized by separate powers, Britain and France, and then united after independence in 1960. The only country with a similar history is Somalia, where it is understandably difficult to get economic data after more than three decades of war.

The results? There may be something to that British-legacy theory: Lee and Schultz found that formerly British rural areas of Cameroon today boast higher levels of wealth and better public services than those in the formerly French territory. To take one example, nearly 40 percent of rural households in the British provinces examined have access to piped water, while less than 15 percent on the French side do. This could suggest that the British colonial system, which had what Lee calls "greater levels of indirect rule and the granting of local-level autonomy to chiefs," was more beneficial -- or at least less damaging -- than the more hands-on French model, which involved a "greater level of forced labor."

It's even better if you were an island added to the Anglosphere.

Posted by at January 4, 2012 7:14 PM
  

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