The Not-So-Great Professor: Jeffrey Sachs’ Incredible Failure to Eradicate Poverty in Africa

Howard W. French, Pacific Standard, September 17, 2013

The early sections of Nina Munk’s book about the economist Jeffrey Sachs read like a celebration of a boy genius. No, strike that: Sachs piles up so many achievements so quickly that the word genius sounds somehow inadequate.

By the age of 13, he was taking college math. Later, he got near-perfect scores on his SATs and graduated summa cum laude from Harvard, where by 28 he was a tenured professor. Two years later, he was advising the Bolivian government on how to administer economic “shock therapy,” designed to break the spell of hyperinflation. This led to an even bigger triumph: masterminding Poland’s transition to a market economy in 1989, as communism collapsed in Eastern Europe.

Today, though, Sachs is best known for his obsession with the noble idea of ending global poverty “once and for all.” In his 2005 best seller, The End of Poverty, he argued that with proper planning and funding, extreme poverty could be wiped off the Earth by 2025.

Months before the book’s publication, Sachs began work on a project designed to put his ideas in action in a handful of villages in sub-Saharan Africa. Munk, a reporter who had little prior experience in Africa, economics, or the amorphous field of “development,” spent six years following him on his trips to the continent and visiting on her own to assess his achievements there. The reader can feel her learning along the way, not just about her subject—the “Great Professor,” as one of his African employees calls him—but also about his ambitions and their distance from reality.

The more Munk gets to know Sachs, the more she perceives in him a deep unwillingness to concede any shortcomings in his ideas or their implementation. {snip}

Gradually, as Munk becomes more attuned to this feature of Sachs’s thinking, and more confident in her judgments, it becomes clear that she has no interest in burnishing the Great Professor’s ample legend. On the contrary: Her book is a devastating portrait of hubris and its consequences.

Sachs became obsessed with Africa during his first visit to the continent, a trip to Zambia in 1995, when the underfunded health care system had been totally overwhelmed by AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. The suffering and death Sachs saw shocked him, and he began reading everything he could about poverty, devouring works on agriculture, nutrition, disease, education, and commerce, synthesizing what he’d learned for papers and reports. Eventually he devised a massive experiment in foreign intervention at the village level. If it succeeded (or, in Sachs’ view, when it succeeded) in a handful of villages, it could then be expanded to cover entire countries and even—why not?—all of Africa.

The Millennium Villages Project was formally launched in June 2006, with support from the Earth Institute of Columbia University (of which Sachs is the director), the United Nations Development Program, and donors like George Soros. By the end of 2006, it included 12 villages in 10 sub-Saharan countries; the goal was to put each on a path toward economic growth by investing heavily for five years in food production, health care, education, and infrastructure.

Given the deeply mixed record of development assistance to Africa, this was a bold wager. Decades of aid totaling billions of dollars had failed to lift much of the continent out of poverty. And, as the economist William Easterly has noted, Sachs’ “Big Plan,” for all its claims of novelty, bore striking similarity to ideas about foreign aid that had been propounded since the 1950s. But Sachs did more than promise success where others had failed; he also guaranteed sustainability. According to a memo circulated to Sachs’s senior staff, “When the five-year [Millennium Villages] funding stops, the MVs should be able to continue their economic progress without a loss of momentum, a drop in living standards, or a decline in social services.”

This goal was premised on the notion that development can be accomplished simply by assembling the right set of instructions, and then paying for their implementation. Over and over Sachs boasted that, with his plan, beating poverty wasn’t just doable, but easy.

{snip}

But the road to success was not nearly as smooth—or knowable—as Sachs had predicted. The original plan was for the people of Dertu to preserve their nomadic lifestyle. But the abundance of donated food and services drew people from far and wide and induced them to settle. What had originally been little more than a watering hole for camels became a sprawling shantytown, its streets clogged with garbage. The new livestock market failed. The one water pump broke down. People began to fight among themselves for distributed goods. There was drought, followed by flooding. There were epidemics. There was theft, malingering, misreporting, and more.

Similar problems befell other villages. As the villagers’ disillusionment with the project grew, so did Munk’s disillusionment with Sachs. Again and again she saw him move the goalposts or seek additional funding rather than admit that he was failing—that he and the 29 other academics who wrote the Millennium Villages Handbook had been unable to anticipate all the social and environmental complexities at work in even the smallest of villages. “To a large extent,” Munk writes, “the success of the Millennium Villages Project depended on Sachs’ idea of progress.”

Confronted with the inability of his villages to sustain themselves financially, he kept changing the plan, improvising frantically: One moment the answer was to attract tourists, the next it was to transform peasants—who for generations had struggled to grow just enough food to survive—into credit-worthy entrepreneurs harvesting cash crops for export.

{snip}

The weakness that dooms most plans like the Millennium Villages to failure is best summarized by the Yale political scientist James C. Scott, in his book Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. For Scott, the culprit is “high-modernist ideology,” which he defines as a “muscle-bound … self-confidence about scientific and technical progress, the expansion of human production, [and] the growing satisfaction of human needs.”

In Scott’s account, high modernism inflicted its greatest damage in vast utopian campaigns like Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward, the collectivization of farms in the Soviet Union, and compulsory villagization in Tanzania and Ethiopia. In each of these cases, schemes promising massive progress were forced on people by an authoritarian state that was willing and able to use “the full weight of its coercive power” to bring its designs into being.

Though much smaller in scale than these examples—and certainly less deadly—the Millennium Villages Project proceeded along similar lines. “No administrative system,” Scott writes, “is capable of representing any existing social community except through a heroic and greatly schematized process of abstraction and simplification.” In the case of the Millennium Villages, this simplification was embodied by the 147-page handbook, written by academics in New York with insufficient regard for hard-won local knowledge. What Sachs failed to recognize, more than any individual research finding, is that rural Africa is thick with the wreckage of failed development projects more or less imposed by outsiders, and that Western powers have adopted new, often contradictory aid policies every decade or so, never publicly acknowledging their mistakes or owning up to the collateral damage they’ve inflicted on African lives.

BY THE END OF Munk’s book, the Millennium Villages Project is winding down (it is officially scheduled to end in 2015). Sachs seems defeated by Africa, but defeated in the manner of charismatic savior figures everywhere, for whom setbacks only ever spur quests for new, bigger stages. He campaigned to run the World Bank. He wrote about the need for a “new progressive movement.” He published a flailing jeremiad titled “A World Adrift,” and talked about a “very, very dark cloud” threatening to envelop humanity.

“For a long time, I wanted to simplify the problems by putting aside the rich world’s issues and so forth and focusing on extreme poverty,” he tells Munk. “But it’s all interconnected.”

Munk asks where the money will come from to finish the work in the Millennium Villages. “It is what it is,” he says. “And that’s not meant to be callous.”

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  • Puggg

    Sachs is so smart, but Africa bamboozled him? I’m just a dumb dog, but even I know that you’re better burning your money than investing in black Africa.

    • Spartacus

      I guess the smarter you are, the easier it is to make up lies for yourself…

      • Sometimes very smart people develop a sense of infallibility after an initial run of outstanding success. After they become overconfident, they fall prey to their own wishful thinking.

  • MekongDelta69

    Those that CAN… DO

    Those that CAN’T… become college ‘professors’

    • cablegirls

      Sometimes. This sweeping denigration, though, of those teaching at the highest levels is ridiculous. You (and others) want to fault the Marxist/Feminist/___ist/___ist portion of the spectrum, fine, but they comprise a tiny portion of the broad ranks of faculty. (Besides, Sachs isn’t even that kind.)

      • MekongDelta69

        …but they comprise a tiny portion of the broad ranks of faculty.

        They comprise a great majority of the faculty ranks – and have – for the last 50 years…

    • Brian

      Baby and bathwater. I had plenty of electrical engineering professors who had done great things in the real world and wanted to teach the younguns how to do it too.

  • A genius without a lick of common sense.
    His lily-white upbringing blinded him.

    • So CAL Snowman

      And his God-complexed/liberal narcissistic ego was shattered by the reality of genetics. These liberals just think they are Gods on Earth who know better than mother nature. In the end mother nature ALWAYS wins. Liberals represent the ultimate fallibility of man. The liberals may have higher IQs than the africans but they possess far less common sense.

      • dd121

        I doubt if he ever ascribed the failure to genetics and the low IQ of blacks in darkest africa.

    • Sick of it

      Liberals use the word genius far too often when referring to fellow mentally inferior hacks.

      • dd121

        And when referring to the purity of their ideology.

    • jeffaral

      Is professor Sachs white? Take a look at his nose.

    • Brian

      ‘Sachs’ is not lily white. Belongs to another tribe.

      • BonusGift

        Bingo; would a ‘white’ person today have been given the resources to do what he did along with a media to whitewash the truth?

        • Brian

          Why was my comment deleted?

          • BonusGift

            For me I find that it is often one of two issues: (1) Discuss seems to have a problem with including a web address in a comment, or (2) AmRen isn’t fond of direct references to the tribe or membership therein (in that case the statement being factual is of no defense; whereas if a statement of belief is made about Christian whites that has no basis in fact well that would be OK, sarc. off). Even though I responded and clearly thought your comment was ‘spot on’, I honestly don’t remember your comment so I am only proffering that which tends to get me deleted here.

          • Brian

            I only pointed out that Sachs is Jewish, with no hyperlinks or commentary. I see things on here that are far more direct or potentially offensive, which get to stand. I don’t get the ‘formula’ on this.

          • BonusGift

            Using a factual term but considering it is an unflattering topic and most people didn’t know (probably including that the AmRen person who posted the story) he was a tribe member might be enough to do it (I think it also depends on the moderator/judge/censor, which I assume changes from time to time and/or their mood that day). For example, many, if not most, economists of this type are Jewish; but mentioning that and not emphasizing the ubiquitous ‘he is a stupid smart/academic person’ line can be cause enough to be deleted. That noted, it is now likely I won’t be deleted because most people, including the censor, have moved onto today’s stories to monitor and comment upon and don’t want to appear heavy handed. This is in part why I refer to the tribe or membership therein and don’t use the j-word (i.e., it’s no guarantee, but I think it enhances the odds of non-deletion, especially with respect to current stories). Also, note that there are several commenters that often make asinine and unfounded comments about white Christians but it is largely allowed to stand without deletion because they also make fawning (and also largely unsubstantiated) claims about Caucasian tribe members as a group (i.e., what are often called Ashkenazi). Anyway, my two cents if that helps; and personally I would suggest you just keep doing what you are doing and keep telling the truth but maybe try using the j-word less and see what happens.

          • Brian

            Thanks for the good advice and observations. I am not one of those who sees a nefarious conspiracy planning world events on odd Tuesdays, but sometimes a person’s ethnicity and/or religion is relevant, or correlates to something relevant…which AmRen of all places should recognize.

          • Brian

            And your comment to me was deleted also! Whoever is doing this, would you please knock it off?

          • Franklin_Ryckaert

            The “formula” is that there is no formula.

    • BonusGift

      If by ‘lily-white’ you mean Jewish then yes that probably was a large causal factor in his being blinded to common sense.

  • Spartacus

    • Romulus

      Lmao. Brilliant !! Keep em coming spartacus!

    • JDInSanD

      Did they have clothes lines 2000 years ago? Or cloth for that matter?

      • sbuffalonative

        They had great universities of learning whose knowledge was stolen by the white man. The white man ruined everything which makes me wonder why they demand to be around us.

      • Romulus

        The masai didn’t. The red robe their wear was brought in by Scottish missionaries in the mid to late 1800’s

    • The Final Solution

      50,000 years but not a day of progress.

    • ViktorNN

      Somehow the genius Jeffrey Sachs seems to have been incapable of learning the simple point summed up so perfectly in the graphic you posted.

      The term “genius” is thrown around much too easily.

      • Franklin_Ryckaert

        There is a difference between intelligence and the ability to see through illusions. Mr Sachs is probably indeed a genius but he lacks the ability to see through certain illusions. Add to this a youth spend in isolation from the harsh realities of life and a working environment with persons of likewise ideological blindness and such illusions become understandable. However, if repeated confrontations with reality do not change such a person’s attitude, then he bears moral responsibility for his own stubbornness. Nevertheless such persons still can be highly intelligent.

  • Investing in Sub Saharan Africans, seems to simply result in there eventually being more Sub Saharan Africans.

    • Stentorian_Commentator

      There certainly is no shortage of sub-Saharan Africans. I’d like more resources devoted to white Europeans, Americans, Canadians, and ANZACs.
      You can take the professor out of Harvard, but you can’t take the Harvard out of the professor.
      You can tell a Harvard professor, but you can’t tell him much.

    • E_Pluribus_Pluribus

      Natural history broadcaster Sir David Attenborough attacks the idea of sending food aid to impoverished countries:

      “We say, get the United Nations to send them bags of flour. That’s barmy”.

      * * *

      “The natural history broadcaster warned that the world was ‘heading for disaster’ due to the threat of overpopulation, in comments made to the Daily Telegraph.
      “He said that unless human beings do not act soon the “‘natural world will do something’.”

      • Also google “Hillary Clinton tries to silence Bindi Irwin on population growth”.

        Bindi Irwin being the daughter of the late ‘crocodile hunter’ environmentalist Steve Irwin, who at age 15 is admittedly being used as a mouthpiece by some older greenies, but still the message and the censored response is cause for some study.

        • Romulus

          Bindi is probably far intellectually superior to Hillary. Militant femme windbag. No disrespect to our patriot and race realist ladies.

      • Romulus

        Hurray!

  • Jenkem Huffington

    The Achilles’ heel of this sort of plan is the sub Saharan hominid. They are lazy, violent, dishonest, and have no ability for the sort of three dimensional thinking that is required for a sustainable permanent society.

    There is a “Dark cloud threatening to envelop humanity” indeed and its these monstrous troglodytes that this imbecile is insisting on breeding and feeding.

    This communist utopia doesn’t work when white people attempt it, much less these primitive savages.

  • GeneticsareDestiny

    Any racial realist with an IQ above 90 could have told him exactly how and why his plan would fail. And yet this guy, whose IQ is probably at least 120, couldn’t see the plain truth right in front of his eyes.

    This is what happens when the intelligent elite are sheltered from reality by their money and status. They become disconnected and come up with wild plans that would only work if everyone were as smart as them.

    • leftists are delusional

      Probably 160 plus on the IQ, but no matter how much brain power you have if you operate under the illusion that the sub Saharan brain is equal to the European brain, your plans will not work out as you imagined.

      • Brian

        No matter the power of logic, if you start with flawed premises, you will have a flawed result.

    • Romulus

      Quite a substantial problem amongst the current academic elite is to overthink everything.Coming sense logic can usually point one in the right direction.

      • BonusGift

        I wouldn’t say so much overthinking. Actually it is more an issue of refusing to address certain issues like economic development and certain traits associated with the humans that actually account for it; that, and the fact he is of the tribe and you just wouldn’t find tribe members admitting YT has something going for him or her.

        • Romulus

          Many “smart people” i know can be so in love with their own intellect, that it can actually hinder their ability to think outside the box. Im an especially big fan for instance of proper english,verbage and so forth. You’ve probably read or heard lectures where the author/ orator research has become so monocular, they cant see beyond the tips of their hands or read an article that appears plausible, but goes way off the deep end.

          • BonusGift

            I call it the “bad professor effect”. Essentially an expert of say car engines will be asked a question about truck tires and end up droning on and on about car engines instead of truck tires. It’s a version of the old “if all you have is a hammer, everything begins looking like a nail.” Also, BTW, is it just me or does it get a might tiring to have one’s factual statements and related comments deleted?

          • Brian

            My dad says this as ‘I just need to know what time it is, not how a watch works.’

          • Romulus

            Yes again!!. See, perfectly simplified.

          • Romulus

            Yes!!!! That’s just about right.

    • dd121

      No matter how smart the person, when you let ideology trump reason, the resulting conclusions can be completely wrong.

  • 1stworlder

    Perfect SATs but not capable of imagining how stupid blacks are.

    • Sick of it

      I’m sure he had plenty of study materials, tutors, etc. That’s how he got into college math so quickly. Not because he picked up an algebra book in 2nd grade and magically understood everything. His lack of understanding in Africa alone proves his inability to think, to reason, to plan appropriately. And talk about lack of creativity when he was following some of the same methodologies which were used before he was born.

      • leftists are delusional

        I see it more likely that as an academic, who never lived in the real world, the few blax he met were mostly intelligent.

        He never considered and was never exposed to the evidence of the actual sub Saharan average IQ.

        Now that he has failed, he continues his delusion, not because he is stupid, but because he is a leftist.

        • Sick of it

          I didn’t say he was stupid per se, but certainly not genius level. Just another played up liberal exemplar.

      • Brian

        I’m probably not quite as smart as Sachs, but good enough to be in Mensa. The problem with him, and I’ve seen this in myself too, is if you’re smart enough, you tend to get distracted by things that others would not even notice. And sometimes the obvious thing in front of you is in fact the cause of whatever phenomenon you’re studying, rather than all the other stuff only you can detect, which end up throwing you off as red herrings. Imagine a person with super hearing– could be useful indeed. But it could also make it difficult to focus on the conversation you’re having with someone three feet away. High intelligence is 90% very useful, but 10% taking-you-down-the-garden-path.

    • Sentinel9

      Perfect SATs just mean he’s smart enough to sniff out where the money is.

    • Brian

      I had close to a perfect SAT but it took me years to tease through the data and overcome the power of lifelong indoctrination about egalitarianism. There’s some evidence to support the notion that intelligence evolved in part to help us argue, rather than reason. So it can make you better at justifying dogma rather than getting to the bottom of things. Not usually, but it happens.

      • Sick of it

        Yeah I had the same problem, but started questioning everything at 17. My definition of intelligence doesn’t fall into the rhetoric category, but I suppose ancient peoples could understand me better than the often bamboozled modern man. Demagogues would have been killed in ancient times and, as a matter of fact, some Greek philosophers were hunted down like dogs…ancient peoples were wiser in a lot of ways.

        • Brian

          I like the old Greek idea of the ostrakon. Every so often people take a piece of broken pottery and write the name of the person they think is a danger to society– bad ideas, too popular, too big for their britches, whatever– and the top vote-getter is ostracized…banished from the area for some years so they can’t cause trouble or become a tyrant. Seems cruel, but it’s better that the alternative of a lynch mob or letting that person run amok.

          • Sick of it

            The liberal movement would have been strangled in its infancy…

  • haroldcrews

    If Africa is to be raised above barbarism it can only be done through colonialism. A soft colonialism existed there previously and progress was made. However in the long term it proved unsustainable for various reasons. Ultimately it is likely that Africa can only be raised by population replacement or hard colonialism. The North American model would be the most practical strategy. Though it it like to be China who would carry it out.

    • Romulus

      I do not advocate any further interaction between whites and blacks. Liking leads to loving, loving leads to miscegenation. I much prefer the current model of starvation,famine, disease and war. Except on whites of course. Evolution/nature at it’s finest.

      • haroldcrews

        Considering the wealth in natural resources in Africa, non-interaction, isn’t really an alternative. Some ambitious Whites will go to Africa to seek their fortunes. And some of them will want to take their families. Interaction can certainly be limited but it can’t be eliminated.

        • Romulus

          Since the old methods of resource acquisition are no longer tolerated ,(colonialism, conquest) that is precisely why the African love affair in foreign policy. Still, the races of the world will never all see eye to eye all at the same time.

          • haroldcrews

            The United States gets away with colonialism and conquest pretty regularly.

    • JohnEngelman

      Empires raise average intelligence by increasing the prosperity and descendants of those with high intelligence. However, it takes centuries. It cannot be achieved in a single generation with welfare spending, foreign aid, and good intentions.

      The European empires in sub Saharan Africa ended centuries too soon.

      • It can not be achieved at all with welfare. Welfare programs are dysgenic because they reward the least intelligent members of a society for breeding like rabbits.

        • JohnEngelman

          I have made that point several times. I would like to end Aid to Families with Dependent Children and begin free abortion on demand.

          It sickens me to see a pregnant black woman without a wedding ring.

  • haroldcrews

    Intelligence unfortunately provides no assurance of wisdom. Frequently it is accompanied by the pride described by Munk.

  • Derp

    You know what? My wife also was taking college math at age 13 and also got near perfect on her SAT. She also graduated early, went to university, and CLEPed half of her college credits. And now she’s a stay-at-home mother with our six children, and I guarantee she’s done more for the world than this fool.

    • Romulus

      Thank you for helping keep the numbers up. The Duggars are doing their part too. I live in continual dread of one of their beautiful kids bringing home a silverback.

      • Derp

        Ugh.

    • Is she pro-White? She sounds great either way, but I’m curious.

      • Derp

        She’s VERY pro-White!

        • Any tips for us single guys on how to find quality pro-White women of our own?

          • Franklin_Ryckaert

            Start a pro-White dating website.

          • haroldcrews

            That’s something I would support.

          • Derp

            Good question. I found mine in university 16 years ago, and that time was the tail-end of finding quality women. What I see today is utter sh!te: feminists, cultural relativists, etc etc.

          • Sick of it

            I fell for several feminists in the past. Won’t make that mistake again.

      • jeffaral

        She bore 6 White children. Why are you asking this silly question??!!!

        • There are people with many White children who aren’t racially conscious, especially among Christians.

          • Sick of it

            And yet they aren’t fond of their kids marrying blacks or foreigners…

          • That may be true for many, but unfortunately not for all.

    • Spartacus

      Good man. Make sure you teach them how to fight .

      • Derp

        They’re all girls. I’ll make sure they marry real men!

        • Make certain they know how to fight and shoot.

        • Spartacus

          Even so, they should know how to punch, basic grapling, etc.

    • Brian

      People like you and your wife are keeping us afloat– this is as close to ‘the Lord’s work’ as anything I can think of. We need numbers, and we need competence. The lady and I are going to follow your example starting next year.

  • sbuffalonative

    From his earlier work, Mr. Sachs’ seems to have little real-world experience with real-life Africans. There’s economic theory and then their’s the mind of the African.

    the goal was to put each on a path toward economic growth by investing heavily for five years in food production, health care, education, and infrastructure…But Sachs did more than promise success where others had failed; he also guaranteed sustainability.”

    I’ve said it many times. Even when we give them pre-built civilizations, once whites leave, they devolve. They can’t maintain the white standards needed to keep civilizations going.

    “But the road to success was not nearly as smooth—or knowable—as Sachs had predicted. The original plan was for the people of Dertu to preserve their nomadic lifestyle. But the abundance of donated food and services drew people from far and wide and induced them to settle. What had originally been little more than a watering hole for camels became a sprawling shantytown, its streets clogged with garbage. The new livestock market failed. The one water pump broke down. People began to fight among themselves for distributed goods. There was drought, followed by flooding. There were epidemics. There was theft, malingering, misreporting, and more.”

    “Confronted with the inability of his villages to sustain themselves financially, he kept changing the plan, improvising frantically: One moment the answer was to attract tourists, the next it was to transform peasants—who for generations had struggled to grow just enough food to survive—into credit-worthy entrepreneurs harvesting cash crops for export.”

    For his next trick, Mr. Sachs will show us how to heard cats.

    “Sachs seems defeated by Africa, but defeated in the manner of charismatic savior figures everywhere, for whom setbacks only ever spur quests for new, bigger stages. He campaigned to run the World Bank. He wrote about the need for a “new progressive movement.” He published a flailing jeremiad titled “A World Adrift,” and talked about a “very, very dark cloud” threatening to envelop humanity.”

    I’ll bet he still believe he can make a difference if he just comes up with the right program, the right initiative, the right theory, and enough money to pull it off.

    Smart people can be really dumb.

    • Brian

      I’ve said it many times. Even when we give them pre-built civilizations,
      once whites leave, they devolve. They can’t maintain the white
      standards needed to keep civilizations going.

      Yes. Contrast this with India. The Brits set up hospitals, railroads, civil service, English language, and the Indians have incorporated that and built upon it. Plus they had a reasonably good baseline of civilization themselves beforehand. Hasn’t happened in any African circumstance. Sub-Saharan Entropy is a b*tch. Wreck and ruin.

      • Franklin_Ryckaert

        Obviously you never have been in India. Talk about their railroads and hospitals! Just make a visit to Calcutta and for yourself what “civilization” these people are capable of! The country is one big garbage dump!

        • Brian

          I’m aware it isn’t the French Riviera. I’m saying it’s better than Africa. I have been to Bangalore by the way. I’m sure you’ve heard of their technology companies there. Africa has no parallel to this, as far as I know. India has a middle class at least.

  • Sick of it

    Notice how often liberal cultists are called geniuses…when they seem to be not all that bright?

  • Biff_Maliboo

    It’s a b*itch when theory collides with that pesky thing called reality.

  • Tim_in_Indiana

    This reminds me a little of the theories of Peter H. Diamandis, millionaire entrepreneur who founded the X PRIZE Foundation and wrote a book called “Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think.”

    Like Sachs, he thinks that poverty in Africa will be eradicated in the next 20 years, but rather than hinging on huge investments and philanthropy, he believes this will happen automatically through the inexorable, exponential, march of technological progress.

    According to his book, vertical farming will solve hunger. Large 3-D printers will build the parts for prefabricated homes right in place and cheap nanotechnology-based solar power will allow much of the Sahara desert to be turned into an oasis, thanks to water pumped in from the ocean.

    I wonder if we’ll be reading about the failure of his theories in the next 10 years or sooner?

    • Romulus

      Yes, you will. The desperate attempts to prop up our fossil fuel based civilization will continue until supplies are exhausted by an ever enlarging global population or a huge die off occurs. Simply put, much of our existing tech will not work without the platform of fossil fuel based tech to support it.

    • Tarczan

      That reminds me of Micchu Kaku the scientists, when he talks on about how mankind will inexorably march towards this high tech future, which will be defined by using more and more energy produced by more and more exotic means. Well, what happens if by governmental actions blacks increase as a percentage of the earths’ population and the average IQ drops below say 90?

      Is this wonderful future for mankind still predicted if the European brain is bred out of existence?

      • GeneticsareDestiny

        I don’t think it will ever get that bad. Africans are breeding quickly now, but they can only maintain those birthrates because of Western benevolence. When white countries (especially America) run out of money, that benevolence will end, and with it will end high African birthrates (or, more likely, their death rates will simply increase to keep up with the birthrate, like they used to).

        The African population will then, under natural forces, steadily decline until it reaches the carrying capacity of the African continent, and human misery will also decline, because there will be fewer mouths to feed and thus more food to go around.

        Even if global IQ drops below 90, the areas of the world with high average IQs will still become increasingly high tech and will demand and consume more energy. The gleaming sci-fi future may still be in store for whites and East Asians.

    • Brian

      African renaissance (well, ‘naissance’ I suppose) will never happen without genetic engineering or population replacement. Given that, then yes, Diamandis’ technical fixes could be useful. Without it, not a chance. The wetware is incompatible with the hardware.

      • Franklin_Ryckaert

        That amounts to saying : the Africans can only be helped if they are replaced by non-Africans, which actually means they can never be helped.
        It would be like a doctor saying to his patient : I can only heal you if you are replaced by another patient.

        • Brian

          Exactly my point…they can’t be helped.

  • Romulus

    What a pious effing douchebag! Since the fifties America alone has given billions to gorgeousness dwellers. Nothing has changed except where white people have settled.
    Just another tribesman with a messianic complex!!

    No disrespect to Christians intended.

  • leftists are delusional

    The well intention-ed professor failed to consider the IQ deficit and other behavioral differences in his calculations.

    Doesn’t matter how smart you are put garbage in the processor you get garbage out.

    • BonusGift

      You’re right, but I wouldn’t say he is so well intentioned as desirous of fame and glory.

      • leftists are delusional

        Vanity is certainly a powerful motivator.

  • Luca

    “The suffering and death Sachs saw shocked him, and he began reading everything he could about poverty, devouring works on agriculture, nutrition, disease, education, and commerce..”

    Perhaps he should have read something about birth control. That seems to be the only answer that even comes close to a solution. Either that or let the natives return to their feral stone-age existence as nature intended.

    • Stan D Mute

      Nature was their birth control. White meddling has prevented the disease, famine, and much of the tribal cannibalistic warfare that formerly kept Africa’s population in check. These do-gooder whites are directly responsible for the population explosion and ultimately the deaths of millions more Africans who simply would never have been born had it not been for their idiotic tampering with the natural order.

      • BonusGift

        If one looks at blacks after the ‘Civil War’ their percentage dropped down when the North/’Union’ stopped subsidizing them (i.e., there was a relative die off compared to whites). There are stories of blacks just sitting in place waiting for the great white hand to save them with food, and related gibsmedat. If blacks had zero subsidies from whites there would already be few, if any left in North America above those latitudes that experience freezing temperatures (the deep south and areas toward the equator are another issue). Essentially, and ignoring mulattoes, nature has had little influence on overall racial birthrates since YT invented things like the scientific revolution, modern medicine with its antibiotics, pesticides, etc. etcetera. What the world needs is for natural selection to work it’s magic and YT to withdraw his magic from the equation.
        “Hundreds of thousands of slaves freed during the American civil war died from disease and hunger after being liberated, according to a new book. The analysis, by historian Jim Downs of Connecticut College, casts a shadow over one of the most celebrated narratives of American history, which sees the freeing of the slaves as a triumphant righting of the wrongs of a southern plantation system that kept millions of black Americans in chains.” In short, what do you think will happen to blacks when the national credit card is cut? Natural selection for a group that has thrived during an extreme form of unnatural selection will be a bitch.

    • MBlanc46

      I think that the latter is really the way to go with sub-Saharan Africans. Let them return to their subsistence-agriculture way of life and let nature take its course.

      • itdoesnotmatter

        Rescue the remaining wide awake whites first.

        • Don’t forget the children.

          • itdoesnotmatter

            Hope you mean white children.

          • No, I mean the White children.

        • MBlanc46

          Any whites in sub-Saharan Africa are living on borrowed time, whatever the outcome is.

      • Franklin_Ryckaert

        In terms of numbers that would mean a population of 88 million black Africans, which is their population number of around 1900 AD, thus before the white man began to influence their way of life intensively.

        • MBlanc46

          So be it.

  • Stan D Mute

    I admit this one has me flummoxed. I’ve known several brilliant “true believer” lefty liberals in my long life, but every single one of them, if you knew them well and invested the time and patience, could be worn down to confess that blacks’ intelligence falls FAR short of whites or orientals and even that white handouts to blacks would be forever necessary.

    I simply cannot comprehend how this guy could be so intelligent and yet fail to see a truth so obvious. If blacks really were intelligent, there would be *some* evidence of that throughout history. Yet there is *none*! No written language, no architecture, no science, no math, *nothing*!

    There has to be more to this story.

    • Whitetrashgang

      Well blacks are children that never grow up, you always hope they will but it just does not happen .Just like putting fish in a pond and they never grow bigger, its not their fault it you must be you doing something wrong.

    • sbuffalonative

      You can’t see what you don’t want to or refuse to see. This guy, like everyone before him, was shocked by the conditions in Africa. Does he see their plight as the result of their nature? No, he sees it as a failure on the part of whites who, while they may have had good intentions, just got it wrong.

      This guy clearly can’t or won’t acknowledge racial difference in achievement.

      This guy represents the extreme of denial we’re dealing with from the ‘progressive’ left. These people can’t admit the truth. To do so would mean that they’re just as ‘racists’ as the racists they hate. The only way they can maintain their alleged moral superiority is to deny reality.

      This guy shows us why it’s futile to debate or reason with ‘progressive’ liberals.

      • MBlanc46

        No matter what the empirical evidence, theories can always be rejiggered to deflect or discount it. As Kuhn says, there’s no such thing as a crucial experiment. As SDM says, most people will eventually be worn down by the evidence, but those who are truly committed to their view can always find a way to interpret the evidence in non-fatal ways.

      • Stan D Mute

        What you suggest goes beyond an unwillingness to admit the truth. You are really talking about insanity. A very large part of general intelligence, or “g”, is the ability to differentiate between things and to recognize patterns. African intelligence is demonstrated amply by African achievement. Anyone with any intelligence can see with only the slightest effort that Africans are not as intelligent as whites, orientals, Arabs, or Indians. To have had the level of exposure to and interaction with Africans that Sachs has had and to *truly* not see that truth is comparable to being a veterinarian who specializes in dogs and one day decides he must go and help alligators because they’re not living up to the potential he sees in other dog breeds. He then goes and works with alligators for a few years before returning home to demand more money for his work because these “dogs” (alligators) still aren’t playing fetch.

        So while I’m giving this a name different from what you’ve called it (denial of truth vs true insanity), we are definitely on the same page insofar as futility in debating or reasoning with the guy.

        Nevertheless, as I wrote above, all the *really* smart social Marxists I’ve had as close friends or family, when really pressed on the issue do admit the reality, they just come to *very* different conclusions about how to face it. I will also say, however, that I’ve never been successful in “turning” one of them. They have been committed to their ideal of “equality” regardless of the destruction necessary to try and achieve it.

  • MBlanc46

    What’s the diff?

    • Franklin_Ryckaert

      Urban savages and jungle savages.

  • MBlanc46

    They committed to it 60 or 70 years ago for reasons that at least had the appearance of sense. Psychologically and politically they’re deeply invested in it. It will probably take another generation to change significantly.

    • Franklin_Ryckaert

      The greatest threshold for these people to cross is the realization that all men are NOT equal, which means in practice that Blacks are inferior to Whites, but that would mean to concede to RACISM, the greatest sin ever thinkable. The problem for these people is moral, not intellectual.

      • Blacks are not only inferior to whites, they are inferior to east Asians, they are inferior to subcontinental Asians, they are inferior to Arabs and they are inferior to Amerinds. Their inferiority is absolute, and it is driving them crazy. Even as dim-witted and warthog-ugly as Australian aborigines are, they produce nothing like the level of violent crime of African blacks.

        • Brian

          Abos, pound for pound, have got to be the ugliest folks on earth, bless their hearts. They look like a missing link throwback. Not their fault I know…

      • MBlanc46

        I’d call it psychological.

    • Brian

      I can understand being an egalitarian in the 40’s. You see the black man kicked down by apartheid, slavery, Jim Crow, etc. and think that’s the only cause the of the gap. And being a high-minded, good-hearted sort, you want to fix these things. Well, now we’ve been there and done that, tried everything we could, and learned a lot more about genetics and sociology too. And the gap persists as strongly as always; indeed, the Great Society meddling has made things even worse…time to acknowledge a deeper, intractable, unfortunate cause– nature instead of nurture. Egalitarians now have no excuse like their mentors did. Time for them to wake up and smell what Reality is cooking.

      • MBlanc46

        I wasn’t there in the forties, but I did make the late 50s and 60s. On the level of abstract philosophical argument, nurturism has about as much to say for itself as naturism; in addition, it’s much more amenable to traditional human concerns and was certainly more consistent with the policies that the elites wished to implement. As you say, the empirical data has been coming in for four decades or more. We’re past abstract arguments. If we don’t know all the details, we know the general shape of the bases of human behavior. Unfortunately, that knowledge is inconsistent with the policies that the elites wish to implement.

        • Brian

          Nurturism has the great advantage of tractability; if you think the cause of a problem is environmental or circumstantial, you can possibly change it. Naturism is fatalistic and people don’t like that. It is dispiriting, but unfortunately it bears much truth, though not all.

          As fond as I am of Jefferson, he didn’t do us any favor with ‘we hold these truths to be self-evident’. Prof. Sachs’ problem is that he’s holding a truth to be self-evident, while ignoring the hard facts contradicting his dogma.

          • MBlanc46

            Indeed. That’s a good part of why nurturism found such favor with the elites.

  • The Final Solution

    So what exactly is the point of bringing these impoverished Africans out of poverty anyway? I guess they feel some obligation to end their suffering? Who cares?

  • Daniel Schmuhl

    Sachs means well like many liberals but also extremely naive when it comes to how the world really works and arrogant.

    • Sentinel9

      No, he does NOT mean well.

      As Ralph Waldo Emerson said in his essay Self-Reliance, Sachs’ concern for black folk thousands of miles away is just a varnish over his hard uncharitable ambition. His love afar is spite at home.

      • Brian

        Ambition and vanity do seem to be his drivers, but he is putting them in service of what he thinks is noble. He’s just terrible at it.

  • dd121

    Sachs missed the solution and it’s really simple. Build a big dam to generate electricity and industrial complexes will sprout up like mushrooms. The groids will then have the money to buy wheelbarrows with which to haul the ensuing piles of money back to their mud huts. What could go wrong?

  • Sentinel9

    “For a long time, I wanted to simplify the problems by putting aside the
    rich world’s issues and so forth and focusing on extreme poverty,” he
    tells Munk. “But it’s all interconnected.”

    He’s not talking about Japan. He means it’s white people’s fault he failed. He’s getting ready to justify white genocide.

  • WR_the_realist

    Africa is the one continent absolutely guaranteed to defeat any army of do gooders that tries to change it.

    • Brian

      They call Afghanistan ‘the graveyard of empires’. Africa is the graveyard of do-gooders.

  • Franklin_Ryckaert

    “Genetic capital” that’s the term we need in such cases!

    • Or just “human quality.”

      • Franklin_Ryckaert

        Which means actually “human INEquality’.

  • cablegirls

    Not to at all to defend Sachs’ Millenium Villages, but didn’t you read above about his successes in Bolivia? Poland? Anyway, those successes underscore the tremendous leap in difficulty in trying to motivate, organize and instruct the people of Africa.

    • Poles are white. Bolivians are Indios with a Mestizo and white elite who run things. To a race-realist, these make for quite different societal conditions than one obtains in sub-Saharan Africa.

      • cablegirls

        That’s what I’m saying, Michael, within the context that this guy did have real-world experience before trying to crack the Africa nut.

  • cablegirls

    Sounded good on paper.

  • Kathy M

    For those who have had comments deleted by a moderator, apparently all it takes is anyone flagging your comment, which puts it into a queue, then the moderator, without even reading the comment, deletes it. This tells all other readers that you have said something so inappropriate or evil that your comment had to be deleted!

    I made an entirely accurate comment about whites becoming a servile minority in this country which is 100% true and uninformed moderator deleted my comment! How is that comment even remotely worthy of deletion?

    • Franklin_Ryckaert

      It seems there is such a thing as “political correctness” even on this supposedly political incorrect forum, but where exactly the boundaries lie is not clear.

      • itdoesnotmatter

        Boundaries lie where your sensibilities set them.

        You could decide where that point is, mentally filter the rest.

        Or, if the discussion is too provocative, this may not be the blog for you. I hope you stay; I enjoy your posts.
        As you may have noted, many here are displeased about wealthy liberal Jews’ perceived political and financial push for globalism and ongoing, unchecked Muslim, other Third World peoples’ immigration into the West.

        The USA and Western Europe must embrace multiculturalism, or else suffer the consequences of international censure. That is the bankstas’ NWO message, loud and clear.

        A list naming those in global power positions identifies heritage.
        Meanwhile, Israel has constructed double fences of razor wire with posted sentries and sensor devices, as they accelerate deportation of undesirable invaders [African and Arab Muslims] in the name of a sovereign Jewish state.
        I don’t blame them; many of us would like a white Euro sovereign state as well.

        The double standard does stick in one’s craw.

    • jeffaral

      Usually any comment critical of the tribe is deleted. We are well aware of Mr genius Jeffrey Sachs’ ethnic backgroud, but i’ll keep my mouth shut!

      • Franklin_Ryckaert

        I already suspected that when I saw his portrait, but I kept my mouth shut.

        • Brian

          His name is Sachs. Kind of a dead giveaway.

          • Franklin_Ryckaert

            Not really. Sachs is a regular German name meaning “man from Saxony”. But it can also be an Ashkenazi name.

          • Brian

            I know, but in America I’ve never heard of someone with that name who was a Lutheran. In Germany, sure. The fact that he’s a Harvard prof, egalitarian, etc. are also indicators.

    • joesolargenius

      I mentioned that the Rockefellow family was worth about a half a trillion dollars and it was deleted as well as someones reply to it.

  • jeffaral

    Sachs, Milton Friedman, Alan Greespan, Maddof,…….They are all high IQ geniuses, aren’t they?

  • scutum1

    Professor Jeffrey Sachs is a member of the tribe. Need more be said regarding his agenda and politics?

    • Franklin_Ryckaert

      We would believe in his honest intentions if he would try to alleviate poverty among the Palestinians.

      • Katherine McChesney

        The Palestinians, like blacks, are responsible for their poverty. They are also a violent squatter culture imposing their will in a country which doesn’t belong to them.

        • Franklin_Ryckaert

          You mean Palestine doesn’t belong to the Palestinians? And talking about “violent sqatters”, I know a bunch of such people in Palestine, they came from Poland, from Russia etc. and started to “impose their will in a country that doesn’t belong to them”. Your shameless reversal of the truth is typical for co-ethnics of those “violent squatters” I just mentioned.

          • Luca

            If you want to post blame for imposing will, look to Britian and the Balfour Declaration for starters.

            Meanwhile, with all the resources in the oil-rich Arab world why don’t the Arabs alleviate the Palestinians poverty?

            In the last forty-years the Palestinians have quadrupled their population, which would leave me to agree with the statement above, they are significantly responsible for their predicament in that regard.

            That land area has had numerous names, diverse populations and changed hands many times since pre-biblical times. In modern times, various wars, mandates and agreements have shifted the borders.

            The Palestinian people are ethnically and culturally Arabs and their own people should be supplying them with help and solutions instead of rockets and suicide vests.

          • Your statement suggests that Jews originated somewhere else and that they belong in a place other than Israel. As much as you appear to dislike them, I think you would want them “there” and not “here”.

            Unless one of us is terribly mistaken, Islam only reared its ugly visage in the seventh Century.

  • MekongDelta69

    Both of you (cablegirls) know exactly what I mean.

    My statement applies to the great majority of ‘professors.’

    There are OBVIOUSLY exceptions to every rule – which is why they have rules – so you can note the exceptions…

    • cablegirls

      The rule, Mekong, is the professor who’s mastered the subject matter of his field and imparts that knowledge effectively. The exceptions include those in the “soft” sciences who uniformly espouse a particular social or political philosophy to the exclusion of others.

  • Brian

    He has had good successes before on other fronts– he is a smart guy– but even his intellect is overpowered by the strength of sub-Saharan dumb.

  • Luca

    Liberals appreciate and covet them for their voting skills.

  • Brian

    Iceland vs. Haiti is a pretty stark contrast as well. Haiti was blessed with far more abundant resources, and yet their per-capita income is about half that of El Salvador, while isolated Iceland is first world, with little more than fish and hot springs.

  • Franklin_Ryckaert

    Intelligence is the ability to understand things. I call the ability to see through illusions transvision and a person who possesses such ability transvident. People who are intelligent but not transvident often can express their illusions in words very well, which tends to confirm their illusions since it impresses others so much. If such people have official functions, then their illusions are almost impossible to deconstruct. That was the case with communist ideologues, it is still the case with our liberal ideologues who now dominate our universities.

  • 1stworlder

    Newton died in 1727, so you had to go back almost 300 years for 4 examples.

  • Rudolf Ravenspeak

    I don’t see the problem. Just put Africans on global welfare backed by the US dollar.