Friday, April 20, 2007

Western descent good for 'rogues' like Sudan

Marketplace, almost anomalous at NPR in its balanced presentation, has an interesting report on the Sudanese economy. A few thousand blue helmets are being sent to Sudan as peacekeepers. It's being hailed as a partial victory among some nations in the UN. Western powers are attempting to shame and isolate the Sudanese government in response to its acquiescence to the activity of the Janjaweed militias in western Sudan and Chad. Some 200,000 people have died in the region since anti-government rebels took up arms in 2003.

The 3,000 UN troops are a far cry from the 22,000 the body wants to send. Failing to get that number is a sign of the trouble of waning Western influence. China has become Sudan's biggest trading partner in both imports and exports, with more than 70% of what it produces for the world market heading there. An ascending PRC is making the deals and purposefully not calling the political shots, allowing Khartoum more freedom from the West's attempts to call those same political shots:

[Reporter Gretchen Wilson:] Yep, Sudan's planning its first golf course, part of a $4.5 billion development here. What gets lost in media coverage about Sudan is the huge economic story happening here.

Most people have heard the horror stories about Darfur — the killings and full villages on the run. Key reasons why North American and European companies have largely quit doing business here.

But rather than buckling under U.S.-led sanctions, Sudan looked around for a new economic formula.

ABDUL-RAHIM HAMDI: We have reoriented our trade and investment policies to the East, and not to the West. Because the West has largely shunned our country.
The Occident's ideas of universal human rights and political liberalism are losing favor. The globe's economic epicenter used to lay somewhere between the US and Europe. It is steadily shifting eastward, however. China's economy, the world's second largest, is growing at an astounding 10.5% annual rate. With the US' 3.4% yearly expansion, China's total GDP will surpass that of the US in 2011. India's, fourth largest in the world, is also zipping along at 8.5%.

While the PRC has locked up a 40% stake in Sudan's oil industry, other Asian nations are hoping to cash as well:
[Wilson:] It's not just China pouring money into Sudan.

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS PEOPLE: "The profit in Sudan is very high." "There's a very big opportunity here." "The economy here is booming."

India, Malaysia and many other nations are all securing major oil construction and transport contracts. And some fear that Sudan's economic success will bolster the resolve of other regimes the U.S. doesn't like.

But investment here's not gonna stop any time soon, as emerging economies jockey for natural resources.
Khartoum astutely realizes that the up-and-comers are in the East. Europe no longer holds substantative power on the world stage, and the US is waning under its commitments in the miasma of Iraq, an economy sustained by heavy borrowing, and a per capita negative account balance that is the third worst internationally. Beijing doesn't have the litany of moral hangups that makes dealing with the West so tedious. Nor does Moscow or even New Delhi, for that matter. So long as you make cheap raw materials and natural resources like oil available to them, and consume their exports, conduct your internal affairs however you'd like to. A similar undercutting of Western influence is apparent in the actions of countries like Iran and Venezuela.

Ninety-one percent of Chinese scientists support engaging in eugenic practices for the benefit of the country. The Han belief in racial superiority dates back at least two millenia. Beijing isn't going to sacrifice its own interests on behalf of some humanitarian cause in an alien civilization. Nor will Mexico, or anywhere else in the non-Occidental world, for that matter. Only European-descended, white nations will go to bat for sub-Saharan blacks being decimated by North African Arabs in a local conflict that is of no vital interest to the intervening power.

At the onset of the Cultural Revolution in the sixties, people of European descent comprised one-quarter of the world's population. At the turn of the century, it had decreased to one-sixth. By mid-century, it will have dwindled to one-tenth. As the planet's white population disappears, so will the idea of universal individual human rights and the perceived obligation to defend ecumenical liberal democracy. Even in the Middle East, recipient of a vastly disproportionate amount of Western interest for its population, the West is losing its relevance. The inability to deter Iran from its nuclear ambitions has spurred several other countries to do the same:
Two years ago, the leaders of Saudi Arabia told international atomic regulators that they could foresee no need for the kingdom to develop nuclear power. Today, they are scrambling to hire atomic contractors, buy nuclear hardware and build support for a regional system of reactors.

So, too, Turkey is preparing for its first atomic plant. And Egypt has announced plans to build one on its Mediterranean coast. In all, roughly a dozen states in the region have recently turned to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna for help in starting their own nuclear programs. While interest in nuclear energy is rising globally, it is unusually strong in the Middle East.
Western nations need to find ways to increase its native fertility. Randall Parker thinks natural selection will do it for us, as those most wanting to have children procreate more and pass along that predilection to their offspring.

I'm not mollified. It takes decades for the effects of generational shifts in fertility to be felt. Once the predicted upswing occurs, we're looking at another 30-50 years of population decline before total population numbers start picking back up. Techniques to avoid pregnancy, such as coitus interruptus, have been known for thousands of years. There is a large cultural component to having babies as well--consider China's one-child policy and post-Franco Spain's birth dearth that has settled over a country (current TFR of 1.29 compared to the 2.1 needed to sustain a population) that only 35 years ago was Europe's most fecund.

It also needs to restrict immigration to some total that does not significantly alter its cultural ethos. Maxing annual legal residency granted at .1% of the total population seems reasonable to me. That translates to 300,000 total immigrants to the US each year from over one million today. A merit immigration system to ensure that those 300,000 are the best 300,000 offering residency can buy is crucial.

As the US comes more to resemble something between Brazil and Mexico, we can expect the US to become more like Brazil and Mexico. So much for being a world leader and chief pontificator on the value of liberalism, democracy, and free-markets--not only will the enthusiasm for such values be dampened, the poorer, dumber, and debt-ridden nation will hardly be able to put any force behinds its words even if it wants to.


JSBolton said...

Should good faith be assumed, and on the part of puffedly conspicuous, putative 'do-gooders', whose priority seems always to be to save tropical-adapted humanity?
Wouldn't it be more likely that those with a preoccupation with doing damage to populations, insofar as these are resistant to tyrannical power, are looking to remove obstacles, such as civilization, to the aggrandizement of power?
If they fail to do this, many scholars' dreams of applying a theoretical blueprint onto a real nation of great size, will wilt and die, perhaps.
Also your 1 billion number, does not include the 200 million in Latin America, estimated by McEvedy and Jones.

al fin said...

I am all in favour of attempting to influence unsavoury political trends using the political process--as futile as that may be at this late date. Realistically, though, certain powerful trends in world demographics and political alliances appear unstoppable by conventional means.

A person who looks into the future must assume power-greed on the part of warlord nations. Assume large scale nuclear proliferation, assume proliferation of biological and chemical weapons. Assume Islamist ascendancy in Europe and the Anglosphere.

Then begin making responsible plans. Likely existential risks to survival are many, and come from both the developed and undeveloped worlds.

BTW, Sudan's economy is not booming. There is a lot of money flowing into Sudan, but that is not the same thing. There is money to be made by the unscrupulous in Sudan, but that is not the same thing. This online book paints a picture of what a booming economy might be.

Audacious Epigone said...


The degeneration is occuring at different rates across the West. I hope, maybe fancifully, that after a few European nations are slammed with unsustainable entitlements, stagnant economies, impossible dependency ratios, and Islamic destruction from within, others will wake up and take more drastic measures.

Also, Sudan's GDP expanded by 9.6% last year. The distribution isn't as healthy as it may be in other more developed countries, but it is significant.