Category Archives: Politics

The Civilizational Problem

Considering Emmanuel Macron’s know-how on technology (for two years he was Minister of the Economy, Industry, and Digital Affairs) and high fashion (in 2016, his response to a worker on strike against the new employment law was, ‘You won’t scare me with your t-shirt, the best way of buying a suit is to work’), it is plausible to imagine that his views on the ‘African civilizational problem’ were informed by the following facts:

  1.  Africa has a large population (because women there are having ‘seven or eight children’);
  2. Africa has too many of the resources that make up our tablets and smartphones (for the sake of argument, let’s ignore for a moment the transcontinental complicities that put them there);
  3. When compared to the proportion of European, American, Australian and Japanese men who wear suits, the amount of African men wearing suits might seem rather small. (I say ‘might seem’ since I’m lacking any verifiable means for making this a more authoritative statement.)

And stretching my guess only a tiny bit further, it is also possible to imagine him elaborating these facts into the following conclusion:

  • Africa has too many people and too few of them are wearing enough suits to make the whole continent look civilizational enough. And that is a big problem.

Now, you may wonder, whatever happened then to the fact about tablets and smartphones? But mild mannered gentle folk (not entirely unlike David Attenborough) will observe that nonetheless the numbers are right, continents like Africa (and Asia, and Latin America) have too many people, and will agree that that is a big problem. Nevermind other numbers, like the number of phones, tablets, and other profitable articles made from the exploitation of those numerous peoples.

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