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Ciprian Patrulescu Posts

When the Slave Traders Were African

Great article by Ms. Nwaubani in the WSJ about the slave trade and how those whose ancestors sold slaves to Europeans now struggle to come to terms with a painful legacy:

“….Still, my father does not believe that the descendants of those who took part in the slave trade should now pay for those wrongs. As he points out, buying and selling human beings had been part of many African cultures, as a form of serfdom, long before the first white people landed on our shores. And though many families still retain the respect and influence accrued by their slave-trading ancestors, the direct material gains have petered out over time. “If anyone asks me for reparations,” he said sarcastically, “I will tell them to follow me to my backyard so that I can pluck some money from the tree there and give it to them.”

Mr. Chishimba takes a similar view. “Slavery was wrong, but do I carry upon my shoulders the sins of my forefathers so that I should go around saying sorry? I don’t think so,” he said. Mr. Duke doesn’t believe that Africans should play much of a part in the American reparations conversation, because the injustices the descendants of slaves suffer stem primarily from their maltreatment and deprivation in the U.S. “The Africans didn’t see anything wrong with slavery,” he said. “Even if the white man wasn’t there, they would still use these people as their domestics. However, because the white man was now involved and fortunes were being made…that was when the criminality came in.”

Mr. Nwanunobi wishes the matter were as straightforward as paying reparations in cash. He says that he would be willing to hand over all his family’s land and houses to anyone that suffered from his grandfather’s slave trading, whether in Nigeria or the U.S. “I am happy to give anything as long as it would bring an end to this suffering,” he said. “I will do whatever it will take to appease anybody, if only I can identify the particular people we offended.”

As for Mr. Rafiq, he agrees that Africans owe something to the descendants of slaves in America—a forthright acknowledgment of their own complicity in the trans-Atlantic trade. “Educated Africans need to rewrite their history, especially postcolonial history, which was a kind of restorative history that tended to marginalize issues like slavery,” he said. “Part of the compensation is telling the story of our part in what is happening to African-Americans today.”

 

 

 

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The Oil Export Boom

Good WSJ article on the oil export boom currently underway:

“The export boom is testament to U.S. ingenuity that has driven rapid advances in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, especially in shale rock. The breakthroughs have lowered drilling costs and put Texas’s Permian Basin at the center of an oil-and-gas drilling revolution that will next year see the state producing more oil than either Iraq or Iran.

Washington also gets credit for removing regulatory hurdles like the oil export ban. Republican leaders in Congress took flak in 2015 for agreeing to extend green-energy subsidies for a few years in return for Barack Obama’s signature on a statutory end to the 40-year-old export ban.

Some conservative pressure groups derided the policy trade as a sellout while liberals complained that ending the ban would serve Big Oil. The real beneficiaries are workers, investors and the overall economy, as well as greater flexibility in foreign policy as the U.S. is less vulnerable to authoritarian oil exporters.”

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Trade Wars

With the talks of trade wars/tariffs I am reminded of Jack Ma’s interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos.   From CNBC:

‘”The American multinational companies made millions and millions of dollars from globalization,” Ma said. “The past 30 years, IBM, Cisco, Microsoft, they’ve made tens of millions — the profits they’ve made are much more than the four Chinese banks put together. … But where did the money go?”

He said the U.S. is not distributing, or investing, its money properly, and that’s why many people in the country feel wracked with economic anxiety. He said too much money flows to Wall Street and Silicon Valley. Instead, the country should be helping the Midwest, and Americans “not good in schooling,” too.’

Something to think about.

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