country with the bulk of its population dependent on scarcenfarmland for bare subsistence,” according to one standardnguide book. Today, Korea is universally recognized as anneconomic miracle. Why? Some say because the UnitednStates gave foreign aid. That’s true, but it is of smallnimportance. Korea’s success is widely written about. Nowherendo I detect but passing mention of foreign aid being anprihcipal or even an important factor. South Korea creatednits wealth; it helped itself far more than it was helped bynothers.nAfrica has actually received far more foreign aid thannKorea (in total dollars, not per capita), but Africa has little tonshow for it. Between 1960 and 1986, $116 billion was givennto sub-Saharan Africa. But, as African writer Hilary NgnWengo states in Plundered Eden:n[Leaders in Africa] mismanaged economies,nsquandered national wealth and literally threw awaynthe future of their people as they jostled with onenanother for personal power and gain.nKorea, on the other hand, leaped out of colonialism. Whatnwas its secret? Observers generally cite the high rate ofnliteracy; the motivation of the people and their ability tonsave, delay gratification, and build for the future.nSimilar stories abound in other colonies and formerncolonies. Hong Kong is still a colony, and yet it producesnmore wealth than Zaire, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi,nTanzania, Angola, Mozambique, and Botswana combinedn— despite the fact that Hong Kong has no natural resourcesnand the above-named African countries are generally rich innthem. Hong Kong does have a culture that stresses hardnwork, skills, and motivation. Singapore is a former Britishncolony (like Kenya), and it had a colonial government longernthan any in Africa. Today it is one of the most prosperousncountries in the world. Singapore took what the British hadnleft and added it to a rich culture that stressed education, andnachieved meteoric success. Barbados is a former Britishncolony peopled by the descendants of slaves who werenuprooted from Africa and brought under unspeakablenconditions to the New Wodd. Yet 257,000 Barbadosncidzens create more wealth on 166 square miles than “Freenand Independent” Liberia does with ten times as manynpeople and with no legacy of colonialism. Barbados adoptednBritish culture and values.nColonialism, therefore, is not the dependent variablenthat influences the success or failure of countries. Itnhas not held back societies and cultures that had the abilitynand willingness to overcome the negatives and accent thenpositives. This is not to justify colonialism, only to accept itnas a historical fact and seek to evaluate its consequences.nColonialism happened. The question that must be asked is:nare these countries better or worse off^ because of thencolonial experience? Does it do much to explain Kenya’sn(and Africa’s) current problems? I am very skeptical. It maynhave had a larger impact on Mozambique and Zaire becausenthey had a more brutal experience with it, but I doubt that itnexplains anywhere near as much as its proponents claim.nBetter a brutal truth than a well-meaning lie. We must,nabove all, be honest and candid in our evaluations. Increasingly,nAfricans are rejecting the excuse of colonialism. AlinMazrui, in his book Cultural Forces in World Politics, arguesnthat African culture has taken the wrong things from thenWest:nWe borrowed the profit motive, but not thenentrepreneurial spirit. We borrowed the acquisitivenappetites of capitalism, but not the creative riskntaking. We are at home with Western gadgets, butnare bewildered by Western workshops. We wear thenwristwatches, but refuse to watch [them] for thenculture of punctuality. We have learned to paradenin display, but not to drill in discipline. The West’snconsumption patterns have arrived, but notnnecessarily the West’s technique of production.nWe owe our international neighbors our honest diagnosis. Inbelieve that in the noncommunist world most countries haventheir present and future in their own hands, and have mostlynthemselves to blame for their deficiencies. South America isnnot poor because the United States is exploiting it (thoughnwe clearly have done that to some extent); it is poor becausenthe people have what James Fallows calls a “damagednculture.” Tough words, I admit, but confirmed by the SouthnAmericans themselves. Carlos Rangel, a Venezuelan journalist,nstates:n’ It was Latin America’s destiny to be colonized by ancountry that, though admirable in many ways, wasnat the time beginning to reject the emerging spiritnof modernism, and to build walls against the rise ofnrationalism, empiricism, and free thought — that isnto say, against the very basis of the modernnindustrial and liberal revolution, and of capitalistneconomic development.nRangel blames not colonialism, but “antisocial individualism,nan adversity to work and an affinity for violence andnauthoritarianism.”nThe principal variable that separates the success of HongnKong and Taiwan from the poverty of Brazil and Kenya isnculture. The values and attitudes that people bring to anparticular experience are of overwhelming importance. Thensame experience that defeats one group, inspires another tonsuccess. If your religion (your culture) teaches that if younrise above your caste you risk your soul and your status innyour next life, your society will have less social mobility. Younmay well find more peace in such a society, and you likelynwill develop fewer ulcers, but it is counterproductive to whatnthe developed world thinks of as human progress. It limitsnnot only wealth and motivation, but individual creativencapacity, literacy rates, and life expectancy. It is hard to writenoff these social accomplishments as merely “Western materialism.”nGood health, low infant mortality, the ability tonreach one’s potential, and to advance one’s talents seem tonbecome important to all advanced societies.nWe are all Cod’s children, and every person and everynculture deserves understanding and respect. But, as wensearch for why some have a high standard of living andnothers a low one, we must not avoid the examination of thencultural differences between societies. For when we ask whynsome countries and some peoples live in poverty andnsqualor, we must, with Shakespeare, observe: “The fault,ndear Brutus, lies not in the stars but in ourselves.” <^nnnOCTOBER 1991/27n