Lessons From Ghana 70


I am off back to work in Ghana for a few weeks next month.

Anyone who believes the crime in England was related to poverty or to race should visit Ghana, where crime is at a low level and society is extremely helpful and supportive. People are much poorer than in the UK yet are not ignorant of the possibilities of western levels of consumption, but they would not dream of seizing them by force, and those few who do have no pro-criminal social milieu in which to shelter.


70 thoughts on “Lessons From Ghana

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  • Duncan McFarlane

    correction – it may have been Ramsay MacDonald or Baldwin who cut unemployment insurance payments and introduced means testing, but Chamberlain continued those policies

  • OldMark

    Unfortunately, Ghanaians who’ve been raised here show the same propensity to riot & loot as their inner city neighbours-

    http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=216056

    Read the comments and it’s pretty clear most Ghanaians back home are ashamed of these scrotes- even to the extent (see the comments!) of making unsubstantiated allegations that they are Nigerians living in the UK on forged Ghanaian passports.

    BTW I found this link, strangely, on the Alfred/Canspeccy site. He also seems to be into Gilad Aztmon these days.

  • OldMark

    ‘correction – it may have been Ramsay MacDonald or Baldwin who cut unemployment insurance payments and introduced means testing, but Chamberlain continued those policies.’

    Duncan, it was Ramsey MacDonald in 1931, although by then he was leading a ‘National Government’, and had split the Labour Party as a result.

    That particular round of cuts also led to this incident-

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invergordon_Mutiny

  • craig Post author

    OldMark,

    The allegations are probably unsubstantiated, but there is indeed a widespread practice of Nigerians in the UK claiming to be Ghanaians, particularly when arrested.

    Craig

  • larry Levin

    “Religion and the rise of capitalism”, author Tawney explains the battle that is being waged against Christianity,

  • larry Levin

    The elephant in this room is that Ghana is pure Christianity, thats why its so good,

  • mary

    Any news of Christopher Shale’s inquest anybody?
    .
    His final words were telling –

    He slams the association’s fundraising efforts, saying: ‘Over the years we have come across as graceless, voracious, crass, always on the take.’

    {More…Conservative Party suspends councillor photographed giving Nazi salute in Adolf Hitler costume
    Conservative Party national leadership accused of betraying the ‘Turnip Taliban’
    What a bunch! Three party leaders and we can’t stand any of them, poll reveals}
    .
    He concludes that people don’t join because they ‘think we’ll beg and steal from them. And they’re right’.
    .
    In what will be seen by many in the party as classic evidence of Cameroon Tory self-loathing, Shale opines: ‘When we are together we are not always a group of people to whom many of our potential members are going to be magnetically drawn.’
    .
    He goes on to warn: ‘When we come together as a group we sometimes morph into something different, less attractive. Our [West Oxfordshire Conservative Association] environment alters us.’
    .
    His solution is: ‘We must look different – when we communicate, when we’re together. We must sound different – in what we say, how we say it, the language we use, our tone of voice. We must behave differently – try to see ourselves as others see us.’
    .
    An appeal at the end for a pretence of speech and manner?
    .
    Also what news of Sean Hoare? All has faded into the dim and distant past just as our masters wished.

  • Cashado

    Glen, spot on but it needs screaming: IT’S NOT ABOUT THE POVERTY, IT’S ABOUT THE LEVEL OF INEQUALITY. The penny will eventually drop here in the UK but I’m terrified that things will have to get a hell of a lot worse before our entrenched elites accept that we really are all in this together.

  • theantibanks

    The answer to your question is:
    Christianity is the main religion in southern areas and parts of the North, while Islam remains the most populous in the northern regions. Christian-Muslim relations in Ghana are peaceful, tolerant and bilateral, despite sectarian violence in neighboring countries with similar regional divides like Nigeria.

  • OldMark

    ‘The allegations are probably unsubstantiated, but there is indeed a widespread practice of Nigerians in the UK claiming to be Ghanaians, particularly when arrested.’

    That’s interesting, Craig- is there any particular reason for this (beyond the fact that Nigerians rather than Ghanaians are known the world over for their aptitude at ‘419’ scams) ?

  • Johann Green

    RIOTS: Professor Richard Wilkinson, co-author of The Spirit Level, on inequality and its link to last week’s civil unrest

    “WHAT the bankers with their bonuses and MPs with their expenses were doing was helping themselves when they thought they could get away with it.

    The bankers and bosses of large companies are still helping themselves to large sums.

    These sums are much larger than what the kids have been taking. The difference between what the bankers are doing and what the kids are doing is that the bankers can get away with it. The difference is the huge difference in social background.

    Unemployment rates for 16-17-year-olds are at 40 per cent. With 18-24-year-olds it’s 20 per cent. When they get jobs they’re going to be working for close to the minimum wage because most of them will have no or little qualifications.

    People are very aware of the lifestyles of celebrities, and the shops are full of what separates the kids from that lifestyle, so for them to smash windows and make off with mobile phones and trainers is surprising only in that it doesn’t happen more often.

    Shops have been burnt, people have lost livelihoods and some have been burned out of their homes, but think of the shops and homes lost, and even the deaths, due to unemployment caused by a recession brought about by people who took unnecessary risks because of their avariciousness.

    Yet people are threatened by the kids. They don’t feel threatened by the bankers and MPs and their expenses. I’ve been doing some sums and the amount of expenses they repaid before the election was £2,250. Some may have paid more but that’s the average. So that’s what they think they should repay.

    The claim for second homes after the scandal was down by £6,000 per MP. So that’s an indication of what they thought they should be claiming. The kids are doing what they think they can get away with.

    We show very clearly (in The Spirit Level) that the more unequal the society the more violence there is. There are so many research papers that show the same thing. We also show that the strength of community life, how much people feel they can trust each other, is weaker in more unequal societies.

    Community life is the connection between people and what we do for each other and how we look after each other. When that breaks down it’s everyone for themselves and that is what we’re seeing.

    Inequality in this country is as high as it’s been since the 1920s. It rose rapidly during the 1980s and has drifted upwards since. The kids are obviously not thinking about all of this. They are aware of the hopelessness of their own lives compared to other lives – how far they fall short.”

    http://www.islingtontribune.com/news/2011/aug/riots-professor-richard-wilkinson-inequality-and-its-link-weeks-civil-unrest

    Thank heavens SOMEONE is looking at the context behind these riots. A pity Craig can’t bring himself to do the same.

  • Clark

    Craig, I’ve thought about your “imported American Gangsta urban street culture” comment, and I can’t accept that as a primary cause. There has to be some reason why people are choosing that over the rule of law. Humans have an instinctive sense of justice. If people are really seeing more fairness in gang rule than the law of the land, there has to be something seriously wrong with either the law and/or the way it’s applied. I suspect the latter.
    .
    However, I feel we also need to call to account the mainstream media. The TV screens are saturated with dramas where justice is delivered through the barrels of guns. You’d know better than me, but I doubt that there is so much watching of TV shoot-outs in Ghana. I know, the influence of TV upon behaviour has been “discredited”, but maybe the mainstream media has highlighted those studies that show there is no effect over those that do, or maybe longer-term, societal studies are needed.
    .
    Still, I would say that, as I don’t watch TV, partly because I don’t like the feelings I get from all that TV violence.

  • Herbie

    I think what Craig means by a “pro-criminal social milieu” is a Britain in which politicians, police/judiciary and media are corrupt from top to bottom, with no remedy in sight.
    .
    That’s three of the four estates totally and abjectly corrupt.
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    There is no respect for authority because authority is not deserving of respect.
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    You only have to read this drivel from a completely incompetent and clueless soundbite clown to realise that things can not get better until firstly they have got far much worse.
    .
    http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/politics/article-23978669-well-put-the-rioters-to-work-insists-clegg.do
    .
    It’s sad, so sad. It’s a sad, sad situation and it’s getting more and more absurd…

  • Johann Green

    @ Herbie

    Actually he’s referring to those people who seek to analyse not merely the criminal actions of agents but the ‘context’ from which such actions emerge. In effect, it is a rebarbative comment in the direction of anyone who disputes Craig’s analyses of the London riots.

  • voila

    I find this blog particularly good source of learning, not just in terms of understanding the realities around me but also acquiring good English vocabulary. I am not a native English speaker, but I have learned so many new and interesting words from comments of the bloggers so far. Good job today to Johann Green who used word “rebarbative”. My English is really getting better.

  • Andy

    On the news last night a Met spokesman said there was no evidence the rioting was gang related. So the idea gangstas were pulling the strings can be dropped.

  • Clark

    If the recent performance of the Met is anything to go by, they probably just mean that they haven’t gathered any evidence at all.

  • Herbie

    I should have posted the link to the entire episode of Max Keiser’s report.
    .
    It’s quite illuminating, particularly the interview with Prof. William Black, who was involved in the prosecution of banksters in the 1980s.
    .
    http://rt.com/programs/keiser-report/keiser-herbert-british-justice/
    .
    These people who have a background in Finance/Economics are much better able, I feel, to articulate the immorality of our present condition than those of us of an Arts/Humanities background, at least in terms of the technicalities of these crimes and how they affect us as a whole.
    .
    It’s probably worth remembering here the fall of former New York governor, Eliot Spitzer who as NY Attorney General was involved in prosecuting various banksters and gangsters and indeed good ole DSK who wasn’t minded to do as the banksters wished.
    .
    As ever, it’s the devil within which poses the greater threat to out wellbeing.

  • Parky

    I caught a headline in the Telegraph earlier that last week magistrates had received a memo from head office to throw away the sentencing guideline manual and instead throw the book at the rioters and show no mercy.
    .
    It seems the Establishment are well aware of the causes of this trouble and where it could well lead and are keen to nip it in the bud before full scale anarchy occurs. I suspect it may well be too late already. Expect old ships and derilict holiday and army camps to be rapidly converted soon.
    .
    One of the things I remember about Jack Boots Jackie’s tenure as Home Secretary (apart from the claiming of porno films on expenses) was the signing of the cheque for a whole van load of Tasers and this was well before the rot became apparent and we were still living in a Gordon Brown utopian bubble.

  • Jonah Green

    @ Herbie

    I wouldn’t go that far. I think people from a humanities background have a duty to inspect the financial terrain for themselves; just as those from an economics perspective have a duty to inspect the political and philosophical terrain for themselves. One cannot understand the world properly without the fuller context in which agents act. Giving a stolid political picture of the world, without recourse to financial knowledge, is like making a plane without wings – it’s a fruitless task. We need to be wary of the power iterations that produce ethical obligations – with reference to law, for example – and the spaces created for the enactment of such obligations (the ethical context which can be reduced by economic and political factors). I have been trying for the last few years to learn as much about the financial system as I can. Keiser is a great source for information. But I also use ZeroHedge, Seeking Alpha, MarketOracle etc. There is often a strong correlation between financial engineering (read fraud) and social deprivation (where the cuts come down the hardest – how else are the bankers able to recruit the cost of the risks they daily undertake). As Professor Wilkinson has convincingly argued, the more unequal a society is, the more it is inclined toward high rates of criminality, educational underachievement, social deprivation etc. All can grow untrammelled in a neoliberal economy where monopolies are able to trump the rights of people. A sad and sobering reality. Anyway, I think we all must learn the language of finance – deployed to obscure the truth in many circumstances – in order to combat against the greed that we daily see, and in order to appreciate the causal links between crime and inequality.

  • Herbie

    Jonah
    .
    I don’t disagree at all with what you say, but our current condition is one in which neither politicians nor public are well versed in financial and economic matters. There’s abundant evidence of this. Look, for example, at how difficult it is to prosecute a fraud case.
    .
    People more readily understand the imminent threat posed by the recent riots and looting than they do the immanent threat from all the financial crime that surrounds us.
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    The sad thing is that these financial crimes are by far the greater threat to society as a whole and we barely deal with that threat at all. Indeed, the evidence from Cameron and Clegg is that they’re happy to brush financial crimes under the carpet. As Max pointed out, these politicians are even relying on this financial criminality to keep the festering show on the road. The whole thing is little more than a criminal enterprise at this stage.
    .
    This is what I mean when I say that things will have to get worse before they get better.
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    Even were there some will to do so, there is nothing in the institutions of the British state, nor the people who inhabit such positions that can alter the trajectory in which we’re going. That’s how bad it is.

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