Should the West just leave Africa alone?

Question: Should we just leave Africa alone?

Michael Porter: I’m struck by the difference between the European Union and the U.S.’s efforts at economic development.

The European Union, by having a systematic process, was able to assimilate dozens of countries that were communist societies, and in the course of a relatively small number of years, really work with them to create a market system and a good society in Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, you name it.

And yet the U.S., this wonderful economic power, has not really been able to do anything remotely as effective with Latin America, or Africa, or some of the continents that we’ve had an interest in.

We’ve brought some of this on ourselves.  I can’t quite understand why the U.S. has had such a limited and narrow view of its role in assisting other nations and enhancing their societies, but I think we’re paying the price for that. The U.S. has actually been the extraordinary driver of many of these changes in the global economic system, certainly.

Recorded on: June 11, 2007

What the EU has done with Eastern European countries far exceeds what the US has done with Latin America.

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Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

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