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The problem with paying danegeld

Reader comment on item: [West Africa:] New Route to the West

Submitted by Kenneth S. Besig (Israel), May 31, 2006 at 07:42

The problem of human cargoes being sent from West Africa to the West is not a new one, and not so surprisingly, neither is one of the West's proposed solutions.

In the 1840's and 1850's both the United States and Great Britain tried paying danegeld to the more powerful West African chiefs to stop them from selling many of their own people, as well as those of other tribes, into slavery in the Americas. Then as now, there were solid economic reasons, as well as moral ones, for trying to put an end to the slave trade. The Western nations even sent warships to the coast of West Africa to try to capture and impound the slave ships. Of course all this simply drove the trade further South on the African coast and drove up the prices of the slaves which were bought in Africa and then sold in the United States. Ultimately it was the Union victory in the American Civil War which really put an end to the West African slave trade.

The present problem, that of illegal economic immigration from West Africa, is much the same as the problem of pre Civil War slavery. Slavery was an economic tragedy and brought only economic stagnation to the West, and this at a time when the Western states had discovered that free market capitalism, with mobile and competitive labor, could quickly bring growth, prosperity, and wide spread wealth.
Europe, and to a great extent, America, is discovering that cheap and unskilled labor is more trouble than it is economically worth. Worse, some primitive and uneducated cultures are prone to violence, are ethnocentric and difficult to assimilate, and place a financially impossible burden on modern eductional, health, and other social systems.

In order to close down this new route, it will not be enough to pay off the African nations expecting them to close down the routes; the West and especially Europe, will have to make some fundamental changes towards immigration to their countries. They will have to close their borders as much as possible and use what little is left of their military forces to prevent illegal immigration. But more importantly, the peoples of Europe must start viewing the illegal immigration of primitive, ignorant, and impoverished individuals as an existential threat, both economically and physically, as well as collectively and personally.

Submitting....

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