Thomas Sowell on the rhetoric about the world’s wealth. An excerpt:
You can check in your local phone book, surf the Internet, or do genealogical research: There is no one named “The World.” How can a nonexistent being own wealth?
Human beings own wealth. Once we put aside lofty poetic nonsense about “the world’s wealth,” we at least have a fighting chance of talking sense about realities.
Have all the people in the world had an equal chance to produce wealth? No, nowhere close to an equal chance — either in the world or within a given society.
Geography alone makes the chances grossly unequal. How were Eskimos supposed to grow pineapples or the bedouins of the desert learn to fish?
How were people in the Balkans supposed to have an industrial revolution like that of Western Europe, when the Balkans had neither the raw materials required by an industrial revolution nor any economically viable way of transporting raw materials from other places?
The geographic handicaps of Africa would fill a book. French historian Fernand Braudel said: “In understanding Black Africa, geography is more important than history.”