Why Nations Remain POOR [Video]

Why Nations Remain POOR [Video]

As you get ready for the new week, I want to recommend this short video I made many months ago. In this video, I had explained the simple difference between a nation like the United States and another like Nigeria. America is an innovative society, Nigerian is an inventive society. There are so many ideas in the latter but hardly enough products and services to match those ideas. 

Until nations transmute from being inventive to innovative, they will remain poor. No nation has become rich without that translation. Yes, always remember that most of the pioneers of the most fundamental aspects of physics, mathematics and chemistry died poor. They were bright people – but they ended up poor. Why? They lived in societies of ideas with no products because there was no transduction from invention to innovation.

For that I mean, they had ideas in shelves but no mechanism to create products from them. Then, something happened, and a transduction took effect and poor societies evolved to become rich. Unfortunately, not all societies followed that trajectory. And all societies must go through the transduction process to emerge.



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2 thoughts on “Why Nations Remain POOR [Video]

  1. What is holding Nigeria down has two dimensions: internal and external. Our first task must be to deal with the internal component, which in turn would give us a better standing to frontally confront the external component.

    There are many things we must reimagine and reengineer, but first we must clearly define what we want as a nation and people.

  2. Excellent podcast and I very much agree with your thesis (re innovative nations > inventive nations because of the protections of property rights/rule of law). That said, I posit that the growth in U.S. GDP during the “innovative period” where the U.S. leapfrog-ed China is not a model African nations can adopt for moral reasons that are glaringly obvious (i.e., enslaving people as property cannot be used as a mechanism for increased productivity, however “innovative” that approach may have been; I do not think this is what you’re arguing – but please read the NYT’s 1619 Project for more context).

    Equally, China’s more recent dizzying raise in GDP growth, or as other academics have noted “it’s reemergence”, is a result of a (political & cultural) command economy coupled with a burgeoning Western style rule of law. I also posit (and I could be wrong here) that a communist state with a command economy like that of China would woefully fail in most African nations (we’re simply too culturally heterogeneous – take a country like Nigeria for example).

    Technology (and relatively cheap labor cost and democratic rule of law) then becomes Africa’s primary avenue for such transformation without committing the original sin of America or adopting the communist political construct of China. Yes, you’re absolutely spot on: African nations must develop their intellectual property rights. Yet this will be very difficult for nations that have not developed their human rights as a basis. To have sustainable and inclusive GDP growth, African nations cannot have technologies/properties that have better rights/rules under the law than humans, although at this point I fear that’s where most African nations will end up. African nations must learn the lessons from the history of their big brother and sister nations or be doomed to make the same mistakes with much dire consequences.


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