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Submitted by Eli Robinson on
Interesting take. But isn't the bigger reason for lack of revolutionary activity on the part of sub-Saharan Africans more simple: low urbanization and a considerably higher reliance on subsistence agriculture? Take Zimbabwe, for example: less than 40% live in cities. Neither the government nor the people depend on each other very much. The government's revenues (as so often in Africa) come from abundant mineral resources. The population lives off the land. The current fertility rate there is moderate (again, for Africa), at around 3.6. (Ironically, the latter went up since Mugabe's land grab reform of the early 2000's, possibly, because of availability of more land for subsistence agriculture and the increased mortality.) Of course, on a very long-term scale, such situation is not sustainable, as Malthusian constraints will kick in at some point. Nevertheless, for now, Mugabe's regime is pretty strong, and certainly, many of his compatriots either approve of most of his policies or have much more immediate concerns, unconnected to his rule. When the situation does devolve, will it look more like Congo rather than Libya or Tunisia or Egypt? Again, I think, for civics and related movements, the key ingredient here is urbanization (directly linking people to the government).