When I was in Malawi last winter, I read Jeffery Sach's book The End of Poverty. The book presents an economic plan to eliminate extreme poverty and also outlines how the rest of us got on the road to material wealth to begin with. Most interesting to me was the section on England's industrial revolution and the conditions that fostered it. England had multiple gifts: arable land, a temperate climate, navigable river routes throughout the entire island, ports and sea route access, and they figured out how to capture the power of rivers and coal to drive factories. In essence, every individual economy since has needed its own version of the industrial revolution to transcend the economic limits of poverty. The companions to industrialization have been urbanization, women's suffrage (over generations) and eventually a certain level of collective wealth. I doubt there's ever been an example of industrialization that doesn't included horrendous abuses of labor, the environment, and natural resources, but that seems to be the main model for economic development thus far. So how is Malawi going to industrialize? Malawi is one of many landlocked countries in Africa. Even with cheap labor costs, what manufacturer would move operations to a place that it can't ship from? Likewise, it has poor infrastructure, a rural population and rugged geography. Industrialization seems highly unlikely unless it's based on the removal of some unknown and untapped natural resources. But what is eminent in the Hewe Valley where I shot Bush League is the Communications Revolution. Internet and mobile phones...in the bush!
What does this mean???