Monday, May 24, 2010

Clones, not colonies

How did we get so rich?  Was it about “the West and the rest”?  Or was it about the Anglophone world vs. the rest?  James Belich in Replenshing the Earth argues that the British colonies were more clones that colonies.  And they maintained links with the “oldlands” unlike France’s colony in Algeria, Russia’s in Siberia or Spain’s in Argentina.  The author alludes to continuing reciprocal “re-colonization” (re-cloning?) meaning the boom-bust-encouraged links that seemed to have worked best in the Anglophone world – separated by politics and geography, but united by language and culture.  He shows why the newlands colonized by Spaniards (in the New World), Russians (in Siberia) and the French (in Algeria) never matched the levels of development nor the continuing benefical links to the oldlands that the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand were able to sustain.