African Brain Drain — Cause or Effect?

The BBC ran a story in October about a study of the African brain drain. The study, conducted by the Pollution Research Group at Natal University in South Africa, claimed that a third of all skilled professionals in Africa have left that continent to pursue careers in the West. The study put the total cost to African countries of this brain drain at $4 billion. But the study seems to have cause and effect reversed.

Specifically, the report claims that as a result of the brain drain, African economic growth has been hampered and poverty increased. No, sorry, but it’s the other way around. Lack of economic growth and rampant poverty — often caused by political repression and a lack of freedoms — is what motivates African professionals to flee their own countries.

Consider South Africa. In 2001 South AFrica’s Education Minister Kadar Asmal accused Great Britain of unfairly raiding South Africa for teachers, and president Thabo Mbeki himself has called for a reversal of the outflow of scientists and engineers from South Africa to the West. This from a man who has defended pseudoscientific ideas such as the notion that HIV does not cause AIDS, and whose political party has tried to clamp down on criticism from South Africa’s press.

The amazing thing is not that Africa loses about 23,000 qualified academic professionals each year, but rather that even more don’t choose to leave given the sorry state of African governance. When are people like Mbeki and Asmal going to stop blaming others for their predicament and start focusing on righting their own ship?


Brian drain costs Africa billions. The BBC, October 17, 2001.

Animal Rights Activists Predict More Violent Actions in the Wake of Barry Horne's Death

Reaction to Barry Horne’s death from animal rights activists was swift and predictable — Horne was a hero and his death will likely inspire more violent actions against people in animal industries.

Ronnie Lee, founder of the Animal Liberation Front, said, “I think there are some people who would regard him as a martyr. Everyone in the animal rights movement feels a combination of sadness and anger over his death. That includes people whose thing is to carry out personal actions on animal rights abusers.”

Andrew Tyler, director of Animal Aid, said he did not condone arson but called Horne a “thoroughly dedicated anti-vivisectionist.”

Robin Webb, current ALF spokesman, said, “Barry has given his life. It will harden people’s resolve. … I can’t predict what will happen but people are becoming angry and I belive this will make them angrier. Some people are becoming more radical still.”

Scriptwriter and animal rights activist Carla Lane said, “I don’t believe in violence, arson, or anything like that, but I believe in why Barry did what he did. I hope he will make others think more deeply about it, because if someone is prepared to give their life they must have seen something that was deeply, deeply upsetting to them.”

And Kevin Jonas of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, weighed in to predict that violent actions would escalate. “He was a household name for animal rights activists around the world,” Jonas said. “I can only predict that his death is going to spark a reaction.”

Companies and police in Great Britain are reportedly already preparing for an increase in animal rights related terrorism following Horne’s death. During his last hunger strike, the Animal Rights Militia issued a list of 10 people it claimed it would kill if Horne died. Given the outpouring of love for such a violent individual, don’t expect the activists to pull their punches.


Police alert after animal rights bomber dies on hunger strike. Richard Ford, The Times (London), November 6, 2001.

Animal rights activist dies after hunger strike. Ian Burrell, The Independent (London), November 6, 2001.

Interview. The Guardian (London), November 6, 2001.

Animal activists mourn their martyr dies in hunger strike: Firebomber dies after fourth hunger strike bid to change vivisection policy. Sarah Hall, The Guardian (London), November 6, 2001.

Companies on alert after death of activist: Animal rights group wars of violence. Jimmy Burns and David Firn, The Financial Times (London), November 6, 2001.

Firebomber dies on hunger strike. Philip Johnston, The Daily Telegraph (London), November 6, 2001.

Report: British National Health System Needs to Turn to Privatization

Great Britain’s National Health System has no choice but to privatize some medical treatment options if it is to survive. That was the conclusion of a recent report put together by representatives of the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Nursing, patients, private health providers and other stakeholders.

Barring some sort of privatization, the rationing which already exist informally within the NHS will have to be occur formally in order to avoid bankrupting the system.

Great Britain faces the same problem that all socialized medical systems face. When the cost of medical treatment is free to the end customers, the demand for medical treatment is extremely high. Since resources are not unlimited, something has to give.

Great Britain, like most socialized health care systems, keeps costs down informally through extremely long waiting periods. Surgical procedures that might take two or three months at most to schedule in the United States can keep a patient on waiting lists for a year or more in Great Britain. In addition many advanced treatments and expensive medications that are considered routine treatment in the United States are simply not available in Great Britain because they are simply too expensive.

But the bottom line is that delaying procedures and limiting treatment options has merely forestalled the day of reckoning. Without massive funding increases — which is a nonstarter politically — the system is in trouble.

And this is the system that folks such as Ralph Nader say the United States should adopt. No thanks.


Rationing ‘only option’ for NHS. The BBC, February 7, 2001.

UK Activists Attack Angling

When the House of Commons voted to outlaw fox hunting in January, many of those who voted for the law dismissed claims that fishing and other pursuits would be next on the animal rights agenda. Guess what? People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is funding an anti-angling campaign scheduled to kick off later this year in Great Britain.

“As well as an advertising campaign, we are planning demonstrations at fish and chip shops across the country,” PETA’s Andrew Butler told The Sunday Times (UK).

Although it hasn’t received the same attention the anti-hunting movement has, the Campaign for the Abolishment of Angling has been busy protesting fishing. At a European angling championship, CAA activist Clare Persey broke a competitor’s fishing rod and then jumped into a river to disrupt the championship.


Animal activists target anglers. The Sunday Times, February 11, 2001.