29 Sep 2017

University professor wants to solve world hunger with colonialism

The evidence is clear. Yet Professor Gilley still managed to get his unsavory dissertation published.

Editorial Team
Editorial Team NewsMavens, Europe
University professor wants to solve world hunger with colonialism - NewsMavens
German authorities in Nairobi. Bundesarchiv/Wikicommons

Why this story matters:

Most colonial nations have come to terms with the moral depravity of colonialism. That being said, morality is relative. We live in times when data, rather than dogma, shows us the way. The impulse to set morality aside and look at facts in an unbiased light is natural, and perhaps even praiseworthy.

But there’s something advocates of colonialism need to understand.

There is hard evidence that colonialism harms the colonized.

This month, Bruce Gilley, a professor of political science, was lambasted by his fellow academics after publishing a paper arguing that colonialism benefited local populations. He went as far as to advocate a return to colonialism as a solution to economic underdevelopment.

Social scientists were quick to provide unequivocal data. Here are some especially striking figures, courtesy of Joseph McQuade of the Munk School of Global Affairs:

“Under colonial rule, the Congolese population declined by estimates ranging from three million to 13 million between 1885 and 1908 due to widespread disease, a coercive labour regime and endemic brutality.”

“From 1757 to 1947, the entire period of British rule, there was no increase in per capita income within the Indian subcontinent. This is a striking fact, given that, historically speaking, the Indian subcontinent was traditionally one of the wealthiest parts of the world.”

“During the heyday of British rule, or the British Raj, from 1872 to 1921, Indian life expectancy dropped by a stunning 20 per cent. By contrast, during the 70 years since independence, Indian life expectancy has increased by approximately 66 per cent, or 27 years.”

The evidence is clear. Yet Professor Gilley still managed to get his unsavory dissertation published -- in an academic journal with Noam Chomsky on the editorial board, no less.

But the backlash was such that we can consider justice dealt. Gilley apologized, and 15 members of the editorial board (Chomsky not one of them) resigned. Pseudo-science gets called out, life goes on.

Heartfelt thanks to every researcher who spoke out and stood up for truth.

Details from the story:

  • Bruce Gilley, an associate professor of political science at Portland State University, recently published an article entitled “The Case for Colonialism,” which argues that colonialism was beneficial to the colonized.
  • According to a 2014 YouGov poll, 59% of British people view the British Empire as “something to be proud of.”
  • James McQuade argues that such “views, often tied to nostalgia for old imperial glory, can help shape the foreign and domestic policies of Western countries.”
  • Empirical research clearly proves that colonialism inflicted grave damage on the colonized.

Project #Femfacts co-financed by European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology as part of the Pilot Project – Media Literacy For All

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