December 7, 2013

Life expectancy in South Africa

Here's a chart of life expectancy in the USA, plus five countries that underwent political transitions roughly during the era of AIDS. It's interesting that Poland's transition from communism went better than Russia's.

You can click on Explore data in the lower right corner and add your own countries.

By the way, I don't know how much to trust this data that Google provides so conveniently. "Life Expectancy" is kind of an inherently made-up number. Moreover the smoothly elegant (if horrifying) South Africa and Zimbabwe curves are clearly stylized in contrast to the jittery line for Poland. (Mexico may or may not be stylized.)

77 comments:

Anonymous said...

So basically SA Blacks can expect to live shorter lives than Zimbabwe Blacks. Mugabe vindicated again. :)

Foreign Expert said...

Mexico is NOT A POOR COUNTRY!

Anonymous said...

Earlier today Steve mentioned travel author Paul Theroux.

It is worth one's time to watch his son
Louis Theroux's BBC documentary

Law and Disorder in Johanessburg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZJ1w9-Umcw

AnonUgenics said...

Is this really related to AIDS or to economic conditions in those countries?

Anonymous said...

Poland was not a "Communist" country in the sense that most people understand Russia was Communist. It was more a very hard line form of Socialism or a mix of communism/socialism. Its hard to explain if you didn't live there. I heard it all from my parents who did live under this system and besides the religious persecution which was probably the biggest qualm, from my understanding it seems to resemble a type of northern European socialism taken a few notches further towards communism.











Bert said...

"Poland's transition from communism went better than Russia"

Poland didn't get raped by western neoliberals.

Canadian Observer said...

"The era of AIDS". I've never laughed so hard.

Anonymous said...

You can blame something things on S Africa, AIDS is not one of them:

Patient Zero was a white guy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ga%C3%ABtan_Dugas

Brett_McS said...

Check out Rwanda. Average life expectancy dropped to 27 years during its '15 minutes of fame' in the news.

Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised by Russia doing worse than Poland - I have to imagine the Soviet Union was looting its subject states for the benefit of Russia, and that eased off when the Soviet Union crumbled.

Kaz said...

Wow, Mexicans really are a hardy people..

Anonymous said...

Interesting. It looks like life expectancy steadily ROSE in South Africa during the period of white minority rule and then has FALLEN since it was ended.

Anonymous said...

Mexicans have probably a better diet and avoid over drinking and drug abuse more than the Russians and Poles. In the US Mexicans tend to live longer but as Steve shown the 2nd and 3rd generation are getting diabetes in the US and are dieting sooner than their parents. Poland and Mexico are Roman Catholic while Russia is Eastern Orthodox and Russia practice their religion less than the Poles or Mexicans do.

Anonymous said...

Mexico is NOT A POOR COUNTRY!
Mexico is comparable to Russia and Poland not the African Countries.

Anonymous said...

Mexico I think in California averages 82 but it drops in the second and third generations. Mexico averages I think better than Afro-Americans in the US. No data how long Mexicans long in Texas,New Mexico or Arizona.

Pochinko said...

Colin Liddell had an interesting article recently about Mandela and the wonders that have been ANC ruled S. Africa.

Douglas Knight said...

The numbers I've seen are that male life expectancy in Russia fell pretty steadily from 1960 to 2010, with some large fluctuations, both positive and negative around 1990. Very different from this chart.

Anonymous said...

Belarus, which did not attempt chock-therapy capitalist reforms in 1990 has a similar development as Russia (though slightly better).

Russian life expectancy starts falling in 1986. Perhaps alcoholism or the lingering generational effect of the war-revolution-years have something to do with it. Maybe the generations who were children or teenagers those years had poor health and died prematurely.

Just speculating.

/Victarion

Steve Sailer said...

"I'm not surprised by Russia doing worse than Poland - I have to imagine the Soviet Union was looting its subject states for the benefit of Russia, and that eased off when the Soviet Union crumbled."

You would think ... and yet I've heard the opposite -- that the Soviets went broke bribing the Poles to stay in the empire. I don't really know.

Melykin said...

Swaziland seems to be the only other African country whose life expectancy began to nosedive after about 1990.

polgls said...

@Melykin: In Swaziland's case it was probably due to AIDS. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIV/AIDS_in_Swaziland

> The Human Development Index of the UN Development Programme reports that as a consequence of HIV/AIDS, life expectancy in Swaziland has fallen from 61 years in 2000, to 32 years in 2009. [Quite different from the 48 given by Google.]

The same article mentions that the first case hit in 1986. At one point (maybe still), it was the most infected country in the world. If not the sole cause, then it contributed heavily. I haven't researched, but it seems likely that what affected Swaziland must have affected its neighbors too.

Anonymous said...

I am speculating, but I believe Poland under communism was much more religious than Russia. In Poland the Catholic Church and faith were part of the identity of the Poles that united them, sort of how the Greek Orthodox Church kept the Greeks together under Ottoman rule.

The Russians lost their faith and were decimated by the Marxist ideology/morality which led to their rot. I believe this is a big reason why Putin is trying to put the Russian Orthodox Church back into its old place in society. I wish them well. I cannot imagine the damage that 70 plus years of cultural marxism would do given our experience over the past 50 years.

Now that Poland is free and in the EU, I hope that they too don't lose their faith like Western Europe. The Greeks don't seem to care about their faith anymore now that the Turks are gone. But their birth rates are plummeting and a new batch of muslim and other invaders are slowly moving in. I hope this doesn't happen Poland now that they no longer need the Church to protect them from the USSR.

Anonymous said...

Apparently, AIDS has had zero impact on African population growth rates.
The inference is that sub-saharan Africans have evolved to such a 'hyper-fertility' reproductive model - due to tropical disease, principally malaria decimating their populations - that AIDS is just a minor hiccup as far as their power to reproduce is concerned.
Although it is clear that AIDS *did* decimate adults - who likely were passed reprodutive prime - the general effect on fertility was neglible. Another inference is the extreme degree of sexual promiscuity that *must* pertain in much of sub-saharan Africa. Basically the only conclusion that can be drawn is that it's like a vast real-life example of 'Peyton Place' where to put it crudely evryone is, literally, screwing everyone else.
If anyone tries to deny that the above statement is true, in its entirety, then he's either a fool or a liar.

Jerry said...

Communism in Russia lasted for seventy years--there was no one there who had remembered what normal market conditions were like. Poland was normal until 1939, and in 1989 there was a chance to draw on some lingering cultural memories of that time.

Another factor was that Poland did always see itself as part of the West, within the tradition of Enlightenment, Liberalism (not liberalism) and an open society. This was never the case in Russia (nor in China, of course, which is why I am not optimistic about the future of that other giant with clay legs).

Russia was authoritarian and oppressive before 1917 (with a slave-like feudal system that lasted until the 1860's and was vastly more extensive than in America), after the 1917 revolution, and still now today. The more things change...

As an imperial and quasi-colonial power, Russia extracted natural and other resources from its western dominions without contributing much in return. The only thing we Poles got from Russia was oil, and until the 1990's the automotive sector was incomparably less important than today (there were hardly even any highways in Poland until recently). Certainly there were almost no industrial or consumer goods that Russia exported to Poland. Maybe some "Raketa" brand watches?

Soviet forces were stationed in at least 65 locations in Poland, and some 60,000 troops as late as 1990. Nuclear weapons (some 300 warheads) were also stored on Polish territory. The costs for the maintenance of this occupation were borne by Poland throughout the period from 1945-1990. Remediation of the environmental devastation left behind continues to this day.

Anonymous said...

"Poland was not a "Communist" country in the sense that most people understand Russia was Communist. It was more a very hard line form of Socialism or a mix of communism/socialism. Its hard to explain if you didn't live there. I heard it all from my parents who did live under this system and besides the religious persecution which was probably the biggest qualm, from my understanding it seems to resemble a type of northern European socialism taken a few notches further towards communism."

Strange from what I was told by my parents I understand the country was communist in the same sense as Russia, with central planning and all, well maybe there were some minor differences. The religous persecution was mild from what I heard, well in the time of my parents. I mean my parents did go to church every Sunday when they were growing up.

Anonymous said...

"You would think ... and yet I've heard the opposite -- that the Soviets went broke bribing the Poles to stay in the empire. I don't really know."

Haha, yes, I heard that people complained about the opposite in each country, probably wanting to blame someone.

FirkinRidiculous said...

Steve, there is not and never has been an AIDS crisis in Africa for the simple reason that the HIV-AIDS theory is false. Which also explains why Africa has the fastest growing populations in the world.

Simon in London said...

Most countries seem to cluster closely together in groups, with occasional step-changes; eg Madagascar rises from the African low life expectancy cluster to the middle-expectancy cluster.

Russia's dramatic decline is a notable exception; the USA's decline is much milder, but over time it noticeably falls out the bottom of the rich-western-high-life-expectancy cluster, converging with Mexico as Mexico rises out of the middle-expectancy cluster.

Simon in London said...

I see Rwanda now has higher life expectancy than South Africa. SA has now converged with Nigeria in the African mainstream. However Botswana shows a similar profile, so it may be more due to AIDS and a particularly promiscuous culture, rather than violence, especially bad govt, etc.

Anonymous said...

http://www.celebritynetworth.com/articles/entertainment-articles/lottery-winner-dying-broke-isnt-news-way-guy-blew-fortune-especially-shocking/

Simon in London said...

"Anonymous said...
Apparently, AIDS has had zero impact on African population growth rates.
The inference is that sub-saharan Africans have evolved to such a 'hyper-fertility' reproductive model - due to tropical disease, principally malaria decimating their populations - that AIDS is just a minor hiccup as far as their power to reproduce is concerned.
Although it is clear that AIDS *did* decimate adults - who likely were passed reprodutive prime - the general effect on fertility was neglible. Another inference is the extreme degree of sexual promiscuity that *must* pertain in much of sub-saharan Africa. Basically the only conclusion that can be drawn is that it's like a vast real-life example of 'Peyton Place' where to put it crudely evryone is, literally, screwing everyone else.
If anyone tries to deny that the above statement is true, in its entirety, then he's either a fool or a liar."

Yes, but - it's not just the promiscuity, it seems to be the particular open network structures of African promiscuity that spread AIDs so effectively. Eg in some other cultures the men are often promiscuous and have sex with prostitutes as well as their wives, but the wives are rarely promiscuous, which creates more closed network structures. Nor does there seem to be the restrictions by age or social class you commonly see with Anglo-American promiscuity. Possibly the bigget key element is that young women are commonly having sex with both older men and with younger men, at the same time - not serial monogamy. I'm not familiar with Peyton Place but I expect it actually involves a lot of range restriction by social class and age, which may be masked if all the characters are of similar age and class. Such restrictions create closed networks, the main reason why AIDS never became widespread among European populations.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. It looks like life expectancy steadily ROSE in South Africa during the period of white minority rule and then has FALLEN since it was ended.

You have these guys to thank for it.

Jill said...

via The Economist...
"Under its own majority rule, the lot of the ever-growing black population—today forming over three-quarters of the national total—has been notably poor. Misguided governance, low-quality education, skills shortages and massive unemployment levels of around 40% have left it more disadvantaged today than when Nelson Mandela was still behind bars. Black income has virtually flat-lined, betraying tremendous gulfs between the wealth of the different racial groups. Sadly, the nation Mandela leaves behind today remains one of the most unequal in the world."

Graphic shows how the average income and population by racial group changed during the life of Nelson Mandela...

http://www.economist.com/node/21580215?fsrc=scn%2Ftw%2Fdc%2F&%3Ffsrc%3Dscn%2F=tw%2Fdc

dearieme said...

"By the way, I don't know how much to trust this data that Google provides so conveniently." A clear advantage of iSteve over many journos is that iSteve is not uncritical about data. Hats off.

Sword said...

Haiti seems to have a higher life expectancy than South Africa. That was unexpected.

NOTA said...

The smooth curves look like some kind of polynomial fitted to not-so-many datapoints, whereas the jagged numbers look like they were based on new datapoints every year.

beta_plus said...

Any breakdown by race for life expectancy?

ironrailsironweights said...

Russian life expectancy starts falling in 1986. Perhaps alcoholism or the lingering generational effect of the war-revolution-years have something to do with it. Maybe the generations who were children or teenagers those years had poor health and died prematurely.

From what I have read, Russia's declining life expectancy (which has reversed itself in recent years) was due primarily to a very high death rate among men in their 50's and 60's, which in turn was mostly attributable to alcohol abuse. Life expectancy for women has always been fairly close to western levels.

Peter

Anonymous said...

The curves for South Africa and Zimbabwe are probably smooth rather than jittery because they've been extrapolated from less than abundant data. One can get a halfway decent, useful curve from thin data as long as it's not just garbage, but the curve will be mostly interpolation.

pat said...

There is still some reason to be skeptical of AIDS in Africa. Remember AIDS doesn't actually kill anyone. I destroys the person's ability to fight off a host of common infections. With AIDS you die of some minor ailment that a healthy person would never notice.

This makes comparison with other diseases tricky. At one point before AIDS you might have died from malaria in Africa. You could be tested for the presence of the falciparum parasite at the time of death. It was unambiguous.

But later when AIDS became prevalent you might be classified as an AIDS death even if the parasite was detected. And that would be just. The HIV virus made people vulnerable to diseases that they might well have survived. Or maybe not.

AIDS critics at the time accused the gay advocates in America of manipulating the AIDS statistics in Africa. They were - it was said - counting normal African deaths from normal tropical diseases as AIDS deaths, so as to inflate the numbers. In many parts of Africa they didn't do post-mortem examinations or autopsies. So a lot of deaths were attributed to whatever the political forces in control wished.

Gays in America promoted the high estimates of AIDS deaths in Africa because they seemed to show that HIV also affected heterosexuals. Mbeki and other blacks counted deaths as simple tropical infections such as to show that AIDS was a minor problem.

I read yesterday that Mandela supported many of the AIDS ideas of Mbeki. But that Mandela was always spared association with many of the uglier goings on in Africa - like the tire necklaces and the baby rapes. His political Teflon was of the highest grade.

I don't know if that was true.

Albertosaurus

Orlando said...

Russian life expectancy is definitely connected to alcoholism as attested by ridiculous gap between men and women.

Big Bill said...

I would have serious doubts about South African life expectancy. Statistics are more aspirational than descriptive in South Africa.

Crime statistics, production statistics, electrical power statistics, drinking water statistics, sewage treatment statistics. They all are tweaked.

The new rulers of South Africa decided to stop gathering and providing crime statistics when they got a bit too descriptive ten or fifteen years ago.

They may have reinstated them now, but I expect they are more aspirational.

Big Bill said...

The life expectancy of white women has been dropping in the USA for five years or so.

That may be because mestizo mamacitas from Oaxaca and Chiapas are deemed "white".

Matthew said...

Mexico's high life expectancy is the sort of data to point to when noting that sending Mexican illegal immigrants back home is neither punishment nor a death sentence.

I suspect that if you compared Mexican life expectancy just to US Hispanics, the numbers would be even closer than they are.

5371 said...

Life expectancy is a very useful and sensibly defined statistic. GDP, now that is really a "made up number".

5371 said...

In a small part of sub-Saharan Africa AIDS has had a devastating demographic effect, but in most of the continent little or none. Whether this is due to circumcision (certainly unnecessary for non-Africans, unless you plan on having sex with men) or something else, I don't know.

Anonymous said...

African AIDS is still primarily diagnosed by presence of diseases common in Africa, not by testing. When testing is introduced, incidence plunges by about 90%.

Heterosexual AIDS is almost nonexistent even in African-refugee and immigrant populations outside Africa, which lends a lot of force to the theory that "African AIDs" is an artificial phenomenon.

Anonymous said...

Is the average age of puberty for whites in Argentina lower than elsewhere?

Anonymous said...

Steve-o wrote:
"You would think ... and yet I've heard the opposite -- that the Soviets went broke bribing the Poles to stay in the empire. I don't really know."

Steve-o, don't be an idiot.

The soviets went broke trying to support Cuba and every and any communist movement in the world, with weapons, money and goods.

The countries that already were people's paradises were not given anything by the USSR.

In fact, talking of Poland in the 70's and 80's, the shipyards were basically producing and modifying ships for the soviet customers for free.

AmericanGoy said...

Steve-o wrote:
"You would think ... and yet I've heard the opposite -- that the Soviets went broke bribing the Poles to stay in the empire. I don't really know."

Steve-o, don't be an idiot.

The soviets went broke trying to support Cuba and every and any communist movement in the world, with weapons, money and goods.

The countries that already were people's paradises were not given anything by the USSR.

In fact, talking of Poland in the 70's and 80's, the shipyards were basically producing and modifying ships for the soviet customers for free.

Anonymous said...

AIDS correlates with extreme promiscuity.

Some parts of Africa (but not all) engage in extreme promiscuity.

In other places regular diseases are called AIDS to get aid money.

Jonathan Silber said...

...life expectancy in Swaziland has fallen from 61 years in 2000, to 32 years in 2009.

That may well be true, but we can console ourselves in the knowledge that those 32 years are all quality time.

Jonathan Silber said...

From the next generation of great Russian writers, no more eight-hundred-page novels, just pickled tweets.

Average Joe said...

Patient Zero was a white guy

Wrong. The first person to get HIV/AIDS was a black African. The disease started in Africa.

Anonymous said...

That may well be true, but we can console ourselves in the knowledge that those 32 years are all quality time.

DNA is oblivious to the quality of the lives of the vehicles it creates-ask the bacteria in your large intestine.

Reg C├Žsar said...

Remember AIDS doesn't actually kill anyone... With AIDS you die of some minor ailment that a healthy person would never notice.

At one point before AIDS you might have died from malaria in Africa.
--patosaurus

Are you sure? About 30 years ago, when the word 'AIDS' was still new, a college prof told us that malaria worked the same way: it doesn't kill you, but weakens you till something else comes along to kill you.

Is this true of malaria as well? He was a geographer, not a pathologist.

Anonymous said...

Patient 0 was white but non-patient -1 was black African.

ogunsiron said...

OT but too good to not mention :

http://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/Netanyahu-decides-not-to-attend-Mandela-funeral-citing-high-costs-334369

Lol. Talk about not caring about conforming to stereotypes.

Socially Extinct said...

The Mexican "paradox" cohabits one other phenomena. Mexican 2nd and 3rd generationers assume ghetto, Detroit culture instead of self-consumed, peer-driven White culture.

Give it 20 or 40 years. Mexicans will be the new Black. Sad day. My parents own the "old Mexico" culture and sometimes it seems like that would not be a bad place to retreat given the absolute multi-cultural circus the US has become.

Mr. Anon said...

Regarding the differences between the communist experiences in Poland and Russia: Communism was imposed on Poland as an occupying power - it never really took root in people's minds. I had once read that, even by the eighties, some 60% of Polish agricultural production was from family farms. When communism was thrown off, the Poles could breathe a sigh of relief and move on, once the alien conqueror had left. Russians, however, had to reckon with the fact that they had done all that to themselves, which must be a sobering realization.

Mr. Anon said...

"AmericanGoy said...

The countries that already were people's paradises were not given anything by the USSR."

They must have at least been getting heavily subsidized gas and oil.

Anonymous said...

Poland's GDP per capita is $21,000 . The comparable figures for Russia and Mexico are $18,000 and $15,600 respectively. For Ukraine, now so much in the news, GDP per capita is only $7,500.

At the risk of oversimplification, the culture of Europe originated either in the western Mediterranean (Roman Empire, Italy, France) or the eastern Mediterranean (Greece, Byzantine Empire). From the former came Western and Central Europe with their Roman alphabet, Catholicism and Protestantism, evolution toward democratic traditions and the rule of law. From the latter came Eastern Europe with its Cyrilic alphabet, Orthodox Christianity, strong man rule, rampant corruption, and lack of democratic traditions.

Poland, with its Western Christianity (since 966 AD), Roman alphabet, democratic tradition (Poland had Europe's first written Constitution) definitely belongs in
Central Europe . Unfortunately, in the 18th century Poland was surrounded by two countries with a complete absence of democratic traditions, Prussia and Russia but democracy has been in the Polish DNA for centuries

Hunsdon said...

Mr. Anon said: Russians, however, had to reckon with the fact that they had done all that to themselves, which must be a sobering realization.

Hunsdon: Ah, yes. (Strokes beard.) The Russians. Yes, yes, the Russians. What a marvelous conceit. We'll blame it on the Russians.

Jerry said...

It seems that my comment was previously lost... d---ed google anti-spam...

Communism in Russia lasted for seventy years--there was no one there who had remembered what normal market conditions were like. Poland was normal until 1939, and in 1989 there was a chance to draw on some lingering cultural memories of that time.

Another factor was that Poland did always see itself as part of the West, within the tradition of Enlightenment, Liberalism (not liberalism) and an open society. This was never the case in Russia (nor in China, of course, which is why I am not optimistic about the future of that other giant with clay legs).

Russia was authoritarian and oppressive before 1917 (with a slave-like feudal system that lasted until the 1860's and was vastly more extensive than in America), after the 1917 revolution, and still now today. The more things change...

As an imperial and quasi-colonial power, Russia extracted natural and other resources from its western dominions without contributing much in return. The only thing we Poles got from Russia was oil, and until the 1990's the automotive sector was incomparably less important than today (there were hardly even any highways in Poland until recently). Certainly there were almost no industrial or consumer goods that Russia exported to Poland. Maybe some "Raketa" brand watches?

Soviet forces were stationed in at least 65 locations in Poland, and some 60,000 troops as late as 1990. Nuclear weapons (some 300 warheads) were also stored on Polish territory. The costs for the maintenance of this occupation were borne by Poland throughout the period from 1945-1990. Remediation of the environmental devastation left behind continues to this day.

Anonymous said...

"but democracy has been in the Polish DNA for centuries", this does not make sense since Poland had no democratic government for centuries.

If you are trying to argue that having a western alphabet and western Christianity makes it have democratic value, that also falls apart because Germany has had those, (and much more) but you argue it has no democratic traditions.

Anonymous said...

Give it 20 or 40 years. Mexicans will be the new Black. Sad day. My parents own the "old Mexico" culture and sometimes it seems like that would not be a bad place to retreat given the absolute multi-cultural circus the US has become

True, the older Mexican group that came before the current massive illegal immigration married whites more in Texas, Calfornia and so forth they are more apart of white culture.

Anonymous said...

Mexico's high life expectancy is the sort of data to point to when noting that sending Mexican illegal immigrants back home is neither punishment nor a death sentence.

Good point, when I point these things out to white liberals they bring in hunger since most of the illegal population comes from rural Mexico where they are not employed but do pushcart jobs. I told them that Mexico is more on the level of Eastern Europe instead of Central America and Mexico could developed more of a welfare state to prevent starvation since it was not that poor of a country. In fact recently the Pew Hispanic shown that Mexican remittances is down from the peak in 2006 while Central American Countries is up which means that Mexico is getting slightly better than 7 years ago.

RS said...

> Patient Zero was a white guy.

That was when the disease was actually discovered.

HIV infection in man first occurred in Africa, coming from chimps and sooty mangaby. By genetic dating this clearly happened in the 1930s or so. Its weird, because AIDS and WWII or the Great Depression just don't go together in your mind, but it's no less true for that.

People blame the transmission event on this or that, but it doesn't make much sense to me since I would assume Africans have eaten these animals for a long time. They may have ate a lot more of them once there were more Africans, and they had guns. If the odds of transmission (not to you, but to your population) are 0.000,1% each time you slaughter and roast a chimp, then AIDS could have broken out in 1643 instead of circa 1940 -- it's just a lot less likely.

Actually, its hardly impossible some African got AIDS in 1643, or 729. --If he transmitted it to zero, one, or maybe three people, it might die out. (I get a kick out of imagining bizarre things that may well have happened, about which nothing can possibly ever be known. Even though it was probably no real drama in itself: some guy gets TB or malaria and maybe dies a little faster than average, meanwhile HIV-negative people are dying of the same left and right, as ever.)

But once like 10 or so people have it, it's got its beachhead and there's no going back.

RS said...

> Are you sure? About 30 years ago, when the word 'AIDS' was still new, a college prof told us that malaria worked the same way: it doesn't kill you, but weakens you till something else comes along to kill you.

Malaria, especially falciparum, can kill the heck out of you. But yeah its certainly chronically survivable and could leave you weak for something else. Not sure how common that is. But I think dying of straight-up falciparum is very common.

RS said...

> http://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/Netanyahu-decides-not-to-attend-Mandela-funeral-citing-high-costs-334369

Sounds like an expression of seething anger over recent events. Like Saudia turning down the rotating Security Council seat.

RS said...

> There is still some reason to be skeptical of AIDS in Africa. Remember AIDS doesn't actually kill anyone. I destroys the person's ability to fight off a host of common infections. With AIDS you die of some minor ailment that a healthy person would never notice.

In America, yeah. In Africa you are pretty likely to die of tuberculosis.

> This makes comparison with other diseases tricky. At one point before AIDS you might have died from malaria in Africa. You could be tested for the presence of the falciparum parasite at the time of death. It was unambiguous. && But later when AIDS became prevalent you might be classified as an AIDS death even if the parasite was detected. And that would be just. The HIV virus made people vulnerable to diseases that they might well have survived. Or maybe not.

You're forgetting that a very depressed CD4+ T-cell count is the hallmark of AIDS. Maybe that occurs regularly in the terminal phase of some other diseases, but I doubt it, and if so it would probably only be at the very, very end.

Mr. Anon said...

"Hunsdon said...

Hunsdon: Ah, yes. (Strokes beard.) The Russians. Yes, yes, the Russians. What a marvelous conceit. We'll blame it on the Russians."

It's not like the Russians were completely blameless in that whole communism thing in Russia.

Mr. Anon said...

"RS said...

HIV infection in man first occurred in Africa, coming from chimps and sooty mangaby. By genetic dating this clearly happened in the 1930s or so. Its weird, because AIDS and WWII or the Great Depression just don't go together in your mind, but it's no less true for that."

I remember a news story (sometime in the 90s) about a scottish sailor who had died in the UK decades before. His case so mystified the doctors at the time that they put some tissue samples from his corpse on ice, for later study. It turned out that he had HIV - must of picked it up during his travels to Africa. But that would have been in the forties or fifties.

szopeno said...

As for who exploited whom in Soviet block, it's enough to compare GDP changes after the block has fell apart: if USSR was bribing Poles, then after we left, Russian GDP should skyrocket, while our should fell. If it were rather the Russians who were exploiting us, then after we separated, our GDP should go up, and Russia's should go down.

Google the GDP of Russian and Poland and check for yourself.

As for communism in Poland, it all depended onthe time. But there were always small, even though demonized small private sectors; and Poles were trading in whole eastern block long before 1989. After 1989 there was an explosion of enterpreneurship, mostly killed by economists, who decided it would be wise to stop the economy from "overheating".

szopeno said...

For the lazy types (hope the link will work :) ):

https://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&ctype=l&strail=false&bcs=d&nselm=h&met_y=sp_dyn_le00_in&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&rdim=region&idim=country:ZAF:ZWE:RUS:MEX:POL:USA&ifdim=region&hl=en_US&dl=en&ind=false#!ctype=l&strail=false&bcs=d&nselm=h&met_y=ny_gdp_pcap_cd&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&rdim=region&idim=country:RUS:POL:SVN:CZE&ifdim=region&tstart=503017200000&tend=1134169200000&hl=en_US&dl=en&ind=false

szopeno said...

Andmore spectacular, GDP growth:

https://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&ctype=l&strail=false&bcs=d&nselm=h&met_y=sp_dyn_le00_in&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&rdim=region&idim=country:ZAF:ZWE:RUS:MEX:POL:USA&ifdim=region&hl=en_US&dl=en&ind=false#!ctype=l&strail=false&bcs=d&nselm=h&met_y=ny_gdp_pcap_kd_zg&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&rdim=region&idim=country:RUS:POL&ifdim=region&tstart=503017200000&tend=1134169200000&hl=en_US&dl=en&ind=false

Anonymous said...

Contrary to the assertion above, Poland's democratic traditions and the rule of law go back 600 years. To put this in perspective, let's not forget that even in England and France as late as the early 19th century only 10-15 percent of the citizens were entitled to vote.

- 1433 Neminem Captivabimus (some 250 years before the English Habeas Corpus act of 1679) gave Polish citizens the due process rights under which the king could not arrest anyone without a court verdict;

- 1568 De Optimo Senatore (The Counsellor) published. Written by Goslicius (Goslicki), a Polish nobleman, it was immediately translated into English and widely read at the time. Jefferson had a copy in his library although it's not clear to what extent the treatise influenced the structure of the American government. It exported the Polish concept of the Noblemen's Democracy in which the state was ruled by the Polish nobility and elective kings;

- 1573 The Warsaw Confederation extended religious tolerance to nobility and free persons - the first such document in Europe. As a result, while religious wars were raging in much of Western Europe the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was a haven of peace attracting many refugees and dissidents;

- The proportion of people entitled to vote in the Polish republic was one that England would not surpass until the Reform Bill of 1867.

The absence of democratic traditions in Germany is puzzling, and would require a separate post but it undoubtedly had some connection to the two deadly philosophies that Germany inflicted on the world - Marxism and Nazism. The absence of philosophical skepticism, unlike in France or Britain - was definitely a factor