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Can You Make It in America?

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Could Bill Gates have become the richest man in the world had he lived all his life in Africa? Which frankly speaking, is one of the hardest environments to live in?

There are opportunities everywhere. Many people like Bill Gates were in the right place at the right time, and they did the right things. In his case, the big lucky move was leasing his DOS operating system and not selling it to IBM.

If he was an African, with the same drive and acumen, he might have become very rich. But for floating stock in a software outfit like Microsoft, and keeping 80 bln worth of stock, you had to be in Silicon Valley or at least the USA at the time.

There are a few African billionaires who started with nothing and were not corrupt politicians. But yes, it is definitely harder to make it very big in Africa.

Still, consider this, Israel in the 1950s was even worse off than most of Africa. The refugees had flooded the country. Now it is full of first and second-generation entrepreneurs. The New York stock exchange lists more Israeli companies producing goods and services than any other country’s offerings (except USA companies).

So if any African state reduces religious influences, corruption, encourage technical education, capitalism, and acted more like Israel or postwar Germany? There is no reason they couldn’t catch up.

“…If I can make it there, I’m gonna make it anywhere…”

This was the line in the song “New York New York”.

The meaning was, New York was so difficult and competitive compared to the rest of the USA, that if you could make it in NYC, you could make it anywhere. Thus, in my opinion, the line should be: 

“…If you can’t make it in the USA, you (probably) can’t make it anywhere…”

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