Game Theory 5: Yankee Ingenuity changes to Soukous Ingenuity

Time to tweek the English Vocabulary.

This post is about "aid" or "nurture" versus strategy for growth and self-sustaining economies.  It's not the proverb "teach a man to fish".  It's "Dudes!  Don't even you see this guy is fishing successfully?  Give him back his dang fishing pole.  Like, primum non nocere already!"
Strategy Topics
for some reason this depicts strategy by wiki

"Yankee Ingenuity" was a term recognized virtually worldwide after World War II, though it harkened back the a period much earlier, when New England's industrialization began making "good enough" product  in competition with English and European manufacturing.   Paper mills, weavers, cotton gins, and printing presses (like the used one purchased by teenaged Ben Franklin from London prior to the Revolutionary War) were often erected with "tinkered" parts.   Reuse, repair, and upgrade were recognized as a talent associated with poverty and a "can do" attitude.

My generation of schoolchildren in the 1960s saw "yankee ingenuity" in our history textbooks, it was so promoted that Wikipedia's editor is within h/h rights to label it a "stereotype".  

But what we really need is a term that African and Asian and South American Tinkerers can be proud of.  The "tinkerer's blessing", as I've dubbed it refers to can-do/make-do in contrast to the "Resource Curse".   But 'blessing' is a description of an effect, whereas "Yankee Ingenuity" gave respect to the people performing the repairs and upgrades.   Tinkerer's Blessing refers to the effects the Geeks of Color have on their own emerging city or country.   What do we label the drive within the African, the Joe Benson, the Hamdy Moussa?  How do we regionalize Acer's Simon Lin or Terry Gou's adaptation of "semi-knockdown" and "elective upgrade" in a way that signifies a "tip of the hat?"

Then I realize that vocabulary usually has roots which are thousands of years old.  Better research the lingo, make sure it's broke before I fix it.

In my current Africa focus (leaving in a couple of days), I'm tempted to call it Soukous Ingenuity.

It's the "Yankee" part which needs a-fixin'.  Yankee stuck because it has a charm in its locality, it gave pride to Americans to be associated with it, and associated ingenuity with a successful bootstrapping locale.  The problem is that can-do isn't actually regional, it's a temperature, it's a symptom of growth and economic potential.   It's the fever before urbanization.  And the music I hear in the shops which fix is African.

Soukous is a term for Congolese rumba music, and it derives from French "secourer", as in "to shake things up".   Because that's what I think is precisely what is happening underneath the green revolutions in northern Africa (Tunisia, Egypt, Libya), and is a pretty good description for the explosive economic progress in sub-saharan Africa as well.

"Soukous", a derivative of the French word "secousse" – "to shake"[2] – was originally the name of a dance and music popular in the Congos in the late 1960s, an African version of the Cuban Rumba. From the 1940s, Afro-Cuban son groups such as Septeto Habanero and Trio Matamoros had been played over Radio Congo Belge in LĂ©opoldville (Kinshasa), and the Congo shared the widespread popularity of Cuban music during the late 1940s and 1950s.[3]
To Africans, Cuban popular music sounded familiar[4] and Congolese bands started doing Cuban covers, singing the lyrics phonetically. Eventually they created original compositions with lyrics in French or Lingala, a "lingua franca" of the western Congo region. The Cuban horn guajeos were adapted to guitars.[5] The Congolese called this new music "rumba", though it was more based on "son". Antoine Kolosoy, also known as Papa Wendo, became the first star of African rumba, touring Europe and North America in the 1940s and 1950s with his regular band, Victoria Bakolo Miziki.[6]
By the 1950s, big bands had become the preferred format, using acoustic bass guitar, multiple electric guitars, conga drumsmaracasscraperflute or clarinet, saxophones, and trumpet. Grand Kalle et l'African Jazz (also known as African Jazz) led by Joseph Kabasele Tshamala (Grand Kalle), and OK Jazz, later renamed TPOK Jazz (Tout Puissant Orchestre Kinshasa, meaning "all-powerful Kinshasa band") led by Franco became the leading bands. One of the musical innovations of Franco's band was the mi-solo (meaning "half solo") guitarist, playing arpeggio patterns and filling a role between the lead and rhythm guitars.[7]
My proudest feat of the past year was to personally "friend" Shaba Kahamba, one of the lead bassist and guitarists for Franco's TPOK Jazz band in Eastern Zaire (Congo).  The "mi-solo" guitar of Kahamba and his pals took Cuban and African music full electric, it was the Dylan Electric if you will of the "global south".

Here is Franco and the band in Kinshasa, Zaire, in 1982.  ON AFRICAN TELEVISION!  Electronics! Electric guitars!  African cities had TVs when I was in Zaire in the 1980s.  Not nearly as many as had TV two decades later - which is the source of Agbogbloshie "e-waste".  Joe Benson was already in business in the early 90s, and he may well have sold the TVs in the Ghana dump, but he didn't dump them there.

Soukous derives from "secour" or "shake", but its Latin is the same root of English "succor", as in nurture or help grow.  From Merriam Webster:

Succor:  relief; also :  aid, help

:  something that furnishes relief
Online Emtymology

Dig deeper, and the root Latin word isn't "shake things up", exactly.  It is from Latin "succursus", meaning to help or AID.

"Soukous Ingenuity" would therefore capture success (the most successful music in Africa), rapid change or agitation or "shaking things up", a delightfully contagious music, and sounds just a little bit like the Chinese "shanzai"... which is my goal, to get "good enough" duct tape solutions recognized for what they can do rather than for what they cannot do.  It's the antidote for "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche" "let them eat cake".  And it's self-AID or self-succor, bootstrapping, can-do, and strong.

Perfect defense for the Geeks of Color, the Techs of the Global South, the so-called "informal" (*sniff*) or "third world" emerging market.  The engineers who see that a display has more value, economic and environmental, if it isn't broken and shredded.  The engineers who saw "obsolete" office monitors replaced by flat screens in New York and Los Angeles as an opportunity to put three billion people online from 2000-2010.  You know, like "Hurricane" Joe Benson.

Ingenuity is different from strategy.

ingeniare, from the latin, means to devise.
techni, from the greek, means making or doing.

The techs, geeks and nerds are much more ingenious than I am at solving a small stubborn problem which impedes some ordinary goal.  Or just make something beautiful, like the Global South's "Mystery Guitar Man" (Lime and Coconut printer engineering video here).

I'm no genius at engineering.  People assume I know how to fix cell phones.  That's like thinking a general must be the army's best sharpshooter or marksman.  The fix I'm working on is policy.  EPA Policy, international development policy.   I didn't invent gasoline and may not be as good a technician as Thomas Midgely. But leaded gasoline was just bad, it was bad m'okay?  And someone had to change the industry to take Ethyl out of the city gas pumps.

To succeed takes strategy.
businessdictinary  dot com

I'm actually good at strategy.  I'm not good at predicting the future.

The difference between these is like a game of chess.  Sometimes, you just have to make a move knowing that the more you think about the move, the more likely you are to win.  You will still make bad moves from time to time despite thinking about them, but usually you lose because you didn't see your good move, not because you made a bad one. /end of Rafiki voice/

What strategy or Game Theory (see Game Theory Blog) recognizes is that it is the combination of players, pieces and moves which create the outcome.   In Chess, the knight does not have the "best" capability to move.  It has a particular move which has an advantage of being more difficult for a more novice opponent to foresee.  The bishop can move all the way across the board in one move, but a knight cannot.  But a bishop can never move from white square to black, or from black to white.  In the next move, a knight can alter the color of its home square, and approach from a different angle.

It is yet to be established if Fair Trade Recycling or WR3A will actually succeed in its strategy.  Often the important science, or knowledge, is not nurtured in its own village, or its own generation.  See Latin of the word "succ"... above.  Success is the object, Succor is the verb.

scientia, means to knowledge.  The older I get, the more knowledge I aquire, and like an older doctor, I see commonalities in afflictions and solutions.  A novice doctor may see a solution and not recognize the common root of the solution.

The value of the strategist is to see chess pieces, and people, for what they can do, rather than solely for what they cannot do.   Some people cannot look at a knight or bishop without feeling the frustration of the piece's limitations.   Some people see Africa as a place that can repair CRTs, and extend their useful lives over decades (lowering the net lifecycle cost of manufacture), but can only see wire burning or poor markets for broken glass.

Or just see poor dirty negro children, because that's what they clickbait over and over and over and over again, unable to see the schadenfreude of their own obsessive "third world" labels.   I saw a tweet last night saying "half of the people on the planet are starving, and the other half have Iphones".  It was the most moronic, false, ignorant, idiotic tweet I've seen.   As Rosling says, the majority of humans perform worse than chimpanzees when asked to estimate the statistics around poverty.  And I blame the bloody pictures, endless rubbernecking photos of kids at dumps.

I can't find a good defintition of #povertyporn, but I know it when I see it.

ENGO saviors threaten to fix it until it's broke.   Success doesn't suck, dudes.

Thanks to John H. Lienhard of University of Houston, author of Machines of our Mind, for the entymology on engineering words.

John H. LienhardJohn H. Lienhard, author and voice of The Engines of Our Ingenuity, is Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering and History at the University of Houston. He received BS and MS degrees from Oregon State College and the University of Washington, his PhD from the University of California at Berkeley, and he holds two honorary doctorates. He is known for his research in the thermal sciences as well as in cultural history. He is an Honorary Member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

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