020 - The Tanganyika Groundnut Scheme (Tanzania)

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By Ed Burmila and Mass for Shut-ins. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

In 1946, post-war Britain tries to solve four very different problems at once: a labor surplus of returning military, a shortage of key foods, the need to make colonies economically independent, and a dignified way to draw down the Empire. The scheme they came up with is ... incredible. That is to say, you will not find it credible.

Tanzania. 3 million acres of rock-hard clay soil. It just screams "Let's grow peanuts there!" doesn't it.

A tale of overconfidence, bureaucratic overkill, paternalist attitudes, man vs. nature miscalculations, and the unwavering belief that white Europeans with a lot of education could solve anything given an unlimited budget.

Four years, a billion pounds (!!!), and the project managed to *use* more peanuts than it grew. They made *negative peanuts.*

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Thanks: Seth Wilson, all the bands that contribute music (Waxeater, IfIHadAHiFi, The Sump Pumps, Oscar Bait), Zachary Sielaff, Question Cathy, and all Patreon supporters, subscribers, and listeners.

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