Montana Ethic Project: What we can learn from Africa


Joey and Libbie Early

George Metcalfe talks about lessons learned in Africa, and how they apply to Montana.

This is the 11th chapter of the 32-part video series “The Montana Ethic Project.” This chapter features George Metcalfe, a social entrepreneur for most of his life, speaking on the subject of “Economic Development in Africa and Its Relationship to Montana.”

You can watch the whole video below. Here is how it begins:

“I’ve engaged in change and development endeavors for some 40 years in some 50 countries and 15 developing nations and economies in Eastern Europe and Africa. I’ve worked on similar projects in the United States, though not as often as overseas.

“This topic that I’m dealing with today is important to me because I am a Montanan by birth. My early years as a boy in Montana, in Butte where I was raised, gave me a background and drive to see and understand the world I did not know yet existed.”

Here is another, edited excerpt from Metcalfe’s presentation:

“I must give you a reference from someone who has influenced me greatly in recent years. His name is Bernard Ladieu Waydrago. He is from Burkina Faso in Africa. He indicates in his thoughts about development, ‘The real issue is trying to extract and use the ability of peasant organization’—like community groups here in Montana—’to achieve a better physical and human environment.’ Indeed, under their program, the principle is to develop without damaging, something we Americans are not as versed with as we should be. … Damaging without developing has to be accomplished without rejecting local values, perceptions, of what people want to achieve and what they perceive to be development.

“To take another quotation from him, ‘The danger for many Africans’—think of this in terms of Montana—’is that the erosion of our ways by the aggressive ways of others, our own values by outside or external values, will destroy our sense of responsibility for solving our community problems.’”

PERC_Logo_MontanaEthicPERC—the Property & Environment Research Center—is a proud sponsor of the Montana Ethic Project. To learn how PERC’s ideas can help us honor one another’s rights to land, water, and wildlife, visit


First week: Project introduction.

Second week: Richard Drake on “Terrorism and the Consolation of History.”

Third week: Mike Gear on “The Value of Athletics.”

Fourth week: Franke Wilmer on “Gender Equity.”

Fifth week: Gordon Brittan: “The Founding Fathers.”

Sixth week: Jim Posewitz: “Montana Sportsmen and the Hunter’s Ethic.”

Seventh week: The Rev. Jessica Crist: “Religion and Politics: Can They Co-exist?”

Eighth week: Chuck Tooley: “The Montana Character.”

Ninth week: Steve Bullock: “Citizens United v. Montana.”

10th week: Carol Williams: “The Imperative for Female Government Participation.”

11th week: Bob Rowe:  “Towards Technological Development.”

Next week: Bruce Smith: “Montana’s Food Economy.”

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