The Economist's Apprentice

In which a little girl confronts the world and battles the anti-humans.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Witch Killing in Tanzania

The killing of witches is fairly common in rural Tanzania. The victims are typically elderly women and the killers are often relatives. Predictably enough, Edward Miquel finds that there are more witch killings when extreme weather conditions cause poverty. After all, witches are believed to cause bad weather. In Tanzania, witches are also suspected to cause disease, but an increase in disease does not seem to increase the number of witch killings. This raises the possibility that the women are not scapegoats. Instead, when times are tough, some women are being murdered to avoid the costs of supporting them.


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