4 Reasons Wakanda is Probably a Terrible Place

Wakanda-fever swept the world as Black Panther (2018) surpassed the one billion mark. Portraying the fictional land Wakanda as no less than a utopia served its purpose to make the movie one we’ll remember for a long time. The allure of Wakanda was so charming that we may overlooked apparent signs that Wakanda might not be all rainbow and sunshine…


4. Their economy depends on a single resource.

It was well established in the opening that a meteor carrying a metal called vibranium changed Wakanda forever. Not only did it mutate the vegetation in the area, but it is so valuable that it transformed Wakanda into the most technologically advanced power in the world. There’s nothing wrong with this, except when the metal actually runs out.

The fact that the metal was brought to earth in a meteor means it’s finite. With the vibranium-crazed population putting the metal in everything from fabrics to weapons, it’s just a question of “when” and not “if” that the metal runs out. What will happen then? Sudan might be a good example of what will happen to a country that relies on a single resource for development. When the reserves diminish, it won’t be long before an internal struggle to control the metal happens in Wakanda, considering that civil war does happen for less in the movie.

A solution to this could be in recycling. Considering the ductile and malleable nature of the metal, it’s not impossible to recycle the material. But even then, the recycling rate of any material never reach 100%. Iron, the world’s most recycled material only gets 86% of its waste recycled for other purposes. With vibranium being portrayed as virtually indestructible, the recycling rate is probably much less than that of iron.

The biggest problem that they could face, however, is entirely out of their hands: another meteor. As the supply-demand law dictates, If another vibranium-carrying meteor fell to earth, there’s a big chance Wakanda’s economy could collapse overnight. Someone should definitely talk to T’Challa about economic diversification.


3. They Probably Rely on the Black Market (or Dictators).

In the attempt of hiding its true identity, Wakanda refrains from participating in international trade. Which does not only mean you can’t find your favorite brand of clothes in Wakandian mall but also that they probably rely on the black market.

Wait, what?

Consider this. They gained technological advantages without actually participating in international trade. The movie got away with that stupid notion by portraying vibranium as the cornerstone of Wakanda’s development; but surely, not everything is made of vibranium. They don’t go to sleep at night sleeping in beds made of vibranium after brushing their teeth with vibranium toothbrushes, do they? Also, for their industry, surely they needed other materials such as plastics, softer metals, and copper wirings; and considering the size of their development, a significant amount of them as well.

So how do they gain such materials without participating in international trade? Not even North Korea can become utterly uninvolved with international trade. Well, they probably rely on the black market, of course. The thing is, they do want to participate in trades, just not the ones with paper trails and legal accountabilities as such things will make the world realize that Wakanda’s hiding something.

Other alternatives that they probably use are shady deals with African dictators like the one Putin made with Angola. Need cobalt for their modern batteries? Congo can provide it, for quite a price as well, considering children mine it. Copper? Congo can help with that as well. The best part of the deal? Dictators just love under-the-table deals that ship off their countries’ natural resources to a foreign country so that the money goes to their pocket instead of their country’s financially reserve. It’s a win-win, really.


2. …and Money Laundering Schemes As Well.

Any seasoned embezzlers know that the key to hiding your actual financial situation is smart money laundering schemes. If Wakanda wanted to completely protect the fact that they’re richer than Scrooge McDuck while having the financial reach to conduct espionage operations in South Korea and major American cities, shell corporations and money laundering schemes were the answers.

One way to assess a country’s economic capability is to monitor the capital that goes in and out. To hide the fact that they’re rich, Wakanda can’t openly use their financial reserve without being scrutinized. At the same time, they need the purchasing capability of top-powers. Their contacts in the US are surely paid with US dollars; as such, they may need to use shell corporations and bogus transactions to make purchases for their operations discreetly.


1. They are One Accident Away from Becoming a Violent Dictatorship.

The biggest problem with Wakanda, however, is their succession system. Most countries in the world have adopted the civilized way of power succession by elections (although some have rigged their elections so bad they’re actually as real as Donald Trump’s tan), some countries still have the less-civilized way of power succession by inheritance. Wakanda’s power succession, however, is so uncivilized that Kim Jong Un’s rise to power looks decent in comparison.

So basically, every time a King dies, any member of the council can challenge his firstborn son to a death-match and the winner will be crowned King. It looks badass, sure, but it’s also stupid as hell. What most people don’t realize is the fact that Wakanda still stands because they just happened to have just rulers. In other words, they are just lucky that good men were crowned King (and fortunate that not one of the heirs turned out to be a spoiled psycho like Joffrey was).

This lack of screening for successors is actually a problem for most monarchies. Without an actual way to assess candidates, all you can do is cross your finger and hope for the best. In Wakanda, the problem runs deeper than that. As any MMA athlete can attest to, a one-on-one match can be decided by the littlest thing. So what it takes for Wakanda to have a dictator is a wet and slippery stone, a misjudgment of the timing of a punch, or a simple (bad) luck. Moreover, as if that’s not bad enough, once a lunatic actually takes the throne, there’s nothing that can stop them from doing whatever they want, like invading other nations without a proper casus belli.

In the movie, Wakanda is saved from their ominous fate by the sheer luck (luck should be Wakanda’s main resources since it looks like they have more of it than vibranium) that T’Challa survives the fall. What happened if he doesn’t? Wakanda has probably attacked a dozen countries based on racial prejudices without any actual provocation. Considering that their soldiers are armed with handheld weapons that violate the Geneva Convention, they’ll become public enemy number one in no time. So, they’ll basically become the NAZI Germany of the modern era, except with actual alien weapons.