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Thread: Why Foreign Aid Is Hurting Africa

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    Re: Why Foreign Aid Is Hurting Africa

    Quote Originally Posted by Infinite Chaos View Post
    You'd be surprised just how widespread the use of local technology is.

    I was originally born in Kenya - we moved to Zambia when I was 4 and the local kids made amazing metal wireframe cars that you pushed and steered in front of you. I've never seen such amazing but cheap toys. When I worked in Nigeria there were other VSOs from a construction background teaching locals how to make bricks with mud and straw.
    Thats pretty freakin cool.

    I always wondered though why primitive building skills aren't more widely known.

    Considering that a lot of the people haven't been exposed to modern things as much as we have.


    Quote Originally Posted by Infinite Chaos View Post
    The locals loved being taught independence.
    That is the one thing that makes it worth while.

    It is a stark contrast to people who beg for aid inside developed countries.

    Quote Originally Posted by Infinite Chaos View Post
    Yes, but you would have to go to training events first - probably in Canada and then be flown from there to the country you get stationed in.

    You'd go down well, do you get BBC programmes in the US? You might want to watch out for a guy called Bruce Parry (ex Royal Marine) - he does primitive living programmes. Another is Ray Mears - both do survival based on indigenous lifestyles and techniques.
    I've been thinking about it for some time, it would be easier to go to South America but I'd rather experience a people and culture I haven't had much exposure to.

    We get BBC America (I don't have it ) and the public broadcasting channels play BBC stuff all the time.

    I've got lots of magazines and books on primitive living though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Infinite Chaos View Post
    Amazingly well, they could never do enough to show how much they appreciated your being there. People really put themselves out for you but it's also charmingly naive and they are vulnerable to exploitation for it.
    That is something to enjoy, making new friends with people not anywhere near the same as you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Infinite Chaos View Post
    It's all so fragile though - that's the sad thing. I've lived in many parts of Africa and one thing that was common was the one thing that renders Africa vulnerable yet noble at the same time - absolute respect for elders. It's why people like Mugabe will get away with what he's done - by age alone but also by position an elder is "always right" never to be questioned. It's why so many leaders become corrupt and dictators, the position of trust is like absolute power and you know the old saying aboute absolute power.

    Put the wrong person in charge in Ghana or Botswana and it will all go backwards so quickly - it's how Mugabe reduced Zimbabwe to absolute poverty within 25 years: and it could happen anywhere else so easily.
    The local communities need to start stepping away from old timers.

    Seeing as how they haven't done much to provide positive growth.
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  2. #42
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    Re: Why Foreign Aid Is Hurting Africa

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla View Post
    Thats pretty freakin cool.

    I always wondered though why primitive building skills aren't more widely known.
    Those wire cars are still being made - (Making Wire Cars - Science Stories - HighlightsKids.com) - seems to be a thing mainly with Zambia and Malawi. The innovation skills are great - sometimes it's just a lack of awareness of how to exploit those skills further to make a living from it.

    I'd guess loads of kids in Zambia made wire cars - it's odd looking back that only one guy kept those skills going and developed them - here's a page on BBC of what he does as an adult - having moved from Malawi to South Africa with his skills.
    I never saw those cars anywhere else in Africa, interesting that the kids now re-sue cotton bobbins for the wheels - when I bought one from a local (years ago) everything was wire, including the wheels.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla View Post
    -- That is the one thing that makes it worth while.

    It is a stark contrast to people who beg for aid inside developed countries.
    Most VSO's I ever met found it really hard to leave actually, you sign up for two years voluntary service and then you can extend if you wish - up to a maximum of 5 years. You're not allowed to stay longer unless you leave VSO and support yourself. One guy I met trained here in the UK as a furniture maker but he worked in Nigeria for a construction company building banks and major residences after his 5 years. He was having too good a life to ever want to come back.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla View Post
    -- I've been thinking about it for some time, it would be easier to go to South America but I'd rather experience a people and culture I haven't had much exposure to.
    VSO Canada web-page here - they will have people you can talk to about where you could go. My experience is years ago - you'll find people who have more current experience there - but VSO also work in South America as well as the Caribbean and Eastern Europe.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla View Post
    --We get BBC America (I don't have it ) and the public broadcasting channels play BBC stuff all the time.

    I've got lots of magazines and books on primitive living though.
    One thing - you won't always find real primitive living - depends on what country requests a volunteer (the requests are always based on local demand, not what VSO wants) so sometimes some people who need help have no way of getting requests in. Always something to think about.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla View Post
    -- The local communities need to start stepping away from old timers.

    Seeing as how they haven't done much to provide positive growth.
    That's the one big thing that needs to change (IMO) - but changing 1000's of years of culture isn't easy.

    Mind you - I was shocked when I first discovered Morgan Tsvangirai was the same tribe as Robert Mugabe - for him to go against a major "Elder" of his own tribe was a hell of a step by an African: but it will take more people like him to really change that culture and to create a real "cross-tribal" government.

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    Re: Why Foreign Aid Is Hurting Africa

    You don't end poverty by giving people handouts, you end poverty by giving people the tools for success.

    Find a way to make Africans more sustainable continent and you have solved the problem, that would be cheaper than 50 billion in aid. You might even be able to make money out of it.

    China has learned this, creating ways for Africa to have industry for itself. That is what they need, the rest of the bull**** like malaria and that parasite that everyone is so worried about will eventually work itself out if African countries can learn to become more sustainable.

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    Re: Why Foreign Aid Is Hurting Africa

    Quote Originally Posted by thabigred View Post
    You don't end poverty by giving people handouts, you end poverty by giving people the tools for success.

    Find a way to make Africans more sustainable continent and you have solved the problem, that would be cheaper than 50 billion in aid. You might even be able to make money out of it.

    China has learned this, creating ways for Africa to have industry for itself. That is what they need, the rest of the bull**** like malaria and that parasite that everyone is so worried about will eventually work itself out if African countries can learn to become more sustainable.

    I agree...partly. Economic development is absolutely essential, and in this regard, China is leaps and bounds ahead of the Western world when it comes to helping Africa.

    However, fighting infectious diseases is very important too...as long as the money is being spent well, and is being spent in places that actually need it. $10 can prevent a case of malaria; $50 can prevent a case of AIDS.
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    Re: Why Foreign Aid Is Hurting Africa

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    I agree...partly. Economic development is absolutely essential, and in this regard, China is leaps and bounds ahead of the Western world when it comes to helping Africa.

    However, fighting infectious diseases is very important too...as long as the money is being spent well, and is being spent in places that actually need it. $10 can prevent a case of malaria; $50 can prevent a case of AIDS.
    The reason why Malaria and other infectious diseases spread so rapidly is mainly there living conditions and the lack of a mutation that most Europeans and many asians have that they received during plagues over the years. Because Africa was more sparsely populated with relatively small cities, they never developed mutations.

    Right now one of the most researched subjects is genomist are creating a way to give africans that mutation in a cost effective way.

    As for the cost you bring up, is that really sustainable, Africa has over a billion people spread across the largest continent on the earth. It cost more than those bloated figures they give you on those commercials to prevent malaria or aids.

    Even with those treatments, will the people use them. Americans have all the tools and resources at hand to prevent STD's but they still spread, what makes you think uneducated africans will do any better. I am not trying to damn all africans as uneducated either, I am just pointing out throwing billions at this problem just to prevent the problem in the ways we have now will not solve the problem.

    If they were efficient at solving the problem, it would had been solved years ago.

    Attack the source of the problem, not just the problem, because research will show solving the problem only allows the problem to perpetuate. Improve living conditions with industry, and the problem will lessen a lot more than throwing some condoms out of an airplane and a few syringes with malaria cures in it.

  6. #46
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    Re: Why Foreign Aid Is Hurting Africa

    Quote Originally Posted by thabigred View Post
    The reason why Malaria and other infectious diseases spread so rapidly is mainly there living conditions and the lack of a mutation that most Europeans and many asians have that they received during plagues over the years. Because Africa was more sparsely populated with relatively small cities, they never developed mutations.

    Right now one of the most researched subjects is genomist are creating a way to give africans that mutation in a cost effective way.
    That is a noble cause too...but mosquito nets are a lot more cost-effective.

    Quote Originally Posted by thabigred
    As for the cost you bring up, is that really sustainable, Africa has over a billion people spread across the largest continent on the earth. It cost more than those bloated figures they give you on those commercials to prevent malaria or aids.
    Those are economic estimates, not infomercials.

    Quote Originally Posted by thabigred
    Even with those treatments, will the people use them. Americans have all the tools and resources at hand to prevent STD's but they still spread, what makes you think uneducated africans will do any better.
    Diminishing returns. In the US, condoms and already commonplace and knowledge about HIV is already widespread. Only a small percentage of people choose to engage in high-risk behavior...and it's much less cost-effective to In Africa, this is not the case. A few dollars can teach sex education, or buy condoms, or implement clean needle exchange programs, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by thabigred
    I am not trying to damn all africans as uneducated either, I am just pointing out throwing billions at this problem just to prevent the problem in the ways we have now will not solve the problem.
    It will go a long way toward solving the problem. Mosquito nets are incredibly cheap and incredibly effective at preventing malaria, for example.

    Quote Originally Posted by thabigred
    If they were efficient at solving the problem, it would had been solved years ago.
    How do you figure? Africa doesn't have any money.

    Quote Originally Posted by thabigred
    Attack the source of the problem, not just the problem, because research will show solving the problem only allows the problem to perpetuate. Improve living conditions with industry, and the problem will lessen a lot more than throwing some condoms out of an airplane and a few syringes with malaria cures in it.
    There's no reason we can't do both.
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    Re: Why Foreign Aid Is Hurting Africa

    Foreign aid is just a euphemism for international welfare. American tax dollars should stay in America, period.

    Moreover, Africa's problems aren't due to a lack of funding; it's the absence of sound philosophy and governance. Africa needs to adopt Western ideals or perish, and let's not complicate the issue with modesty or self-loathing. Western-style governance and economics are the best and countries that refuse or fail to implement them aren't going to be successful. End of story.

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    Re: Why Foreign Aid Is Hurting Africa

    Quote Originally Posted by Ethereal View Post
    Moreover, Africa's problems aren't due to a lack of funding; it's the absence of sound philosophy and governance.
    There is quite a bit of both. You can't establish capital markets if your workers are dying like flies from easily preventable diseases, and you can't establish a true democracy if your citizens don't know how to read and have no reliable communication outside of their villages.

    Establishing a functioning economy is indeed essential...but that's going to require massive infusions of cash aimed at solving other problems as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ethereal
    Africa needs to adopt Western ideals or perish, and let's not complicate the issue with modesty or self-loathing. Western-style governance and economics are the best and countries that refuse or fail to implement them aren't going to be successful. End of story.
    I think it's more accurate to say that Africa needs functional capitalism than "Western ideals." The Chinese model will suffice for many parts of Africa; in fact, it may work better in some places. But regardless, just saying "they need to adopt Western ideals" is meaningless, because it doesn't address HOW they get from here to there.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 03-23-09 at 08:51 PM.
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    Re: Why Foreign Aid Is Hurting Africa

    Quote Originally Posted by obvious Child View Post
    The aid organizations to me always seem like they are merely there to stop the current hemorrhaging, not fix the problem to prevent future hemorrhaging. Dafur for example. The aid organizations there are to help prevent or slow disease and starvation. They aren't seriously actively trying stop the fundamental reason why people are suffering from diease and starvation: the civil war. True they are lobbying governments, but they aren't toppling the government.

    To be accurate those, some organizations are providing water filtration through new technologies like simple UV sanitation.
    To be most specific....charities focused on band-aiding the problems in Africa aren't going to fix them for one obvious reason. If the "Let's End Starvation In Africa" Organization actually ended starvation in Africa...they'd be out of a job.

    That's bald, but it's real. Now, I'm not talking the rank and file worker who actually meets the starving, I'm talking about the non-profit CEO who would have to find a new job if he finishes that one. He's got no incentive to finish that problem and move one to the next one.

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    Re: Why Foreign Aid Is Hurting Africa

    Quote Originally Posted by Ethereal View Post
    Foreign aid is just a euphemism for international welfare. American tax dollars should stay in America, period.

    Moreover, Africa's problems aren't due to a lack of funding; it's the absence of sound philosophy and governance. Africa needs to adopt Western ideals or perish, and let's not complicate the issue with modesty or self-loathing. Western-style governance and economics are the best and countries that refuse or fail to implement them aren't going to be successful. End of story.

    Well....you see...most of Africa HAS adopted "Western ideals". Socialism is a product of the West, one of our culture's most disastrous exports ever, even worse than smallpox, perhaps.

    What those countries need to do is regain their self-sufficiency so they can estabish rational trade policies. They can't do that with a trillion dollars of goods and services flooding their markets and swamping domestic capabilities. Their biggest question has to be "how do I get this OPM needle out of my aorta before it kills me?"

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