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Thread: Why Foreign Aid Is Hurting Africa

  1. #61
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Los Angeles
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    09-22-10 @ 03:36 AM

    Re: Why Foreign Aid Is Hurting Africa

    Quote Originally Posted by Infinite Chaos View Post
    Incorrect - while there are some socialist governments spread around, most are still dictatorships or one party states where there is nothing socialist about the countries services, policy or taxation.
    Dictatorships?....OH! You mean socialism taken to it's logical and inevitable conclusion.

    Don't worry, many of you still don't get it. Socialism is always a failure. The nations of Africa provide many many pieces of evidence to prove this. Zimbabwe alone is sufficient.

  2. #62
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    04-02-15 @ 05:08 PM

    Re: Why Foreign Aid Is Hurting Africa

    Sure we can: We can spend money on charities that do important work in countries which are reasonably well-governed and allow charities to operate freely. $10 can prevent a case of malaria in Mozambique. $20 can prevent a death from starvation in Mali. $50 can prevent a case of HIV in Botswana.
    That's what private charities are for. There's no reason we should subsidize living costs in a foreign country.

    I'm certainly not unsympathetic to the plight of Africans and I sincerely hope that personal compassion and individual effort can help them to overcome the many challenges they face, but the government has no place forcing people to subsidize the living costs of foreigners, or other Americans for that matter.

    Instead of forcibly allocating tax dollars towards foreign countries the government should just concentrate on raising awareness and encouraging more personal involvement from its citizens. This can be accomplished with strong and principled leadership; something which is severly lacking in Washington.

    1. Africa is not a country.
    A grievous intellectual fumbling. I'm embarrassed.

    And while I'll assume that was a typo
    Yes, please do.

    that mentality is one of the biggest problems with the way people look at the foreign aid process. Why must we view all of Africa's disparate problems through a single prism? Why must we look at whether "Africa" is moving forward or backward, instead of looking at whether Mali, Senegal, Cameroon, Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Somalia, South Africa, Ethiopia, Congo, and Ghana are each individually moving forward or backward? And furthermore, what are each of them doing right or wrong?
    Alright, point taken, and I agree. I think the reason so many people view the problems of Africa in the manner you specified is because that's how its presented to the American public, but I digress...

    The real issue here is whether or not the American government ought to force its citizens to subsidize the living costs of people in Mali or Senegal or Cameroon or wherever. I'm all for establishing trade when economically feasible and maintaining a frequent dialogue with the world, but neither of those possibilities is contingent upon giving or receiving foreign aid.

    2. Most of Africa is indeed developing...and very quickly. To the extent that some parts ARE backsliding, they are often due to the emergence of HIV rather than a failure of foreign assistance.
    3. Every part of the world has a few countries that are moving backwards due to incompetent governments, and Africa is no exception (e.g. Zimbabwe, Somalia, Congo). But most of Africa is developing.
    So, let us use diplomacy and individual compassion to facilitate Africa's development.

    Having reliable trade and investment partners on the most resource-rich continent on earth would directly involve our country.
    Certainly. However, establishing trade with other countries is not contingent upon giving or receiving foreign aid. I'm all for greasing the wheels a little bit; after all, doing business costs money, but this does not necessitate spending many millions of dollars.

    Stopping the spread of communicable diseases from the least sanitary continent on earth would directly involve our country.
    I believe we have a tangential interest in this. Obviously, we want to stop these diseases from spreading to our country but this does not necessitate that we attempt to cure Africa.

    Africa is NOT impervious to our help. Overall, it is developing quite well. And no one has denied that many places in Africa are giant messes of ignorance and corruption. But those problems don't automatically correct themselves without good reason.
    I'll concede that Africa is not a monolith and that certain countries are receptive to our aid, but this does not change two fundamental things: the government should not force American citizens to subsidize the living costs of other countries, and those countries which ARE giant messes of ignorance and corruption are virtually dead to us. Unless we occupy these countries and force them to accept certain ideals of governance and law, they will be impervious to American tax dollars, indeed, money might even make things worse when it ends up in the wrong hands.

    Only Africa can establish capital markets and overthrow idiots like Mugabe. But outside nations and outside charities can play a big role in ending infectious diseases, purifying the water, and teaching people to read and do basic math.
    Play a role? Absolutely. Subsidize living costs? No.

    Again, there have NOT been decades of failure. Most of Africa is developing well, and many parts are backsliding solely due to the spread of HIV and not to the failure of foreign assistance over the last few decades.
    And why is HIV spreading so rapidly?

    Well, I guess we simply differ on what "Western ideals" entail then. I don't think private property rights are anything inherent to one region of the world, but we agree that the rule of law and private property are necessary to establish a growing economy.
    And how does this come about in Africa?

    This is another problem I have with the way that many people view the foreign aid process. Africa is not the United States, and never will be the United States.
    I agree, but that doesn't change the fact that they need to implement a measure of our ideals before they can become successful.

    Africa needs to develop its own way
    Now, this I completely agree with. Good point, Kandahar.

    and the United States certainly has a number of valuable lessons to teach do Europe, Russia, China, Japan, India, Indonesia, Chile, and many other countries. The problems of Africa are not the same as the problems of the United States, and simply abolishing their diverse systems of government and establishing a US-clone would likely be ineffective.
    I'm not suggesting they abolish their diverse systems of government. I'm simply suggesting that in order for Africa to succeed they cannot heavily incorporate socialism, tribalism, sexism, racism, feudalism, or tyranny into their governments and societies.

    I do donate plenty of time and money to charities for Africa.
    That's good. Continue to do so and good luck in your endeavors.

    And I'll oblige the government to spend time and money as well, because the world's concerns ARE America's concerns to a certain degree.
    To a certain degree, yes.

    That doesn't mean we need to overthrow every crummy tinpot dictator in Africa
    Well, sure it does, after all, it's only a "degree" which separates your economic interests from a neo-con's military interests in another country. If the problems of the world do indeed necessitate direct involvement from the US then perhaps we should play for keeps. I mean, why shouldn't we invade Sudan? Can we really pretend that an imaginary line in the dirt absolves us of our responsibility for the genocide taking place there or that we could stand idly by while Saddam Hussein slaughtered his citizens and destabilized a region?

    but foreign assistance (both from governments and from private charities) can play an important role if used correctly.
    Maybe when our economy isn't on the brink of collapse we can worry about the ills of another nation.

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