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Thread: Why Foreign Aid Is Hurting Africa

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    Why Foreign Aid Is Hurting Africa

    Why Foreign Aid Is Hurting Africa - WSJ.com
    MARCH 21, 2009

    A month ago I visited Kibera, the largest slum in Africa. This suburb of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, is home to more than one million people, who eke out a living in an area of about one square mile -- roughly 75% the size of New York's Central Park. It is a sea of aluminum and cardboard shacks that forgotten families call home. The idea of a slum conjures up an image of children playing amidst piles of garbage, with no running water and the rank, rife stench of sewage. Kibera does not disappoint.

    Giving alms to Africa remains one of the biggest ideas of our time -- millions march for it, governments are judged by it, celebrities proselytize the need for it. Calls for more aid to Africa are growing louder, with advocates pushing for doubling the roughly $50 billion of international assistance that already goes to Africa each year.
    Yet evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that aid to Africa has made the poor poorer, and the growth slower. The insidious aid culture has left African countries more debt-laden, more inflation-prone, more vulnerable to the vagaries of the currency markets and more unattractive to higher-quality investment. It's increased the risk of civil conflict and unrest (the fact that over 60% of sub-Saharan Africa's population is under the age of 24 with few economic prospects is a cause for worry). Aid is an unmitigated political, economic and humanitarian disaster.
    Over the past 60 years at least $1 trillion of development-related aid has been transferred from rich countries to Africa. Yet real per-capita income today is lower than it was in the 1970s, and more than 50% of the population -- over 350 million people -- live on less than a dollar a day, a figure that has nearly doubled in two decades.
    Governments need to attract more foreign direct investment by creating attractive tax structures and reducing the red tape and complex regulations for businesses. African nations should also focus on increasing trade; China is one promising partner. And Western countries can help by cutting off the cycle of giving something for nothing. It's time for a change.
    I have been thinking this for quite some time although I think most charity should also be removed to help reign in the populations of Africa.

    What do you think?
    I was discovering that life just simply isn't fair and bask in the unsung glory of knowing that each obstacle overcome along the way only adds to the satisfaction in the end. Nothing great, after all, was ever accomplished by anyone sulking in his or her misery.
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    Re: Why Foreign Aid Is Hurting Africa

    Yeah. Isn't that the point of foreign aid?

    Only point I disagree with is the idea that charity should be reduced, or that the population needs to be reduced. Africa does not suffer from overpopulation. It suffers from blighted economies, criminal governments, and constant international meddling. Feeding and medicating the poor in Africa is not part of the problem-- it's sending food and medicine that will be stolen by the aforementioned criminal governments.

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    Re: Why Foreign Aid Is Hurting Africa

    Quote Originally Posted by Korimyr the Rat View Post
    Yeah. Isn't that the point of foreign aid?

    Only point I disagree with is the idea that charity should be reduced, or that the population needs to be reduced. Africa does not suffer from overpopulation. It suffers from blighted economies, criminal governments, and constant international meddling. Feeding and medicating the poor in Africa is not part of the problem-- it's sending food and medicine that will be stolen by the aforementioned criminal governments.
    I agree but at the same time when the poor are being fed, what do they do after that?

    They have no jobs or anything productive to do except screw each other, creating more little aid packages.

    It may be cold but since it takes time for strong economies to develop what else is left?
    I was discovering that life just simply isn't fair and bask in the unsung glory of knowing that each obstacle overcome along the way only adds to the satisfaction in the end. Nothing great, after all, was ever accomplished by anyone sulking in his or her misery.
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    Re: Why Foreign Aid Is Hurting Africa

    Yeah, but ain't much you can do for work if you're hungry. Need a full belly to do anything useful with your back or your brain.

    There aren't going to be any jobs until people are doing something useful to create them.

    As for "cold"... I'm no humanitarian. I don't even particularly care whether or not Africa's "problem" ever gets solved. I just can't think of a single instance where population controls have ever been good for an economy, developing or otherwise. Where you see mouths to feed, I see consumers.

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    Re: Why Foreign Aid Is Hurting Africa

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla View Post
    I agree but at the same time when the poor are being fed, what do they do after that?

    They have no jobs or anything productive to do except screw each other, creating more little aid packages.

    It may be cold but since it takes time for strong economies to develop what else is left?
    It's tough when compassion and common sense are at odds, isn't it? My heart goes out to those kids we see on TV with flies on their faces and fat bellies from starvation. Yet my common sense tells me that many have been born into societies that are incapable of sustaining them. So yes, we save one little girl today, and fifteen years from now we need to save her two or three children. And so it goes...


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    Re: Why Foreign Aid Is Hurting Africa

    Quote Originally Posted by Korimyr the Rat View Post
    Yeah, but ain't much you can do for work if you're hungry. Need a full belly to do anything useful with your back or your brain.

    There aren't going to be any jobs until people are doing something useful to create them.

    As for "cold"... I'm no humanitarian. I don't even particularly care whether or not Africa's "problem" ever gets solved. I just can't think of a single instance where population controls have ever been good for an economy, developing or otherwise. Where you see mouths to feed, I see consumers.
    I don't really infer them as positive population controls as I do think they are more natural.

    If they and the environment can't sustain themselves the population should fall to something sustainable until real economic development can be established.
    I was discovering that life just simply isn't fair and bask in the unsung glory of knowing that each obstacle overcome along the way only adds to the satisfaction in the end. Nothing great, after all, was ever accomplished by anyone sulking in his or her misery.
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    Re: Why Foreign Aid Is Hurting Africa

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla View Post

    I have been thinking this for quite some time although I think most charity should also be removed to help reign in the populations of Africa.

    What do you think?
    I think you may be right. It's an ugly image when you think of starving children who didn't create the mess, but the following statement really sums it all up:

    They have no jobs or anything productive to do except screw each other, creating more little aid packages.
    Perhaps cutting off all aid will force them to migrate elsewhere, or stand up and revolt.
    Pain can be such a beautiful thing

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    Re: Why Foreign Aid Is Hurting Africa

    Quote Originally Posted by GottaHurt View Post
    I think you may be right. It's an ugly image when you think of starving children who didn't create the mess, but the following statement really sums it all up:
    Politically I try to be amoral or strictly follow the rules of stoic justice.
    It is hard to say that people should die so that others may live.

    We have tried the opposite and it isn't working.

    Quote Originally Posted by GottaHurt View Post
    Perhaps cutting off all aid will force them to migrate elsewhere, or stand up and revolt.
    The most likely result will be mass starvation (thats already happening though) and a lot of people who don't have sickle cell trait dieing of malaria.

    There is no where to really migrate except South Africa and The northern coastal countries.
    I was discovering that life just simply isn't fair and bask in the unsung glory of knowing that each obstacle overcome along the way only adds to the satisfaction in the end. Nothing great, after all, was ever accomplished by anyone sulking in his or her misery.
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    Re: Why Foreign Aid Is Hurting Africa

    It depends where and how the foreign aid is spent. I agree that a lot of that money is wasted. Money spent in Somalia or Zimbabwe is basically just disappearing into a black hole, because almost none of it gets to the people who need it.

    Similarly, giving money to African nations to fight AIDS is the fashionable thing to do...but in many parts of Africa, there are much more deadly (but less sexy) diseases that ravage the country, such as influenza and tuberculosis.

    So I wouldn't say that we need to eliminate all foreign aid. I just think that we should bypass most of their national governments and give it directly to charities, and we need to target it more to the needs of individual countries instead of thinking of "Africa" as a monolithic entity.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 03-21-09 at 09:26 PM.
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    Re: Why Foreign Aid Is Hurting Africa

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    It depends where and how the foreign aid is spent. I agree that a lot of that money is wasted. Money spent in Somalia or Zimbabwe is basically just disappearing into a black hole, because almost none of it gets to the people who need it.

    Similarly, giving money to African nations to fight AIDS is the fashionable thing to do...but in many parts of Africa, there are much more deadly (but less sexy) diseases that ravage the country, such as influenza and tuberculosis.

    So I wouldn't say that we need to eliminate all foreign aid. I just think that we should bypass most of their national governments and give it directly to charities, and we need to target it more to the needs of individual countries instead of thinking of "Africa" as a monolithic entity.
    I would try that approach before eliminating aid.

    I may work a lot better than way.

    The locals must do something though to ramp their economy up otherwise we are still spending money for people to just do nothing and have more kids they can't feed.
    I was discovering that life just simply isn't fair and bask in the unsung glory of knowing that each obstacle overcome along the way only adds to the satisfaction in the end. Nothing great, after all, was ever accomplished by anyone sulking in his or her misery.
    —Adam Shepard

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