20 Feb 2011
The general rule should be an end to all foreign aid, which does more harm to local farmers, and almost always leads to more corruption. If the rich Muslim states want to show their willingness to share their unmerited oil-and-gas loot with other members of the Umma, let them -- don't worry, they won't do it, and in that refusal to do it, the resentmenets of non-Arab Muslims for Arab Muslims will build and build. And so too, will the resentments of poorer Arab states for those "desert Arabs" (lacking, you see, in the history and "civilisation" of the Arabs of Egypt, of Syria, of the North) who have had all the geological luck.
No more transfers from ordinary, put-upon people in the West -- the sums grandly handed out by very well-off people in Western governments (who can feel good about giving away sums, and without troubling themselves to have to give away their own money, can give away government money -- what could be better?), to the corrupt regimes, all over the soi-disant "underdeveloped"world. One has only to read Peter Bauer, and William Easterly, who spent decades toiling in that unfruitful vineyard, and only gradually came to see the mistake and waste and horror of it all, or, most recently, "Dead Aid"Â by Dambisa Moyo and Niall Ferguson.
Within the West aid can and should be given, when necessary. If Australia needs help, it should be given. If one or more countries in Western Europe needs help to tame or expel a non-Western population that has become unruly and a permanent threat to the well-being of the indigenes, that should be given. If a non-Western country is an ally, or a victim, of Jihad, then it can be given aid, provided it is certain that the aid will be used wisely, that there will be little or no corruption or waste. The Southern Sudan, if it becomes, as one hopes, a barrier to further Muslim expansion in East Africa, should be helped with farming, and that includes help in using the waters of the Nile for irrigation. That makes geopolitical sense.
This is very different from the "No Foreign Aid"Â at all of the village crank, Ron Paul. We all understand that Ron Paul is viscerally antt-Israel (he never hides it) and there are those who, wishing American aid to Israel to continue, who think they therefore cannot logically oppose foreign aid. But they can.
Israel is part of the West; ancient Israel helped to form the West. Christians cannot allow Israel -- for them the Holy Land -- to fall into Muslim hands for this would swell Muslim triumphalism, would demoralize the world's Christians (even if many of them fail to understand this now), at a time when the spread of Christianity in China may be the best hope of braking Chinese economic rapacity and an aggressive attitude toward the rest of the world.
Furthermore, an end to aid to Israel would signal to the Arabs and Muslims, even without its effects on Israeli security, that Israel has now been officially abandoned, and they can go in for the kill, their patient salami strategy has worked. This will feed Muslim triumphalism everywhere, not least in Western Europe. This will whet, not sate, Arab and Muslim appetites.
American aid to Israel should not only continue but, in miilitary hardware, be increased for two reasons: for the sake of the West's own moral sanity, and in grim recognition of the fact -- made even clearer by recent upheavals in the Muslim Arab lands - that the only certain ally, the only secure base for the projection of Western power, in mighty contests to come, between Europe and India, is that outpost of the West and its civilization.
But there is one kind of aid that will be money well spent, and that should be liberally distributed. That is family planning clinics, and condoms, and anything and everything else that, in an age of falling food production(beginning with wheat, and ocean fish stocks, but continuing, unstoppably, because of global climate disruption and overpopulation, and the scarcity of water resources), can lower the world population.
The gains in food production that Norman Borlaug and others (such as Wolf Ladejinsky, who was so important in India, as Ved Mehta somewhere notes) , have flattened out. Now that everyone can find out how the other half, the other ten percent, the other one-tenth of one percent, lives, and desires grow pari passu with such knowledge, everyone in the world wants, needs, requires, demands, more and more resourcds.
It's a Sauve-Qui-Peut century a-borning. Hold onto your hats.
20 Feb 2011
If you want a real laugh about aid you should go through the statistics of the UN's World Food Program. In the last figures I found, 2009, you may note such amusing little details that not only did they give some $40 million food aid to Pakistan, butÂ Pakistanis also the largest supplier of food to the WFP, some $270 million for the year. The biggest supplier of food for the starving Ugandans are the Ugandans who are not starving but find it far more profitable to sell it to the WFP than to their starving countrymen. The same for Ethiopia. Of their billion dollar budget, the US, not only their biggest contributor but also the largest food producer in the world the US supplied about the same as Uganda.Â As far as I am concerned let them starve!Â It has long since changed from an aid program to a redistribution of wealth. If Bangladesh can supply rice to the WPF to feed starving Bangladeshis let them pay for it, not the western suckers.
20 Feb 2011
I am curious what people here think about microfinance loans provided or financed in some fashion by individuals in the West to, presumably, individuals and cooperatives in underdeveloped countries.
If the programs are dishonest or corrupt, of course they should not be supported. But, assuming that honest and reliable microfinance operations/programs are identified, is the microfinance industry a good thing or not, and in which situations?
From my point of view, what should be avoided are those cultures where the microfinance loans cushion the recipients from the essential dysfunction of their societies and thereby encourage avoidance of changes and fixes for those dysfunctions. That would include Islamic societies.
However,for example, it seems to me a good thing for a coffee growing cooperative in Costa Rica to be helped with loans (not gifts). Costa Rica is a relatively mellow and democratic place and if the cooperative members are successful, they are less likely to decide to become illegal migrants...
20 Feb 2011
I am curious what people here think about microfinance loans provided or financed in some fashionÂ by individuals in the West to, presumably, individuals and cooperativesÂ in underdeveloped countries.
Can't speak for anyone else here, but I'm in favour, provided these are indeed loans not just aid and provided they go to individuals not governments or corrupt UN NGOs.
They appear to have been successful, with a low default rate, where they've been tried. I understand that women in India and Bangladesh have taken them up and started their own businesses, which can't be a bad thing, especially if it makes them independent of their menfolk and less likely to breed like rabbits. Independent women controlling their fertility is un-Islamic , as indeed are loans, so that can't be a bad thing either.
20 Feb 2011
I support the Barnabas Fund. They work to help poor Christians in 1. Muslim-majority countries and 2. non-Muslim African countries, and certain other poor countries, presently majority non-Muslim, where Islam is encroaching fast and where oil-funded Islam is essentially bribing people. They do very small-scale stuff, with a focus on skills that enable a person to become independent, or to increase local productivity in ways that don't depend on expensive outside props - google 'Farming God's Way' to see what I mean. And while they're doing the aid they also warn people about Islam and what it *really* does and teaches...they teach local pastors about the glaring differences between Christianity and Islam, so that people won't be taken in by the sort of fake blandishments that Muslim dawa artists use in places where they (the Muslims) aren't yet strong enough to openly use threats and violence.
The other body I respect (and that I belong to) is the Mothers' Union, an Anglican volunteer organisation for women, over a century old, with branches in all countries where there is an Anglican Christian presence. They have a huge membership in Africa, and also in Melanesia (e.g. Papua New Guinea) and what they do is very practical and smart, down at ground level, and yet on an extraordinary scale once one starts adding it all up. (If you want to get an idea of what many Mothers Union people, not only in the Third World but in the First World are like, think Dorcas/ Tabitha in the book of Acts).
20 Feb 2011
I support the Barnabas Fund too, and various other overseas charities (e.g. Help the Aged) that have small-scale, local operations.
My "rule" relates to government aid rather than individual support for charities. It isn't the government's business to effectively force taxpayers to pay for a new Mecedes for an African despot.