Monday, May 14, 2007

Failed Aid

If there is a distinguishing characteristic between those of lefter leaning stripes and those of righter leaning stripes it's that those on the right seemingly and callously only care about results, those on the left care about being nice or polite. Those on the right are the harsh fatherly figures that incentive performance by threat of punishment. Those on the left are kind, forgiving mother figures that incentive performance by rewards and puppies and flowers and unicorns, but it's not necessary you achieve performance, but that you try.

Now while the world needs both it seems the fatherly approach to problem solving is being outlawed and banned as it is too blunt and mean.

And that's a pity because usually the best thing people need is a swift kick in the ass or to have some kid point out the emperor has no clothes. It's an additional pity when for political reasons, ignorance or just being brainwashed into political correctness, we ignore problems in fear that if we address them directly then we'd be accused of being cold hearted, sexist, racist, evil, mean, or just a plain old poopey person. It's a tragedy when 600 million people's lives are on the line and we can't admit we goofed up and change tactics because the resulting change in tactics would be deemed politically incorrect.

Case in point, Africa;

Now I don't have time to go on about how much we've spent in aid and debt forgiveness, estimates I've seen range from $650 billion to $1.5 trillion. But can we at least admit that this leftist-originated "let's all send them money and aid" schtick ain't working? Can we just for once put the actual livelihoods of Africans ahead of our desires to feel warm fuzzies about ourselves because we "tried" (even though it's seemed to make them worse off)? This isn't a hobby folks, it's other people's lives, which is why it's good to see charities like the Bill and Melinda Gate's foundation attaching strings to their aid. If we can admit that, I'll admit things aren't working in Iraq...but that's just because I have this horrible knack for accepting reality. Do you?


skh.pcola said...

How and why did the longevity for Asians rapidly increase in the '60s, and on into the '70s, what with the Vietnam "quagmire" (as leftards so quaintly name it), Pol Pot, and everything else in the region?

Alfred T. Mahan said...

Yet another failure to read P.J. O'Rourke on your part, Captain; his chapter entitled "How To Make Nothing Out Of Everything" explores this very topic circa 1997, as applied to Tanzania.

We (the West) sent a ton of money to Africa, it's true, but what was probably worse, we sent a bunch of really stupid ideas to go with them that were adopted. I'll leave it to the readers to guess which side of the spectrum those ideas came from, but as a hint, they didn't include boxes of Free To Choose or The Wealth Of Nations, suitably translated.

Anyway, I highly suggest this book and that chapter in particular for a semi-humorous look at how an African nation can get so screwed up despite an enormous amount of "help".