Monday, June 11, 2007
How Aid Hurts Africa
Trey Givens points to a fascinating interview in Spiegel Online with James Shikwati, a Kenyan economist who holds that Western aid to Africa is undermining its economic development. Here is just one highlight:
[A]t some point, this [United Nations World Food Program] corn ends up in the harbor of Mombasa. A portion of the corn often goes directly into the hands of unscrupulous politicians who then pass it on to their own tribe to boost their next election campaign. Another portion of the shipment ends up on the black market where the corn is dumped at extremely low prices. Local farmers may as well put down their hoes right away; no one can compete with the UN's World Food Program. And because the farmers go under in the face of this pressure, Kenya would have no reserves to draw on if there actually were a famine next year. It's a simple but fatal cycle. [one minor edit]Shikwati describes here how foreign aid is reducing positive incentives for the people of Africa to develop into self-reliant individuals and for its nations to promote their own economic development by protecting individual rights.
Readers of this blog will remember that this wholesale thwarting of the economic development of Africa goes even deeper than that: The West, by keeping kleptocracies afloat is also helping them gut Africa's moral infrastructure. Recall the following excerpt from "undercover" economist Tim Hartford's commentary on Cameroon:
There's no point investing in a business because the government will not protect you against thieves. (So you might as well become a thief yourself.) There's no point in paying your phone bill because no court can make you pay. (So there's no point being a phone company.) There's no point setting up an import business because the customs officers will be the ones to benefit. (So the customs office is under-funded and looks even harder for bribes.) There's no point getting an education because jobs are not awarded on merit. (And you can't borrow money for school fees because the bank can't collect on the loan.)On reflection, I was far more correct about Darfur than I realized when I wrote that,
[Promoting] the protection of individual rights ... would do far more to mitigate atrocities such as those in Darfur and Zimbabwe (if not avert many of them altogether) than any amount of charitable donations made while doing nothing to end such regimes.Why? Because we see here that massive charity obscures the relationship between the exercise of reason and man's survival and thus, of the nature of individual rights and the need to protect them.
Kudos to Wayne Graham and Company for their successful return to the College World Series this year!
"I think we all understand that winning a super regional against a great team like A&M, that's huge," [Tyler] Henley said. "But we all want rings that say 'National Champions' not 'Omaha' or 'World Series,' like the ones that we already have.I must say that I like the focus of this team.
"There is something more than just winning a super regional. We want a national championship." [bold added]
The pairing of Rice and A&M at the super regional level seemed odd to me, given that the Owls and the Aggies were both ranked among the top ten nationally (2nd and 7th, respectively) and so arguably should have met later.
The Freedom to Marry
It is hard to believe, but only forty years ago, seventeen states had anti-miscegenation laws on the books!
Born Mildred Jeter, she's known by the name she took when she -- a black woman living in segregated Virginia -- dared break the rules by marrying a white man named Richard Loving.Given that I often blog bad news and frequently lament how quickly things seem to be going to hell in a handbasket, it is worth it to step back and consider stories like this one, and remember that things can also change drastically for the better in a short amount of time, too.
The union landed the Lovings in jail, then before the U.S. Supreme Court, and finally in the history books; 40 years ago Tuesday, the court ruled in favor of the couple, overturning laws prohibiting interracial unions and changing the face of America.
Mildred Loving hardly considers herself a hero -- just a girl who once fell in love with a boy. [bold added]
Binswanger on "Anarcho-Capitalism"
I am very glad that Harry Binswanger has decided to post to the web his argument against "anarcho-capitalism" -- that contradiction in terms foisted on the marketplace of ideas by certain libertarians.
I was about to excerpt it here to give a taste, but the piece is short enough and so tightly written that to do so would make the meaning of any excerpt unclear and so do the entire piece an injustice. I will say that I think that if you read it, you will have to agree with his conclusion: "To cooperate with either [the religious conservatives or the libertarians] is to betray capitalism, reason, and one's own future."