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Offlinelonestar2004
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Anti-poverty campaign gets it almost all wrong
    #4372713 - 07/05/05 05:49 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Anti-poverty campaign gets it almost all wrong

July 5, 2005

BY JOHN O'SULLIVAN







President Bush today will appear at the meeting of G8 government leaders in Scotland with a surprisingly good chance of being hailed as a savior of mankind. That is all the more surprising because his audience there will consist not merely of the presidents and prime ministers of the world's wealthiest economies in the G8, but also of several million anti-poverty campaigners, progressive pop stars, socially aware bishops, labor union executives, environmental radicals, "thoughtful" corporate statesmen, anti-globalization networkers, and young idealists of indeterminate kinds.



Under the banner of the "Make Poverty History" campaign, wearing their idealism on their white-armbanded sleeves, fresh from wrapping much larger white armbands around St. Paul's Cathedral and other public buildings (to signify, well, something or other), they will have walked miles, slept in fields, lined up outside portable loos, attended globally linked pop concerts, signed petitions, cheered "Sir Bob" Geldof, and generally fought world poverty in a roundabout way.

Not to stereotype anyone, of course, but people like that seldom have a good word to say about Bush -- and they have a lot to say about him, generally along the lines of "murderer," "Bush Lied," and "Bush, Bush, Bush, Out, Out, Out." So why are they likely to be singing his praises today, or at least humming them under their breath?

Well, Bush announced Thursday that he -- that is, the U.S. taxpayer -- would be doubling aid to Africa. Since he had already agreed to cancel the debts of the world's poorest countries and, before that, significantly increased funding to combat the AIDS epidemic in the Third World, the president had done almost as much as they had asked and much more than they had expected.

We know enough about this president to see that ameliorating Third World poverty is a project that would appeal to him. He famously said that government should step in to help when someone was "hurting." And his evangelical Protestantism, with its missionary impulse, would direct him to help where the need is greatest, namely sub-Saharan Africa.

A reasonable objection can be raised that this kind of missionary charity is no business of the U.S. government. Let me set aside that objection, however, and raise the less-obvious criticism that if the U.S. government does embark on helping poor Africans, it should first ensure that it really is helping and not harming them.

An examination of the "Make Poverty History" Web site raises very serious doubts on that score. The Web site is almost entirely devoted to the organizational details of the campaign -- the white wrapping, the pop concerts, the petitions, etc. -- to the point of resembling a Web site for an international pop group tour. It devotes a minuscule amount of space to its actual proposals for relieving poverty. And those proposals are, to put it kindly, "controversial" -- i.e., mainly wrong, seemingly unaware of the well-established criticisms of previous aid programs, and likely to make matters worse.

It has one very good idea -- that the United States and western Europe should stop agricultural export subsidies that destroy the markets for poor Third World farmers. That is not, of course, charity since it would also benefit the taxpayers of the rich West. Still, it is a good idea -- if a very limited one.

Why does the MPH manifesto not carry the usual proposal that the rich West should reduce or eliminate its much more important domestic agricultural subsidies, quotas and tariffs and open up its markets to food imports from Africa, Asia and Latin America? That would benefit the Third World rural poor far more effectively than merely shutting down export subsidies -- and it would benefit poor consumers in the West since they would get cheaper food.

MPH seems unconcerned about consumers at all, including consumers in the poorest countries. It wants protectionist tariffs for agriculture in the Third World; it urges governments to impose them, and it warns international agencies not to discourage them. Such policies would have at least two damaging effects: First, they would raise food prices in those countries, penalizing the poorest of the poor, and second, they would choke off trade between poor countries as well as with the West, thus reducing economic opportunities for producers, as well.

Indeed, the more one examines the MPH manifesto, the more sinister it seems. It is a manifesto for government controls and against markets -- ignoring the fact that government in poor countries is very often inefficient, corrupt and clannish. It wants more aid instead of more trade -- ignoring the fact that aid goes to governments, not the poor, and strengthens their power even in the rare cases where they use it honestly, whereas trade benefits the enterprising and hardworking. It wants to stop privatization programs -- ignoring the fact that government monopolies in the Third World are overstaffed with relatives of influential people, treated as private bank accounts by ministers, and thus forced to charge high monopoly prices to the non-influential (i.e., the poor).

In short, MPH ignores almost all the valuable work done in development economics since the 1960s, which established that when private property is legally protected, pettifogging regulations reduced to a minimum, and producers allowed free access to domestic and foreign markets, the poor lift themselves up by their own bootstraps.

That anti-poverty campaigners should pass over these well-known findings is sinister rather than merely foolish because aid agencies benefit from having the poor not as active agents in their own success, but as grateful recipients of their largess. So they have an interest in keeping aid flowing and the poor dependent. Aid should be made conditional not merely on ending corruption in government, as Bush as rightly seen, but also on protecting the property rights of the poor, cutting the red tape that holds their "informal sector" businesses back, and going to local organizations rather than central government.

Otherwise, don't do it, George. Don't Make Poverty Permanent.


http://www.suntimes.com/output/osullivan/cst-edt-osul05.html


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America's debt problem is a "sign of leadership failure"

We have "reckless fiscal policies"

America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership.

Americans deserve better

Barack Obama


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Offlinelonestar2004
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Re: Anti-poverty campaign gets it almost all wrong [Re: lonestar2004]
    #4372721 - 07/05/05 05:53 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)



"It has one very good idea -- that the United States and western Europe should stop agricultural export subsidies that destroy the markets for poor Third World farmers. That is not, of course, charity since it would also benefit the taxpayers of the rich West. Still, it is a good idea -- if a very limited one. "


--------------------
America's debt problem is a "sign of leadership failure"

We have "reckless fiscal policies"

America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership.

Americans deserve better

Barack Obama


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InvisibleSilversoul
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Re: Anti-poverty campaign gets it almost all wrong [Re: lonestar2004]
    #4373037 - 07/05/05 07:32 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Those people should all read Progress and Poverty. Henry George already told us how to make poverty history, but few people even know about him.


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InvisibleLos_Pepes
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Re: Anti-poverty campaign gets it almost all wrong [Re: Silversoul]
    #4373049 - 07/05/05 07:35 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

The reason there are so many poor people in the world is because poor people give birth to lots more poor people.


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: Anti-poverty campaign gets it almost all wrong [Re: Los_Pepes]
    #4373717 - 07/05/05 11:00 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Maybe we should start handing out free vasectomies, and tube tying.

Maybe even offer a cash incentive to get sterilized.


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OfflineTao
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Re: Anti-poverty campaign gets it almost all wrong [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #4374573 - 07/06/05 03:31 AM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Well the birth control known as 'AIDS' is certainly doing their economy wonders :rolleyes:


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Magash's Grain Tek  + Tub-in-Tub Incubator + Magash's PMP + SBP Tek + Dunking = Practically all a newbie grower needs :thumbup:


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InvisibleLe_Canard
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Re: Anti-poverty campaign gets it almost all wrong [Re: lonestar2004]
    #4374587 - 07/06/05 03:38 AM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Yet he's cutting Medicaid programs in this country for the poor and disabled, along with other programs for these people. Maybe he should pay a little more attention to needs of the people he supposedly leads....


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InvisibleIsaacHunt
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Re: Anti-poverty campaign gets it almost all wrong [Re: lonestar2004]
    #4375247 - 07/06/05 12:02 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Quote:

So why are they likely to be singing his praises today, or at least humming them under their breath?





Unlikely. They've already dismissed the "doubling aid" as a con.

Quote:

Since he had already agreed to cancel the debts of the world's poorest countries




The question is how many countries.

Quote:

It wants to stop privatization programs




Seeing as privatisation is a leading cause of impoverishment of African people this is an excellent idea.



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OfflineTao
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Re: Anti-poverty campaign gets it almost all wrong [Re: IsaacHunt]
    #4375255 - 07/06/05 12:08 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Quote:



Seeing as privatisation is a leading cause of impoverishment of African people this is an excellent idea.




Wow, source please.


--------------------
Magash's Grain Tek  + Tub-in-Tub Incubator + Magash's PMP + SBP Tek + Dunking = Practically all a newbie grower needs :thumbup:


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InvisibleSilversoul
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Re: Anti-poverty campaign gets it almost all wrong [Re: Le_Canard]
    #4375381 - 07/06/05 01:02 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Quote:

ToiletDuk said:
Yet he's cutting Medicaid programs in this country for the poor and disabled, along with other programs for these people. Maybe he should pay a little more attention to needs of the people he supposedly leads....



Interesting. At the same time, he presided over the largest expansion of Medicare ever.


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InvisibleSilversoul
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Re: Anti-poverty campaign gets it almost all wrong [Re: Tao]
    #4375390 - 07/06/05 01:04 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Quote:

Tao said:
Quote:



Seeing as privatisation is a leading cause of impoverishment of African people this is an excellent idea.




Wow, source please.



I believe what he's mainly referring to is water privatization. I say this because, going to a liberal arts college, I've seen quite a few anti-WTO propaganda films who talked extensively about this.


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InvisibleLe_Canard
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Re: Anti-poverty campaign gets it almost all wrong [Re: Silversoul]
    #4375414 - 07/06/05 01:10 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Yes, I thought that a bit odd myself. Medicare will take care of the elderly and the disabled, but there are a lot of people who can't get regular insurance for various reasons, and don't qualify for Medicare but do need Medicaid. On a side note, with all the controversy about Social Security's future insolvency, it's the rising Medicare costs that will be the real "budget buster"....


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Invisiblepsilomonkey
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Re: Anti-poverty campaign gets it almost all wrong [Re: lonestar2004]
    #4375438 - 07/06/05 01:19 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/africa/article297159.ece





Mozambique: The nation that proves aid works

After years of civil war, floods and Marxist misrule, Mozambique now has soaring growth, falling poverty and rising literacy. Its story should inspire the G8 leaders

By Raymond Whitaker in Maputo
Published: 06 July 2005

It is rare to hear any success stories from Africa. Mozambique, with its history of war, famine, misguided Marxist experiments, natural disasters and the creeping horror of Aids, should be a typical African basket-case. But in a continent with so many countries on their knees, this one offers hope - and perhaps inspiration to the G8 leaders meeting today in Gleneagles.

Economic growth has averaged 8 per cent a year for the past 11 years, one of the fastest rates in the world. Fuelled by two rounds of debt relief - the latest, just last month, was reckoned to be worth $57m - growth is set to accelerate further.

The streets of Maputo, the capital, once a byword for decay, are beginning to fill again with tourists. One side of a high-rise building carries a giant portrait of Kelly Holmes's great rival, Maria Mutola; Mozambique's only Olympic gold medallist is advertising mobile phones.

Relics of the country's lurch into socialism after independence from Portugal in 1975 are still around Maputo. The capital's streets, once named after forgotten Portuguese administrators, now commemorate Communist icons such as Marx, Lenin, Mao and Allende.

But the government has embraced free market reforms with such fervour that the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, likes to hold up Moz-ambique as an example to other African countries. While more than 1,000 state enterprises have been privatised, the currency, the metica, has been allowed to float, prices and interest rates are determined by the market, and private investors are showing increasing interest, helping to stimulate the country's nascent stock exchange.

All this still requires considerable outside support. Foreign aid accounts for 15 per cent of GDP and half of all government spending. But income per head is still less than $1 a day, and more than half of Mozambique's 19 million population live in poverty.

But five years ago, both figures were much worse, and the gains made so far have bred a new confidence, reflected among young Mozambicans such as 12-year-old Madina, president of a "youth parliament" organised by Save the Children in the central town of Morrumbala, and Luis, 17, the parliamentary secretary.

"I want to be a doctor and help my country," Madina said. "In this town we value education, because we know that it is the only way to escape poverty." Luis plans to study economics. "We want the same things as people our age in other countries, and we believe if we work hard we can get them," he said.

They are too young to remember the desperate years that followed the abrupt Portuguese pullout in 1975. No sooner had Bob Dylan made a tribute in which he sang I like to spend some time in Mozambique than the Frelimo independence movement, which had taken over a country almost devoid of infrastructure or administrative capacity, found itself in the midst of a civil war.

The struggle against the Renamo resistance - financed, armed and trained by the apartheid regime in South Africa - destroyed what was left of the economy after the disastrous ministrations of Soviet and East German advisers, and caused famine in much of the country.

Maputo, its population doubled to two million by peasants fleeing the fighting in the countryside, became a giant slum. The coast road north, lined with restaurants which used to serve Mozambique's celebrated giant prawns with vinho verde and Laurentina beer, was cut off by a roadblock a few hundred yards from town. Landmines were scattered indiscriminately, still posing a danger, and Mozambique sank into poverty.

In 1988, Richard Lander stayed in the Polana Hotel, the capital's most famous landmark, built in the same era as the Mount Nelson in Cape Town and Raffles in Singapore. Mr Lander, now general manager of the Polana under its new owner, the Aga Khan, said: "Sewage was dripping through the ceiling. All you could get for breakfast was fruit. If you wanted an egg, you had to give someone the money the previous night, so that he could go and buy you one in the market." Now, in a project which could stand as a symbol of Mozambique's fresh start, Mr Lander is about to supervise a $25m refit of the hotel aimed at reviving the grandeur of 1922, the year it opened.

But it will take the rest of Maputo, and Mozambique, some time to catch up.

The Frelimo government finally renounced socialism in 1990, and the civil war staggered to a halt two years later, followed by multi-party elections in 1994 in which Renamo was defeated. Its leader, Afonso Dhlakama, lost again last December to the new Frelimo President, Armando Guebuza, who succeeded Joaquim Chissano after 18 years in office.

Mr Guebuza, a successful businessman, has a reputation for decisiveness: he was known as "24-20" at independence for giving Portuguese settlers 24 hours to get out, with 20kg of baggage each.

He also "cleaned up" Maputo by rounding up street dwellers, petty criminals and prostitutes and dumping them in the countryside to learn agriculture. But the capital remains dingy, and dotted with embarrassments including the concrete shells of a hotel and coastal development abandoned by the Portuguese in 1975 and never completed.

Mozambique can plead that its efforts to pick itself up have been set back by natural disasters such as the devastating floods in 2000 and 2001, then a drought which has only recently abated. The country should be earning substantial amounts from transit trade with its landlocked neighbours, but economic collapses in Zimbabwe and Malawi have been setbacks.

Mozambique's recovery remains fragile. It still faces problems, not least Aids, which might induce despair in a less optimistic people. But political change in its powerful neighbour, South Africa, allied to a decade of peace and sensible policies at home, have brought the country back from the brink, demonstrating that the cause of Africa is not hopeless.





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InvisibleIsaacHunt
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Re: Anti-poverty campaign gets it almost all wrong [Re: Tao]
    #4375639 - 07/06/05 02:18 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Quote:


Wow, source please.





http://www.cosatu.org.za/campaigns/s77-priv.htm

As the Africans themselves put it:

The impact of privatisation

The state?s privatisation programme is and will continue to detrimentally affect the socio-economic interests of the poor, which includes workers and the working class in general, for the following reasons:

It will lead to decreased and inferior quality services for the poor, since they cannot afford to pay for the services provided by or through private interests.

It will lead to higher prices for the provision of basic services, which will adversely affect the poor.

It will limit the extension of basic social and municipal services to the poor.

Generally, it will limit cross-subsidisation to benefit the poor and poor regions.

It will adversely affect the state?s capacity to:

provide basic services to the poor;

provide for infrastructural development;

intervene to restructure the economy to ensure growth and employment creation; and

play a developmental role in general.

It will lead to significant job losses and will not provide for job creation.

It will foster the casualisation of labour, with more and more workers being hired on limited fixed-term contracts of employment.

It removes workers from the bargaining units established over many years in the public sector, generally leading to a reduction in incomes, benefits and job security.

Regulatory agencies have proven unable to establish specific and effective obligations to serve the poor by extending services at affordable prices. They have few or no sanctions to impose on companies that fail to comply with obligations, ambiguous targets for the extension of affordable services if any exist at all, and at best ineffective mechanisms to monitor compliance.


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OfflineProsgeopax
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Re: Anti-poverty campaign gets it almost all wrong [Re: IsaacHunt]
    #4375658 - 07/06/05 02:22 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

That's an awful lot of speculation and little fact. Try again.


--------------------
Money doesn't grow on trees, but deficits do grow under Bushes.

You can accept, reject, or examine and test any new idea that comes to you. The wise man chooses the third way.
- Tom Willhite

Disclaimer: I reserve the right to change my opinions should I become aware of additional facts, the falsification of information or different perspectives. Articles written by others which I post may not necessarily reflect my opinions in part or in whole, my opinions may be in direct opposition, the topic may be one on which I have yet to formulate an opinion or have doubts about, an article may be posted solely with the intent to stimulate discussion or contemplation.


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InvisibleIsaacHunt
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Re: Anti-poverty campaign gets it almost all wrong [Re: Prosgeopax]
    #4375699 - 07/06/05 02:39 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

That's no speculation and all fact. From the mouth of Africans themselves. (Who after all should know how privatisation affects them)


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OfflinePhluck
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Re: Anti-poverty campaign gets it almost all wrong [Re: IsaacHunt]
    #4375734 - 07/06/05 02:48 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

How can a sentence that starts "It will..." be fact and not speculation?

When you talk about something that you think will happen in the future, that's called speculation. When you have concrete evidence of something that happened in the past, that's a fact.

Even if event A happens as a result of condition B, saying that condition B will always cause event A is speculation.


--------------------
"I have no valid complaint against hustlers. No rational bitch. But the act of selling is repulsive to me. I harbor a secret urge to whack a salesman in the face, crack his teeth and put red bumps around his eyes." -Hunter S Thompson
http://phluck.is-after.us


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: Anti-poverty campaign gets it almost all wrong [Re: Phluck]
    #4376087 - 07/06/05 04:45 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

If someone were to hit you in the face with a hammer, you can speculate that it will hurt.


Or is it a fact that it will hurt?


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OfflineTao
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Re: Anti-poverty campaign gets it almost all wrong [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #4378620 - 07/07/05 04:11 AM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Perhaps the larger point is that just because an African has predicted economic activity, does not make it a fact. Maybe he has noticed that in other continents as well there are differences of opinion?


--------------------
Magash's Grain Tek  + Tub-in-Tub Incubator + Magash's PMP + SBP Tek + Dunking = Practically all a newbie grower needs :thumbup:


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