This is my personal thoughts, opinions and musings place. I will also rant about things, especially politically-correct things that irritate me. And sci-fi. Did I mention sci-fi? There'll be lots of sci-fi stuff here. And movies, too. Mmmmm... Movies

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Debt relief

There's a story on about debt relief for the poor nations, many of them in Africa. The relief amounts to about $40 billion, but let's call a spade a spade. Debt relief is nothing more or less than a declaration of bankruptcy for nations. Intrinsically, I see nothing wrong with it in and of itself, but let's be honest here. How many of those countriees will “get their books in order” as the story claims? If corruption is endemic to their institutions, how much will cancelling the debt help? The main question that should be asked is what have those government done with the billions of dollars they have already borrowed? We're forever told that poverty in those countries is due to lack of aid, but this isn't exactly the first time through the debt forgiveness cycle.

In essense, the Western taxpayers are shouldering the dozens of billions of dollars of aid that apparently has had little or no impact on poverty. Shouldn't we, as those who are paying for all that, demand that we see some small change, that something positive is about to happen? If The System® in those countries is the problem, then the countries should replace their systems with some other that fosters growth and prosperity. And no, the replacement system must not be socialism or communism, not while we fund it.

The non-stop funding of the poor nations despite complete lack of progress is an outgrowth of our decadent Western idea that help should first and foremost help us feel better about ourselves, regardless of what it does for those it's intended for. The non-stop lend-and-forgive cycles make it unnecessary for the so-called governments of those nations to actually govern. All they need do is hold out their hands and money will be thrown at them and no accounting will ever be demanded of them.

For years, we've been subjected to the horrible scenes of famine and starvation out of Ethiopia, and I was therefore completely shocked to discover that not only does that country field an airforce, but it was currently engaged in a war with Erritria. I never even heard of Erritria before. Now, is that a good use for our relief money? We remove the responsibility of the Ethiopian(and Erritrian, for that matter) government to care for their citizens so they can play their little war games. Same with North Korea: they're building The Bomb® while their citizens starve.

Yes, we should help those countries. But the help should be such that they can stand on their two feet, and not demand the cancellation of debt every few years because money loaned them somehow winds up in personal Swiss bank accounts of their so-called leadership.

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