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June 12, 2007

To Aid? Or Not to Aid?

MIchael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Kenyan economist James Shikwati wishes that rich countries would stop sending aid to Africa. (Link thanks to David Fleck.) "Why do we get these mountains of [donated] clothes?" Shikwati asks. "No one is freezing here. Instead, our tailors lose their livlihoods. They're in the same position as our farmers. No one in the low-wage world of Africa can be cost-efficient enough to keep pace with donated products."

I have no first-hand knowledge here, so I'll shut up except to recall a woman I know who spent a few years working for an aid organization in Africa. Although she's about as earnest-lefty as can be, she returned from her time there convinced that Western aid does Africa more harm than good. "They lose their ability to take care of themselves," she said to me. "They stop raising crops and looking after goats. Instead, their lives start to revolve around waiting for the aid truck to make a delivery."



posted by Michael at June 12, 2007


I haven't read the articles on this, but it seems to follow a natural pattern. Both human nature and society (government) policy often turn the best of intentions into sh--.

When you can't get insurance or medicaid healthcare because you make over xxx amount of dollars, yet you can't afford to pay for it yourself, it's better financially (and for your health) to junk the job and collect. This doesn't apply just for health and insurance, but as well for housing and food, right here in the good ole U.S.A.

Nobody really "loses" their ability to fend for themselves; it just makes more sense to accept handouts. I don't really blame folk for this because basically it is the smarter thing to do and more beneficial.

Posted by: susan on June 13, 2007 6:24 AM

This isn't any different than any other aid program we've engaged in. I seem to remember a few years back an earthquake leveling some city in South America or something and we sent them tons and tons of our surplus wheat because, well, that's what you do. Of course, earthquakes level buildings, but they don't have much effect on wheat, so all we really did was devalue the wheat crops and put the farmers (who were least affected) out of work.

As for susan's, no. It's not smarter and more beneficial. Obviously you've never seen the squalor that people live in when they live on "handouts". It's nice to think that everyone in this country has the same opportunities, education and ability as we do, but the fact of the matter is that just ain't the case. I'd suggest you actually spend some time getting to know these people you consider to be lazy before passing judgment on them. It doesn't take long before you realize how lucky you are to have been born into the reality you live in and how narrow, shallow and wrong your viewpoint really is.

Posted by: Upstate Guy on June 13, 2007 8:22 AM

Well, Upstate Guy, I agree and I disagree with your "lazy" comments.

As Steve Sailer relentlessly points out, racial differences are real. For instance, a whole lot of Chinese entered the U.S. as slaves or indentured prostitutes. You won't hear Chinese using this as an excuse for failure. There is, however, another racial group that will use a similar experience as an endless excuse for failure.

The plight of sub-Saharan Africa seems to have something to do with racial characteristics. Doesn't it?

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on June 13, 2007 8:57 AM

Shouting Thomas, why don't you tell us about how the racial characteristics of the North Koreans, Burmese and Cambodians all of whom live at the level of Sub-Saharan Africa have caused their misery.

Posted by: James Dudek on June 13, 2007 1:20 PM

I won't in any way disagree with that, except to point out that I'm referring to mostly the "whities" I've become involved with intimately that put any other racial group's "least desirables" to shame when it comes to ignorance & intolerance. It's been my experience that while minorities will often complain about the conditions "lain" on them, they WILL try to improve their lot in life. On the other hand, "white trash" settle into their grooves and die there (usually pretty young).

And, it's not a problem of cutting off their handouts to "force" them back to work. That's not going to happen because they simply don't know any better. They don't know HOW to improve their lot in life. Hell, they barely have the basic skills necessary to survive as a human being. What most people don't realize is most of the money that goes to "welfare" goes to attempting to educate these people in basic skills like how to find a job, how to brush their teeth, how to feed their babies milk instead of beer, where babies come from, etc. Yeah, that basic. As I said to susan, it's easy to pass judgment and assume they're not working because they don't want to (and, don't get me wrong, I'm not ignorant to the fact that there's a significant percentage of the population that that applies to) is just plain wrong.

The racial issue, however, is another one entirely. That's one we're not allowed to talk about, but I agree completely as I said. In NY, our Native American population is pretty big, and we're constantly hearing about their "plight". Unfortunately, the solution to their "plight" is to have the other 300M people living in the country move out, so they need to suck up and deal. But, people don't want to suck up and deal.

Posted by: Upstate Guy on June 13, 2007 1:40 PM

James, no African country lives under the kind of repressive regime that North Koreans live under. If North Koreans were free, they would live like other East Asians ans not like Sub-Saharan Africans.

107 to 70 says it all.

Posted by: Dareano on June 13, 2007 2:32 PM

A fascinating series of replies... not because any of them contain a whiff of sense, but because of the panicked determination to strike back against the perceived evil of "racism."

This reminds me of Michael's attempts to address the reality of white on black crime some time ago. Every one of us who lives in or near a major city constructs our daily commute to avoid going near a certain neighborhood. And, yet, one of the respondents to my former post will soon be lying by claiming that this is not true, and will be screeching about... well, something.

It reminds me of one of the odd realities of Woodstock, New York, my summer home. (During the week, I actually live in one of those cities near Manhattan that hip Manhattanites would not dare enter.) Half or more of the permanent residents of Woodstock moved here to escape a negative social reality of New York City. Anybody care to tell me what that "negative social reality" might be?

And, yet, in a town that is less than 1% non-white, you will hear the most outrageous screeching and carrying on about the evils of racism. He who wears the itchiest of hair shirts about the plight of blacks wins. Our community center is adorned with a picture of Mumia, a black thug who murdered a white Philadelphia cop in cold blood.

I can't make any sense out of this crap. The Duke lacrosse scandal, which was made real by the New York Times, carries this nonsense to its extreme. If you've been listening to the ranting and raving of white liberals and black racists, you will discover that, absent any evidence of criminal actions, they really believe those Duke boys should be locked up for uttering a racial epithet.

Has it occurred to any of you that the benefits of the everlasting and hysterical bigot hunt may be negated by the costs?

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on June 13, 2007 3:02 PM

"James, no African country lives under the kind of repressive regime that North Koreans live under. If North Koreans were free, they would live like other East Asians ans not like Sub-Saharan Africans."

Many African regimes are as brutal, if not more so, than Kim Jong-Il's. And anyway, that doesn't take into account Cambodia, which is a good 20 years out from a brutal regime, as well as places like Bangledesh and India. And how about the dirt poor Eastern European countries?

Posted by: the patriarch on June 13, 2007 3:13 PM

"why don't you tell us about how the racial characteristics of the North Koreans, Burmese and Cambodians all of whom live at the level of Sub-Saharan Africa have caused their misery."

North Koreans are a highly intelligent people: a nation of a mere 20 million, with the worlds most idiotic economic system, zero natural resources, and yet it has developed nuclear technology and highly complex weaponry, its people show a level of orderliness you would NEVER EVER see in Africa without riots and rampages breaking out (watch North Korean parades on youtube, the collective g that went into organizing them is enormous, and ask yourself - do you see Africans organizing like that? Before you respond I would of course look at you sarcastically and calmly ask again - really?)

North Korea is a serious threat because its people are so intelligent and well-organized, like Germany and Japan.

Posted by: omar on June 13, 2007 4:01 PM

Asian countries poverty is explained away by repressive regimes.....

Afrain countries poverty is explained away by racial charecteristics.....

If it looks like a duck, etc.

I'd also like thoughts on whether racial characteristics come into play to explain poverty in Afghanistan, Guatamala, Vanuatu, etc.

Has Steve Sailer managed to identify the actual gene that causes African poverty?

Posted by: James Dudek on June 14, 2007 9:06 AM

James Dudek,

The reason people look for various reasons for poverty with other racial groups is that there are examples of success for some or most countries comprised of those racial groups, but for africans, there are none. Zero.

It has been amply demonstrated, through many, many millions of sets of data, and every single test of mental aptitude ever devised, that this is due to a difference in intelligence. In fact, it is not our job in any way to prove our point--it is one of the most well-documented and indisputable ones ever seen--it is your job to prove otherwise. Prove to us that these people are equivalent. All you have are airy sentiments and a feeling of moral superiority, completely unfounded and easily refuted.

Did anyone notice that these people are barely able to achieve subsistence living when independent, and when given subsidy, did not use it to improve their lives, but simply stopped working since their base needs were fulfilled? Does this sound familiar? In essence, all the money spent for the subsidy could have been equally well-employed by raking it into a pile and burning it.

The bigger question is, since we now know that these people are incapable of achieving any kind of advanced civilization independently, what hope is there of assimilation into more advanced civilizations on an equal basis? The answer is that there is no hope. They can't exist here without subsidy. They are subsidized with affirmative action, welfare, and other wealth transfer programs, and rather than innovate and advance, they simply displace other workers by illegal racial preference in existing companies, lower standards, reduce output, and create a grievance industry to further entrench the subsidy system. In addition, they ruin cities, commit horrendous amounts of crime (including affirmative action, which is illegal), and coarsen and debase all cultures that pander to them. A giant millstone.

These people will never assimilate, ever. I agree, we need to stop subsidizing africa in all its forms, both here and abroad, let society stratify and segregate, and let nature take its course. There is no proof that any of this makes our country better, safer, or more prosperous, in fact quite the opposite, and I can't think of any sane person who would advocate making a country worse, more dangerous, or poorer and call it good unless they were mentally deranged. The experiment failed. Its over. We know too much now. Its only a matter of time until these people bankrupt us and the world returns to the previous order anyway. Stop trying to delude us, and more importantly, stop trying to delude yourself.

Posted by: BIOH on June 14, 2007 1:04 PM

Lessee now... No Africans ever achieved an advanced civilization.

You mean, like the Egyptians, way back when? How about the Moors?

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on June 14, 2007 6:52 PM


Look at the hieroglyphs--the egyptians were not black. Their nubian slaves were though. Same with the muslims of northern Africa. Not black. The arabs like black slaves too, by the way.

Thanks for trying though. It's interesting you had to go back hundreds or thousands of years to attempt to find an example. Nothing happening lately, eh?

Posted by: BIOH on June 14, 2007 7:29 PM

It's interesting, because obviously the citizens cannot afford to sustain an economy.

That's when welfare comes in. Human life ought to be valued over the building of their economy. A few questions I have are: "Where were these skilled workers before?" "Why did they emerge post the failing of all African societies? "Is Africa ready to sustain or even transition to self sustainment?" "What steps have people taken to ensure that they have 21 century

The stuff we're sending over isn't top notch stuff. Basic food and ugly clothes. For the Kenyan (and wow - there's a country that is being transitioned into the most stable country because of aid and teachings from various groups including the Southern Baptist) "economist" to make his suggestions - well he's intellectually dishonest.

The African's aren't lazy - they are poor and knowledgeable.

Ali A. Akbar

Posted by: Ali A. Akbar on June 19, 2007 6:39 AM

Africa is diverse.

Aid is needed in many disasters.

Aid is needed to jumpstart the infrastructure.

Alas, much of the "aid" goes to the rich plutocrats.

The note to stop aid is not to allow people to starve, but about seeing Africans as an investment partner, so that African entrepeneurs can prosper.

As for racial smears of some of the above comments, maybe they can explain why Africans prosper in the UK and USA, just like Pinoys prosper. But in their native countries, it is almost impossible to do business due to corrupt government.

Posted by: Nancy Reyes on June 19, 2007 6:06 PM

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