"There are only two ways of telling the complete truth—anonymously and posthumously."Thomas Sowell

Saturday, June 11, 2005

With Karnick on Africa

How much foreign aid has poured into Africa during the last three decades? How many people still lack even a nearby well from which to draw water?

I have a friend in Nigeria. We met in the states while he was a graduate student. For about $100 I can send a child he knows to a Christian school. For about $1000, his church in America was able to purchase a well for a Nigerian village. I've seen the pictures. If we can purchase great help for people in Nigeria for such nominal prices, why are many in Africa still living in such abhorrent conditions.

I think the only answer can be corruption and inept government. No program of foreign aid will succeed until we resolve that basic problem. Either that or we all get friends in Africa who we can help directly. Anybody got any better ideas?

P.J. O'Rourke could help us. Clearly defined property rights, limited government, and democracy. Do those things and Africa can shine.


Anonymous said...

I think you'll have to get rid of the dictators, the warlords, and the millions of soldiers, revolutionaries, bandit gangs, etc. before property rights will have any meaning. Got any suggestions?

In the meantime, food aid is rather meaningless unless there are guys with machine guns to deliver the food to the hungry. Otherwise, corruption prevents it from doing any good. I imagine that such an action would be far cheaper than the Iraqi debacle has been, and would endear us in the eyes of the disenfranchised far more. Oh, but American corporations have no interest in Africa.

Jay D. Homnick said...

Hunter, I agree with you that if we want to help Africans in a real way, it has to be through honest individuals whom we know in those countries and who can personally oversee delivery.

Otherwise, the American food money buys food which the dictator steals and barters for weapons. That weapon may end up shooting the people we wanted to feed.

When I lived in Israel for a few years in the late '80s-early '90s, I was friends with a delightful Nigerian doctor named Bon. He was bright and interesting, always laughing, and an excellent Scrabble player.

He also had a beautiful wife who dressed like an African queen from those portraits done by Captain Cook's men. Very stately; a magnificent natural dignity.

However, he explained to me that he was from the smaller tribe in Nigeria that is resented by the majority for being smarter. His tribe forms much of the professional class in that country (perhaps one of our readers will supply the name). As a Jew, I could "relate".

Hunter Baker said...

Anonymous, I think that if we hadn't wasted so much time with Marxist B.S. in the region the people would be much further along than they now are.

I'm not proposing a military action. I think we need persuasion of the people in the direction I've suggested and that they (if ever convinced) will desire and push for the changes.

In the meantime, I've got to believe there is a better way than blank checks to unpleasant fellows.