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Causes of Poverty in Developing Nations

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    Before closing, it is again important to return to the deeper political and economic realities that are underscored by the Tsunami. The reason that the US aid contribution, and those from other countries, are so vital to this region is because the region was impoverished to begin with. As mentioned, the poverty and misery of this region and all other poorer countries are due to the lack of basic rule of law and their lack of property rights (note: one of these is seldom, if ever, found without the other one). For example, in a typical Indonesian fishing village people 'own' the house they live in only because they are physically present in the house, they have no deed to the house and cannot use it as collateral for a loan. 

    The socialistic nature of many third world economies breed gross corruption and contribute to lawlessness, scaring away foreign investment. It is self evident that a government with little power cannot be corrupt. For example, reminiscent of the old Kings of Europe, in many African countries the richest men are all in the government. The BBC reports the comments of Jeremy Pope, head of anti-corruption watchdog group Transparency International:

"What has been revealed is a hopelessly corrupt political elite - a political class across the spectrum that simply sees politics as a way of becoming wealthy," Mr Pope says. "As long as politics is seen as the path to wealth, then Africa is on a downward path." (76)

    Unfortunately, well intentioned aid agencies and international lending organizations often contribute to the power of these despots by giving aid to the government and encouraging the hurtful socialistic programs, such as anti-poverty programs and government provided health care, that are at the root of that country's poverty! These same people then demand that prosperous countries, who forcibly borrowed from their citizens in order to lend money to enrich these despots, turn their 'loan' into a 'gift'. 

    The BBC reports the demands of a leftist minister from England to foreign citizens:

The foreign debts owed by countries hit by the Asian tsunami disaster could be frozen, under a proposal being pushed by UK Chancellor Gordon Brown. (57)

    A few weeks later the G7 (wealthiest 7 nations) actually agreed, in principal, with Brown!:

The world's seven richest countries have agreed that up to $100 billion in debts from 37 of the world's poorest countries should be written off... 

Also, the US representative firmly opposed Mr Brown's additional scheme of an international finance facility that would allow developing nations to draw in advance on future aid commitments from wealthy nations.

The Australian Government, while not a member of the G7 group, has argued against debt forgiveness as a solution to global poverty. It says that the governments of developing nations will not necessarily pass on the benefits to their people. 

Brown believes that: "It is the rich countries hearing the voices of the poor . . . showing that no injustice can last forever," he said. (58)

    Notice Australia is the only voice of reason. (Similarly, French President Jacques Chirac used the Tsunami disaster to push for global taxes, which fortunately have not been adopted yet. See articles at the end for details) The 'Conservative' Bush Administration went along with these poverty creating 'debt relief' proposals. Indonesia is a prime example. From the AFP press:

Transparency International ranks Indonesia in its top 10 of worst offenders, with an ungovernable reputation for kickbacks, collusion and bribery that has scared away badly needed foreign investment.

Aceh's governor Abdullah Puteh is behind bars at the moment, accused in a helicopter purchase embezzlement scam worth 100,000 dollars -- a paltry sum compared to the $35 billion allegedly amassed by former dictator Suharto.

New President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who has described his country's lack of probity as the laughing stock of Asia, said after the disaster that the misappropriation of relief funds would not be tolerated.

"The pressure will be strong on Indonesia. If it does not stop embezzlement, the UN will bring its fist down on the table," said one western diplomat here.

Some Indonesian government officials, however, believe that it is perhaps the United Nations that requires scrutiny, particularly in the wake of a scandal over its tainted "oil-for-food" programme in Iraq.

"As we know, even in the United Nations there is a lot of corruption, and we should be careful about this," commented Secretary of State Yusril Ihza Mahendra. (59)

    A story in the Washington Post describes problems already occurring in Indonesia:

Yet people relying upon that aid complained that the goods are scarce. Much of the relief is being brought to settlements controlled by the Indonesian military.

"The military has ordered that all the aid dropped by the helicopters be taken to their base," said Carifuddin, 46, a retired police officer whose house in Ujung Baru was destroyed by the tsunami. He accused the soldiers of keeping too much. "We have to stand in line for two hours to get two packs of instant noodles. There is some rice, but some get it and some don't," he said. A member of the Meulaboh city planning board, Tajudin Marlian, concurred that the army is depriving needy people of relief.

"It is a fact that all the aid is carried by TNI trucks that take the aid to their own base" he said, using the acronym for the Indonesian armed forces. "How could that be fair? They are taking a little bit for themselves." In an interview at an Indonesian army base here, Col. Geerhan Lantara, commander of the relief mission for western Aceh, denied such accusations. "There is no problem," he said. (60)

    The Indonesia military has been accused by human rights groups and the international community of gross human rights violations in the breakaway province of Aceh. In 1999 Indonesia was slapped with US military sanctions and thus their largely US purchased military is deteriorating:

Out of a total of 233 fighters, only between 40 percent and 50 percent are operational, air force chief of staff Marshal Hanafie Asnan was quoted by the Jakarta Post as saying. (62)

    These tensions sometimes threatened to disrupt aid. The Abraham Lincoln had to briefly leave Indonesian waters because the Indonesian government refused to allow US pilots to use their airspace to train. US troops landing to assist had to be unarmed and were restricted in their access. Varying stories suggest the US military was asked or pressured to leave early. Aid groups had to pre-register with the government. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan was restricted in his travels and some members of the Indonesian government expressed disappointment at the selection of former US President Bill Clinton as a prominent fundraiser. (56), (63), (64), (65)

    Although the recent election of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, a former security official running on an anti-terror and anti-corruption platform, is a hopeful sign, the political difficulties mentioned above are a result of the failed governments of the past and present and a reflection of Indonesia's poverty. 

        Sri Lanka, a small island off the coast of India, which has also been wracked by civil war, governmental ineptitude, and corruption, suffered similar problems:

On Sri Lanka, Tamil Tiger rebels canceled a key meeting with international donors -- a move threatening reconstruction efforts.

The rebels had complained that aid supplies weren't reaching them and blamed the government for the killing of one of their top leaders as he finished overseeing reconstruction efforts in a rebel stronghold in eastern Sri Lanka, one of the regions hardest hit by the killer waves. The government denied involvement in Tuesday's killing.
(66)

   In another shocking story that emerged out of Sri Lanka, Thilak Ranavirajah, chief of the Sri Lankan presidential task force coordinating relief, said that 70% of the victims hadn't received anything! On February 3rd the Associated Press reported:

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka's government suspended two village officials for allegedly channeling tsunami aid to friends who were not affected by the killer waves, while a third was suspended for being under the influence of liquor while on duty, said W. Weerakoon, a government administrator in Galle, one of the hardest-hit areas. Ten others were being investigated on similar charges, he said.

Though millions of dollars in aid has poured into Sri Lanka since the tsunami killed at least 30,000 people here, 70 percent of survivors haven't received anything because of bureaucratic bungling and incompetence, officials say.

In the Sri Lankan capital, hundreds of people protested outside the U.N. World Food Program office Wednesday, complaining they had not received food rations. Demonstrators from the southern coastal town of Matara submitted a petition seeking U.N. intervention.

This was not the first sign of trouble with Sri Lanka's aid effort. On Tuesday, the government began investigating complaints that food aid intended for tsunami victims had disappeared and that some of the homeless living in camps were being fed rotten supplies.

The World Food Program said it had donated 10,000 tons of rice, lentils and sugar and had delivered the supplies to government stores across the island. "We can't understand why the people aren't getting it," spokeswoman Selvi Sachithanandam said. (61) (emphasis mine)

    They won't understand why their debt relief programs won't bring anyone out of poverty either. Top down, socialistic type aid distribution nearly always fails. The error lies in the setup of the system:

Millions of dollars worth of relief from around the world has poured into Sri Lanka since the tsunami. The central government distributes it to administrators, who then channel it through divisional bureaucrats to village officials, who are supposed to deliver it to the displaced. (67)

    US military aid (and the military aid of other countries) and NGO aid, given directly to the people, was surely more effective then letting government attempt to micromanage the distribution. This error has consistently been repeated in dealing with poverty around the world and in the United States.  

    What does work to combat poverty? Besides the aforementioned property rights and the fair rule of law, free trade is the greatest alleviator of poverty. Who blocks free trade? Government! So free trade could actually just be classified under property rights because it should be the right of a person in one country to buy or sell property with a person in a different country. The reason these two people can't complete the voluntary transaction that would benefit both of them is because Government has tyrannically given itself the power to block it. For example, the governments of the United States and Europe will imprison their citizens if they do not pay the hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes that these governments then return to small, often wealthy, farming interest groups. These bloated subsidies allow farmers to price their goods below market price (although in reality they are actually above market price), thus preventing developing nations from exporting substantial foodstuffs to developed countries. These farmers then donate some of the money the government stole for them back to the politicians that orchestrated the theft. Often times tariffs or other hurtful meddlings further discourage trade in industries like textiles, another key export of developing countries. Yet the people who purport to care most about the poor in third world countries are often the biggest supporters of the ever expanding, ever spending, ever corrupt, and ever hurtful government.

    For another look at how free trade aids developing countries and former welfare recipients in this country, I urge you to read this excerpt from the welfare paper.

    These ideas are so important and intricately related to this Tsunami disaster because all of this foreign aid would not be needed if freedom and liberty reigned in these countries as it still (somewhat) does in ours. A striking example of this can be seen by analyzing hurricane Jeanne, a destructive storm that swept through the Caribbean and into Florida during September of 2004. Haiti, an impoverished country that suffers from the lack of property rights and the lack of just rule of law, suffered terribly. An estimated 2000 people died, hundreds of thousands were made homeless, and essential services were almost completely destroyed. Foreign aid, with a large US component, poured in to try to assist the victims. (68) Just days later Jeanne struck Florida and only 6 people were killed. (69)

    Even the most powerful and devastating hurricane to ever strike the United States, the 1992 Hurricane Andrew only killed about three dozen Americans. The Washington Post asks what should by now be a rhetorical question:

    In another part of the world, at another time, a storm of Andrew's magnitude might well have left hundreds or even thousands dead. Instead it has so far resulted in a death toll nearing three dozen. How is it that we escaped worse? (70)

    The answer is that strong and enforced property laws allow American citizens to freely generated enough wealth from their property to enable them to purchase larger, stronger houses, instead of shacks or shanty towns. Excess wealth enabled high quality private and public warning and weather monitoring systems to be produced. Indeed, a US built Tsunami early warning system already exists throughout the Pacific. In another reminder of the ongoing blatant violations of our own property laws, our current 'Republican' President has earmarked money that isn't his to build a similar warning system for the Indian Ocean. (71)

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Disclaimers 

Further elaborations are needed for added clarity. 

3. I also realize that in some cases debt relief can be beneficial if a society has truly adopted a representative government that respects property rights after years of Tyranny. In these cases the people of the country should be furious with whoever was lending the money to the Tyrant who was pillaging the country. The exceptions further strengthen the rule. 

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Additional Articles

Free Trade, Not Government Aid, Is the Right Answer for Tsunami Relief - 2/4/05 Human Events writes an illustrative article on what will really help the Tsunami victims in the long run. 

Posted 11/2/05

The U.N. finally discovers property rights

10/29/05 Union Leader The UN has appointed Hernando De Soto as a co-chair (the other one, unfortunately, being Madeline Albright), of a commission entitled: 'High Level Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor'. Now, normally we would expect such a commission at the United Nations to go about doing their best to hurt the poor in the name of helping them by criticizing wealthy nations for debt relief (giving money to criminals), more aid, or some other socialist wealth distribution scheme. However, who is Hernando De Soto? 

    Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto is the recipient of the Cato Institute's [Libertarian Think Tank] 2004 Friedman Prize for his work exploring the link between poverty and property rights in underdeveloped states. World leaders, academics, and journalists have praised his book The Mystery of Capital, which describes the extralegal systems of economic transaction created by citizens in countries without a strong system of property rights. De Soto's think tank the Institute for Liberty and Democracy seeks to implement reforms that give citizens of poor countries the ability to operate in a free enterprise system. The Economist has praised the ILD [Institute for Liberty and Democracy] as one of the most important think tanks in the world, and the institute has implemented reforms throughout the former Soviet Union, as well as in Egypt and Peru.

    Strong property rights means that the governments of these countries will not be able to steal from their citizens as blatantly as before. In capitalist economies, De Soto notes, business transactions are made possible by widely accepted rules governing legally defined property. Such concepts often don’t exist in the developing world, where existing legal systems (or the lack thereof) may not recognize the assets and transactions of some 70 percent of the population.

    This same problem occurs on our Native American Indian reservations and those in Canada, with 'tribal ownership', everybody, but in reality, nobody, owns any given piece of property on the reservation and so cannot leverage it in a mortgage to a bank or raise any capital with it.

    Reforms, whereby property protection is enshrined in law, sometimes don't exist because such concepts are foreign to people, but other times are opposed because it facilitates conditions where important activities take place outside the realm of government. Since the poorer countries of the world are run by corrupt thieves worried most about holding onto power, 'important things happening outside their control' is initially a bit discerning to them. But here is the kicker, and the reason I love this article:

    The reform program he developed for his native Peru resulted in the legalization of an estimated 300,000 enterprises that previously operated off-the-books. When political leaders in other countries saw how the Peruvian reforms moved some 560,000 workers from the underground economy to the legal economy and generated some $300 million a year in new tax revenues, they started to understand.

   Alert readers will remember that in 'Middle Eastern Governments and Causes of Terrorism', I wrote:

    Another theory is that without foreign aid or natural resources, governments are forced to liberalize because it is the only way for them to get tax revenues. In other words, when wealth can only be generated through the naked productivity/ingenuity of it's citizens, the rulers of that country will be most inclined to introduce reforms to accelerate this. Notice some of the strongest economic zones in the world today - Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Switzerland, Israel, Taiwan, South Korea and the (early, eastern) United States - are poor in natural resources. Historically, the British, Dutch, Portuguese and, going way back, Carthageans and Athenians, were all were top world powers without being strong in natural resources. Why was the Spanish Empire, a centrally controlled country drowning in colonial gold, discarded into the ash heap of history so fast? Returning to the Africa analogy, the areas which are richest in natural resources, especially the diamond belt, are suffering the greatest conflict and strife.

    So, by educating the corrupt thieving rulers of poor countries that there will be more loot for them to steal if they let their people become prosperous and respect property rights, De Soto has a great plan to really help the poorest of the poor.
"In most countries, including my own, the idea is we the government will tell you what is good for you. In this case, the responsibility of carrying out the administration has been thrown at the people themselves. That trust in people is essentially what characterizes Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries going from being elite-led nations to those of nations that have grass-root economies." 

- Hernando De Soto.

How Evil Capitalists Can Save the World.. and Just Might - Tim Worstall from Tech Station writes an analytic article on how to really stop poverty. It begins with: Recently I wrote two pieces here, the first essentially arguing that throwing money at thieves was perhaps not the best method of reducing global poverty, the second that perhaps capitalists might do a better job.

Report: U.N. could end global poverty with cash - 1/17/05 A humorous Satire from Scrappleface.com. However, it really isn't a joke! Just like British Chancellor Gordan Brown used the Tsunami for his political advantage in advancing debt relief, French President Chirac Urges Taxes to Help World's Poor - Associated Press 1/26/05. Chirac said: "The world suffers chronically from what has been strikingly called the 'silent tsunamis.' Famine. Infectious diseases that decimate the life force of entire continents." <..> The French leader outlined a number of steps to raise billions of dollars through taxes on international financial transactions, plane tickets or fuel used by airliners and oceangoing vessels. What if we refuse to pay? Will Chirac throw us in jail?

Is Corruption getting worse in Africa? - 2/11/05 BBC - Describes what I was referring to about he massive corruption of Africa and the aid donors unease about it, despite that they often encourage the socialism that breeds the corruption. "What has been revealed is a hopelessly corrupt political elite - a political class across the spectrum that simply sees politics as a way of becoming wealthy," Mr Pope says. "As long as politics is seen as the path to wealth, then Africa is on a downward path."

Living on a dollar and a prayer
BBC 1/18/05 - Amazing story on the poverty in Zambia. They interview the finance minister who says,
In most of our Zambian communities, particularly in rural areas, people do not pay for water, lighting, housing and energy so it is true that many of them live on less than $1 a day. Sounds like the Pine Ridge Indian reservation in this country! An organization then talks about food baskets they give to the population. Despite the obvious socialization of Zambia the BBC says (of the finance minister): He conceded that privatisation had brought some poverty, but felt we were making too much of an issue of living on less than a dollar a day. Privitisation!!!!! 'Conceded' sounds like the BBC got him to grudgingly admit the truth - which is the opposite of the real truth! The worst part is the 'victim hood' and condescension the BBC paints the local population with. Juggling this meagre income then becomes Patricia's headache - Dominic just hands the money to her: "When I get that money I just get confused." It seems to me that poverty in Zambia is caused by high taxes, used to support Socialistic programs that discourage work and foreign investment and impoverish the population. How Zambia might get out of poverty can be viewed here. The BBC description of Zambia is a disgrace and works only to further impoverish that country.

Uganda Still struggles to pay it's way

2/30/05 BBC article: When Uganda first got debt relief in 1998, almost a fifth of its budget was soaked up by debt repayments. Some opposition politicians say up to half the [debt relief] cash was lost.  The proportion of its budget spent on debt is about 15%, only a fraction lower than the 1998 levels, Mr Gariyo [debt official] says. Tax collection remains low, with revenues eaten into by corrupt revenue officials. However, when asked what is needed to make the country's debt sustainable, Mr Muhakanizi's  [a finance minister] answer is simple: more debt relief. (emphasis mine!)

 

GSK aims to stop Aids profiteers

2/21/05 BBC story describing how drug companies which have been put under tremendous pressure to provide cheap anti-Aids drugs to the world's poorest nations are losing hundreds of millions of dollars each year as a result of corrupt officials and distributors re-selling the drugs the companies donate to Africa back to Europe. Since the drugs are 30x more expensive in Europe then in Africa there is ample incentive to do this. We can only hope that those who constantly bash the 'greedy drug companies' will also rally against the oppressive, corrupt, and socialistic African governments and actually accomplish something.  

 

Brown wipes £80m Mozambique debt
BBC 1/15/2005 - Under the plan, which will cost Britain £1bn, developing countries must promise to spend the money they save on education, health and welfare. On Friday, he signed a debt-relief deal with Tanzania and promised similar deals for 70 other developing nations. The BBC celebrates, but how will the money be spent? Exporting socialism will just result in the ruin of African countries, not their prosperity. Recall that money spent in the United States on Welfare would have been better to have been burned then spent. Is that the case here? A Canadian author has the correct viewpoint.

 

Far-Flung Ethiopian Emigres Begin to Rediscover Their Home as the Business Climate Blossoms (posted 3/8/05)

3/6/05 Washington Post on Ethiopian immigrants who often arrived in the US with little or nothing, but because of the structure of our political system are able to become successful: Last year, Ethiopians in the United States sent home $6 million in remittance money, eclipsing coffee, the country's biggest export, which earned $4 million. <..> At present, there are more Ethiopian doctors living in the United States than in Ethiopia. Corroborating my view that socialism/corruption, two sides of the same coin, are the cause of poverty in Africa, the Ethiopians that return home are attempting to bring the American principles that foster prosperity and wealth creation to Ethiopia: Government officials said at least 1,500 emigres had returned to Addis and that they were launching an aggressive campaign to woo more, offering tax breaks on importing belongings and flexible land ownership laws. (emphasis mine) Additionally, it is always puzzling to hear the constant clamor for government assistance for the poor who already live in the USA, yet since our founding penniless immigrants have consistently succeeded.

 

World Poverty is in retreat
11/17/04 The Gaurdian - The World bank announces a 'spectacular' drop in poverty largely due to the implementation of free trade policies. Unfortunately, they then digress into minor critiques and call for more 'aid' to developing countries. Rising prosperity, brought about by political reform, is the best way to improve standards of living across the globe. Notably, they don't quote any anti-globalization organizations or comment on the massive protests that often accompany the economic meetings that are helping to defeat global poverty... Also of interest, The World is a Safer Place according to 4 different groups that study international conflict and reported by the Scotsman on 9/11/04. The number of conflicts and conflict deaths have continued the drop from the 80s to the 90s into this century. Pax Americana?

 

Our Hungry World London Evening Standard 11/15/04

    Details a rock concert raising money for to feed the hungry. Emphasizes the monetary aspect and physical presence of food, when hunger is not caused by lack of either of these. In the same sense, poor health care is not a result of a lack of doctors or medicine. In the whole article it is not mentioned that the political structure of the governments where starvation is occurring is solely responsible for the starvation. Giving these governments food and money (or distribution power) may, if done incorrectly, actually exacerbate the problems by putting even more power into the hands of the very authorities who are responsible for the starvation of their people. For example, North Korea continues to receive over 500,000 tons of food aid per year even though the country has announced that it has nuclear weapons. For a look at the mindset of those who perpetuate these horrific regimes read this drivel by Food First (a non profit). The left leaning Guardian inadvertently offers a better perspective.

 

The Failures and Fallacies of Foreign Aid - (Posted 23/3/05)

1990 The Freeman - David Osterfeld writes a long, and in depth analysis of foreign aid. I intend to follow up on some of his sources and citations. Very impressed with this; he has covered and documented many of the same things which I have observed independently and described on this web site. For example, running parallel to Osterfeld's findings are: Native Americans and Welfare, and Arab Governments and Causes of Terrorism.

 

World Bank Vote Confirms Wolfowitz Unanimously (Update 4/2/05)

4/1/05 New York Times The man whom Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has called the 'brains of the Pentagon', Paul Wolfowitz, has had to pander to the 'multi-polar' Europeans to assure them that under his leadership the world bank won't become another 'arm of American foreign policy', a policy that has defeated Fascism, Communism, and spread prosperity and freedom to billions. Wolfowtiz pledged the Europeans that he would continue the failed and hurtful policies that have brought corruption, socialism, starvation, and destitution to the world's poorest countries: [Wolfowtiz] repeated what the directors wanted to hear: that he respected the multilateral nature of the institution and its overall goal of eradicating world poverty through loans, aid and advice. He succeeded. In a signed statement released Thursday, the eight European executive directors at the bank said that they were convinced of Mr. Wolfowitz's "unreserved commitment to the bank's mission of poverty reduction" and were confident that he would not change the focus from African nations and other countries most in need. Worse, the appeasing Wolfowitz claims he has "new appreciation for the  urgent need for [the failed and hurtful policy of] debt relief". 

    Mark Steyn once accurately stated:
"
It's a good basic axiom that if you take a quart of ice-cream and a quart of dog faeces and mix 'em together the result will taste more like the latter than the former. That's the problem with the UN. If you make the free nations and the thug states members of the same club, the danger isn't that they'll meet each other half-way but that the free world winds up going three-quarters, seven-eighths of the way." Let's hope Wolfowtiz doesn't fall into the same trap at the World Bank.

 

In North Dakota, Farmers Wary of Cuts to Subsidies (update 4/5/05)

4/4/05 Washington Post sob story on the plight of farmers in North Dakota in light of the Bush administrations timid 5% cut in the bloated farm subsidies. A few ideas for a more accurate headline:

'Corrupt Government reduces massive Citizen Swindle by 5%, Special Interest Complain'

'Thieving Farmer Groups demand more money to be Looted from Honest Citizens'

'Bloated and Desperate Farmer Groups bribe Congress to continue Stealing'

''Generous' Government might spend 5% less of the money ripped off your family to support a Special Interest Group'

'The US government, with a 'Conservative' 'Republican' President and 'Conservative' 'Republican' Majorities in both houses of Congress, will continue to imprison US citizens if they don't continue to pay 95% of Farm Subsidies'

'Criminal Congress continues to break the 8th Commandment: Thou Shall Not Steal'

'Apathetic Populace Complacent over Continuing Thievery, Seem to respect the Governments right to sell the fruits of their labor to the Highest Bidder'

'Looney Farmer Groups claim Citizens benefit from being Extorted'

'Government Mafia shakedown might be cut by 5%, Farmer Groups Complain to sympathetic Media'

'Constitutional Violation by Congress over Farm Subsidies Continues'

'Congressmen not Seen as Criminal, Reelected despite Continued Public Pillaging'

    Besides a poor choice of Headline, this Post article does not accurately describe what is actually occurring or arrive at the proper conclusion - like this one from 'Causes of Poverty in Developing Nations':

    For example, the governments of the United States and Europe will imprison their citizens if they do not pay the hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes that these governments then return to small, often wealthy, farming interest groups. These bloated subsidies allow farmers to price their goods below market price (although in reality they are actually above market price), thus preventing developing nations from exporting substantial foodstuffs to developed countries. These farmers then donate some of the money the government stole for them back to the politicians that orchestrated the theft.  

    This is, by any definition, a criminal act, if not legally (in this case the thieves are making the laws), certainly morally. However, individual farmers actually do have a right to be livid at the Federal Government. Why? Because other special interest groups are, in turn, robbing them of billions of dollars each year too! If all of these thefts were eliminated it is entirely possible that farmers would be better off even without 100% of the subsidies that their political groups have traditionally extorted from their fellow citizens.

    In a sense, one can hardly blame the farmer groups; with government so powerful, if you don't have Congress stealing for your side, they'll be robbing you for the other side. In fact, the worst off are those that don't belong to a special interest group that can bribe Congress to steal from everyone else. These unfortunate families get robbed by all these various groups and don't even get the satisfaction of returning the favor! I wonder if the Washington Post will ever do a story on them?

    With the Presidency and Congress corrupted and the people apathetic, can the judicial branch stop the madness?

    CA Justice Janice Rogers Brown would certainly try. Justice Brown believes:
    Some things are apparent. Where government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates and our ability to control our own destiny atrophies. The result is: families under siege; war in the streets; unapologetic expropriation of property; the precipitous decline of the rule of law; the rapid rise of corruption; the loss of civility and the triumph of deceit. The result is a debased, debauched culture which finds moral depravity entertaining and virtue contemptible. <..> 

    We no longer find slavery abhorrent. We embrace it. We demand more. Big government is not just the opiate of the masses. It is the opiate. The drug of choice for multinational corporations and single moms; for regulated industries and rugged Midwestern farmers and militant senior citizens.

    However, Justice Brown's nomination to the DC court of Appeals, one of the most powerful courts in the country, was blocked by Senate Democrats: "Justice Brown, your record is that of a conservative judicial activist, plain and simple," said Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Illinois. "You frequently dismiss judicial precedence ... when it doesn't comport with your political views." According to Senator Durbin, protecting citizens from elected burglars is a clear sign of a political agenda.

 

 

Oxfam pays $1m tsunami aid duty (posted 6/18/05)

6/17/05 BBC Added to 'Tsunami Tyranny' and 'Causes of Poverty in Developing Nations'.

British charity Oxfam has had to pay the Sri Lankan government $1m in import duty for vehicles used in tsunami reconstruction work.

Paperwork had kept the 25 four-wheel drive vehicles idle in the capital, Colombo, for a month. <.> Britain's Daily Telegraph said Sri Lankan customs had charged $5,000 a day while the vehicles were processed. Oxfam was given the choice of handing over the vehicles to the government, re-exporting them or paying the 300% import tax. <.> Some aid workers have expressed anger that reconstruction is being slowed by red tape and inefficiency. What is happening in Sri Lanka is outright theft. The government holds Oxfam's vehicles for a month, charges $5,000 a day, and then says, "well, if you don't want to pay us 1 million dollars, we'll just keep the vehicles!" These are the actions of a mafia, not a government. This, of course, has been a central point I've been trying to make throughout this website. All governments act like mafias, some are just worse than others. The richest countries have smaller governments, with less corruption, the poorest have larger governments with more corruption. This is the difference between rich and poor countries. It is that simple. We should all be thankful that our founders had the wisdom to craft the most limited government ever created in the history of the world. 

    Why do incumbents have something like a 90% re-election rate here in the United States? Because they shake down businesses in their districts for cash. If you're not buddy buddy with your congressmen, or support his rival, he might try to ruin your business. After all, the congressmen needs money to spend repaying all of his extra generous supporters and it has to come from somewhere. Might as well come from his enemies, or non supporters. Additionally, his next opponent might have trouble challenging him with his support base ruined. 

Untangling a Lobbyists Stake in a Casino fleet

5/1/05 Washington Post The dead man was Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis, a volatile 51-year-old self-made millionaire, a Greek immigrant who had started as a dishwasher in Canada and ended up in Florida, where he built an empire of restaurants, hotels and cruise ships used for offshore casino gambling. Boulis's slaying, still unsolved four years later, reverberated all the way to Washington. Months earlier he had sold his fleet of casino ships to a partnership that included Republican superlobbyist Jack Abramoff.

    What it looks like happened was that government passed laws and regulations making Boulis's prosperous businesses illegal and then demanded Boulis sell a stake in the business to their cronies in order for it to remain operational. They then ruined his business and he ended up dead in murky circumstances. Government was able to do this because the apathetic people give it the power to pass these sorts of laws and regulations, enabling a mafia to exist within the law. 

    So, don't think we're all that different from Sri Lanka. If this is what Sri Lanka does to a charity, can you imagine what they would do to a business? If you were an entrepreneur and started up a company in Sri Lanka and created wealth and employment guess what would happen? The thieving government would come in and threaten to steal everything you've created. You'd probably have to pay them heavy bribes in order to prevent this. The government of Sri Lanka causes more deaths, more misery, and more destruction than was caused when the Tsunami hit, yet, no one seems to care about this. People would rather give money, and therefore power, to the government that is responsible for the misery of its people. 

Why the West's billions may end up in the Wrong Hands

6/9/05 Times Online Details how the much ballyhooed Blair/Bush debt relief plans for Africa will most likely just prop up the thieves that rule those countries. However, we're in a for a little surprise. Guess who is an advocate for debt relief?:

Anna McDonald, campaigns director for Oxfam, said: “The world's poorest countries need full cancellation of their debts now to pay for the hospitals, the medicines, the schools that will enable them to pull out of poverty in the long term.

    Oxfam is just as just as guilty as Sri Lanka because, besides acquiescing to the thievery of it's donors' property in Sri Lanka, they appear to have no clue as to what really defeats poverty. The solution to poverty is not giving government more power to control education, health etc... How can a charity, whose specialty is, ostensibly, poverty reduction, be so misguided? Perhaps because its donors are misguided, fed all this rot in the media about how Western Governments are to blame for Third World poverty and believe by throwing money at a problem they can assuage their guilt and do some good. Again, just like education reform and welfare reform, money is not the problem. We could give 10 times, 100 times, more aid and money to Africa and Sri Lanka and the people of those countries would, in all probability, suffer MORE, not less! 

    So, you ask, what can we do to help the people of these desperately poor countries? Well, we have a few options: 

1. Do nothing. When the corrupt and thieving governments realize that they must let their citizens create some wealth in order to have a tax base to steal from, then their economies will begin to grow. 

2. Donate money to pro-democracy type organizations that work on educating people of impoverished countries and lobby for political reform. These organizations often establish freedom promoting media and occasionally aid revolution.  

3. Donate money to religious charities/evangelical groups. Generally these charities operate outside the role of government and take power from government. Churches often illustrate that morality trumps legality. Just because thievery is legal in a country doesn't make it right. In fact, Churches can become quite powerful political movements. In Africa, the thriving Christian communities are playing important roles in challenging government thievery and regulatory tyranny. This is why non state controlled religions are discriminated against or outlawed in most of the corrupt countries of the world.

4. Donate to politicians that 'get it'. Work to elect those that comprehend history, economics, and human nature, and understand, ideologically, the causes and solutions to poverty. A dollar given to the Club For Growth surely does more to make the world a better place than a dollar given to Oxfam. Also, the more donations a politician receives from regular folk, the less he/she will rely on the corrupting special interests (who often advocate government expansion for their benefit). 

5. Write letters to the editor, contact your representatives, talk to friends, become more informed yourself. Maybe even start a blog... :) 

6. Donate weapons and ammunition to freedom loving people in order to help them overthrow their governments. What kind of right wing extremist would advocate starting a war in an impoverished country? But is it really that 'extreme'? What do you do if you find a thief breaking into your house? Most burglars are chronic offenders who will continue their life of crime until they are caught, or are killed. Shoot or restrain a burglar and you might be saving the life of a future victim. Now, what if your neighbor is getting his home pillaged on a weekly basis? If you have an extra gun would you not give it to him, or even come to his defense? So why would you not do the same for other poorer and desperate people throughout the world?

    The governments of these countries keep their citizens disarmed and are deathly afraid of revolts, often creating external enemies in order to keep the population thinking it needs them for 'protection'. Instead of shipping grain to North Korea (to be distributed by the now empowered Communists killers), why not airdrop arms and weapons? Why not setup a charity that smuggles in weapons from China? When will a charity stand up to the thugs and dictators of the world? When will a charity shout, "Stop the killing, the raping, the stealing, or we will do it for you!" 

    No, instead, sadly: A spokesman said: "Clearly Oxfam would have preferred not to pay this tax on the vehicles and we did everything we could to have the tax waived. "However the government has turned down our request and the laws of the country dictate that we must now pay the normal import tax." The spokesman said the incident would not affect the way Oxfam worked in Sri Lanka.

 

 

(Posted 7/3/05)

Zimbabwe Tyranny Confiscates Guns

6/30/05 Volokh Conspiracy Added to 'Charitable Corruption', an example of how Tyrannical governments always aim to keep the people unarmed (the easier to rob and kill them). Also contains this gem:

Perhaps the most effective foreign aid which should be sent to the people of Zimbabwe would be millions of rifles, so that the people would no longer be defenseless against the depradations of one of the most evil governments in all of African history.

 

(Posted 7/7/05)

U.S. Private Giving to Developing World exceeds 62 billion

7/3/05 Hudson Institute Added to 'Tsunami Tyranny' and 'Charitable Corruption'. Hudson study shows American generosity to poor nations over 3 1/2 times U.S. Government aid. <.> While the United States gives the greatest absolute amount of ODA to developing countries, it is routinely criticized for being "stingy" because U.S. Government aid ranks last among donor nations as a percent of Gross National Income (GNI). U.S. official aid is .15 percent of GNI compared to Norway, the highest ranked donor, at .92 percent. So, by stealing more of its citizens' wealth, Norway has better 'government stats'? What a useless statistic, yet it is constantly printed and sung all over the main stream media. Sort of reminds me of the 'International Poverty' statistics that the international community and our media constantly cite in order to attack our (relative) freedom.

    Private aid is free from political pressure, so it doubtlessly is worth even more than the number value given to it. Or, better said, it is probably less hurtful than the government aid. As seen by 'Charitable Corruption', even private giving often does little to aid developing countries and may actually hurt them by further propping up their thieving governments. By protecting the property of its citizens a country ensures the most generosity to the poor. A better way to reduce poverty is foreign investment (which requires the host country not steal all the foreign investment, an obstacle not easily overcome and the primary reason why western companies cannot take advantage of cheap third world labor): Most importantly, the number does not include $51 billion of U.S. private capital flows to developing countries, consisting of foreign direct investment and net capital markets. This private investment creates jobs and economic growth, the surest way to reducing poverty.

Corruption's take: 148 billion

7/4/05 National Post Fifty years of aid has done little to lift Africa from the abyss. Despite an estimated $500-billion in international assistance, the continent continues to head the lists of poverty, corruption and disease. In the second of a three-part series, Peter Goodspeed examines how corrupt leaders siphon off foreign aid and their countries' own natural wealth, enriching themselves while their people suffer. Just like education and welfare reform, more money is not the solution! Africa has 90% of the world's cobalt, 90% of its platinum, 50% of its gold, 98% of its chromium, 64% of its manganese and one- third of its uranium. It is rich in diamonds, has more oil reserves than North America, and has been estimated to hold 40% of the world's potential hydroelectric power. <.> By the African Union's own estimate, Africa loses as much as US$148-billion a year to corruption.<.> A recent World Bank survey on Africa claims "the amount stolen and now held in foreign banks is equivalent to more than half of the continent's external debt." So why is there all this clamor for 'debt relief'? Why has President Bush doubled what the United States was already stealing from its citizens to hurt the people of Africa? What was the point of this over-hyped 'Live 8 Concert'?("Something must be done, even if it doesn't work," Geldof said in one recent interview, and in that one moment he came closest to capturing the collective middle-class angst of those who turned out this weekend.) Let's take a look at the some of the criminals this 'Live 8 Concert', some private charities, and the US government supports:         

    Almost anywhere you look in Africa you find rulers enriching themselves at the public expense.

    At the same time, the U.S. State Department noted there is little evidence Equatorial Guinea's US$5-billion-plus a year in oil revenues is being devoted to the public good. Nearly half of all children under the age of five in Equatorial Guinea are malnourished, and even major cities lack clean water and basic sanitation.

    In Nigeria last week, the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission said a series of military dictators had squandered US$500-billion -- equivalent of all Western aid to Africa in the past four decades. 

    Swaziland's King Mswati III is spending US$100-million on an airport deep in the bush to take jumbo jets. The King has a penchant for wasting: He blew more than US$1-million on his 37th birthday party in April and another US$14.6-million on palaces for his 11 wives, all of whom get to drive new BMWs.

    Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has brought his country to the edge of economic ruin, recently razing shantytowns that were home to hundreds of thousands of people while simultaneously building himself a lavish retirement home.

    Some of Kenya's troubles began with the extravagant socialism of independence leader Jomo Kenyatta, but problems escalated rapidly once Mr. Kenyatta died in 1978 and was succeeded by his vice-president, Daniel arap Moi. During his 24 years in power, Mr. Moi's government embezzled and stole an estimated US$3-billion to US$4-billion.

    Almost all African countries are also socialistic, a fact never mentioned in the press (just like it is never mentioned that the governments of the Middle East are socialist). The leaders of African countries are CRIMINALS! Stop giving them money! 

Anti Poverty Campaign Gets it almost all Wrong

7/5/05 Sun Times Ends with a plea to President Bush: Otherwise, don't do it, George. Don't Make Poverty Permanent.

 

"For God's Sake please stop the Aid"

7/4/05 Der Spiegel REQUIRED READING African economist James Shikwati (who claims to have been tossed out of 'public university' for being a 'capitalist') nails it perfectly. He mentions everything I've mentioned on this site and more. Short and sweet and to the point. I almost posted this entire article verbatim. An African Libertarian!

African Poverty: Today African Leadership is Africa's Worst Enemy

7/9/05 Cameroon-info.net And it is believed that 40 per cent of wealth created in Africa is invested overseas. <.>Mobutu is reputed to have amassed a fortune equal to Zaire’s national debt. <.> Former Emperor Bokassa of Central African Republic for example, squandered over $20 million of his country’s wealth on worthless and unpopular coronation.

    Recently the Cameroon government spent over FCFA30 billion of the country’s money on a new presidential plane even though Cameroon Postal Service customers are currently being owed over FCFA 54 billion of their savings, and several teachers recruited by government have had no salary for a year.

    African leaders are not only motivated by greed for wealth, but also by power to crush their opponents. This explains why in many sub-Saharan African countries’ annual military expenditure increase by about 14 per cent when its economic growth increase only by about 1 per cent. More than $15 is spent annually by the region on arms that bring nothing in return but destruction of the economy and refugee crises.

 

 

Posted 7/29/05

    In my last point I discussed how the United States was aiding Communist dictatorships. The United States is also, arguably, the largest perpetuator of poverty in the third world and on the African Continent and at the same time has done more to bring developing nations out of poverty than any other country. How can this contradiction exist? Because US foreign investment, trade, military stability (pax Americana) and political ideas/culture is bringing poorer countries out of poverty while our massive government and private aid is working to keep them subjugated, socialist (corrupt), and therefore poor. Leftists, who believe we are responsible for poverty around the world because our government doesn't confiscate enough of our citizen's wealth and our companies exploit the third world, are, again, 180 degrees from reality. The (relative) freedom, economic and political, we have here, results in large amounts of private aid (3x the amount government steals from us) being directed at less free countries. This prosperity we experience only exists because our government is limited (less criminal) than that of corrupt poorer nations. For more on this see 'Charitable Corruption', 'Causes of Poverty in Developing Nations', and these two articles: ONE and TWO

    In order to more clearly illustrate the realities of this line of thinking I've constructed the following crude chart:

    This chart is backed up by posts throughout this website. For example, I've posted about the difficulty of real estate dealing in Russia, on how 80% of Iranian industry is controlled by the government, on starvation in North Korea and Zimbabwe, and on Venezuela's Chavez

    A few clarifications are worthy of mention. I state that one could reverse the graph for immigration. This isn't entirely correct because some of the more oppressive regimes imprison their citizens in their own countries. For example, in Cuba, boats are outlawed to prevent escape, and prospective North Korean immigrants are killed and/or tortured if they try to escape to China. 

    North Korean criminal law prohibits unauthorized departure, a violation of the fundamental right to leave one's own country. Article 47 of the Code provides:

One who escapes to another country or to the enemy in betrayal of his motherland and people, or who commits treacherous acts towards the motherland such as espionage or treason, shall be punished by at least seven years or more labor-re-education. If it is a serious violation, he shall be punished by execution and forfeiture of all property.70

    Also, during the great depression, when 'Republican' Herbert Hoover shrunk the money supply, slapped huge tariffs on goods (Smoot-Hawley Act), raised the top income tax rate from 25% to 63%, and FDR ushered in American socialism, for the first time in history the United States experienced a net exodus of population. 

    You may wonder why I placed 'United States 1900' to the left of the graph. This is because the 'gilded age' was the most free man has ever been from government interference and the United States underwent the greatest productivity and wealth creation boom in the history of the world. Here is an example of how limited the government was and how much wealth was produced by capitalists:

     He [JP Morgan] was also identified in the distribution of government bonds, and in 1877 in co-operation with August Belmont and the Rothschilds, floated $260,000,000 in U.S. four percent bonds, thus relieving the government from serious financial embarrassment. After the financial panic of 1893, the gold of the country becoming very scarce and threatening the stability of the treasury, he joined with other prominent bankers in buying $200,000,000 worth of government bonds and paying for them in gold. This transaction undoubtedly preserved the credit of the United States, but Morgan and his associates were denounced by the public and in congress for the large amount of commission asked for the service. In the threatened panic of 1896 he again offered his services and supported the administration in the funding of a popular loan.

    Private citizens were begged by the failing government to help with its finances! Citizens looked, not to government, but to private bankers to rectify economic situations. Could you image this happening today? Today government would just legislate, pass a tax or regulation, or threaten one, in order to 'shakedown' whatever deal they need. This is what I mean by equal rule of law. In 1900, the law prevented government from stealing from its citizens!

    Contrary to popular opinion, this 'robber baron' capitalism brought prosperity to millions and made the United States the world's leading superpower. More on this and so-called 'evil' monopolies later. 

    Now, you may question the idea that inequality increases as government power increases. This is undoubtedly due to leftist and media propaganda that socialism increases equality. Taking money from the rich and giving it to the poor makes everyone more 'equal' right? Wrong. However, there is a grain of truth to this that requires careful analysis to root out this pervasive fallacy. 

    There are two types of inequalities, pure financial inequality and practical inequality. Pure financial inequality is what is commonly, and misleadingly, parroted as the only sort of inequality that we should be concerned with. The most wealthy, prosperous, and capitalistic nations have, by definition, the greatest financial inequality. But this is not a bad thing, in fact, this should be a goal of policy makers and should be lauded by the media. Should. Wealth creation occurs at different rates by different individuals and by penalizing the top wealth creators for their innovations and productivity and limiting the natural conditions for their activities, exponentially less total wealth exists for the country. In socialism, these wealth creators are assaulted by a corrupt and thieving government, resulting in overall less wealth creation for the country, but less 'financial inequality'. Taken to the extreme, in true Communism, nobody produces anything and everyone is equally dead. :) As Winston Churchill said: The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings; the inherent vice of socialism is the equal sharing of the miseries. 

    However, if we were to examine 'practical inequality', what the average citizen owns, food, health, security, as compared to the wealthy, we would find a stark contrast. In socialistic countries, average people are quite poor and have less ownership, poorer health, more wars, less consumption, and less consumer goods, while the politically connected have many luxuries that are out of the price range of average citizens. In freerer countries, the average citizens are more prosperous and share many or most of the luxuries that the wealthiest citizens own, despite being more 'financially unequal'. I quote a Heritage Foundation report in 'Welfare; History, Results, and Reform':

The following are facts about [United States] persons defined as "poor" by the Census Bureau, taken from various government reports:

·  Forty-six per cent of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one and a half baths, a garage and porch or patio.

·  Seventy-six per cent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, 30 years ago only 36% of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.

·  Only 6% of poor households are overcrowded. More than two thirds have more than two rooms per person.

·  The average poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens and other cities throughout Europe. (Note: These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries not to those classified as poor.)

·  Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car; 30% own two or more cars.

·  Ninety-seven percent of poor households have a color television. [by the way, I don't own a color television or any television for that matter] Over half own two or more color televisions. Seventy-eight percent have a VCR or DVD player. Sixty-two percent have cable or satellite TV reception.

·  Seventy-three percent own microwave ovens; more than half have a stereo, and a third have an automatic dishwasher.
    I discuss the skewering of Inequality further in 'International Poverty Rates', which also contains this illustrative graph:

    The Australian treasury department did a study which looked at world per capita income levels Chart 50 (91):

    Using the commonly used poverty standard [Inequality], more impoverished people exist in 2000 then 1900. This is a ridiculous notion. 

    In the above graph, pretend the United States is on the right (2000) and (socialist) Sweden is represented by the left (1900). This is what I mean by the United States being more 'financially unequal', but more 'practically equal', because we are all better off. 

    For example in North Korea:

    In most rural areas there is no medicine, running water, heating, food, or bandages where as the capital city, Pyongyang, glitters with nightclubs, casinos, luxury hotels, gourmet restaurants and state-of-the-art hospitals.

    In Canada, politicians and their cronies can jump the often fatal waitlists of the Canadian health care system

    In Marxist Zimbabwe: Robert Mugabe, the president of Zimbabwe, is building a lavish palace costing £3.75m on the outskirts of the capital, Harare. Furnishings and security are expected to send the cost to more than £6m at a time when nearly half of Zimbabwe's population is dependent on international food aid.

    History is replete with examples of socialist African dictators and government officials compiling wealth, Middle Eastern Socialist ruling classes rolling in oil money, and the gentrified classes of Europe. So, it is clear that socialism results in more inequality, not less. 

    A last point of contention on my original chart might be the aid flowing to Europe and Japan (you could include South Korea in this) from the United States. Even excluding the fact that the United States rebuilt and set up the political structure in the post WWII years that enabled the citizens of these countries to create wealth freely, we still offer substantial aid to these countries. Humanitarian aid flows (government and private) to Eastern Europe and the Baltic states and US foreign investment and consumption (trade) drives economic growth. But most importantly the United States military protects this trade and provides for the defense of these countries. It was the US military that stabilized Kosovo and prevents the Chinese and North Koreans from attacking Taiwan and South Korea.

    In 'John Kerry and Foreign Policy' I state:

    During the recent US military reorganizations, South Korean and German officials came to the United States to lobby against the removal of US troops. When has this happened in the history of the world? In Eastern Europe, citizens feared the Red Army of the Soviet Union and cheered when Soviet troops finally withdrew (Russia is currently occupying Georgia against the wishes of its president). All over the world, many countries not only welcome, but often proactively seek to draw American troops to their countries. For example, in the past week US defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld visited Romania:

In a sign of Romania's eagerness for Americans to use the facility, officials renamed one street on the base "George Washington Boulevard," honoring the first U.S. president. If yes, the move would signal closer U.S. ties with its NATO ally and funnel millions of dollars into the Romanian economy. "I hope so, but it's not in our hands," Pascu [Romanian Defense Minister] said. (51)  

    Japan and European countries have signed onto the US missile Defense system.

    Why is it that the United States has such a powerful military? How do we have such a powerful economic base to support it? In 'Tsunami Tyranny' I conclude:

However, the most interesting part of this entire analysis, and the key point of this paper, is that by respecting the property of our citizens the most we also assure that the largest and most important aid contributor in the Tsunami relief effort are the private citizens of the United States of America and their military. 

   Property is respected by limiting the theft of it by government. 

 

Posted 9/18/05

    Bangart made some good comments on a 7/29 post: Inequality, Aid, and the Nature of Governments that I had been meaning to follow up on. In the graph I have aid going from rich (free) countries to poor (corrupt) countries. Poorer countries with no capital are aided by foreign investment from rich countries, which are rich because their governments don't steal their citizens money. A formerly oppressive poor country will become prosperous by allowing foreign companies, and their own citizens, to freely utilize the cheap labor of its citizens. In other words, foreign investors will aid in bringing prosperity to a poor country as long as they are assured of not having their assets looted by the corrupt governments (as often is the case). However, what I left out of this post is that once wealth is created in corrupt poor countries, it is often transferred from poor countries to rich countries because the owner can get a better return on his money in a rich country because the government is not as criminal as his poor country (which is why poor countries are poor and rich countries are rich). As we might expect, the thug leaders of poor countries don't even feel safe keeping their own assets in the country that they have looted because of the instability they have thrust on their country through their criminal behavior. This is why Saddam Hussein, Mugabe, Kim Jung Ill and most African leaders all have/had bank accounts in free countries like Switzerland and the Bahamas, which have strong property protecting laws. 

    Because of our relative freedom here in the United States, the US received the most foreign investment every year until a few years ago when China passed us. This is a troublesome indicator as one could draw the conclusion that the Chinese government is now less criminal than our own government, a conclusion most Americans would dispute - yet with the government spending (stealing) $2.3 trillion a year from US citizens and taking into account the rampant and spreading socialism here in the United States, the idea certainly deserves consideration. Of course, China might just be experiencing a short lived boom. If you recall, in the 80s, ignorant politicians bemoaned the fact that Japan was 'buying America'. It was best said by Milton Friedman:

    It is a mystery to me why... it is regarded as a sign of Japanese strength and American weakness that the Japanese find it more attractive to invest in the U.S. than Japan. Surely it is precisely the reverse - a sign of U.S. strength and Japanese weakness.

    This recent trend of 'outsourcing', is bemoaned for the wrong reasons, the fact that some Americans may (in the short term) loose jobs, is somewhat irrelevant compared to the bigger concern of why companies find it more attractive to set up shop overseas. In China do you have to pay Medicare, Medicaid, and SS tax? It is not simply the cheaper labor that companies go overseas for, if that were the case then they would most likely just import the labor here in the form of increased immigration. Yet, blocking this immigration is facilitated, again, by the Federal government of the United States , including many so-called 'Conservatives'. What business of it is the Federal Government's, whom businesses employ on their own property? Or where they house them? Or what they pay them? Or how many immigrants come here? Such things occurred naturally throughout our early history, and would still be occurring today, except that Government has given itself the power to 'regulate' and block such actions, and it does so, hilariously enough, in the name of 'saving those jobs for Americans'. Again, Government accomplishes the opposite of its intentions, as it indirectly encourages both outsourcing and capital deflection.

    But the main point is that, looking at the shown graph, there should be another arrow indicating the flow of capital from poor countries to rich countries. This is not the 'aid' money, that flows from rich to poor countries, and it is true that a poorer country that is newly liberalized will see substantial foreign investment due to cheap labor, but in most corrupt countries of the world, citizens that manage to create wealth are quick to send it away from the thieves that run their countries, and, as shown in the 9/17  post below, are also likely to leave the country themselves. 

 

    LOL! In re-reading what I wrote above, I said: "This is not the 'aid' money, that flows from rich to poor countries." But I am wrong because much of this money actually IS the same aid, recycled, accumulated, stolen, and shipped to safety in the bank account of the tin-cup dictator and his cohorts! Apologies for the error... :)

 

Posted 7/29/05 

Useful Idiots alert. How the United States is propping up and perpetuating Communist Regimes. These regimes use our aid to pay off supporters and increase their power. The aid doesn't help because the underlying problem is not a 'lack of anything', but rather the political structure, which this aid perpetuates. In North Korea aid workers are not allowed to touch foot on land: (The foreign sailors are not permitted to disembark.)

U.N.: Starving N. Koreans Scavenging for Acorns, Grass and Seaweed

7/26/05 NewsMax 

    The WFP tries to feed about 6.5 million North Koreans, or more than one-quarter of the country's population.

    The United States has promised to send 50,000 metric tons of cereals to help feed millions of malnourished North Koreas.

Castro Warns against 'Acts of Treason'

7/27/05 Miami Herald

    The population has grown increasingly weary from blackouts that last for hours, spoiling already depleted food supplies. Small, sporadic antigovernment acts have been reported across the island.

    The audience, including hundreds of Americans who arrived this week with an aid shipment, gave Castro a standing ovation.

    We are doing the same thing in Zimbabwe, another murderous Marxist dictatorship.

 

Posted 11/29/05

NGOs: Fighting Poverty, Hurting the Poor

Oct-Nov 2004 Foreign Policy I was so impressed by Sebastian Mallaby's previously posted Wal-Mart opinion piece that I looked him up to see what else he had written. Here he isolates two incidents and explores them in depth. The first one is the best. A summary:

    The World Bank was promoting a dam near the source of the river Nile, at a beautiful spot called Bujagali. Western nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) were in revolt:

    The International Rivers Network, based in Berkeley, California, maintained that the Ugandan environmental movement was outraged at the likely damage to waterfalls at the site, and that the poor who lived there would be uprooted from their land for the sake of electricity they couldn’t afford. It was surely a clash that went to the heart of the globalization struggle. Was the NGO movement acting as a civilized check on industrialization, standing up for millions of poor people whose views the World Bank ignored? Or was it retarding the battle against poverty by withholding electricity that would fuel economic growth, ultimately benefiting poor citizens?

    “Here is the list,” he said triumphantly. Uganda’s National Association of Professional Environmentalists had all of 25 members—not exactly a broad platform from which to oppose electricity for millions.

    My next move was to visit Bujagali. I met up with a Ugandan sociologist who knew the region well and promised to translate for me. She stopped at a cluster of buildings on the edge of the dam site to check in with the local government representative who, far from threatening to call the cops, greeted us cheerfully. For the next three hours, we interviewed villager after villager and found the same story: The “dam people” had come and promised generous financial terms, and the villagers were happy to accept them and relocate. My sociologist companion said we might have sample bias because we were interviewing men, who might value cash more than the land that women tended. So we interviewed some women, who offered the same pro-project line. The only people who objected to the dam were those living just outside its perimeter. They were angry because the project would not affect them, meaning no generous payout.

    This story is a tragedy for Uganda. Clinics and factories are being deprived of electricity by Californians whose idea of an electricity crisis is a handful of summer blackouts. But it is also a tragedy for the fight against poverty worldwide, because projects in dozens of countries are similarly held up for fear of activist resistance. Time after time, feisty Internet-enabled groups make scary claims about the iniquities of development projects. Time after time, Western publics raised on stories of World Bank white elephants believe them. Lawmakers in European parliaments and the U.S. Congress accept NGO arguments at face value, and the government officials who sit on the World Bank’s board respond by blocking funding for deserving projects.

    The consequences can be preposterously ironic. NGOs claim to campaign on behalf of poor people, yet many of their campaigns harm the poor.

While we shouldn't generalize this to all NGOs, this phenomena is a regularly occurring pattern across the world. Yet why is it when we criticize these NGOs, their hapless donors, or their stupid policies, our intentions and motives are the ones questioned?

    When will a journalist call it like it is? When will we see stories in the mainstream media that document the devastation wrought by these NGOs, environmentalists, and, 'progressives'? Instead, again, what we read in the MSM is actually the opposite of what is occurring. 

(Here is a link to the International Rivers Network website.)

 

 

 

 

Posted 12/1/05

To Live in the Grip of Red Terror

11/30/05 Telegraph India Continuing the thoughts from the post above; I posted this story for this one quote:

    A villager in Jehanabad summed up the situation rather well. Government agencies first started acting like the mafia in Bihar by arresting, harassing and convicting the innocent for their vested interests. They have now been replaced by the Maoists, he added. People are left with no other choice but to live under a reign of terror let loose by both sides.

    This mirrors what I stated in 'Charitable Corruption':

    What is happening in Sri Lanka is outright theft. The government holds Oxfam's vehicles for a month, charges $5,000 a day, and then says, "well, if you don't want to pay us 1 million dollars, we'll just keep the vehicles!" These are the actions of a mafia, not a government. This, of course, has been a central point I've been trying to make throughout this website. All governments act like mafias, some are just worse than others. The richest countries have smaller governments, with less corruption, the poorest have larger governments with more corruption. This is the difference between rich and poor countries.

 

 

 

 

Posted 3/6/08 ( by Travis)

Tons of food aid rotting in Haiti ports (some since November)
Associated Press ^ | Associated Press Writer

    While millions of Haitians go hungry, containers full of food are stacking up in the nation's ports because of government red tape — leaving tons of beans, rice and other staples to rot under a sweltering sun or be devoured by vermin. <.>

    Jean-Paul Michaud, a Canadian, said he sailed to the capital of Port-au-Prince late last year carrying 60 pounds of donated clothing and medicine — and that port authorities demanded $10,000 in "customs fees" — code for a bribe to make the fees disappear.

    "I'd have rather thrown the aid in the water," said Michaud. The Canadian Embassy intervened and the fee was later waived.

    Krabacher's group says it has paid nearly $16,000 in fees in the first six weeks of 2008 alone, compared to $23,418 for all of 2007.

    Readers may recall this story: 

    British charity Oxfam has had to pay the Sri Lankan government $1m in import duty for vehicles used in tsunami reconstruction work.

    As oft stated: it is not lack of food, commodities, health care, etc.. which cause a lack of these things. Socialism causes shortages of these things. The people of Haiti could produce all they need and more if it wasn't for the criminals running their government. Even without the corruption, this aid is a major reason for perpetuating and encouraging the socialism already present in Haiti, and further disrupting their economy. Indeed, throw the aid in the water! And burn our tax dollars! Better that than have our government spend our money hurting the good people of Haiti.

 

 

Posted 4/18/08 ( by Travis)

Kenya's Cabinet 'Soaks Up 80% Of The Budget'
The Telegraph (UK) ^ | 4-17-2008 | Mike Pflanz

    Kenya's expanded new government will spend 80 per cent of the entire national budget on luxury vehicles, inflated salaries for ministers and general running costs, a local anti-corruption group claimed on Wednesday.

    President Mwai Kibaki's administration now boasts 43 ministries - up from 34 - in a deal with the Orange Democratic Movement, led by Raila Odinga, following the bitterly disputed election.

    Of the 222 MPs, almost half now have government jobs. Cabinet members benefit from annual salaries exceeding £83,000 and numerous perks, including official cars and "entertainment" allowances of £600 per month.

    Almost half of all Kenyans survive on less than 50p a day.

    What percentage of US citizens work for the government? How lucrative is it to be employed by the government as opposed to work in the private sector in the United States? The answers to these questions show we differ in scale and scope, but not in substance from Kenya. In fact, how much of Kenya's budget is from US taxpayers? Last question, how many aid groups are operating in Kenya but are not addressing the root cause of Kenya's poverty: the corruption and socialism of the Kenyan government and economy? 

"For God's Sake please stop the Aid" REQUIRED READING  

7/4/05 Der Spiegel Kenyan economist James Shikwati

 

 

 

 

 

19/4/09 (By Travis)

African kin seek Obama’s help

9/13/09 Boston Globe

But what is missing is a direct infusion of cash from Obama or the US government, say local residents and members of the extended Obama family, some of whom say they have relayed funding requests through e-mails and letters to Washington. That expectation might come as a surprise in the United States, where such gifts are not an obligation and Obama is not considered a particularly wealthy man. But in Kenya, where politicians are often judged by how much financial help they funnel to family and tribe, the lack of cash donations from the president has caused some consternation.

 

The Poverty in Africa is thus explained, an exploitation of the people by those in government, a definition of socialism.

 

 

 

 

1/29/11 (By Travis)

Cables Portray Expanded Reach of Drug Agency

12/10/2010 NYT

An interesting look at the state of the third world, and the united nations. A collection of criminals, petty power struggles of thuggish individuals. Although the same occurs here, the difference in scope makes all the difference.

 

Another look a the third world.

 

Sometimes, albeit more rarely, the savagery stems not from the government, but from individuals.

 

 

 

 

 

The other excerpt from 'Tsunami Tyranny' is The Founding of The United States, Wealth Creation, and the Constitutionality of Charity.

 

Also see Charitable Corruption

 

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