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 Forecasting America's Destiny ... and the World's


Generational Dynamics Web Log for 12-Jun-05
"Wealthy nations" agree to cancel Africa's debts at G-8 meeting

Web Log - June, 2005

"Wealthy nations" agree to cancel Africa's debts at G-8 meeting

Can Africa be saved? Will more money do it?

Some people think of Africa as the land of genocide, famine and AIDS, an unstable breeding ground for war and terrorism. Some believe that these are caused by racial or tribal issues, and some even blame it on slavery. These explanations are silly, of course. Africa is no different than any other continent. AIDS is spreading throughout Asia, and famine and hunger strike all heavily populated nations, and is currently occurring in North Korea. As for the two recent genocidal African wars (Darfur last year and Rwanda in 1994), genocide happens everywhere -- like the Balkans wars last decade, Cambodia in the 1970s, and Europe in the 1940s.

Nonetheless, the agreement on Saturday by the "rich nations" to forgive $40 billion of African debt is being called "historic." Actually, there was never a snowflake's chance in hell that those debts would ever be repaid anyway, so the agreement is really nothing more than accepting the inevitable.

Trying to save a country by pouring money into it is nothing new. We're doing it today with the West Bank, for example, where an all-out Arab-Jewish war is being postponed only with ever-increasing billions of dollars of aid. It's happening in Haiti today as well. And the leaders of China, a country with 150 million itinerant workers and frequent local riots, are known to believe that plenty of food will prevent civil war.

Africa is larger than Europe, America, Alaska, China, and New Zealand (not shown) combined. <font size=-2>(Source: Boston Univ)</font>
Africa is larger than Europe, America, Alaska, China, and New Zealand (not shown) combined. (Source: Boston Univ)

But Africa?? Pouring money into the West Bank is one thing, because it's tiny. In contrast, many people don't realize how big Africa is -- bigger than China, America, Alaska, Europe and New Zealand combined. If all the so-called "rich nations" of the world gave every penny they had to Africa, it still wouldn't be enough.

And what good does it do? Decades of providing aid to Africa through the World Bank and other organizations has evidently only made things worse -- if we're to believe all the people who are asking for more money now.

In fact, Ugandan investigative reporter and political commentator Andrew M. Mwenda explains how foreign aid has sabotaged reform in Uganda:

Mwenda's argument is that foreign aid makes governments unaccountable to the people, stifles government reform, subsidizes government corruption and incompetence, and saves the rich and well-connected from having to pay taxes.

This is what's happening in Africa, but it's also clear that the same things have been happening in Haiti and the West Bank. It's in the nature of this kind of aid.

But what's the choice? The alternative is to give that aid, but also impose controls, even place outside managers in the country to oversee how the money is spent.

That alternative has a name. It's call "colonialism."

The 1850s discovery of quinine as a treatment for malaria opened the floodgates to colonialism of Africa. In what was known as the "Scramble for Africa," England, Belgium, France, Portugal, Italy, Spain and Germany all competed to colonize parts of Africa in the late 1800s. By 1914, all of black Africa except Ethiopia and Liberia were European colonies. Since 1914, these former colonies have become independent nations.

Today, colonialism is not exactly a politically popular concept. For example, I have a friend named Mike who tends a little toward paranoia, and sees almost anything anyone does as driven by greed. Take any current news event anywhere in the world, no matter what it is, and he sees it as being motivated by one country trying to get another country's oil.

He sees colonialism as an unalloyed evil: a desire of one country to enslave the people of another in order to gain possession of their resources.

Does that apply to all of those countries -- England, Belgium, France, Portugal, Italy, Spain and Germany? To him, yes it does. What about the colonists bringing modern agriculture, modern medicine, modern communications, modern transportation, modern financial structures, factories, jobs, and so forth. To him, that doesn't matter. It's just greed and slavery.

A lot of people think that way, because colonialism never works out. At the beginning it's win-win, and great for everyone. As time goes on, the population increases, the food supply can't keep up with the population, poverty increases, and hunger increases. The colonists can no longer provide for the public welfare, and they develop a bunker mentality, and protect themselves to keep order. This leads to massive government corruption. In time a crisis war develops (like the Rwanda war), and enough people are killed so that the survivors have enough food.

A year ago, when I first wrote about the crisis war in Darfur, I predicted that the UN would be helpless to stop the crisis war until it had run its course. And I was absolutely right. Crisis wars are forces of nature, like typhoons, like tsunamis. They happen regularly, and they can't be stopped.

That's what happens in the case of colonialism, but that's also what happens in the case of direct aid (or loans), as we've been seeing.

And that's the point of this little essay. It doesn't matter whether you provide direct aid or you provide aid with controls, or you provide investments, or you provide full colonial control. It's always the same. World War II was a huge genocidal war involving many countries of the world, no different from Rwanda or Darfur. Each country, each region takes its turn.

The whole concept of "rich nations" giving aid is a joke. America is the "richest" country, but we're in hock up to our necks to China. Europe is supposed to be rich, but they're worse off than we are. China is currently a "rich" country, but they're a third world country so they don't count as rich.

However, that's not what's important today. What's important today is that the politicians have signed "an historic agreement on the way to eliminating poverty in the world." They did this by forgiving loans that never would have been paid, promising more aid that will make no difference, and patting themselves on the back for being so caring and clever.

But that's what politicians are for, isn't it. (12-Jun-05) Permanent Link
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