Fundamental Astuteness

The Essence of Astuteness: Non-Partisan Intellectual Honesty

“Essential” government handouts

with 2 comments

My advocacy of abolishing government charity like welfare and international food aid has been quietly growing over the last few years. Authors like John Stossel and Fredric Bastiet have caused me to criticize government action on such matteres, prefering instead that the government content itself to national defense and basic matters of public peace.

My reasoning here is multifacted, ranging from  philosophical meditations on government theory to practical cause and effect studies that issue a rebuke to those who have endless faith in government policy to fix problems that are better and traditionally left to the volunatary action of private individuals.

Following up on that note, its interesting to note that in spite of what action-hungary politicians are likely to tell you, it may be that foreign aid, whether cash or commodity (food, etc) is not all that “essential” or “critical” so solving whatever “crisis” happens to be at hand. An observation by the Council on Foreign Relations seems particularly provoking to those who subscribe to this view:

“With the plight of the hungry so acute, the calls for additional food aid have grown. So far this year, the World Food Program spent $650 million—compared with the $400 million spent during the same period in 2007 to buy roughly the same amount of food (BusinessWeek). But some experts point out that the aid system keeps people hungry in the long run even as it feeds them in the short term. Alec van Gelder and Caroline Boin of the International Policy Network, a development think tank based in London, argue that aid has actually depressed development (Business Daily) in Africa. They note “70 [percent] of Africans who live off the land have falling incomes and life expectancy, while Asian countries that got little or no aid have prospered.”

Interesting point. African countries recieve lots of aid and fail. Asian countries recieved little or none and succeed. But politicians argue that such programs are essential anyway.

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Written by Astuteness

January 21, 2009 at 8:50 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Great article. Building off of what you said, here’s some food for thought from a very interesting perspective:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/matthew_parris/article5400568.ece

    Enjoy.

    Alan

    February 3, 2009 at 4:34 pm

  2. I love your site!

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    Michael Tim

    February 28, 2009 at 11:31 am


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