Monday, October 02, 2006

Drwn News: The end of poverty


The end of poverty

I'm convinced. We can end global poverty. Someone just has to offer enough money.

The corruption stuff is a canard -- at least half of the extremely poor countries are not very corrupt (democratically run, at peace, trying hard -- e.g., Ghana, Ethiopia, Mali, Malawi), while many very corrupt countries have developed handsomely (Bangladesh, Indonesia). If we don't give the money because of corruption, we are kidding ourselves.

The answer 1) stabilization (through things currency and inflation control through fiscal and policy measures, once unfavorably termed "shock therapy"), and 2) capability-development of infrastructure, capital, public health, etc.

The answer is pretty cheap too - $200 billion per year for 10 years. US contribution would be less than what we are spending directly on war costs in Iraq (if you included the cost of the $75 barrel of Brent, then the entire cost of the programs would be equal to 1 year of the Iraq war's impact).

African is still crippled by tropical diseases and AIDS (unlike colder climates). The technological investment hasn't been made to develop climate-appropriate crops (as it was made in Asia's Green Revolution). There is no capital asset base to drive productivity, since people are so poor everything they earn is consumed not saved. There is no public infrastructure since governments are too poor to build them. People are too sick and poor to be educated. Anyone who does get educated is immediately tempted away to foreign markets, so there isn't any pool of doctors, scientists, etc.

Plus countries are sinking under debt servicing loads from the last generation technocrats' bright ideas of World Bank-funded dams and airports, etc. The reforms the West insisted on to stabilize the markets (austerity) were designed only around starvig the beast of socialistic state industries, but not around funding the development of infrastructure, capital, etc. The US has massive centrally managed spending infrastructure, scientific R&D, public health and public education spending -- all to support the "free market" of private enterprise. By contrast, we have spent 50 years underfunding such programs in the developing world.

What do you get for $200 B a year? As far as I can tell from reading this book, you get a detailed plan of action for achieving the reduction of poverty on Earth by half in 10 years."

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