Saturday, February 21, 2009

"The Anti-Bono" (from The New York Times)

A well-educated native of Zambia, Dambisa Moyo, claims that much of the aid to Africa is counterproductive. While counter-intuitive, this is correct. One does not solve systemic economic problems by throwing money at them (as liberals typically do). One must understand the underlying cultural and historical forces that shape economies (an essentially conservative insight). P.T. Bauer argued years ago that state to state foreign aid seldom accomplishes its goals and often establishes the opposite of its its goals, since money ends up in the wrong hands for the wrong purposes.

None of this is reason to ceasing caring about the millions of refugees, hungry, and oppressed in Africa (and elsewhere). Rather, one should give (and loan) wisely. The more personal and relational the ministry is, the more is demands responsibility, the better it can serve the world's poor and marginalized. In fact, we serve Jesus Christ himself as we serve "the least of these" (Matthew 25).


Paul D. Adams said...

I could not agree more. While driving yesterday I saw a sign held up by a senior citizen "Honk for peace....signed: Grandparents for peace." I thought to myself, "How will my contribution to noise pollution encourage peace?" Of course, raising awareness is important, but joining a color-coded campaign is a far cry from loving your neighbor as yourself. Sociology wearies me sometimes.

Darrell said...

This situation in Africa has been well known and documented for some time.

By contrast the microloan system appears to be working quite well in poverty-stricken areas of the country.

A "hand up" is always preferable to a "handout"

Darrell said...

It's amazing how much our "enlightened" society suffers from the fables of New Age philosophy.

The idea that a honk for peace will send out good vibes into the universe making it a better place is just some warmed over Eastern philosophy combined with post modernism into a nice comfortable pastiche.