Why I don't wear TOMS and why one-for-one aid isn't all it's cracked up to be
Read full article here.
The poster child for the in-kind donation model is TOMS, a shoe company which has gained substantial popularity for its socially conscious business model. TOMS allows its customers to donate through personal consumption with a one-for-one model, giving one pair of shoes to impoverished children for each pair purchased. The hope is that by freely giving shoes away, the gap between the haves and have-nots might be bridged.
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Often, such methods of giving do more to suppress the economic growth of targeted areas than they do to help. Clothing donations have a consistent record of damaging local economies, specifically textile industries.
Remember that 1) good intentions are not enough (you can also read the blog by that name here) and 2) you need to understand the community and empower it, rather than importing and imposing ideas, if you want sustainable progress.
“Massive spending on food aid is not sustainable. Nor does it offer a solution. Instead, more money needs to be spent on building resilience to such crises over the longer term. It would take less than $1m to accurately map the economy of Somalia and the Greater Horn, showing trade routes and migration patterns, documenting the important businesses and businessmen, and detailing the mostly illicit trade in livestock, fish, charcoal and qat. Such a relatively small investment could help donor countries better to decide where their taxpayers' money should be spent—and withheld.”—
slowly, going to “dead aid” conclusions
“The cynical answer is: because it distracts attention from the trade barriers they have erected in order to protect employment in the West. These trade barriers cost Africa an estimated 500 billion dollars every year. That's ten times the amount Africa is given in development aid. And because they secretly don't believe that Africa is ever going to pull it together. They feel sorry for the Africans. So they buy themselves a conscience.”—Dambisa Moyo, international economist, on why the West continues to give aid to Africa, despite overwhelming evidence that foreign aid contributes to world hunger.
Equal (not free) trade for Africa
What is going on in Africa defies all concepts that we hold to be true: our concept of neighbour, our concept of civilization, our concept of equality, of love. What Africa says about Europe, and America is withering. It says we’ve built our Houses of Parliament and government on sand, because if we really believed the things we say we believe, we would not let 23 million Africans die of AIDS. You can’t have the benefits of globalization without some of the responsibilities. We are now next-door neighbours through television images, through radio, through the internet, and through easy travel.
The answer to help Africa, which is definitely not more Foreign Aid (we can talk about this another time, I know FA is helpful, but it is not efficient and it is certainly not a long-run solution), is commerce and good government. We should look at foreign assistance as start-up money. Self-sufficiency is the goal. Everyone loves to talk about the free market, yet every major country treats Africa with unfair trade relationships. The poorest people on Earth are not allowed to put their products on our shelves in an even-handed way. They have to negotiate all kinds of tariffs and taxes. It’s not a level playing field. We can sell to them, but they cannot sell to us. In America we had Congress pass the Farm Bill which subsidizes American agriculture and makes it impossible for African farmers to compete.
All successful economies have protected their seed industries until they were strong enough to compete. We cannot deny for others what we demand for ourselves. Successful economies in Southeast Asia had a very careful, gradual journey to competitiveness. They are a great example of how aid can work to start an economy on its road to self-sufficiency. Now let’s give Africa a chance.
Pakistan's Middle Class Extremists
Most policymakers makers believe that the poor are more susceptible to the appeals of violent groups. Counterterrorism policies have therefore often centered on economic development. In Pakistan, however, it is the middle class that is supportive of militant groups. What does this mean for counterterrorism strategy?
Read the article here.
It’s like everything I’ve read so far on international trade, international relations and international development provide more and more evidence of North’s exploitation of the South, regardless of the political inclinations of the authors. From colonization to the manipulation of trade-regulating institutions and those structural adjustment policies, the exploitation is just too blatant that I sometimes really wonder how people could still be under the impression that things like foreign “aid” stem from humanitarian motives.
Except the Scandanavian countries, of course. They’re a nice bunch of people.