Trade not aid!
Posted by aogWednesday, 15 January 2003 at 22:41
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President Bush will ask Congress to extend tariff exemptions
for Africa, currently due to expire in 2008. Unfortunately, he is also calling for an increase in general American foreign aid. Aid is bad in multiple ways. It goes to governments, which in Africa tend to be poorly run so any additional money generally makes the economy worse. It also gets stolen, helping to maintain corruption and encourage those looking for a quick buck into government positions (and making the leadership of a country very lucrative which unsurprisingly causes gang wars like we see in Liberia or Ivory Coast). Aid breeds dependency, and diverts efforts into sucking up to Americans rather than building businesses. It's also, in P.J. O'Rourke's term, "yo-yo" money that in many ways is really subsidies for American companies and NGO's. However, if that's what it takes to get the tariff exemptions extended, it's probably worth it.