Socialism: The Road to HellMy country gives more aid per capita to Africa and developing nations than almost any other nation on earth. But does it help, or do we simply do it because it makes us feel good? I asked the question recently about what foreign aid decreased poverty in 19th century Europe? The correct answer is of course: None. It was done by economic dynamism and capitalism. Some time ago, India decided it would no longer accept aid from Western countries, but rely on its own strength and resources. I think that's a smart decision, one indicating that India has the self-confidence necessary to compete in the global economy. If you rely on alms from others, it does something to your mentality. Some scientists have asked whether the numbers showing an African AIDS pandemic have been inflated. Has this been done to keep the aid flowing? Who benefits from that?
This raises a new set of questions about Islamic nations: We keep hearing for every terrorist attack that we need to help Islamic countries with aid to make the recruitment for terrorists for difficult. First of all: Islamic terrorism is Jihad against the infidels and has nothing to do with poverty. It actually gets worse with wealth, as the donors give support to Jihadist groups everywhere. Just look at the Saudis. Second of all: Money given from non-Muslims won't induce any gratitude from Muslims. They will view it as Jizya, the tribute non-Muslims are supposed to pay for the honor of being allowed to remain alive as second - or third-rate citizens in their own country. It will be seen as a sign of submission and thus actually increase Islamic arrogance and aggressiveness. On top of this, experience tells us that aid will frequently at best end up in the pockets of the powerful and corrupt, at worst in the hands of terrorists and extremists. This whole idea of "global redistribution of wealth" is nothing more than Socialism. It doesn't work on a local or national level. Why on earth should it work on a global level? China remained dirt poor as long as it was a Socialist country. As soon as it started experimenting with capitalism, it lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. India's boom has been facilitated by trying to reduce bureaucracy and static thinking. Europe reshaped the entire global economy during its dynamic heydays. Today's declining European welfare states make Europe increasingly look like the "sick man of the world". President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela is thus wrong: Socialism, not capitalism, is the road to hell.
"For God's Sake, Please Stop the Aid!"
The Kenyan economics expert James Shikwati, 35, says that aid to Africa does more harm than good. The avid proponent of globalization spoke with SPIEGEL about the disastrous effects of Western development policy in Africa, corrupt rulers, and the tendency to overstate the AIDS problem. If the industrial nations really want to help the Africans, they should finally terminate this awful aid. The countries that have collected the most development aid are also the ones that are in the worst shape. Despite the billions that have poured in to Africa, the continent remains poor. Huge bureaucracies are financed (with the aid money), corruption and complacency are promoted, Africans are taught to be beggars and not to be independent. In addition, development aid weakens the local markets everywhere and dampens the spirit of entrepreneurship that we so desperately need. As absurd as it may sound: Development aid is one of the reasons for Africa's problems. If the West were to cancel these payments, normal Africans wouldn't even notice.
Economist Blames Aid for Africa Famine
In Niger, a desert country twice the size of Texas, most of the 11 million people live on a dollar a day. Forty percent of children are underfed, and one out of four dies before turning 5. And that's when things are normal. Throw in a plague of locusts, and a familiar spectacle emerges: skeletal babies, distended bellies, people too famished to brush the flies from their faces. To the aid workers charged with saving the dying. "When aid money keeps coming, all our policy-makers do is strategize on how to get more," said the Kenya-based director of the Inter Region Economic Network, an African think tank. "They forget about getting their own people working to solve these very basic problems. In Africa, we look to outsiders to solve our problems, making the victim not take responsibility to change." Even African countries that have food to spare can't easily share it because tariffs on agricultural products within sub-Saharan Africa average as high as 33 percent, compared with 12 percent on similar products imported from Europe. "It doesn't make sense when they can't even allow their neighbors to feed them. They have to wait for others in Europe or Asia to help," he said. "We don't have any excuses in Africa. We can't blame nature. We have to tell our leadership to open up and get people producing food."