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SarahBell

Is aid pointless?

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It might not be pointless in the short term if it can be successfully distributed to those in need, saving lives. But that seems like a big "if".

In the longer term, without stability, which comes from among other things infrastructure, education and usually democracy, then it won't accomplish much.

That's for the country in question to deal with.

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Aid (to Africa)
Benefits (to <insert UK town>

Short term, yes, aid and benefits are valuable. They tide over an area, til it has time to recover from a shock, be it a drought or closure of a coalmine.

Longterm? Aid/benefits fcks up.

In this case? You have a very large, corrupt African country.

If the Nigerian army does not intervene, then the Nigerain populace has to sort out a means of govenrment that keeps both Northern and Soutern parts of Nigeria happy.

On a similar thread, I was chatting to a mate of my military contractor brother. The mean and cruel oppressors of the Zimababwe and South Africa inthe 80s/60s - basically the special forces/military police and they were a bunch of stunc - are now the protectors of the Kenya man in the street from the ravages of Shabat.

Brother says its Nuts. You have 50+ YO mercenary zooming around the Kenyan bush. And they are well paid. And they love it! And the Kenyans like them!

 

 

 

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I've posted these before, but worth a read I think:

New Yorker:  Alms Dealers and The Moral Hazards of Humanitarian Aid

Quote

A monkey was walking along a river and saw a fish in it. The monkey said, Look, that animal is under water, he’ll drown, I’ll save him. He snatched up the fish, and in his hand the fish started to struggle. And the monkey said, Look how happy he is. Of course, the fish died, and the monkey said, Oh, what a pity, if I had only come sooner I would have saved this guy.

 

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Helen Forrester, who grew up desperately poor in Liverpool, once worked for a 'help the poor' charity there. She wrote that it was a waste of time and just as much good would be done by throwing the money given onto the streets for people to find.

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I think that in many cases it is pointless. If you take a group of people living a peasant lifestyle on marginal land their numbers are kept in check by infant mortality via drought and disease. Along comes the aid agency and feeds them through the drought, treats the disease and now numbers are above carrying capacity and growing. Thus a greater disaster is stored up for the future and what little resources there are get depleted at an unsustainable rate. Either the aid increases exponentially or vast numbers die.

 

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I worked for the Red Cross in Geneva, you should have seen the look on their face when I told them they were "misery farmers".

Resto du Coeur guys and gals assaulted me in the street the other day. It was supposed to be an emergency charity to solve a crisis one winter.

"what good does it do?" I asked" "32 Christmasses you've been doing this and things are worse than ever, more poor, more homeless, more misery"

The young lady said "but that just shows there is more need for us than ever".

Me "when you are driving straight into the wall, you slow down and change direction, you don't accelerate"

Well ok, the charity is entrenched, people depend on it for their Christmas turkey (I even saw a lady in a new car picking up her foie gras a couple of years ago) but endlesses churning aid around the economy is just sufficient quantities to keep people dependent doesn't seem like the right approach.

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53 minutes ago, ntb said:

I think that in many cases it is pointless. If you take a group of people living a peasant lifestyle on marginal land their numbers are kept in check by infant mortality via drought and disease. Along comes the aid agency and feeds them through the drought, treats the disease and now numbers are above carrying capacity and growing. Thus a greater disaster is stored up for the future and what little resources there are get depleted at an unsustainable rate. Either the aid increases exponentially or vast numbers die.

 

Yes; that sort of aid is pointless but does make people feel good about themselves.

Aid with a point would be some decent roads, sewearge system for a town, industrial park etc. which would allow people to get businesses off the ground and raise themselves out of that subsistence lifestyle.

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1 hour ago, ntb said:

I think that in many cases it is pointless. If you take a group of people living a peasant lifestyle on marginal land their numbers are kept in check by infant mortality via drought and disease. Along comes the aid agency and feeds them through the drought, treats the disease and now numbers are above carrying capacity and growing. Thus a greater disaster is stored up for the future and what little resources there are get depleted at an unsustainable rate. Either the aid increases exponentially or vast numbers die.

 

You mean Ethiopia dont you?

All those bags of Rice should have been laced with contraception pills.

And Im serious on that.

Weirdly, Ive just finished to Go Set A Watchman from the radio.

The core of that is Atticus was not wanting blacks to have a vote because he wants the blacks southerners to grow up a bit before full suffrage. i.e. culturey the ex slaves will do something stupid with their new found freedom - If only he was around to see Gordy the stnucs tax credits ...

There appears to be a similar thing happening the South Africa- the bright new dawn of Mandela has dissolved to the craphle of Zuma.

Its a do or die. Bit let kids getting their first credit card at 18. But without the bankruptcy option.

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Not just Ethiopia but yes, that's the general gist of what I'm saying. I have to agree with Fank and Spy. A step change is needed if you are going to do anything. For some countries it would appear to need a culture change.

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2 hours ago, ntb said:

I think that in many cases it is pointless. If you take a group of people living a peasant lifestyle on marginal land their numbers are kept in check by infant mortality via drought and disease. Along comes the aid agency and feeds them through the drought, treats the disease and now numbers are above carrying capacity and growing. Thus a greater disaster is stored up for the future and what little resources there are get depleted at an unsustainable rate. Either the aid increases exponentially or vast numbers die.

 

 

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Well Blue Peter seemed to deliver a lot of Land Rovers to Africa, made out of milk bottle tops. I'm sure they would rather have had a hand operated water pump, with easily changeable leather washers, instead. Rather than some British Leyland sh1t where the nearest service facility is in Southampton.

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30 minutes ago, MrPin said:

Well Blue Peter seemed to deliver a lot of Land Rovers to Africa, made out of milk bottle tops. I'm sure they would rather have had a hand operated water pump, with easily changeable leather washers, instead. Rather than some British Leyland sh1t where the nearest service facility is in Southampton.

They might have liked a Blue Peter badge so they could get into Woburn Abbey, or somewhere, for free.

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8 minutes ago, SNACR said:

They might have liked a Blue Peter badge so they could get into Woburn Abbey, or somewhere, for free.

Ah the gift that cannot be used.:o

Aid sort of does my head in. A lot of things that would make people's lives easier are so simple, and probably quite cheap. A Land Rover isn't one of them.:mellow:

 

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11 minutes ago, MrPin said:

Ah the gift that cannot be used.:o

Aid sort of does my head in. A lot of things that would make people's lives easier are so simple, and probably quite cheap. A Land Rover isn't one of them.:mellow:

 

Sales of Land Rovers were probably slow at the time, or something.

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38 minutes ago, SNACR said:

Sales of Land Rovers were probably slow at the time, or something.

Maybe the Queen already had one?

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Aid is not pointless for the aid workers, it gives them a job.

I know someonein IT on a decent package working at oxfam in Oxford.  I joked with him that if Oxfam really wanted to help they should offshore the IT department to somewhere in need, he didnt seem to see the funny side!

 

Another advantage of being an aid worker is you think you have the moral high ground of every issue.

 

RE: Geneva, aid work is big business there, even though it is one of the most expensive cities in the world.  It makes me laugh that Geneva which is all government agencies (like UN and WHO) and charities, is far more 'bling' than Zurich, the banking capital of Switzerland.

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Boko Haram are Saudi financed and US CIA/Neocons (including Clinton) backed mercenaries. The only way to stop them is by stopping their financing and their CIA support. Hopefully Trump will put an end to the US support and low oil prices eventually prevent Saudi from sponsoring world-wide terrorism groups such as Boko Haram.

https://www.ctc.usma.edu/posts/boko-harams-international-connections

http://www.infowars.com/chris-christie-blames-hillary-clinton-for-boko-haram/

 

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9 hours ago, davidg said:

I worked for the Red Cross in Geneva, you should have seen the look on their face when I told them they were "misery farmers".

Interesting, was that the ICRC or the IFRC?  All the British Red Cross people I've encountered have seemed very sensible but I realise the Red Cross movement is very broad.

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I was not very popular at all at the time of Live Aid when I pointed out that just giving people food meant more starving people in a generation so more suffering.  I refused to give any more without seeing birthcontrol plans as well.  I was 16, at a very left wing school, so you can imagine how I was looked at.

 

I was right.

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