Thursday, May 28, 2009

Good point

I have just started reading Dambisa Moyo's important book "Dead Aid" and was, therefore, especially interested in Marian Tupy's article in the Financial Times today. Marian is a very sound chap, who writes about trade, freedom, Eastern Europe and Africa with occasional forays into the European Union, on which he holds all the right opinions. (He is against it for very good reasons.)

In his article Marian makes the point that all opponents of aid find themselves making sooner or later: it has a strong racist element.He compares attitudes to Africa with attitudes to post-Communist Eastern Europe:
Following the collapse of communism, virtually everyone assumed that the key to future prosperity in CEB lay in economic reforms, not in foreign aid. Implicitly, almost everyone understood that the people in the region would simply have to respond to market incentives, and produce goods and services that domestic and foreign customers would want to buy. Inability to compete with the west was inconceivable. Failure was not an option.

Such a mindset is demonstrably lacking when it comes to Africa. Globalization tends to be seen as a threat and seldom as an opportunity. Local politicians fret about competition from China and Bangladesh. Non-governmental organisations caution against liberalisation lest Africans be taken advantage of by unscrupulous westerners. Musicians and movie stars urge aid, not reform, as a solution to poverty.
Mind you, that was before the East Europeans were forced to readjust to EU rules but that is another story.

I find the idea of using the epithet "racist" against fervent proponents of aid rather an attractive one.


  1. But of course. "Soft racism" is wildly understood to be underneath the Affirmative Action; Thomas Sowell, if I'm not mistaken, pointed at the AA's hidden nature of assuming that without artificially benefitial conditions blacks are presumed to be unfit for a merit-based achievement.

  2. Be fair, the current leader of the free world got elected by wearing skin that confused millions of afro americans into voting for the party that had been activly suppressing them for generations, they also join, in large numbers, the religion who enslaved their forefathers and sold them into slavery, so a good case has beet made for this racism to be fair. A black, south african journalist (whom I admire for it) wrote an article explaining that africans are stupid! and justified it!!

  3. African Americans or, as LaShawn Barber insists, Black Americans tend to vote Democrat for all sorts of reasons. More turned out to vote for Obama but there was no great change in the proportions that voted that way. So the first point you make in that long and somewhat incoherent first sentence makes no sense.

    Not sure what the rest of it is about. Islam? A far greater proportion of Black Americans are church-going Christians than Muslim and not the kind of church that the Reverend Jeremiah Wright preached at either.

    As you don't name the South African journalist, we have to rely on your word that it is what he said.