Thinking in public about anything that matters.

Category: Africa

An exploration of Africa’s worst problems and possible solutions.

Egyptian Sandmonkey Rants No More

Freedom of speech, of the pen, of the press, of the blog. Those of us who have the freedom to express our minds must guard it as the precious treasure it is.

There are so many on this earth whose governments fail to understand their proper job. The only legitimate purpose of government is to protect the right of each human being to his life, liberty, property, and pursuit of happiness. That very broad formulation includes – most importantly and fundamentally – the right to use one’s mind honestly and to express oneself honestlywithout being subject to legal punishment. I said “honestly”, which doesn’t guarantee by any means that the honest mind will always be correct in its content or its judgments. But human beings need to be able to seek the truth, make errors, and self-correct. We need to be able to communicate our ideas with others, to discuss and argue,to trade information,etc., without fear that some Big Brother will forbid and punish us when he doesn’t like what we have to say. In doing so we are able to refine our grasp of reality, weed out our mistakes, and over time improve our understanding of whatever it is we care about. Continue reading

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Still More Africa Links

Here’s a few more articles on Africa, poverty, and aid.

The Tragedy of Africa Part I – Thomas Sowell
The Tragedy of Africa Part II – Thomas Sowell
Freedom, Not Foreign Aid, for Africa – Walter Williams
Capitalism is the Cure for Africa’s Problems – Dr. Andrew Bernstein
Trade, Not Aid: What Africa Needs by Thompson Ayodele of the Institute of Public Policy Analysis, Nigeria
“For God’s Sake, Please Stop the Aid!” – James Shikwati of Kenya
And here’s a link to the Live 8 website, for comparison and contrast with the above views:

Live 8

If you know of any other pro-aid-to-Africa articles, especially if they do a good job of backing up their views or answering the anti-aid arguments in the articles above, please let me know.

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Another African Link

This morning I followed this link: Out of Africa that came in my TIA Daily newsletter.

More food for thought on poverty in Africa.

Also, mentioned in the piece is James Shikwati, a young Kenyan economist that my husband, Prodos, interviewed on his internet radio program a while ago. If you’d like to listen, go here: Cause of Poverty

Both Ledeen’s article and the Prodos interview are more evidence that Live 8 may have been a bad investment of good intentions.

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The Big Question About Africa

I’m asking the following questions because I really am looking for the answers. If you have information that can contribute to finding the answers, or think you actually know the answers, please help me out.

The big question on my mind about Africa is: how can well-meaning outsiders help alleviate African poverty, when corruption within the poorest countries stands in the way of honest entrepreneurs’ success, diverts large proportions of aid into the bank accounts of dictators and other officials, and fear and brutal oppression stops all but a few exceptional people from fighting the evils that hold the good people down.

Economies do not flourish under the yoke of masters who steal massively, produce nothing but their own palaces and glorification, give special favors to cronies and favorites, and whose police and courts take bribes to allow dishonest and even vicious businesses to get away with such practices as the sale of fake medicines. The honest and courageous who try to fight these evils have to struggle up a vertical mountain virtually alone, risking life and limb. They put their loved ones at risk as well. It looks like a hopeless mission.
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Corruption in the Way

Unfortunately, since the time this blog entry was published, the following NY Times link has been put on the paid article list.

Here’s an informative article, this time from the New York Times, that goes into some detail about the nature of the government corruption in African nations that has been nullifying billions in aid from wealthy countries.

My thought is that if it weren’t for the corruption, aid may never have been needed, or significantly less would have been. Rule of law protecting individual rights and a common respect for honesty and trustworthiness are necessary for an economy to flourish. If you don’t have those, no amount of international aid will get a country, or a continent, on its feet and keep it there.

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Live 8?

I am not religious. I do not believe that we get a second chance once we’ve died. No reincarnation. No heaven or even hell. If a person has gone through hell on earth and then dies without getting to enjoy life, that is tragic to me, because I really don’t expect there to be anything better afterward. Or anything at all.

Hence I, too, like so many rockers and movies stars (who may or may not believe in life after death), wish that we could do something to help those Africans who presently suffer in poverty and misery to instead live the good life. I wish we could do something real.

So I’m creating the category of “Africa” among my pages, for the purpose of exploring questions related to African poverty. I don’t believe that the celebrities of the recent “Live8 ” concert who urge the wealthiest nations to give more aid to Africa have set their sites on the right enemy or the right solution. Their scheme, as I understand it, allows participants to feel helpful and righteous. But will it, in a significant and lasting way, help suffering Africans to throw off their poverty and live fulfilling lives? Or is it destined to waste millions of dollars while nothing changes?

Unfortunately at the moment I don’t have time delve into this topic, but I read a commentary piece today at The Daily Telegraph that I think is on the right track.

CLICK!It’s no in-depth examination, which is what I hope to find time for later. But I think it’s headed in a good direction.

For the moment, that is all.

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