Stop giving a shit

Another installment in our ever popular series of Headlines In The Guardian We Can Answer:

The world’s humanitarian burden is too big. How can we lessen it?

35 thoughts on “Stop giving a shit”

  1. The Inimitable Steve

    Stop having 40 kids when you can only afford to feed 4?

    Stop sitting around, chewing khat and waiting for Western charities to dig you a well?

  2. The Inimitable Steve

    Never mind, the Guardian brains trust is on the case:

    Poverty is born out of inequality and the huge urge for big Corporations and billion/millionaires to get richer and richer, it is they who get rich on the backs of the poor.

    Bill and Melinda Gates are billionaires because they’re exploiting Sudanese peasants. Somehow.

    Stop the Wars created by The Arms Industry and make the Arms Industry redundant

    The Middle East was an oasis of tranquility till those dang arms traders showed up. Good to know.

    In many ways the lives of others, less materially blessed, can be seen as more meaningful, their structures and relationships more honest and their interdependence more crucial.

    Blessed are those who drink fecal matter tainted water, for theirs shall be the kingdom of Grauniad.

    Introduce a Wealth Cap.No more unlimited accumulation of wealth by individuals/corporations etc

    Because if we tell Wayne Rooney he can only earn £20k a week, all the rest of the money will – presto changeo! – appear in the hands of Indonesian street children.

    I think the UN needs to work on a more effective means of impressing its resolutions on member states. Of course that is very easy to say but the institution is toothless as it stands and we would not have a fraction of the crises that are unfolding today if the UN had been fit to prevent the invasion of Iraq twelve years ago.

    Peace through global dictatorship.

  3. The Inimitable Steve

    Reading the Guardian comments is like that scene in ‘Life of Brian’ where a collection of alternately raving and gormless street preachers are addressing bored gawkers.

    There shall, in that time, be rumours of things going astray, erm, and there shall be a great confusion as to where things really are, and nobody will really know where lieth those little things wi– with the sort of raffia work base that has an attachment. At this time, a friend shall lose his friend’s hammer and the young shall not know where lieth the things possessed by their fathers that their fathers put there only just the night before, about eight o’clock. Yea, it is written in the book of Cyril that, in that time, shall the third one…

  4. So Much For Subtlety

    In reality no one much does give a sh!t. Those that do belong to religious orders and give their lives to the poor.

    Yummy Guardian-reading Mummies in their 4x4s on the school run every day do not. Or they would sell their 4x4s and give the money to the poor.

    Young girls called Jacinta who do a year’s worth of poverty porn tourism while shagging the odd well spoken Black man don’t. For obvious reasons.

    Nor do the Corbynites or they would not be supporting policies that inevitably lead to mass murder among the poor.

    It is all status signalling and should be ignored.

  5. smfs,

    if giving a shit means placing a weight on welfare of others relative to own welfare, that is a continuum, you can give a shit without giving away everything you own

    but you are right, it’s all about putting money where your mouth is

    (one option is to vote for govt that imposed progressive taxation and funds foreign aid)

  6. So Much For Subtlety

    Luis Enrique – “if giving a shit means placing a weight on welfare of others relative to own welfare, that is a continuum, you can give a shit without giving away everything you own”

    Sure. I have no problems with that. Pretty much everyone doesn’t give a sh!t. Not even close. What do you think they spend on it? 40 p a month?

    “(one option is to vote for govt that imposed progressive taxation and funds foreign aid)”

    That is classic signalling. You vote to show how much you care but you don’t pay. You make other people pay. Even more so, we know it is not about helping because no one gives a sh!t whether the money is spent well or not. Even whether it is stolen or not. All they want to do is let other people know they care. So what happens to the people on the other end is irrelevant.

  7. The Inimitable Steve

    Eh. I care about poor people in poor countries.

    Not a lot, because I have my own business to mind, but I’d like to see them rich and happy.

    They will only get rich and happy by doing it for themselves. No foreign aid programme in history has ever turned a backwards 3rd world society into a prosperous modern society.

    There is no good reason to believe foreign aid helps poor people overseas, and lots of reasons to believe it actively harms their development and entrenches corruption, nepotism, and failure.

    Same goes for a most Western charity. I’m sorry, but if African peasants are too retarded to boil their drinking water over a fire or dig their own wells using the latest cutting edge Dark Ages technology, then no amount of do-gooding Christian charity is going to stop them being retarded.

    We should help people get back on their feet in cases of natural disasters and wars, not keep them as pets. The White Man’s Burden was set down a long time ago.

  8. Bloke in North Dorset

    Luis,

    Leaving aside natural disasters where short term aid and expertise is always needed, we really should butt out, or at least make a major change to what we do.

    The podcast is worth a listen: http://www.cato.org/events/poverty-inc

    One quick story from it. African decides that there’s a market for selling eggs in his local area because of a shortage. He invests his meagre savings and sets up a business.

    Meanwhile a US church decides it needs to help and for a year supplied free eggs. Great, local population gets a good source of protein and church gets to feel good about themselves.

    Except when they stop there’s nobody to supply eggs as the local guy’s gone bust. But that’s just a part of the story because as we know its always the unseen that matters and now nobody dares set up any business for fear of being undermined by charities.

    This is going on all over the place.

  9. So Much For Subtlety

    The Inimitable Steve – “I’m sorry, but if African peasants are too retarded to boil their drinking water over a fire or dig their own wells using the latest cutting edge Dark Ages technology, then no amount of do-gooding Christian charity is going to stop them being retarded.”

    Well the average IQ in Africa is somewhere between 60 and 90.

    It is a common problem for Western aid groups that they go to Africa and build wells. But the Africans won’t care for them or maintain them. Why should they? They simply use them until they fail for whatever reason and then wait for all the Fionas to come back and pay to repair them.

    But it doesn’t matter as what matters is signalling. We need to let the other mothers on the school run know we care.

  10. So Much For Subtlety

    Bloke in North Dorset – “One quick story from it. African decides that there’s a market for selling eggs in his local area because of a shortage. He invests his meagre savings and sets up a business.”

    Some African governments are moving to ban the gifting of second hand clothing to the Third World. Most of Africa is clad wearing 80s cast offs from the First World. Of course it has utterly destroyed Africa’s textile industry. Hence the move to a ban.

  11. I love the Cato institute. Thoroughly clever buggers.

    Truth is that giving people money never cures poverty (as observed by that Cato fellow, PJ O’Rourke). The best aid model is supporting a country or community through a natural development cycle, analogous to the industrial revolution, rather team parachuting in a tonne of stuff to try to yank them into the 21st Century.

    Alternatively: colonialism. The British colonists had every reason to do exactly what I propose above.

    Finally- Southampton high Street youth loom distinctly 80’s nowadays: does that mean sub-Saharan Africa is now sorted, or that Southampton is a third world shit hole.

  12. sorry I was trolling.

    still if you are middle class and vote for a government that will raise taxes on the middle class, that’s not signalling

  13. The quickest solution to third world rural poverty would be to abolish the CAP.
    So where is the charity that campaigns for this outcome?

  14. I need to accumulate wealth because another name for it is “pension” and with a family life expectancy of 90+ I need some way of paying to stay alive when past the time when anybody is prepared to get off their arse and pay me to work.

  15. The above comments are why I prefer to donate to charities that train people to build infrastructure, not those that give them the infrastructure then bugger off.

  16. It’s funny. I thought I read the article, twice, but it seems to say essentially nothing.

    Can someone kind paraphrase the substance of the piece for me? Miller graze (that’s Italian for “thanks and have a beer”)

  17. @The Inimitable Steve, I too care about the poor in poor countries. What I say is “Trade not Aid”.

    Trading with the poor means that they earn a wage which they can use to better themselves. If that means I’m taking advantage of their cheap labour, then good. Because in the long run it means that they start to take an interest in bettering themselves. Look at how it worked for us in the west when we took advantage of the Japanese, then the Chinese. Now the Chinese are looking at Africa the same way we looked at them. How many Chinese millionaires are there? How many African ones?

  18. ^If you take advantage of their cheap labour, then you become dependent on them, rather than vice-versa. The one who is most dependent has the disadvantage at the next negotiation.

    Foreign development aid has on balance negative outcomes for the receiving country.

  19. Bloke in North Dorset

    BiF,

    “The quickest solution to third world rural poverty would be to abolish the CAP.
    So where is the charity that campaigns for this outcome?”

    Indeed. From a letter in a recent Economist:

    “A green evolution” (March 12th) highlighted the things that are getting better in African agriculture. But you underplayed two negative aspects. The first is the pernicious effect of aid. When I was in Tanzania, working for a venture-capital fund, the country had the third-largest cattle population in Africa. Yet there was no indigenous dairy industry, not least because the European Union used it as a convenient place to dump its surplus milk powder. It is hard to compete with free goods.”

  20. The Inimitable Steve

    SBML – Yarp.

    It’s not a magical cure-all, but it’s better than what we’re doing now. And we can’t afford to treat billions of people in other countries as our dependents. Their populations are growing a hell of a lot faster than our economy is.

  21. So Much For Subtlety

    Luis Enrique – “still if you are middle class and vote for a government that will raise taxes on the middle class, that’s not signalling”

    If you vote for 0.7% of your income to go to aid, that is signalling. Especially if the Jacintas administering it are your daughters.

    The Inimitable Steve – “Their populations are growing a hell of a lot faster than our economy is.”

    The UN says that Africa’s population will top out at 4 billion over the next few decades. That is, Africa’s population will be 1 billion and 3 billion of them will be in Camden and south of the river.

    No doubt Rusty will welcome this development.

  22. ‘Leaving aside natural disasters where short term aid and expertise is always needed’

    Funny, reminds me of the earthquake in Haiti, and Bill Clinton rushing in to help (himself). Many cried, “Send money to Haiti!” And the money pored in.

    When you don’t have water, you don’t need money. You need water. Haiti’s problem was they had nothing. There was nothing to buy. Money served no purpose, except to make Bill richer. And the senders to feel good about themselves.

  23. Property rights and free trade will cure poverty. Without it, aid is wasted.

    “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you can sell him fishing equipment.”

  24. So Much For Subtlety

    Gamecock – “Property rights and free trade will cure poverty. Without it, aid is wasted.”

    Property rights and free trade will cure poverty among White Northern European Protestants. To some extent East Asians too once they have got over their corrupt official problem. Maybe South Asians as well.

    But in Africa the women traditionally do all the work. The men stand around or fight. Property rights and free trade are utterly inadequate there. It is not as if the Caribbean has lacked property rights and free trade. Still poor.

  25. Bloke in North Dorset

    Gamecock,

    “Funny, reminds me of the earthquake in Haiti, and Bill Clinton rushing in to help (himself). Many cried, “Send money to Haiti!” And the money pored in.

    When you don’t have water, you don’t need money. You need water. Haiti’s problem was they had nothing. There was nothing to buy. Money served no purpose, except to make Bill richer. And the senders to feel good about themselves.”

    IIRC one of the problems in Haiti was hat there weren’t enough fork loft trucks and drivers to unload planes fast enough to get the aid in fast enough. That includes water which was sent.

    But you are right, there’s more to helping out in a disaster than just sending money, although it helps. In the first instance they need professional help, mostly provided by professionals eg armed and emergency services who have their own infrastructure and can operate without being a burden on local resources.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *