off topic: Helping them to Death

I used to favor aid to poor nations. "Feed the World" sure seems like a good idea, and wealthy nations have the resources to make it happen...

But a friend told me exactly how sending food aid to South America is harmful, (from the perspective of a special forces officer who has been in the trenches - both giving aid and fighting the drug war.)

In South America, this is what happens:

We subsidize our farmers to grow more corn and grain than they can sell, and buy it off them. Most of this subsidized grain becomes food aid. The corn gets shipped to a country like Colombia.

In Colombia, we encourage farmers to grow cash crops other than cocaine and marijuana... one of the main ones used to be corn. But now the market is flooded with corn that's sold for less than it costs to produce. The local farmers can't compete. They can't even buy what they need to keep their farm running. They turn to growing the only thing in the country that's profitable.

And those crops remain profitable in no small part because the war on drugs keeps prices high.

Now, I've read an interview with a Kenyan economist that describes similar effects in Africa.

Here's the article:
For God's Sake, Please Stop the Aid

Keeping them dependent on aid is crippling their ability to become strong, independent, modern nations.

(For the record, I personally favor micro-loans to individuals. The weaver, or potter, who can sell their wares on the international market. Help them develop a business, encourage trade, and make the loan in a reasonable, small amount so that it will be repayable.)