Monday, November 24, 2008

International aid makes you live with your mother

Well, according to the BBC it does. In one of their regular articles on why international aid makes everyone in Africa lazy this caught my eye;

While I was filming in Uganda, local newspaper editor Andrew Mwenda took me and my crew to his home village near the town of Port Loco in the west of the country. There he introduced us to two men, one in his sixties and one aged 26.

"This man represents the tragedy of aid," he said pointing to the older of the two. "While this man represents the potential of aid," he said indicating the younger man.

Mr Mwenda explained that the sexagenarian was the chairman of the local parish council who had spent most of his life living off aid money, supervising projects meant to benefit the community. Today he is an alcoholic who still lives with his mother.

The younger man started selling potatoes in the village square at the age of 17.

Less than 10 years later he owns the largest and busiest store in the village. He has not received one penny from aid, yet he has bought himself land and has built a house.

"So you see," Mr Mwenda said. "If aid were to offer this young man support in the form of low interest credit he could not only expand his business offering employment opportunities and a valuable service to his community, he could also eventually pay the money back."
Well I'm convinced, compare a sixty year old alcoholic with a twenty something entrepreneur and you have a convincing argument for letting the free market solve all the world's problems. I mean why can't the poor be more like the rich - then we'd all be driving round in BMWs!

Here's my alternative version, just for fun you understand.
Here we have two men. One who takes the bus, the other who rides a bicycle.

The bus user, a man with one leg, has spent his life waiting at chilly bus stops or sitting on the top deck now spends listless hours in solitary masturbation consumed with self loathing.

The cyclist on the other hand owns a chain of fashion boutiques without the aid of a single bus pass. Surely if we just cleared these buses out of the way it would make way for thousands more bicycling boutique owners to take our economy into the space age.
I might have something more serious to say about this later...

1 comment:

weggis said...

Did I mention that I own a BMW, Jim?