09 July 2005

Foreign Aid

I don't like it. I posted elsewheres that I don't like it (in the comments). Almost all of it is wasted through corruption. Too much of it is collected not from generous donors but through extortion, "give us money or we'll throw your tourists in jail!".

And yes, I know that technically I shouldn't end a sentence with !"., but grammar rules never made sense so I try to take a logical approach to such things.

There's a better way to do foreign aid, methinks. Establish an office in our embassies in whichever third world countries respect the rights of their citizens. Probably already an office for foreign aid in all of them, so it'd really be closing the offices in oppressive countries.

The office would field requests, not from the country's national government, but from private individuals and local (city/town/village) councils for things they want/need. A lot of these will be spurious requests for self-aggrandizement, but some will have actual benefits to the general public. We don't, however, give them the money. We run bids, let local businessmen made bids (w/ designs/blueprints for anything involving construction), and if it looks good, award pay-on-completion contracts to the best bid (price::quality).

It would build up skillsets in the local population, pump money into the local economy, and provide them with things of lasting public benefit while circumventing the bulk of local governmental agencies (the ambassadors will have to earn their pay) hence bypassing the bulk of the corruption. It'd have the added benefit of raising the profile of our aid programs with the public in those countries, since pretty much every country's media wants to portray us as evil.

Goe, needs to finish that story for Rachmeg, but sleep first.


Rachmeg said...

Sure, that works great in cases where the “Good guys” are in power. Even when “Bad guys” are in power it works as long as the Bad guys know enough about self preservation and enrichment to take our money. But what happens when the U.S. is not the only one giving out money?

But then again perhaps its all a moot point, when we are becoming the recipients of the foreign aid .
Their state run oil companies must simply be more efficient. “EnCana, a major player in the Piceance Basin of western Colorado, said Chinese labor is cheap and the workers are well-educated.”

And while we might block the direct takeover of our companies for now, If we keep taking their aid
we won’t be competing for long.

Rach, who is feeling like a moderate about foreign bribes/aid.

Goemagog said...

i can do a lot of angry ranting about the absurdity of employment in the u.s., but not now. I'm against foreign ownership. I think we should limit foreign investment to investment companies which can't own more than 45 percent of anything. keeps them from taking us over, but wouldn't hinder serious investment. we're already swamped with workers, both legal and illegal, of all skill levels, so bringing in foreign labor is mostly a political statement on the canadian's part. they think we're greedy and stupid.

Goe, against it.

Rachmeg said...

I don’t really have a problem with any amount of foreign ownership per-se, as long as it is on a level playing field. However, the line of absurd is crossed when a Chinese government controlled company can build oil rigs and send them over here with the trained workers cheaper than we can provide those things ourselves.

If we were simply so swamped with growth and prosperity, that we no longer wanted the work, that would be one thing. However, if the Chinese government is funding an otherwise losing prospect, in order to discourage an industry from developing here, then it is a demon of a different color.

Why is a practice that would be monopolistic and illegal between two American countries, tolerated when the source is China?
I can’t really blame China for trying though, it sure is in their best interest to dissuade us from the capacity to make big things out of steel in general, and oil rigs specifically. If we cant compete in our own back yard, the rest of the world is already theirs.

Rach, because our foreign aid is Government funded and designed to curtail undesirable activities in other countries too.

Goemagog said...

I support local ownership as more care is going to be exerted for things more local. I'm also not a big fan of large corporations, they tend to stifle change as much as governments do. I've just always held the belief that small, locally-owned business/industry provides the most stable economic foundation.

Goe, commenting.