My answer to the problem of alleviating poverty in Africa is to stop offering monetary assistance. Rock star Paul Hewson (Bono) very proactively advocates debt cancellation. He did so again last month in Yokohama at the Tokyo International Conference on African Development. I want to suggest that forgiving debt could be said to be among the worst things to do so long as bad economics is nurtured in Africa. Plus, I want Bono to get out of my face about it.
Foreign development assistance and debt cancellation may actually contribute to the problems of Africa so long as those cultures do not solve the domestic reasons behind the systemic nature of their poverty — and donor nations’ money does not affect that. A detailed explanation is for a longer essay than this, but I only have to say that if no money was loaned in the first place, then the kind of crippling debt that we currently see would not accumulate in the second place.
It is irresponsible for rich nations to extend loans foolishly and then later be forced to cancel an unserviceable debt. First World capitalists’ imaginations are bound to money and its manipulation, so they can only imagine further spending or accounting novelties as ways out of a financial trap. My suggestions may be preposterous and stupid, but I’m not trying to be stupid. I am only trying to suggest weaning poor nations from foreign assistance in a spirit of brotherly loving kindness.
What qualifies me to have an opinion on the matter? I am a taxpayer in two wealthy, developed nations, and the overseas development teat nurses unsanctioned use of my money. And, I don’t need Bono to tell me how to be a noble man.