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Discussion in 'News and Politics' started by bamf, Aug 15, 2010.
That's twisted. I could never just say that. "Letting them starve" won't solve anything, because this has been a situation for a while. There are plenty of solutions, I have already thought of a few. The problem is people look away, and those that do help only do so under guidance from a bunch of institutions that are so full of bullshit that nothing ever changes.
So all those corpses will provide good fertiliser for future agricultural harvests.
There was a great solution. The Governments in that region decided they didn't like people doing their job for them in a more efficient capacity.
Many native Africans are begging people to STOP giving africa aid, because this is exactly what happens. Native and activist africans say that often, families will just sit and watch their children starve as they wait for aid, not lifting a finger to help themselves. So yeah, stop helping.
Then do what? What do you do with a population of uneducated people living under a government of corruption that is losing natural killers (disease) and resorts to slash and burn farming to sustain when there is no reasonable source of long-sustainability and an outside world that thinks the solution is to pump the nation full of food and vaccination? I don't particularly like saying it, but coupled with inefficient aid (food) what is there to do that people actually are willing to do? The population of Niger in the 1975 was about 5 million. 35 years later they are looking at nearly 15 million people living in a landlocked desert country with almost no infrastructure and an economy that is centered around exporting limited agricultural goods and occasionally uranium ore. The reliance on uranium ore hurt the economy when world demand dropped. They have very little, and more food means more people. They obviously haven't been starved with no outside help or else their population wouldn't be in the situation it is currently in. In 2005 the world responded to their famine with millions in aid in the resource of food. They are a country that periodically finds itself in drought, and they currently are in one. The current solution is food food food, which leads to starvation just years down the road, then more food, more people, more starvation. If food is the only answer the world is ready to give, what else can be done to quell population growth in a country that can't feed itself?
Put it down?
I would love to hear some of your solutions, Jack.
Most of their farming is subsistence... that's a problem to begin with. Switch to commercialized farming and it will dramatically increase their own food supply. Secondly these charities need to be sustainable, part of the problem is we let them gorge themselves and then drop them... as soon as all the soup is gone, you have lost all that ground in fighting hunger, and you need more money for more soup... Do something different, create residual support for charities so they don't lose ground instantly after the initial food they bought disappears. Seed groups might work, also investments with dividends, there are plenty of other ways of generating residual support. Commercialized farms will need employees, convert the would-be destroyers of crops into the security itself, or even the workers.
Well, it all revolves around getting them to a point of self-sustaining production. People always think of it in terms of physical criteria alone. I would have to think an environment like that is very close to every man for him(her)self. That needs to change. This sort of thing is seen often in anthropology. When you proverbially rape, pillage, and desecrate a land, even if you are wearing a bright smile and a nice business suit, the people suffer, and it changes their point of view. That needs to be taken into account. If you don't care, then nothing matters. If you suffer extensively over a long period of time, hope fails for almost everyone. If anything is going to make things right, they will need hope at an almost universal level first. I doubt it will happen, but it would be nice to be pleasantly surprised. All of this in addition to the simple physical bare necessities.
That's very true, but they don't have much choice. As mf mentioned, most of the country is desert. There's not much room for commericial farming. Hell, their subsistence farming probably deals more in cows and other livestock rather than actual agriculture. I agree that they have to figure out how to increase their food supply. But in a country that's mostly desert (the Sahara actually makes up a portion of east Niger), they simply can't. They could try irrigation, but the country already goes through droughts so I doubt they have any water to spare. I think it's safe to declare that farming just isn't going to work. They'll need to buy their food. But they don't have much money (their GDP per capita is $719 according to Wikipedia. Can you imagine living off of $719 a year? Minimum wage in most urbanised countries probably pays better than that). Their main export is uranium, and world demand isn't good these days. I agree that they need sustainability and infrastructure, but it's going to take a lot of time, decades probably, and involve multi-national cooperation and again, a lot of time. It's definitely very worth it, but will countries be willing to do it? If you think about it from a cold, rational point of view, there isn't much guarantee of return on the investment because the only thing Nigeria really has is uranium. A country's image might improve, but how long until the public forgets? I think, and this is a crazy I think, their best bet is to get into a war. It's crazy, I know, but hear me out. A long time ago, when countries went into serious debt, they'd find excuses to start a war to potentially gain valuable territory/resources. That's why one of Cuba's conditions for independence under the Platt Amendment were that it wouldn't get into foreign debt without guarantee of interest being able to be served from reserves. This might help Niger out, because they don't really have any valuable territories, but they have a good military and good relations with the UN. If say a country like Libya (which doesn't have good relations with the UN, or really most of the world) could be provoked into declaring a war, Niger could come out as a victim and come out on top. Libya has oil, which would help Niger out a lot. If somehow they lose, it would still work out in the long term, because Libya would be forced to rebuild the country as occupators. Of course, this is all crazy though. It's a war, and the thing we're trying to avoid is more deaths. Also, if it sounds like a good idea, it's only really because we're looking at it from Niger's point of view. Libya would certainly be made worse off if it lost its oil (which makes up a quarter of its GDP). It would probably be the quickest solution though, is what I'm trying to say. But I definitely hope they can come up with a better one. /Armchair strategist rant
It really creeps me out how many bodies are in the earth.
I think this is an option... the water pumps which draw water out of the water table far below ground have always worked well provided they didn't break down, and had operators etc. Although with something at the scale of commercialized farming, there is certainly a question about how large is the water table, and how much it can sustain. Of course there's also an alternative route of drawing water from air, although that can be pretty expensive upfront, so hopefully a mixed approach or something in between... In the meantime though, creating charities with residual support I would be hoping may bridge the time gap for relief, and hopefully it does not have to be the long term solution. I agree, that's probably half the battle if not more, giving people the will to win... to really believe things can change. Hahaha... wars change a lot of things fast, but I agree, probably not our first choice of helping the nation.
Speaking of the underground water sources...
Definitely something to look into, now just to motivate the governments to actually fund such a thing. The first few years would probably be incredibly tense and see a number of skirmishes or even possibly wars. Once the continent was settled though it could be a beginning source to snowballing the continent into a more "modernized" way of living.
I have never felt we should be sending aid to third world countries. I don't think we're doing them a service at all by enabling them. It makes me angry that we're constantly pumping food into countries that never figure out who to feed themselves. I don't think we're responsible for their well being.
This is why they're starving: (from http://apic.igc.org/resources/issues/wbimf.php) "Over the past two decades, the poorest countries in the world have had to turn increasingly to the World Bank and IMF for financial assistance, because their impoverishment has made it impossible for them to borrow elsewhere. The World Bank and IMF attach strict conditions to their loans, which give them great control over borrower governments. On average, low-income countries are subject to as many as 67 conditions per World Bank loan. African countries, in need of new loans, have had no choice but to accept these conditions. The World Bank and IMF have forced African countries to adopt "structural adjustment programs" (SAP) and other measures which cut back government spending on basic services. They have required African governments to reduce trade barriers and open their markets, maintaining their economies as sources of cheap raw materials and cheap labor for multinational corporations. As a result of World Bank and IMF policies, average incomes in Africa have declined and the continent's poverty has increased. Africa's debt crisis has worsened over the past two decades, as the failure of World Bank and IMF intervention has left African countries more dependent than ever on new loans. These institutions have also undermined Africa's health through the policies they have imposed. Forced cutbacks in spending on health care and the privatization of basic services, have left Africa's people more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS and other diseases."
Yeah, the World Bank and IMF are bullshit. There was some African country that took out a loan (which are all highly regulated) and raised funds through internal economic means but their loan payment was blocked so interest could continue to compound. The IMF also destroyed most of Jamaica. What you see in travel books is nothing like Jamaica for most of its citizens. All of their industries are foreign run, their canning and fruit processing plants are "tax free" zones. Their workers get paid squat and the companies have built into the loans areas that the government cannot tax. The workers make almost no money, and the Jamaica government collects no taxes. The IMF has also destroyed things such as local dairy farms. It's cheaper for the citizens to buy powdered milk from these tax-free companies than it is to buy local milk at dirt cheap prices. Not only does Jamaica lose a tax base, the money the workers are earning is being spent on products that go back directly to the tax-free companies. The IMF and World Bank are fucked up. I'm sorry, but it's true.
And then the gubbermints of the developed world take tax dollars from their citizens to sprinkle down some crumbs that often end up supporting corrupt regimes anyway while the sociopathic parasites continue to make astronomical profits from poverty and misery. Brilliant! I don't know how some people live with themselves...
Why not spend the majority of the aid money on family planning and birth control education instead of food for a few years. Then re-assess.