Millennium Development Goals

The eight MDGs were agreed in 2000. They are:

1. Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger,

2. Achieving universal primary education,

3. Promoting gender equality and empowering women,

4. Reducing child mortality rates,

5. Improving maternal health,

6. Combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases,

7. Ensuring environmental sustainability, and

8. Developing a global partnership for development.

The policies which the western world are presently pursuing – with large increases in foreign aid – are working against these objectives. Unless the MDGs were intended to be achieved no earlier than the year 3000 AD, in which case the policies are probably working a treat.

Now climate change policy is seen as a further way to increase foreign aid, with some suggesting that the west should compensate developing countries for the harm caused by previous economic development. That’s an interesting take on history – western democracies are rich and developing countries are poor because the former stole from the latter. If that were true, western countries would be only marginally richer than developing countries since resources purchased / taken from developing countries have accounted for only a tiny fraction of economic growth since the industrial revolution.

Afghanistan is an example of the vast sums of aid that have been plundered by various elites for no gain by the ordinary Afghan. This pattern has been repeated throughout the world – aid is simply a means to enrich the few at the expense of the many. Aid entrenches poverty – it discourages innovation and the creation of wealth and creates welfare dependency.

But it is worse – foreign aid acts in the following ways:

  • it ruins the budgetary position of many advanced economies who are spending ever more money on foreign aid
  • it entrenches elites in power in developing countries
  • it finances terrorism
  • it promotes corruption
  • it encourages money laundering
  • it increases the size of government in advanced economies, acting as a brake on economic growth
  • it creates a rent-seeking class (via NGOs, consultants and corporations) in advanced economies who become ever more reliant on foreign aid and hence ever more dependent on government and demanding of ever more foreign aid in the gravy train
  • it crowds out more effective private sector charitable activities
  • it creates a sense of resentment among the recipients of foreign aid - those parcels branded “US AID” do not lead to the recipients being grateful, it fuels a sense of injustice and resentment
  • it enriches despots who keep private bank accounts in Switzerland, Luxembourg etc.

In effect, foreign aid is the principal-agent problem writ large. It is a massive swindle to take money from the taxpayer (the principal) to enrich the agents.

If we were really interested in human wellbeing and poverty reduction, we would phase out relatively quickly all foreign aid and leave the private sector to act as charities. Foreign aid does no good, only bad.

Foreign aid is a negative sum game. Trade is wealth creating.

So, in addition to phasing out foreign aid, it will be important to eliminate all trade barriers. We want to buy from poor countries, not provide gifts.

About Samuel J

Samuel J has an economics background and is a part-time consultant
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26 Responses to Millennium Development Goals

  1. The best way to think of this is to ask ourselves the question, who gave the aid to the western economies that lifted our people out of poverty?

  2. Mick Gold Coast QLD

    The cognoscenti belted the church missionaries for spreading their evil, evil cultist messages and ran them out of underdeveloped countries like Rhodesia and Uganda, as destructive interferers in the simple, beautiful lives of innocents.

    Of course the locals also then lost the benefit of any health, hygiene, crop management and nutrition expertise the evil God fearers offered. I saw just last night that shining beacon of independence South Africa now enjoys 60 odd murders a week and even the black fellas are calling for “shoot to kill” police policy.

    Scan reading the grandly named UN program shopping list I find:

    3. Promoting gender equality and empowering women,

    They are stupid and hypocritical. They shoulder aside worthy contributors to replace them with indoctrination in their own cults’ prejudices.

    What if the locals are enjoying life without idols such as Comrade Broadasks and Comrade Smelly Rixon and Comrade Blie$ to guide them? Why would the UN want to burden them with one of the most spectacular give-the-bitchiest-girlses-a-leg-up policy failures it ever attempted?

    I watched the appalling, smooth talking Coffee Inane stride the world stage for a decade, in his Zegna suits, as the UN, sending in UN forces to faithfully record on video genocides as they occurred. That’s when the penny dropped for me – he was of one of the ruling tribes in his country and knew innately how to sniff out a personal profit opportunity.

  3. DaveF

    SamuelJ: Yes. Yes thank you for boosting this.

    It is so so true.

    Mind you the Millenenniun Goals were so vague they are achievements.

    Actually, are they achieveable?

  4. DaveF

    Christ Mick that was something special

  5. Podsnap

    You know the MDGs are a loser because the Economist has spilled barrels of ink boosting it.

  6. Jessie

    Mick,

    What you have described isn’t much different to what is still occurring in the centre and north.

    And now with the Section 18C proposal pity the people, especially the children who continue to suffer the most gross abuses under local tyrants and the aboriginal industry train.

    The alcohol argument is trumping the reality of the situation. As it has for decades. Alcohol is the confirmation bias by those that wont tell the truth. Alcohol serves as a heuristic device to perpetuate the anti-western monologue.

  7. Podsnap

    You missed one final bullet point Samuel J -

    it takes my money and gives it to a lot of undeserving foreigners

    The older I get the simpler the world seems to me. Explanations that I rejected when I was young as being too simplistic now seem very true.

    There is no mystery to foreign aid – politicians like to swan about the world giving away other people’s money to big note themselves and get their cocks sucked.

    Foreign aid is the corporate box of the politician.

  8. Mick Gold Coast QLD

    Gees thanks DaveF. :)

  9. Mick Gold Coast QLD

    “And now with the Section 18C proposal pity the people, especially the children who continue to suffer the most gross abuses under local tyrants and the aboriginal industry train.”

    Five years ago Jessie I came across an account by a mature aged Australian travelling through the north, at http://www.kevgillett.net/?page_id=6

    Have a read of it and halfway down you will find the truth he discovered about what you just posted, regarding Galarrwuy Yunupingu (of Yothu Yindi), the Black Prince … “he has all the power of a Prince. He certainly runs Arnhem Land as a Principality.”

    That’s what the multi billions of dollars thrown at the aborigine’s representatives during my lifetime have won for their people. The children remain as abused now as in 1972, when Whitlam came to power all full of promise and claimed expertise in fixing things for them.

  10. DaveF

    Mick, sure. It’s pretty well known about Big Man in Aboriginal affairs.

    It really needs a change.

    The trouble is the locals can’t do it and the government/NGO are dicks.

    Hard to see solutions.

    Perhaps I should be the man on the ground spending money for them?

  11. Jessie

    Mick, thanks

    Hope at last for Hell on Earth

    And here is an example of ‘payback‘, what a ludicrous term for an extensive network of paid spies and lawyers, as in your eg also.

    Even Mundine in 2005 (but not recently) denied that alcohol was the problem. Now Mundine hitches onto Noel Pearson’s poorly researched or is it presented? our right to take responsibility‘. After years and years of abuse and violence… and his ongoing work on DOGITS and communal land rights.
    Land rights, such as they are, trumped any hope for the three generations now that suffered under that tyrany. Even Mundine states on a ?Q&A how the Land Council now has all the genealogies mapped. He failed to mention that many of those people mapped are human wrecks or just plain dead.

  12. Goals 2, 7, and 8 are actually all related. The Universal Primary Education is a Basic Skills for All but make that the floor and being in the Developed and the Developing World. It is all laid out in the related Education for All global conference reports from 1990 and 2000.

    That education suffices because of the intention to shift to a redesigned (even though we now it was not designed in first place. Politicians and bureaucrats do not) export economy based on Green Energy. They want to be in charge like we are all socialist countries but the nomenklatura class wants the higher revenues of Capitalism so it’s Crony Capitalism or State Socialism. Like GE’s Immelt recently admiring China.

    A Green Energy economy gives the government a reason to reorganize economy which it likes. Political radicals like it because with government in charge they can decree who gets jobs, where, and on what terms, and with what credentials. Most loyal constituents thus get rewarded.

    The UN’s current documents for the 21st century give it veto rights over any technology a country takes to production stage unless they first gain permission.

    The MDGs are supposed to be in effect by 2015 which is also the end of the interrelated UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.

    http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/if-facts-wont-cooperate-there-is-always-pedagogy/ is a story I did months ago. It’s applicable to anywhere in the world right now where the UN has influence.

  13. Being should be ceiling in that second line.

  14. John A

    “Foreign aid is a negative sum game. Trade is wealth creating.”

    Foreign aid is the overseas equivalent of domestic transfer payments.

    Every point you make also applies to welfare within Australia too.

  15. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    Mick and Jessie, what good sense you are both putting up on this thread. Plain facts for home and abroad.

    Conclusion: people everywhere are best left to solve their own problems. Interference just gets in the way. At first this seems counter-intuitive – after all, why shouldn’t we ‘help’? In the long run though, markets and trade are best left to provide the answers. It is a wisdom hard learned, and easily lost. That is why Matt Ridley’s work is so valuable. He provides the longer perspective for us. Of course there are ways to make markets more effective and less subject to interference. Our efforts should be more directed there than anywhere else.

    A very thought-provoking post Samuel J. containing a lot of detail for debate at Chrismas dinners with old friends and the rellies etc. (Oh help, here comes Christmas again!!).

  16. Mick Gold Coast QLD

    Thank you Elizabeth.

  17. Kruddler

    “Pussies don’t like dicks, because pussies get fucked by dicks. But dicks also fuck assholes: assholes that just want to shit on everything. Pussies may think they can deal with assholes their way. But the only thing that can fuck an asshole is a dick, with some balls. The problem with dicks is: they fuck too much or fuck when it isn’t appropriate – and it takes a pussy to show them that. But sometimes, pussies can be so full of shit that they become assholes themselves… because pussies are an inch and half away from ass holes. I don’t know much about this crazy, crazy world, but I do know this: If you don’t let us fuck this asshole, we’re going to have our dicks and pussies all covered in shit! ”
    It’s the UN writ large…

  18. Token

    But sometimes, pussies can be so full of shit that they become assholes themselves… because pussies are an inch and half away from ass holes.

    That speech from Team America is obscene, insightful and hillarious.

    Unf

    Thanks for reminding us.

  19. Uber

    The Fraser Institute have released their 8th study of economic freedom in North America. This is from the exec summary:
    ‘A 1.00% increase in the growth rate of economic freedom at the all-government level (e.g., from 4.00% per year to 4.04% per year) will induce an increase of
    0.97% in the growth rate of per-capita GDP for US states…’
    ‘The econometric results are stable and consistent through a number of sensitivity tests. The importance of these results is reinforced by their consistency with those in previous reports. The similarity of results regardless of the structure of the index or year of the tests is quite remarkable.’

  20. Elizabeth is right. Anyone here who has never read The Rational Optimist is missing a treat. Especially the part of the book on Tasmania. That should resonate here.

    I would also recommend PT Bauer’s Equality, the Third World, and Economic Delusion for anyone wanting to better appreciate what this foreign aid racket does to these countries.

    As the book points out if famine and horrors bring in outside hard funds, is that any incentive for a despot to behave?

    If you are an NGO and x plight is your reason for being, are you really going to try to find an effective solution?

  21. Uber

    I think you need to be more specific here about what sort of foreign aid you are talking about. You make some bold claims, and some of them need further mechanistic explanations.
    I do note that you exclude private aid (presumably the likes of World Vision), but given your extensive claims there must be at least some crossover into the private sector.
    There is nothing simple about this issue. The fact remains that some people in the world desperately need the help of others. This is conflicted by the cyclically destructive political environment in many poor nations, which renders any sort of assistance ultimately futile.

  22. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    There is nothing simple about this issue.

    Well, that’s the sort of statement, obviously true, that leaves us all able to enjoy our Christmas dinners while we change topic to the weather. (oops, no, that just brings on the glowball warming crowd; I will change topic to the price of fish, oh, but then…. well, nothing’s really safe)

    I will use improve on these words Uber for a particular old leftie who always turns up at Christmas, and with whom I always end up having a barney. It’s just not that simple, stupid, I will say.

  23. Uber

    Wow, you’re a comedic genius Lizzie. Your own comment was so much more enlightening: ‘Conclusion: people everywhere are best left to solve their own problems. Interference just gets in the way.’
    Yes, it’s that simple – you’re so clever.

  24. Gab

    In effect, foreign aid is the principal-agent problem writ large. It is a massive swindle to take money from the taxpayer (the principal) to enrich the agents.

    Quite so.

    Documents released under federal Freedom of Information laws show a criminal trail through some of the world’s poorest countries with widespread theft of money and forging of receipts.

    They also show how food and other supplies are being diverted from dirt-poor communities and sold onto the black market at inflated prices.

    While AusAID insists it is improving fraud control, the documents also reveal police are often reluctant to intervene and charge local criminals frustrating the Canberra-based agency’s attempts to recover missing aid money.

    In one extraordinary case, the Eritrean Government in 2006 seized food and other supplies from the United Nation’s World Food Program, saddling Australian taxpayers with a probable loss of $1.25 million.

    The revelations will do little to boost public confidence in a foreign aid program that is forecast to nearly double to $8 billion a year by 2015.

    Papua New Guinea has emerged as corruption central with 71 cases of identified fraud, 40 per cent of the AusAID total, involving millions in missing funds.

    In one case, a corrupt local official tried to bank a cheque for $522,000 before being caught by a diligent bank executive, while another five-year-old fraud investigation of illegal purchasing is likely to see $258,391 written-off.

    Indonesia, which will receive $458 million in Australian assistance in 2010-11, has 31 fraud cases followed by the Philippines (20) and Solomon Islands with 19.

    AusAID director-general Peter Baxter said fraud levels compared “very favourably” with domestic agencies like Centrelink.

    “The level of fraud in our program from 2004-05 until December 2010 was 0.017 of 1 per cent of the $20 billion that had been appropriated to AusAID during that period,” Mr Baxter said.

    He denied that fraud was on the increase, despite 16 cases being reported in one month, November, alone.

    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/australias-foreign-aid-program-hit-by-massive-fraud/story-e6freon6-1226026988914

  25. Gab

    ‘Conclusion: people everywhere are best left to solve their own problems. Interference just gets in the way.’

    Exactly.

    Migrant workers abroad sent more money to their families in the developing world last year than in 2010, and they are expected to transfer even more cash home this year despite the economic uncertainty gripping the globe…
    All told, the world’s 215 million international migrants transferred about $372 billion to developing countries in 2011 compared with $332 billion in 2010, according to the World Bank. The bank projects remittances will reach $399 billion this year and $467 billion by 2014.

    For some time now, remittances have played a key role in supporting families and stabilizing the economy of developing countries…
    Remittances remain a key source of hard currency for developing countries, often outstripping foreign direct investment and foreign aid. A recently published World Bank book, “Migration and Remittances during the Global Financial Crisis and Beyond,” said countries like Indonesia, India and Mexico were somewhat immunized from the global downturn by the influx of cash transfers from their nationals working abroad.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443995604578004280591669350.html

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