Thursday, April 02, 2009

Dambisa Moyo - The Anti-Bono

Check out this interesting NY Times interview with the "Anti-Bono", the Zambian economist and author Dambisa Moyo. Her own website has information about her provocative book, Dead Aid - which argues that billions of dollars of foreign aid for Africa is the problem, not the solution.

She argues instead for economic freedom.

Africa needs capital to become self-sufficient - not welfare to further its dependency. By way of example, even very small amounts of money can be invested by individuals making small personal loans to individual entrepreneurs - see here. This form of microfinance is a way for, say, Americans to not only receive a higher interest rate than a bank savings account, but is also the means to help other people who need small amounts of capital. It is how capitalism, savings, and investment are supposed to work - and how it did work before such dishonest practices as fractional reserve banking and fiat currency debased incentive to save and invest. And apparently, the Asian nation of Bangladesh recently raised a billion dollars for capital investment through microfinance, avoiding the strings and pitfalls of foreign aid.

There are also a couple video interviews with her here and here.

Moyo is not a libertarian in the sense that she doesn't argue for an unfettered free market, but she does realize that the current handout model isn't working, and that there is a better way for Africa to emerge from poverty and dependency. In fifty years of receiving aid, Africa has only become poorer and more corrupt. Moyo argues that we should look to what has worked in other now-successful and growing economies in Asia and Eastern Europe and stop doing what is obviously a failed paradigm.

I believe that beyond pragmatism, there is also a strong moral case to be made for freedom - including the much-maligned economic freedom. Dambisa Moyo is swimming upstream making the case for capitalism in a day and age in which Socialism, bailouts, and monetary manipulation have become all the rage in the U.S. among Democrats and Republicans alike. Her alternative also flies in the face of an American foreign policy of dangling money in front of ravenous and corrupt third-world dictators in exchange for their alliances and loyalties - all the while the people of these countries remain impoverished.

Just as the Christian Church in Africa is now re-evangelizing the dark continent of Europe, perhaps we will see a future in which the U.S. is reduced to third-world standing with an economy of hyper-inflated monopoly money overseen by a draconian Washington dictatorship as freedom-loving Chinese and African entrepreneurs will be in a position to show us the way to liberty and prosperity by re-educating us about capitalism, markets, and economic freedom.

Stranger things have happened in history.


Christian Soul said...

Perhaps the Christian Church in Africa will be called upon to re-evangelize the U.S. one day as well.

+ Robert Wurst said...

Do you have experience with Ziva? I really like the idea of helping out that way. Never have liked hand-outs as the primary way of aid (unless it is necessary).


+ Robert Wurst said...

Oops, Kiva

Jane said...

I just ordered this book from Amazon yesterday. I'm looking forward to reading it.

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Christian:

I do believe we're rapidly moving in that direction.

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Robert:

I don't, but I'm also intrigued. I'm really thinking of giving it a shot.

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Jane:

That's great! Please feel free to post a review. There does seem to be a movement among some younger people of such intellectual caliber as Dambisa Moyo and Daniel Hannan (the member of the European Parliament) who are making a case for freedom over and against Socialism. I hope their ideas get some traction.