Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The Guardian's solution to Africa's problems


In Broad Street, Soho there is an old water pump with a plaque marking it as the source of a cholera outbreak in 1854. Wikipedia notes:
This outbreak is best known for John Snow's study of the outbreak and his discovery that cholera is spread by contaminated water.
Somehow I think if the Guardian, rather than John Snow, had looked into the issue, they would have proclaimed that the Soho residents weren't drinking enough water, that the water from the Broad Street pump was the most appropriate cure for the outbreak. They may also have discovered nefarious links between Dr Snow and the local breweries...

Moving swiftly along, we come to this article from Graun hack Nick Dearden: "Free trade is not what Africa needs". Far from it:
African prosperity relies on a wholesale rejection of the western "free trade" model. It means protecting industries, developing alternative and complementary means of trading, control of food production and banking, progressive tax structures, controlled use of savings, and strong regulation to ensure trade and investment really benefits people.
Now, I'm guessing Mr Dearden hasn't frittered away his time studying economics or history. That would only mess up his thesis, that it's all the problem of plutocratic corporations, pillaging at will. Nothing at all to do with the socialistic and interventionist policies pursued by most of the African governments and encouraged by such globalist institutions as the IMF.

Africa lacks capital, and will continue to do so, until the conditions for capital to grow are in place, such as peace, the rule of law and respect for private property. Dearden is 180 degrees wrong in calling for a rejection of the western free trade model. Nor does he understand the difference between free trade and the mishmash of Keynesian interventionism and corporate cronyism which replaced free trade in the 20th century. The massive level of debt these nations are burdened with has nothing to do with free trade or capitalism, and everything to do with the post-Bretton Woods international system, which purposefully handed out loans with no consideration of the ability to repay.

I do not wish to over-simplify a very complex issue. However it is emphatically not the case that more of the same Keynesian / socialistic medicine that has been spooned down the throat of Africa for the last 60 years will deliver a cure. Free trade in the true sense of the word is the only alternative.

3 comments:

China Diapers said...

If you read through the comments, there is a surprising number of people who actually make sense. Very surprising for the Guardian.

Anonymous said...

World Peace Through World Trade

Trooper Thompson said...

CD,

that's often yrue if you can bear to do it.

Anon,

yes indeed.