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Old 03-23-2009, 11:35 AM   #16
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Well, it didn't sound bad to me or my husband when we listened to the clip. Mwenda paused after asking the question and really seemed to be giving the audience the chance to respond. I can't speak about Bono's language however, because I couldn't hear what he said.
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Old 03-23-2009, 11:53 AM   #17
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Mwenda is my HERO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bono is stuck with the Catholic point of view. The middle ages changed into the Renaissance not with alms for the poor but a emerging productive middle class. Mwenda is simply being scientific as opposed to emotional.

Plus Bono's argument about the potato famine is ridiculous. In fact the potato famine would be another example of the old ways not working. Entrenched interests and a partly feudal style economics of course don't work. I'll grant that aid provides a band-aid but hardly cures the problem. Without the ability to take advantage of opportunities Africans will always be asking for aid. Anyways, where does aid come from? Somebody has to be self-sufficent to provide aid.

The main focus would be to look at the institutions we take for granted in the West (democracy, private property rights, trade, banking system) that allow us the opportunity to increase wealth and include those institutions as a part of the solution in Africa. I think Bono's outburst is typical sign of debate when people have to shout down those who are winning in a debate. That's a good sign for Mwenda.

Diseases in farming can exist but with trade it's possible to offset crop destruction in one region to abundance in another. Relying on one crop is dangerous. The problem in Africa is not a lack of crops but the lack of incentive to develop them and to profit from that labour. I mean how can a farmer compete against free food? Too much corruption is the symptom of bad economics and prevents these needed institutions from being established. Africa badly needs a productive class. It makes me so angry that when some people in Africa finally "get it" and we have spoiled rich ignorant condescending rock stars thinking they are entitled to shout people down. Bono is too emotionally invested in a point of view and will have a hard time relinquishing to defeat because he's ego will be bruised.

Stand up to rock stars Mwenda! Be careful of small men with big ideas.
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Old 03-23-2009, 12:21 PM   #18
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YouTube - Andrew Mwenda on Accountability and Taxation in International Aid

We need more videos of this guy. I already get Bono's point of view inside and out. Thank God for the internet. It's harder to shut people up now.

Here's another non-celebrity that has good ideas:

YouTube - Eleni Gabre-Madhin: Building a commodities market in Ethiopia
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Old 03-23-2009, 01:10 PM   #19
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I'll grant that aid provides a band-aid but hardly cures the problem. Without the ability to take advantage of opportunities Africans will always be asking for aid. Anyways, where does aid come from? Somebody has to be self-sufficent to provide aid.

The main focus would be to look at the institutions we take for granted in the West (democracy, private property rights, trade, banking system) that allow us the opportunity to increase wealth and include those institutions as a part of the solution in Africa.

Oh the beauty of short sightedness...

If you admit aid provides a band-aid, then surely you know you need to apply the band-aid so that infection doesn't spread, if you aren't healthy then property rights, trade, and banks don't mean shit...

It always amazes me that you have the answer right there within your posts yet you still choose to ignore it.
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Old 03-24-2009, 01:50 PM   #20
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It always amazes me that you have the answer right there within your posts yet you still choose to ignore it.
What I mean by band-aid is that it helps a targeted few out. It doesn't solve the problem. I want to solve the problem and property rights, trade, and a banking system is a long-sighted view not a short-sighted view. Things could actually get worse while aid increases. In fact it is because those institutions aren't there. My insight is to look at why we are wealthy and what allows us to be so. I mean where does the aid money come from? It comes from people who have jobs and work for a living. We need people to produce and not having the economic freedom we take for granted is a major disadvantage. Many countries have laws that are just there to make bureaucrats and lawyers lots of fees. Wiping out this red tape saves the public a lot of money and gives them investment opportunities. Countries like Zimbabwe have rapid inflation and coercive taxes that make it hard to start and keep a business. Government spending should be aimed at education and infrastructure. Monetary prudence and balanced budgets should be aimed at. When countries develop better markets they can create their own tax revenue for their own safety net. Until then our aid money gets wasted with corrupt officials as often as help a few out on a temporary basis. We've thrown more money at North Korea than in Africa (because of their military threats) and it didn't solve the problem though yes some people are still alive because of it. Yet the food that gets to people there comes via a black-market instead of it directly going to the starving. Throwing more money is hardly a lasting solution. Hand outs only make sense when there is a job waiting for you at the other end. What I'm trying to point out is that social programs can't exist without wealth being developed somewhere first. Wealth development is the key.

Most European governments have come to this conclusion very slowly. They worry that they can't continually fund their programs without some tax alleviation somewhere. The balance they have usually is high personal taxes with low corporate taxes. I think the balance is even better with lower spending, and lower taxes across the board. This though will have to include a change in culture that prizes individualism and self-reliance. That would mean people would have to exercise more, take less drugs, work 40 hours a week and save a portion of their income for emergencies and in the long run: retirement. The safety net would only be for those areas of infrastructure, health care and education where people can't afford the basics. Yet at some point health and education would have to have some competition somewhere or else there would be bad quality services. Bono emphasizes the Marshall Plan without looking at the cultures and infrastructures in place to benefit from the Marshall Plan. Despite the bombing in WWII Europe had lots of things in place to get them back on track like democracy, trade, private property rights and a banking system.

I think it's easier for people to just throw money at the problem than to deal with it directly. I mean, it's hard to remove dictators and create constitutions and to develop markets. It's hard to exercise more and to pay and earn an education. Most things worth doing are hard. Even if where I live decides to go more socialist I'll still save money and do the right behaviours regardless.
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Old 03-24-2009, 02:08 PM   #21
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What I mean by band-aid is that it helps a targeted few out. It doesn't solve the problem. I want to solve the problem and property rights, trade, and a banking system is a long-sighted view not a short-sighted view. Things could actually get worse while aid increases. In fact it is because those institutions aren't there. My insight is to look at why we are wealthy and what allows us to be so. I mean where does the aid money come from? It comes from people who have jobs and work for a living. We need people to produce and not having the economic freedom we take for granted is a major disadvantage. Many countries have laws that are just there to make bureaucrats and lawyers lots of fees. Wiping out this red tape saves the public a lot of money and gives them investment opportunities. Countries like Zimbabwe have rapid inflation and coercive taxes that make it hard to start and keep a business. Government spending should be aimed at education and infrastructure. Monetary prudence and balanced budgets should be aimed at. When countries develop better markets they can create their own tax revenue for their own safety net. Until then our aid money gets wasted with corrupt officials as often as help a few out on a temporary basis. We've thrown more money at North Korea than in Africa (because of their military threats) and it didn't solve the problem though yes some people are still alive because of it. Yet the food that gets to people there comes via a black-market instead of it directly going to the starving. Throwing more money is hardly a lasting solution. Hand outs only make sense when there is a job waiting for you at the other end. What I'm trying to point out is that social programs can't exist without wealth being developed somewhere first. Wealth development is the key.

Most European governments have come to this conclusion very slowly. They worry that they can't continually fund their programs without some tax alleviation somewhere. The balance they have usually is high personal taxes with low corporate taxes. I think the balance is even better with lower spending, and lower taxes across the board. This though will have to include a change in culture that prizes individualism and self-reliance. That would mean people would have to exercise more, take less drugs, work 40 hours a week and save a portion of their income for emergencies and in the long run: retirement. The safety net would only be for those areas of infrastructure, health care and education where people can't afford the basics. Yet at some point health and education would have to have some competition somewhere or else there would be bad quality services. Bono emphasizes the Marshall Plan without looking at the cultures and infrastructures in place to benefit from the Marshall Plan. Despite the bombing in WWII Europe had lots of things in place to get them back on track like democracy, trade, private property rights and a banking system.

I think it's easier for people to just throw money at the problem than to deal with it directly. I mean, it's hard to remove dictators and create constitutions and to develop markets. It's hard to exercise more and to pay and earn an education. Most things worth doing are hard. Even if where I live decides to go more socialist I'll still save money and do the right behaviours regardless.
It's short sighted in the sense that you are wanting to use principals and ideas that work in your world. But that's like telling a patient that's in the hospital that has the dream to run a marathon, well just get up and start running. It worked for me. The patient has to be healed first before they can start training for the marathon.

No one in their right mind is saying just give them money, once they have enough the problem will be solved. But you're talking about banks for people who don't even have water. That's just... well it you once again not being able to understand any situation outside your own.
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Old 03-24-2009, 05:55 PM   #22
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That would mean people would have to exercise more, take less drugs, work 40 hours a week and save a portion of their income for emergencies and in the long run: retirement.
This type of highly structured society reminds me of my childhood.

When I lived in a Communist country.
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Old 03-24-2009, 07:41 PM   #23
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Ultimately,Africans will have to be resposible for Africa.This will be a long,hard journey,to say the least. There are many obstacles. But we can't let people suffer and die during this struggle. That is where Bono and people like him enter the picture and in my mind they should all be viewed as saints.
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Old 03-25-2009, 11:08 AM   #24
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This type of highly structured society reminds me of my childhood.

When I lived in a Communist country.
Yeah healthy people are communists?

Personal choice and forcing people are two different things. There's only one way I know of getting healthy and that is to eat well and exercise. I don't have to be Japanese or Swedish to understand that.
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Old 03-25-2009, 01:49 PM   #25
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There's only one way I know of getting healthy and that is to eat well and exercise.

Yep. Who needs any healthcare if you do those two things.
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Old 03-25-2009, 03:36 PM   #26
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There's only one way I know of getting healthy and that is to eat well and exercise.
Plenty of people do those things and are still ill, some even terminal.

I work out a LOT and I eat very healthy, and that doesn't change the fact that I still have a genetic disorder that I have to be treated for medically...but if you know of a solution for me, I'd love to hear it.
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Old 03-25-2009, 04:18 PM   #27
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It almost certainly would cut healthcare costs significantly if regular exercise and nutritionally balanced diets were a cultural norm, but there's really no way to ensure that outcome without resorting to draconian measures, whether preventive (government-mandated exercise for all? laws making junk food hard to come by?) or punitive (denying diabetes, heart disease or some cancer treatments to people who are over a certain BMI, smoke, or perform poorly on a fitness test?). It's not that people are less disciplined about food and exercise than they used to be, it's just that modern circumstances make eating poorly and getting little exercise so easy.
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Old 03-25-2009, 06:14 PM   #28
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This type of highly structured society reminds me of my childhood.

When I lived in a Communist country.


i just had a random thought.

i was looking through that Chernobyl thread and i was noticing how oppressive the Soviet architecture was.

and then i thought that it was really no less oppressive than endless 6 lanes of concrete connecting strip malls to cookie-cutter track housing developments.

at some point, it seems that capitalism becomes communism. sort of. thusly underscoring the fundamental circularity of the spectrum.

neither the communists nor the Masters of the Universe actually want you to have choice. and it strikes me that many capitalists are as utopian as the most annoying coffee-breathed Trotskyite.
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Old 03-25-2009, 06:40 PM   #29
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But in the end I have to say I enjoy living under a capitalist system more than under a socialist system.


Oh, forgot, I am living under a socialist system over here.
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Old 03-26-2009, 01:15 AM   #30
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but if you know of a solution for me, I'd love to hear it.

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