You Can’t Save the World

78053880.83p4ISsW.MaliNov063588For only ten dollars a day or a month you can feed all the starving children in Africa. For only the price of a cup of coffee a year, you can make sure that no one in Kansas City ever goes hungry again. For just a third of your paycheck, you can subsidize a vast bureaucracy that will conduct studies on the best way to save the world and then come up with proposals that will only cost you half your paycheck.

This misplaced philanthropic confidence is the idiot stepchild of a free enterprise society where anything can be accomplished for the right price. Do you want to build a house on the edge of a cliff? Do you want to play on every golf course in the world? Do you want to clone a dinosaur so you can hunt it?

It hasn’t been done yet, but it’s probably doable.

So why can’t we end world hunger for only the price of a cup of coffee every six seconds or forty percent of the national debt or some other appealing figure that looks good on an infographic?

Hunger isn’t a resource shortage problem. The Soviet dissident writer Vladimir Voinovich told an American cab driver about meat rationing in the USSR. The cab driver demanded to know why people didn’t just set up more chicken farms.  Voinovich tried to explain to the incredulous driver that under Socialism, setting up more chicken farms doesn’t produce more chickens.

The USSR had plenty of land, labor and experts. It went from exporting wheat to importing wheat despite throwing everything it had into agriculture because there was a disconnect at every level in the process of planning and production.  Like a sack race with three hundred legs in one sack, the harder the USSR tried to increase yields and production, the worse they became.

Sending the USSR food, as the United States repeatedly did from its early years when Hoover fought famine with an army of aid workers to its waning days when the Evil Empire went deep into debt buying American wheat, didn’t solve anything. Soviet attempts at copying American successes in agriculture actually backfired leading to worse disasters. The only solution to the USSR’s agriculture problems came with the collapse of Soviet feudalism whose central planning had created the meat shortages and bread shortages.

Most “hungry” countries aren’t Communist, but they are dysfunctional. They aren’t going to be fixed for the price of a cup of coffee a day, an hour or a second. Hundreds of billions of dollars have been poured into Africa and it’s the opinion of African economic experts that the money did more harm than good by crippling developing economies with a weak global social safety net.

Every “free” item sent to another country is one item that isn’t going to be sold or manufactured there. An aid economy works a lot like a regular economy except that it can’t sustain domestic production or domestic experts. Its doctors move to the West and are replaced by Western professionals who enjoy the philanthropic credentials of helping out in an exotic country.

An aid economy is planned, instead of responsive, and depresses local production without fully satisfying local demand leaving the population in a state of semi-deprivation. The aid never reaches the people who need it because of the corruption that caused the deprivation that made the aid necessary. This cycle of corruption feeds an aid economy by knocking out the middle class who might otherwise step into the roles of merchants and professionals and rewards anyone with enough guns to hijack the aid and shake down the charities that distribute it.

Trying to save Africa for the cost of a cup of coffee a day has made it a much worse place. And that’s as true of the United States as it is of Africa.

Domestic warlords don’t have child soldiers who drive around with machine guns on pickup trucks. Instead they wear suits, coordinate with community organizers and clamor for more money for broken inner city neighborhoods so they can siphon it off. There are parts of the United States that are just as broken as any Third World country because they run on the same aid economy that rewards political warlords and discourages independence and initiative.

Activists and politicians announce that for only twenty billion or two hundred billion we can end world hunger, educate every child or give every family their own cow. These proposals apply the free enterprise logic of solving a problem by “buying” a solution. But helping people isn’t mass production. Throwing more money and people at the problem makes it that much harder to solve.

Buying a homeless man a sandwich for two dollars feeds that man. Appropriating twenty billion dollars to feed a sandwich to every homeless man in America will only provide sandwiches to a small percentage of the homeless at a cost of four thousand dollars a sandwich.

Once you try to buy sandwiches for millions of homeless men, the sandwich money is eaten up by the expenses of studying how to identify the homeless, learning what kind of sandwiches they would like, studies on marketing sandwiches to homeless people over social media, the costs of diversity training for the sandwich makers and a million other things.

You can buy a homeless man a sandwich, but you can’t buy them all sandwiches because once you do that, you are no longer engaging in a personal interaction, but building an organization. You don’t need a homeless man to exist so that you can buy him a sandwich, but once an agency exists that is tasked with buying homeless men sandwiches; it needs the homeless men to exist as ‘clients’ so that it can buy them sandwiches and buy itself steak dinners.

The biggest piece of the aid economy is in the hands of the aid organizations that profit from an unsolvable problem that they have no interest in solving. Africa’s misery is their wealth. The worse Africa becomes the more incentive the guilty of the West will have to pour money into their latest plan to buy everyone in Africa a goat, a laptop or a sandwich.

The aid recipients, distributors and providers have achieved a dysfunctional equilibrium. In aid economies, the scale of the problem grows slightly faster than the amount of aid and activists hold out the tempting promise that by increasing spending to stay ahead of the problem, it can be solved completely.

But the West can’t fix Africa no matter how much of the price of a cup of coffee it donates.

No one can save Africa except Africans. No one can fix Detroit except the people who live there. Social problems aren’t solved by nationalizing them or internationalizing them. They aren’t solved by guilt-tripping those who have already solved those problems and live thousands of miles away, but by engaging the people who live right there and are part of the problem.

If a man is drowning, you toss him a rope. But if a man jumps into the water, tossing him a rope doesn’t accomplish anything. A physical problem can be solved by applying the right resources, but a problem rooted in attitudes and behavior can only be solved when the people change.

Trying to solve a problem rooted in behavior with monetary rewards only perpetuates that behavior. Instead of saving the world, throwing money at it destroys it instead.

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  • truebearing

    Aid could actually work if was provided to a group of people for a very finite period of time, but when these needy people become dependent on aid, all the while having children, who in turn have children, each successive generation moves further from the knowledge necessary to be self-sufficient. There is no way it can ultimately result in anything but a Pavlovian disaster. The recipients are trained to become incapable of surviving.

    The final cruelty will be if the Left succeeds in taking over the food producing nations and reduces them to the dysfunctional mess that became the Soviet Union. All of those dependent people will starve to death in numbers that dwarf anything in the past.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      The difference between Somalia and everywhere is is that in Somalia the corruption is easier to see from the air. Usually it’s hidden better in most other places.

  • American1969

    The title says it all.

  • UCSPanther

    Throwing boxcar loads of money at a problem rarely solves it, and it often prolongs the agony, or even makes it worse.

    On the African charities, I agree 100%. I remember the gimmicks like that “We are the World” act over The Great Ethiopian Famine. The whole thing was a “feel-good” schtick that did nothing to solve the problem.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      When it’s one’s own money suddenly people care a lot more about how effective the spending is.

      • UCSPanther

        There are many stories on how that “Live Aid” schtick failed and allegations that the money raised ultimately went into the pockets of both the Derg communists and their enemies.
        It didn’t help, and if anything, it more than likely did much to contribute to Ethiopia’s continuing unrest….

        • objectivefactsmatter

          It also makes it harder for legitimate organizations (the small ones that actually know what to do) to operate there.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    “Voinovich tried to explain to the incredulous driver that under Socialism, setting up more chicken farms doesn’t produce more chickens.”

    That’s the best laugh I’ve had this week. Because it’s so true.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    You can’t save the world with big NGOs because they’re more or less run like the UN.

    If you want to help, don’t elect idiots. Go yourself and lead the way.

  • onecornpone

    Someone with connections, please send this article to the Pope and USDA’s traveling circus of hand-wringing fools who constantly fret over “world hunger” and how it is our responsibility to solve it, due to our unprecedented wealth.

    • David Repka

      Hey, I’ve got an idea! Even though the US has plenty of oil, natural gas and coal, let’s take half our corn crop and turn it into an inefficient fuel, and then we can burn it! Maybe that will help with “World Hunger”?

      • A Z

        It helped raise food prices across the world. it led to discontent in Tunisia and Egypt and led to the Arab spring.

        The ethanol lobby (farmers, politicians and industry) bear some responsibility for the Arab Spring.

        You can argue that it would have happened anyway, but the timing was affected by the corn market. The corn market affected by gasohol demand which was legislated.

        • onecornpone

          Nice try, but Arabs use very little corn. Their grain of preference is wheat. Those of us in agriculture notice these things because of the precipitous price drop of wheat when Obama threatened Morsi with withholding wheat shipments to Egypt.

          • A Z

            Corn, rice, wheat and while they may not be as fungible as oil or money, if you bid up the price of one you are going to affect the others as well.

          • A Z

            “requires planting so much marginal cropland, …

            About 40% of corn production is now used not for food or livestock feed, but for fuel. This has raised the price of corn, and a 2009 study by the Congressional Budget Office found that in some years ethanol has raised retail food prices by 5% to 10% for everything from corn flakes to ground beef.”

            Farmers switch between crops not only to rotate between crop types but also based on market prices. Marginal land is not the only thing used . Farmers will prefer corn over beans or wheat thus driving up wheat.

          • onecornpone

            Must I go all the way back to the OPEC Oil Embargo and the deleterious effects of the Carter Grain Embargo on U.S. grain sales to explain why ethanol once looked like a good idea?

            Post Carter we were sitting on grain stocks that would choke a horse. That happens when the POTUS is an ideological idiot who crushes marketshare to make his point with an economically shaky, devious trading partner.

            The average Joe has no concept of the duration of the damage that was done to our ability to sell U.S. grains to the world, which ran all the way through Reagan’s terms and through the ’90s.

            Amazingly, post Carter someone came up with the idea of the government loaning farmers a floor price to store their grain until marketshare could be rebuilt. Guess who got the government subsidy for that storage? Cargill, ADM, and ConAgra, who just happened to be the major grain exporters – but were in no hurry to rebuild their foreign sales as long as their U.S. storage subsidy was paying off for them.

            When I buy farmland, the “marginal” land cost the same per acre as the #1. There is always some marginal land between and around the prime stuff. Where do you armchair farmers get the idea that marginal land can ge sequestered or left idle, yet paid for?

          • A Z

            ” Cargill, ADM, and ConAgra, who just happened to be the major grain exporters – but were in no hurry to rebuild their foreign sales as long as their U.S. storage subsidy was paying off for them.’

            I do not believe that made it into the news cycle and if it did it certainly was not harped on like it should have been.

            It is an unsung story like the depression in the 1980s in Texas due low oil prices due to our economic war with Russia.

            As far as marginal land, I just looked at an old farmhouse I spent time in. I googled it using google maps. It’s gone. The pond is gone, the farmyard is gone and the pasture is gone. the pasture made up 25% of a 1 mile by 1 mile section. Now it is all pivot irrigated farmland they had to do a fair amount of dozing to get that to work.

            Where I live there are differences in EAV for cropland, wasteland & pasture.

            But there are no differences in different grades of cropland. That could or would take a soil test. Or maybe they could look at factors like price paid for wheat coming off the land. As you know better than most wheat deficient in protein gets less per bushel and that depends on the soil. So that could be an indirect measure.

            They should make differences for different type of cropland. After all the people at the property tax want to know what the interior walls and faucets of a person’s house is made of. They have fields in database tables to record whether you have wood paneling, brick or regular drywall for your rooms. That is anaI. If they can drill down that far for a house, they can do better for cropland assessment.

          • onecornpone

            No, the info on the major grain exporters foot dragging in rebuilding their marketshare was not on the “news”. Some of us became suspicious as we watched their sealed grain bins sit idle for years. After the fact, a few farm state university economist wrote about it, of course without pointing fingers at the cronyism involved. Google “Cargill/Export subsidies” and read until your eyes bleed.

            Cropland is graded by taxing entities, for taxation purposes based on grade and soil type, but portions of marginal land that is capable of producing a crop is not much of a factor since we can bring soil fertility up to snuff using various methods of fertilization.

            You see that missing farmhouse and pasture of your youth as a sad commentary on changing rural life. That is an EMOTIONAL (liberal) reaction.

            I see it as progress. A center pivot sprinkler irrigation system watering a newly emerged crop in springtime is the most beautiful thing in the world to someone who has irrigated out of an open ditch using siphon tubes and gated pipe.

            Do you grasp how Statist inspired your ideas on structuring grain prices is? There is a totalitarian dictator lurking inside you.

          • A Z

            Google “Cargill/Export subsidies” and read until your eyes bleed.

            Trust me I will.

          • onecornpone

            Thank you, you are one of the few who is willing to dig deeply enough to learn how ag production got where we are today. It is just too damn complicated for most people to want to delve into.

            In essence, what has happened is that Cargil and ADM have been allowed to tiptoe on the edges of monopolistic behavior only by virtue of their being two of them.

            They have vertically integrated their operations to the point that they control the protein side of the U.S. food chain – if not the world’s.

            Due to their ability to gobble up individually owned capital intensive business in rural America, we are now a wasteland with too few visionary leaders, loaded to the gills with entitlement dependent part time seasonal workers, spitting out welfare babies ad infinitum. Farmers don’t even want to live amongst their own communities nowadays.

          • A Z

            I don’t want to go to a green site, but I may have to if Foxnews, NBC or others don’t carry it

            el vs. Food Debate Facing Cargill, ADM

            Mexico: The New Tortilla War


            Cargill and ADM: true beneficiaries of “farm” subsidies


          • BagLady

            “That is an EMOTIONAL (liberal) reaction.”

            Unlike you, I see no totalitarian dictator lurking within the writer. i see someone missing the farmyard and the morning egg collection.

          • BagLady

            “After all the people at the property tax want to know what the interior walls and faucets of a person’s house is made of.They have fields in database tables to record whether you have wood paneling, brick or regular drywall for your rooms. ”

            Eek, that’s weird Big Bro.

          • A Z

            It is true. I saw the databases and the code. My memory is not that good because it was my coworker that had that job, but Realia COBOL was used to interface with the database

          • BagLady

            Oh my dear, the British farmers are paid very well for their idle land. Just sitting on it gets them $250,000 pa. Go grow buttercups, imports will cover the needs of the people.

            Exports, exports. All everyone talks about is exports as their own people go hungry. Find me an inner city shop that sells fresh produce. You’re just kowtowing to Wall Street and its b***t.

            I have watched as they ‘stimulate’ the market into action and devastate $1 per day farmers around the world. The very people they were set up to protect.

            Malawi has always been very badly run and is prone to corruption (to put it mildly). They had run up a debt (why?) and the World Bank had come in to sort it out. “Sell off your maize stocks” was the demand. “Pay off some of your debt.” They did just that. Sold the lot. Imagine that pile of money in front of a bunch of politicians. They just couldn’t resist and stole the lot without paying one cent of their debt. The next year, the rains failed and their was no maize. The people began to starve as they waited for world Aid. By the time it arrived, they had either died or survived and their corn was growing again and then, just as they were about to harvest, the Aid arrived. (The government had been fighting against GM corn (or so it said) in the media but it came in tons). The local prices plummeted and the poor farmers suffered once again.

          • A Z

            Your timeline is off. The 2011 riots started before Morsi was in power from June 30, 2012 to July 3, 2013.

            I don’t know how elastic wheat supply and demand are. But as Business Insider article shows the Egyptian population grew 20% and U.S. wheat production was static around 2007 to 2012. Russian production was down in 2010.





          • onecornpone

            Egypt has been our largest purchaser of wheat for years. We sent them cash, they bought wheat.

            Their government subsidizes bread made in government bakeries and contracts with privately owned facilities too. Each citizen is entitled to a ration of bread.

          • A Z

            I know. i was one of those bring the wheat and M113s

          • BagLady

            No, the tax payer sent them money and they paid the 1%. That’s how it works.

          • BagLady

            Can’t get my head around that. If Obama threatened to whithhold wheat shipments, surely that would produce a scarcity and push the price up not down.

          • Vaud

            scarcity Egypt ( and there the price of wheat would rise), but not in the US, where the government wouldn’t be buying wheat to send it to Egypt( tho its price would plummet in the US)

          • BagLady

            Perhaps you need better salesmen. There are markets out there other than the Middle East. The east is a growing market for bread and wheat based products, possibly thanks to satellite TV and ‘signature chefs’, (who knows). Provided it doesn’t leave your own people hungry, of course.

          • BagLady

            Oh dear, now I’ve forgotten why Obama restricted the export of wheat to Egypt. What does he hope to achieve? Surely not trying to interfere with internal politics I hope. Suspect that ‘turmoil’ in the ME is the order of the day. Knocks them out of the game and keeps them busy while we get on with business as usual.

          • BagLady

            How to bring down a democratically elected government and put the Mubarak clan back in power with the military still sitting pretty. Very sad and it will backfire. It always does but no-one learns.

      • onecornpone

        When the “hungry” world has no money to purchase our grain, we might as well scatter it in the ocean for fish food, because none of the wealthy entities (Catholic Church) whose leaders rail incessantly on “world hunger” and scold American’s for our evil individual wealth are going to open their coffers to purchase a bushel of grain.

        The ethanol mandate is on it’s way to extinction, which will mean that eventually alternative fuels producers will be operating without the tax advantages that bolstered production. That was a clandestine, bipartisan deal made between Corn Belt state Congressmen (Grassley & Harkin) and “K” Street lobbies for Cargill and ADM. The political pressure is such now that we may see whether alternative fuels are actually economically viable.

        The very same aforementioned crony capitalist companies who export U.S. grain all over the world own controlling interest in a great number of ethanol production facilities.

        These same counterfeit capitalist companies own the small local, rural grain company. the industrial sized cattle and pork feeding facility, the industrialized slaughterhouses et.c.

        Now these multinational entities are venturing into the crop insurance business, because that is where the government money is going. Since the 2008 farm bill crop insurance is all but mandatory for farmers. In 2012, the year huge crop losses in the MidWest, crop insurance companies, of which there are only 14 in the U.S., took in $117 Billion in government subsidies, but paid out only $16 Billion in losses. THAT is $100 Billion in pork, any way you slice it.

        Assuming that there will be more corn produced at current lower prices is where your assumptions go awry.

        • A Z

          People use to be able to pull themselves up by their bootstrap in places like Iowa by raising a few hogs and growing their operation. That ended in the 1980s. Now it is all feedlots. The Des Moines carried that bad news.

          • onecornpone

            Ah, now I get it! You are one of those back to the “good ole days” utopian small is better dreamers.

            Agriculture has grown into an industrial scale enterprise, whether you approve or not.

            The next phase will see our large scale food production moving to South America. Do you believe American consumers will get the high priority we now enjoy when that comes to pass?

          • A Z

            What I have seen from a corporate operation (feed lots) from those who have worked there or the quality of the product has not impressed me.

            I lived in South America. When I lived there food was cheap and everything else was expensive.

            As far as high priority, I am not impressed.

          • onecornpone

            Your first complaint was that food prices here were up 5 to 10 %. Have the prices on the latest electronic devices increased comparatively? Do you feel compelled to pontificate on that aspect of consumerism, or does your entitlement mentality only kick in when it comes to food.

            The U.S. government has fostered a Cheap Food policy, forever. Right or wrong, THAT is why the U.S. has never suffered a famine.


            Do you believe that Americans will continue to enjoy the least expensive food in relation to their incomes, on the planet, while ostracizing and demonizing the people who raise their food?

          • A Z

            “Your first complaint was that food prices here were up 5 to 10 %. ‘

            That was not me

          • BagLady

            That depends on whether you could produce the same amount, for the same price, in a more equitable manner.

          • onecornpone

            …in a more equitable manner.???

            YOU are a communist!

          • BagLady

            How’s about if you’re going down the wrong track? Are you suggesting there’s no changing course?

            In my opinion, smaller means better hands-on management, more diversity and much less bureaucracy (hangers on).

            Where do they go, the bees and the butterflies, when their habitat is converted to GM corn?

            If you don’t care then you should.

          • onecornpone

            Paper or plastic!?!

            The bees and butterflies will come to live in your backyard.

            Go to to find the TRUTH.

            “Smaller” can’t feed 315 Million hungry Americans at the level they are accustomed. WHO will you choose to make do with less food when your utopian ideal of smaller farms comes to fruition?

            If “small” worked so well WHY did farms grow beyond “small”? Do you think ag producers enjoy the added stress of being big? In today’s economic environment you get bigger or get out. The evidence of that truth is in the failure rate of small producers ability to survive without working some other career, which essentially renders them into the category of Hobby Farmers.

            …smaller means better hands-on management, more diversity and much less bureaucracy (hangers on).

            “Less bureaucracy”? Are you talking about GOVERNMENT or farming? You have no idea, do you? Just blathering your talking points gleaned from the nutty, regressive Seed Saver, purveyors of gloom and doom.

            Now, skedaddle! I’m sure there is a tree somewhere that needs a hug…

          • BagLady

            Had you written the last line first, I wouldn’t have read your argument and now that I have read it, I shall not take the trouble to answer.

            Rudeness does not win an argument.

          • onecornpone

            BOO HOO, my heart is broken!

            How will I ever live without your monumental naivete?

          • BagLady

            and what will be left when the industry moves on? A void? A barren wilderness? Why does ‘moving forward’ have to mean unaccountable blobs controlling every aspect of our lives?
            Yes, the best things come in small packages, less is more, minimalism = sophistication, the good ole days had much to commend them. Everyone recognizes these truisms.

          • onecornpone

            Move to the EU, you think just like them.

          • BagLady

            Mm, Annie Proulx comes to mind

          • A Z

            The discussion thread was in relation to agriculture and my post was in relation to how people through farming could raise their socio economic status though farming or ranching

          • BagLady

            It is strange, is it not, that throughout history the rural community has stayed at the bottom of the heap, earning wise. One would have thought that providing our sustenance, regardless of aching backs and frozen fingers, withstanding the devastating effects of weather, would have more man-hour value but, in fact, this class have not been able to sustain their families on their share of the profits.

            Suddenly, this industry is of value. The corporations have gotten everything else and are now bottom feeding. What next? The air we breathe? Water went a long time ago.

            Logically, what is the difference in crop hit-rates between 1 farm that stretches for 100 miles and 10 farms that stretch 10 miles?
            (that question aimed at that very rude person)

        • Dyer’s Eve

          because none of the wealthy entities (Catholic Church) whose leaders rail incessantly on “world hunger” and scold American’s for our evil individual wealth are going to open their coffers to purchase a bushel of grain”.
          Thank you! Getting money off the Vatican criminals is about as likely as the mafia declaring their income to the tax office. Won’t happen, will it.

          • BagLady

            Probably not, but the new Pope gives hope. Let us pray he doesn’t meet with an untimely death and Dan Brown comes rushing in, ‘researching’ for his next novel.

          • Vaud

            Please, don’t pray, because the new pope loves communism and doesn’t understand the free enterprise.

          • BagLady

            Bringing a little humility to his team can’t be a bad thing and he certainly comes over as having an wholesome vision of God’s message.

          • onecornpone

            Pope Francis is at least a socialist, if not a commie. The Catholic Church operates on the principles of collectivism.

      • Johnnnyboy

        Ethanol is a reasonably good idea, but not implemented with corn grown in the US. If we were willing to import the stuff, or import the sugar, more southerly climates could be producing ethanol using the sugar cane plant, which is a dramatically better choice for sugar or ethanol production.

      • Chavi Beck
      • Donotask

        We can always open up our borders and allow all who need help to come live here until we are sucked dry too….oh wait, we are doing this.

      • BagLady

        You will have to compete with Borneo and Malaysia’s palm oil. Until 10 years ago, whilst the Malaysian side of the island was pure palm oil plantation, the Indonesian side was still unspoilt jungle. Suharto’s son, who seemed to have total control of the timber industry, was making great inroads into the virgin forests but you could still travel inland up the rivers for days without encountering anything but small villages raised on boardwalks. Perhaps you’ve never wanted to be hugged by an orang-utan but I never met anyone who had had that experience and not loved it and found it one of THE best experiences of their lives. I see photos now of orang-utans lying dead with many murdered.

        Call me a leftie, greenie, tree hugging idealist and I won’t care. Keep your sodding tar sands. Give your farms to the corporate world and let’s see how their crop hit-rate compares to your farmer. The world was quite good at feeding itself before it was politically manipulated…. for profit.

    • A Z

      I t is not called step zero of military COIN doctrine, but I’ll use it because I forgot the nomenclature.

      Step zero of preventing insurgencies, failed states and such is to make sure people are not hungry and things are working well. It is the getting upstream as far as you can to fix a problem. I believe in this.

      However we cannot fix the whole world at the same time. Which means we have to cherry pick based on some criteria. I bet you that whatever criteria we use the LEFT will be gunning for us.

      Various military battalions continually sent out detachments to provide dental and medical aid in Africa and other places. they also used their engineering and craft skills to build schools and other civilian infrastructure projects. It is a 3-fer. The service member get training. It helps build good will to the U.S. (maybe not enough). Other countries self promote more than the U.S. does. We should claim more credit. It also helps stabilize a country and fall in line with step 0.

      The NGOs, UN and various countries did this in Somalia in 1991. where we went wrong is that we let F CKING Warlords or factions frustrate our efforts. They stole the food to use it as a weapon to get control. It got worse from their. The left added are military involvement tin support of famine relief to become another in a litany of their complaints.

      • onecornpone


        These programs never work, because of the tribal nature of the people we try to help. We do better to teach basic farming skills to natives, allowing them “to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps”.

        • A Z

          Who is armchair now? You better tell the Marines that their doctrine (pre-Obama) is wrong.

          • onecornpone

            Actually “nation building” is NOT military doctrine, but often our Congress and Executive branch shove our military into doing programs that don’t work, for the FEEL GOOD quotient.

          • TexasStomp

            Oh if it were only that simple, cornpone. Congress NEVER does somethin for nuthin. Nation building is more accurately spelled lap dog leadership that will sign over mineral rights in exchange for a few schools and hospitals……..oh and wads and wads of cash “aid.” They love cash “aid.” Just ask the defeated enemies who run Haiti. They love nation building. Especially when it starts with building them a shiny new palace. Don’t get me started, lol!

          • Drakken

            I’ll tell you here and now it was an effing failure. From a Marine. In shinnyland we had to killem by the thousands.

          • Drakken

            Our military is not a social welfare program, it is meant to break things and kill people, period. Getting away from this concept is what keeps us from winning total victory when we do go to war.

      • Drakken

        Let me explain a very simple concept to you, that COIN manual that you love so much, is a complete utter joke as it relates to any muslim or 3rd world country period, it is a goat f**k, FUBAR. The only thing goodwill it gets you in a 3rd world country is more hands out and azzholes shooting at you because they perceive you as weak and someone to take advantage of steal from. Hearts and minds is a cluterf**k of massive proportions and if you cannot see that for yourself? Your part of the problem. As one who has been to Somalia twice, you bloody don’t know what your talking about. The man with the gun is the arbitrator of all things great and small in the end and all the wishful thinking in the world isn’t going to change that.

    • pupsncats

      Doesn’t it seem that it is always the responsibility of the U.S. to take care of the world, to establish rules and regulations that favor foreign interests, and while our own people are unemployed and hungry, the money confiscated through our taxes is still sent to other countries?

      • BagLady

        Do me a favour!

      • BagLady

        … and given this responsibility, how are they doing so far?

    • BagLady

      No, it isn’t your responsibility to save the world but if you take with one hand you should compensate for it with the other. If you have a soul, of course.

      • onecornpone

        Total U.S. population 315 Million

        U.S. Farms, 2,17 Million

        Each farm feeds 145 people in the U.S. plus many elsewhere.

        2.17 Million Feed 315 Million.

        I AM one of the 2.17 Million. After 30 years I believe I have compensated plenty.

        I suggest you refrain from getting into conversations you are insufficiently informed to participate in. I don’t have time to drag out the Crayolas and coloring books.

        • BagLady

          So there you have it. No need to export. You can feed your people. The numbers prove it.
          No need to get out the Crayolas(?) (must be a brand name unknown to those other than US residents). I’m fighting for farmers and the right to a versatile, free palate, Who the **** are you fighting for?

  • cacslewisfan

    How I WISH everyone would read this article. Thank you.

  • Taimoor Khan

    What about the biggest recipient of American aid, Israel? The US taxpayer money which is used to fund Israeli occupation and oppression and aggressive policies in the region.

    You won’t go there because your Zionists masters and puppeteers won’t like it.

    Read Michael Scheur.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      The biggest total recipient of US aid by far is the Muslim world. I’m not a fan of the aid intersection, which in Israel’s case really involves funding US defense contractors.

    • A Z

      Israel gets aid as part of the Camp David Accords. When you cut Israeli aid also cut Egyptian aid.

      Also American aid probably infantilizes part of the Israeli population, the Left. they do not have to pay full freight for their defense. It gives them a warped world view. Same thing happens everywhere where people do not have to pay or work for what they get.

    • Wolfie

      Zionist masters and puppeteers?

      Last time I looked, I didn’t have any strings attached to my arms and legs stretching into the ether, and there wasn’t someone’s hand jammed up my a$$.

      As hard as it may be to believe, for you, I’m an American who actually can think and act, for himself.

    • Drakken

      The US should cut off all aid to you paki wogs and watch you savages starve. It would benefit the world since you savages are a net loss.

    • iluvisrael

      Happy eternal nakba!!!!

    • Norbert Haag

      Unfortunately the facts are not on the side of your fairy tale – i guess that is why it is called a fairy tale-.

      By far the most money goes to the Muslim world. US help to Israel is a mere 3-4 % of Israel’s GDP and Israel could well go without it.

      Frankly it should.

      You didn’t get the argument of the article.

      Foreign aid, unless for a specific event like a drought etc., is not how to help developing countries. It prevents development or at least retards it.

      Unless people have the freedom to possess property and to use it as they think best, the issues can’t be solved.

      Planned economies, by definition and empirical evidence, have never lead to prosperity. Only to starvation and death.

  • A Z

    Charity starts at home. You start at home and work your way out.

  • Sheik Yerbouti

    Aid that doesn’t include a targeted self-sufficiency program is useless.

  • cxt

    “a problem rooted in attitudes and behavior can only be solved when people change”
    Good point……why can’t people understand it????? Throwing money at a problem is seldom the answer.

  • mtnhikerdude

    Reverend Ike , a Black preacher from Detroit was on the Johnny Carson show in the sixties . Johnny asked him , “Rev , what is the best thing we can do for the poor” ? Reverend Ike replied ,”Johnny , the best thing you can do for the poor is not be one of them”.

  • ebonystone

    I remember a very revealing tale of the Soviet economy in the Brezhnev days. The soviets were facing, as usual, shortfalls in agricultural production. Experts studied American and Canadian farming, and concluded that one of their secrets was the use of lots of fertilizer. So the Politburo ordered that fertilizer production be greatly increased, and supplied to the collective farms.
    So a few months later, the manager of a collective farm in southern Russia is notified that the farm has been allocated a certain amount of fertilizer; a trainload of it will be at a rail siding in the area for a couple of days with fertilizer for all the farms in the area, and he is to arrange to pick up his farm’s allotment, which is 50 truck-loads. So he calls in his truck-drivers, and tells them when and where to pick up the stuff.
    The senior driver responds: “Impossible. We only have one truck in working condition, and that rail siding is a two hours’ drive away; we can only bring back 2 or 3 loads per day, nowhere near the 50 we’re allotted.”
    The manager; “Well, one way or another, we’re allotted 50 loads, and we have to account for them.”
    So the nest day the driver sets out. He arrives at the rail siding, and gets in line of tucks from all the farms in the district. He notices a couple of trucks from farms adjacent to his in line ahead of him. He gets his load, signs for it, and starts home, following the truck from the neighbor farm. But he sees that this truck is not heading back to its farm; it’s following a whole line of trucks turning off on a side road. So he follows them. The road leads to a river, where one by one the trucks back up to the bank and dump their loads into the river. He does the same, and heads back to the rail siding. Ten minutes later he’s picking up another load. He repeats this procedure several times, then finally heads back to his farm with a load. That afternoon, he repeats the process, and again the net day.
    Result? On paper the farm has received its allotted load of fertilizer. In fact there’s a poisoned river and very little improvement in farm production.
    The planned economy in practice.

  • JohnnnyBoy

    Aiding Central Africa is a self defeating treadmill because the area lacks the social infrastructure that would be necessary to control population growth. The more aid that goes in, the bigger the population gets, and the greater the need for aid becomes. Barring some kind of miraculous development, at some point in the future there is going to be a period of mass starvation, perhaps the largest ever seen in the history of the world.

  • herb benty

    And of course these “donations” to WWF or Oxfam keep them jet-setting and handing out a little food here and there, and, “save the owls” really means “no human growth allowed”.

  • Banne

    I love Daniel Greenfield articles and this one is perfect. I will pass it to everybody.

  • seewithyourowneyes

    When I was a child in the 1950’s we used to have occasional food drives at my Sunday school, complete with posters picturing big-eyed rail-thin children. Then one year I was amazed to see that the child pictured on the poster was positively pudgy! I remember thinking that there was only one child in my entire 5th grade class who was as heavy-set as the child on the food drive poster. How could anyone make such a horrible mistake? But it was no mistake. Every year thereafter, our hunger posters pictured pudgy children whose poverty was indicated only by messy hair, bare feet, or dirty faces.
    Similarly, look at the news coverage of hurricane Katrina. Does anyone besides me remember reporter Shepard Smith at the New Orleans Convention
    Center, on the verge of tears, gesturing towards a family of morbidly obese people and lamenting, “People are starving here.” That footage was seen all over the world, even in countries where the people know what starving people actually look like. What must they have thought? Why couldn’t Smith have talked of the lack of water or diabetes medicines when gesturing towards that family of whales, and saved his hunger speech till he found some slimmer Orleanians? Why does logic have to go out the window when we talk about charity?

  • Dyer’s Eve

    Well said, Mr Greenfield. And thank you! The beneficiaries to ‘aid’ are the aid agencies themselves. That’s why they got into the ‘business’ in the first place. A memo to every sanctimonious leftie do-gooder; read Mr Greenfield’s article!

  • BagLady

    When my South African friend’s maid said: “I’m tired. I’m going to sit down.” She was gone for one year. When my Malawi friend of 1 pair of shorts and no shoes said he just wanted a taste of what we take for granted, he was horrified by the thought of moving from under his tree stringing beads.

    Africa does not want to be in the fast lane, but it doesn’t want to be raped because of its easy going attitude either.

    Aid? What aid? It’s just a pseudonym for TrAid.

    “Western professionals who enjoy the philanthropic credentials of helping out in an exotic country.” Now that’s not fair. One of the only charities worthy of support is Doctors Sans Frontiers. They’re always there, never ask for money, and actually save lives.

    A lot of Indian hospitals benefit from the annual arrival of an American brain surgeon to deal with their many head-on crash victims. Back home, Doc has a thriving private practice but sets aside his personal financial interests to ‘go east’ for a month. Good on him, I say.

    This week it was announced in the British press that foreign aid is to be extended to Aldi (German), Primark (Ireland (tax haven)) Marks and Spencers (plc), Tesco (who knows) and a few other high street names. This will enable them to clean up operations in Bangladesh et al in light of the recent fire. Oh please!

  • BagLady

    The cost of palm oi productionl:

  • physicsnut

    from Mel Brooks History of the World

    Dole Office Clerk: Occupation?
    Comicus: Stand-up philosopher.
    Dole Office Clerk: What?
    Comicus: Stand-up philosopher. I coalesce the vapors of human experience into a viable and meaningful comprehension.

    Dole Office Clerk: Oh, a *bullshit* artist!

    Comicus: *Grumble*…
    Dole Office Clerk: Did you bullshit last week?
    Comicus: No.
    Dole Office Clerk: Did you *try* to bullshit last week?
    Comicus: Yes!

  • pupsncats

    One has to question the fact that by now trillions of dollars have been directed to the poor throughout the world and yet right here in the good old USA there are still people going hungry. Food banks everywhere seem to be desperate for donations even though more people than ever in our history receive food stamps or some kind of government benefit.

    Obviously, the programs aren’t working. Yet we keep spending money on them. That is a sign of insanity.

    We need to get the federal government out of the business of redistributing people’s wealth to prop up programs that don’t work. Africans never seem to take responsibility for themselves and have, through no fault of their own, become so dependent on foreign welfare, how can they ever expect to?

  • GSR

    It’s all about growing and empowering a vast army of govt. bureacrats………in order to employ them. As Reagan once said, (paraphrasing), “many government jobs exist for the sole purpose of employing people”.

  • kevinstroup

    What is important thought is that the liberals can be seen taking care of people, being seen appearing to care. Then when they get power, they can pretty much do as they wish, the great unwashed be damned. That is what REALLY matters.

  • L.B.

    money does not equal charity
    charity does not equal money

  • Debbie G

    Give locally–your local foodbank, shelters, missions, etc. At least these can be held more accountable.