Monday, February 3, 2014

Short vs Long-Term

It appears the article tries to stress the fact that having good intentions doesn't mean that the results will be good. Still, there are many aid programs that do in fact help Africans, but those funding cleptocrats obviously cause damage. I believe that stopping aid would grossly damage our foreign policy in the countries that receive that aid because there are many counts where aid allows the U.S. government to apply pressure on a country. I do not believe aid to Africa should stop in its entirety, but it should be reviewed to see if some of it should be reallocated because stripping money away from those in need isn't the best way out of the position we are in. I understand that many believe aid hurts Africa in the long term, but the short and medium term are also very important because people are affected quite significantly. As an example, the fall of the Soviet Union promised long-term benefits to the entire region, but at a huge short and medium-term cost. The cataclysmic economic consequences in the short term with the transition to capitalism have cost Russia its empire and a population loss with weakened demographics that have already cost Russia over an estimated twenty million people in lower population figures because population growth reversed into decline throughout the 1990's and 2000's with potential future losses that threaten are much greater. The whole point of my statement is that Russia was not getting the needed aid during its transition period and that has enormous human losses that are comparable to the estimated 22 to 28 million people the Soviet Union lost in World War 2. Many project that the losses will even exceed those the losses from the war when the country is in peace-time. As a result, I do not believe we should stop helping Africa because it can lead to enormous human loss and suffering in the short and medium-term. I do not believe the long-term benefits always justify the immediate costs because the long-term benefits are simply linear projections with a great deal of assumptions, but things can always change unexpectedly because that is human nature. I am not an expert on African affairs, but if there is any chance there is discussion to do to Africa what happened to Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union when it never received the promised aid and economic help then I am against such actions because of the huge human losses it can create. I understand much of what I stated can be greatly contested, but I have done my best to remain pragmatic and would request that much greater research be done before such general statements such as ending aid to Africa are made because the consequences of such actions are not always clear. I do love the quote "give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime", but sometimes feeding someone for a day in just as important as teaching them for a lifetime because it's not always possible to teach them how to fish in a day, so both have pros and cons that cannot be ignored.

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