Another blow for experts

I haven’t quite gathered my thoughts, but I found this an amazing story on so many levels:

Ending Famine, Simply by Ignoring the Experts
By CELIA W. DUGGER
Published: December 2, 2007

LILONGWE, Malawi — Malawi hovered for years at the brink of famine. After a disastrous corn harvest in 2005, almost five million of its 13 million people needed emergency food aid.

But this year, a nation that has perennially extended a begging bowl to the world is instead feeding its hungry neighbors. It is selling more corn to the World Food Program of the United Nations than any other country in southern Africa and is exporting hundreds of thousands of tons of corn to Zimbabwe.

In Malawi itself, the prevalence of acute child hunger has fallen sharply. In October, the United Nations Children’s Fund sent three tons of powdered milk, stockpiled here to treat severely malnourished children, to Uganda instead. “We will not be able to use it!” Juan Ortiz-Iruri, Unicef’s deputy representative in Malawi, said jubilantly.

Farmers explain Malawi’s extraordinary turnaround — one with broad implications for hunger-fighting methods across Africa — with one word: fertilizer.

Over the past 20 years, the World Bank and some rich nations Malawi depends on for aid have periodically pressed this small, landlocked country to adhere to free market policies and cut back or eliminate fertilizer subsidies, even as the United States and Europe extensively subsidized their own farmers. But after the 2005 harvest, the worst in a decade, Bingu wa Mutharika, Malawi’s newly elected president, decided to follow what the West practiced, not what it preached.

Read the rest here.

If I can, I’ll come back later and be more intelligent about it. If I can’t, I know that your intelligence will fill in the blanks.

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Comments

  1. Tap says

    This just reminds me of the inefficiency and inhumanity of government run programs. I’d liken it to welfare.

    As long as Malawi was looking to others (U.S., Europe, the World Bank) for charity, the were disuaded from doing what is in their best interest. Not that I think those giving the charity were trying to hurt them or have them not do what was in their best interest. That’s just how government run charity works.

    So now that they’ve decided to do it for themselves, it is working. Sensible decisions are being made. Does this not remind you of the way the welfare system worked?

  2. says

    I’d love to know more about this……

    I think that historians are pretty clear, though, that countries that are just getting going (ours is a major case in point) almost invariable use subsidies and tariffs to jumpstart their agriculture and industry.

    The big damage to the economy appears to be when this continues far past its genuine usefulness, because of political pressure – as the U.S. agricultural subsidies and tariffs appear to exemplify. As only one example, we are paying more money for our sugar and beggaring the poor nations of the Caribbean, all to enrich a few large farming companies in Florida. And in a year with bumper corn crops, do the subsidies drop or go away? Don’t be silly!

  3. Danny Lemieux says

    A (white) Zimbabwean friend told me that the best thing that the West can do for Africa is to stop trying to “help” it and let Africa develop its own solutions. Like Tap said, same applies to our “welfare” system.

  4. says

    This is a truism that people like Sherman recognized in contradiction to Leftist ideology. The Left believes that so long as you make people cooperate, whether through democratic socialism, national socialism, or communism, that things will get better. Sherman realized that things don’t get better unless you hammer out the weak parts and the impurities.

    Human beings evolved a brain for a reason. And that was not so they could go into the business of making parasites out of other humans. Human beings literally cannot improve their society by having entire hierarchies not competing to be the best according to the law of the jungle.

    The Left says that while competition is powerful, social cooperation is much better. I say a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. By trying to keep individual human beings weak, so as to enforce a social cooperation upon unwilling individuals, the Left is able to create an illusion of a working society based upon cooperation. But illusions do not have favorable results when they meet with reality.

    A rteal society based upon mutual interest and harmony that strenghtens individuals through competition and independence, will shatter any fake society made upon the premise that it is better to force people to work together than to have people willingly become partners.

    If you want a concrete example, simply look at Arab conscript armies and how they performed against American and Israeli armies.

    That, is all the proof you need about which kind of social hierarchy is stronger and better.

    Remember Thermopylae? The warfare of the Greeks was based upon extremely well armored hoplites working as a team. The Persian Empire had conscript armies that were lightly armored. The Greeks valued individuals enough to armor them in expensive linen armor and large apsis shields. The Persians believed in “there is a quality to quantity all on its own”.

    International cabals like the UN and their enablers somehow think that just because you own a lot of sex slaves, that this means you have created a strong social network for the progress of humanity. That just isn’t true.

    If an individual can’t make it on his own, then sure as hell a society of such individuals won’t be able to make it on their own.

    Any fully healthy society based upon a hierarchy can only be made stronger if the individuals in it become stronger. The way the UN and their people have fixed it up, stronger individuals that can defend themselves and tell the UN to f off somehow make the larger society weaker. Certainly it makes it harder for the UN to pick up starving children in their vans, of course, but there is something particularly wrong about a society that gets weaker the stronger its individuals become.

    In response to Tap, why wouldn’t the rich and wealthy want the poor and more populous to gain in power? Sure, there are some reasons the rich and powerful may work towards that end, but few are in the World Bank. They don’t want to upset the status quo by actually helping poorer nations. Where would they take their vacations then?

    The World Bank recently kicked out a do gooder reformist, after all. These kinds of people have every interest in making sure that there is a need for parasites such as them.

  5. Danny Lemieux says

    I think that so much of this boils down to the insufferable need of so many people to feel in control of the lives of others while fattening their own bank accounts, YM.

  6. greg says

    Aside from Earl, it doesn’t appear that Tap, Danny or the other poster read any more of the article than Book’s misleading headline; but being conservative, a disinclination to aquire information is to be expected from you.

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