There is no such thing as a free lunch.

Posts from — April 2009

The Case for Doing Nothing

Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron on how your government effed it all up and how it is continuing to eff it up:

April 30, 2009   No Comments

Reagan Was Right

Ever see the Barack Obama “Hope” poster by the artist Shepard Fairey?  I like the “right” one better:

Hope, or Right?

Get it on a t-shirt here:

April 19, 2009   2 Comments

Dambisa Moyo

She was born in Zambia, educated at Harvard and Oxford, and she worked for Goldman Sachs and The World Bank. And now she believes that it’s high time to cut off aid to Africa – within 5 years. I recently listened to Moyo’s appearance on NPR’s On Point with Tom Ashbrook. Her ideas are radical but they make perfect sense to me. Here are some points I picked up from the show:

  • Most current aid to Africa is open-ended and without conditions – leads to indefinite dependence on foreign governments
  • Only 20% of aid money actually gets to the intended recipients, due to corruption and inefficiencies in distribution.
  • African governments are not accountable to Africans, but to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and foreign governments.
  • Total foreign aid since 1960 has reached $1 trillion.
  • African governments must provide infrastructure, education, health care – reliance on foreign governments to provide these services will at the same time damage the long-term ability of African governments to do the same.
  • Foreign aid has some benefits when it comes to disease treatment (malaria, AIDS/HIV), but it does not produce JOBS, which are the essential component to long-term economic development.
  • Foreign aid mostly creates jobs for westerners, but not for Africans.
  • Free cash disincentives Afircans to work and produce, and for governments to take responsibility.
  • We know what works: India, Chile, Botswana, China, South Africa – these countries did not rely heavily on foreign aid but rather had accountable governments which embraces free market principles.
  • No country in the history of the world has achieved long-term economic development by relying on the amount of aid that African countries do.

Also she has a new book coming out, entitled Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa.

April 14, 2009   1 Comment

Milton Friedman

A couple of months ago, I read Milton Friedman’s landmark book, Free to Choose.

Milton Friedman

It may be a bit of an unnecessary comparison, but Free to Choose is revealing in the same way that the book Freakonomics is revealing when the author exposes the data – it just makes perfect sense. Free to Choose is like that. All of the issues in the world that most good people care about – poverty, education, prosperity, freedom – are discussed in this book. And after reading the book, it must be clear to any rational human being, that most of the attempts that federal government has made to address these issues, has done little good, and has likely made any problems far worse than they would have been had the government done nothing.

Since reading the book, I’ve also viewed some of the Free to Choose videos that preceded it, to which you can find links at this site:

Milton Friedman died in 2006, at the age of 94. It’s too bad he couldn’t have lived another few years to witness what is going on today. I’d like to hear his thoughts.

April 4, 2009   No Comments