Originally a blog post by Bernie from the blog Planck’s Constant.
What I'm about to say will sound so outrageous that I have to preface my article by saying this is no satire. I mean every word: let the Africans die. And not because I am insensitive to the lives of all those poor starving and dying children but because my heart breaks over it.
If you googled today you might have noticed this red ribbon signifying World Aids Day. Actually, AIDS today is mainly an African problem. We are told that over a hundred million people will die from it over the next 25 years. But preventing these people from dying now will only exacerbate the problem. 25 years from now we will be told that 300 million people will die from AIDS during the next 25 years. It's time we stopped making Africa more miserable through our good intentions.
Despite the best efforts of Nature to keep the population of Africa down through AIDS, droughts, earthquakes, famine, and disease, Africa is now home to 915 million miserable souls (1), three times the population it had in 1950. Despite an unprecedented international aid effort in the past 25 years, more Ethiopians are starving now than in 1984. (2)
Even wars have not helped reduce the population of Africa in any significant degree.
So what's wrong? How about stop sending money and food to Africa altogether?
In 1950 there were 1.5 Africans for every American. Now there are 2.7 Africans for every American. So what is the result of all those years of "helping" Africa? Americans today have to donate almost twice as much to keep Africans from starving. And despite declining population growth rates for the rest of the world, by 2050 there will be 1,937,368,460 Africans versus 419 million Americans (3). Hey, everybody, do the math. If we keep helping, by 2050 there will be 70 million Africans dying every year and the world will be blaming us for not doing enough. The more we help, the more Africans there will be, the more suffering there will be, the more we will be blamed for it.
Save the Children helped hundreds of thousands of children to survive 30 years ago in Sub-Saharan Africa. The result? More than a million children dying each year in the first 28 days of life (4).
I estimate that for every child we rescue in Africa, we consign 10 to perpetual poverty and suffering, not counting another 5 that die before they are one year old.
The best strategy is to do nothing. Take a public relations hit for a few years until a few hundred million Africans die off and eventually there will be just enough food produced locally to feed the local populations without any help from the colonial or imperial powers at all, thank you.
And oh yes, stop food subsidies in the US. Africans can now buy milk, sugar and wheat cheaper from the USA than to produce it locally so they don't. Or to be more accurate, they can't. Who would buy milk from Mugamba for 50 cents a quart when they can get it for half the price from America, even with shipping thrown in? How will local growers ever become big enough to feed their own population when Africa is buying food instead of growing it? While we like to think that milk subsidies keep the price of milk low in the US, in actual fact, the subsidy kills off the local farmer in Africa. Milk is no cheaper here and we only made more Africans dependent on us for future food purchases (5).,(6)
It's unbelievable how wrong we can be when we try to do the noble and generous thing. Sometimes it's kinder to be cruel. Ignore the guilt all the bleeding hearts are trying to make you feel. Be satisfied that for every dollar you do not send to Save the Children or Make Poverty History you are saving a future life.
If a cure for AIDS was found tomorrow, and offered to every African nation free of charge, the growth of the disease would scarcely be checked, let alone reversed.
It sounds dreadful to say it, but if the entire African continent dissolves into a seething maelstrom of disease, famine and brutality, that’s just too damn bad. We have better things to do--sometimes, you just have to say, "Can’t do anything about it.
BBC News, Ethiopia: More aid, more hunger still
Save The Children, 22 Nov 2006, More Than a Million African Babies Still Die in the First Month of Life
Up to half a million African babies die on the day they are born – most at home and uncounted. According to the report, Liberia has the world’s highest newborn mortality rate at 66 deaths per 1,000 births compared to less than 2 deaths per 1,000 births in Japan and 6 deaths per 1,000 births in Latvia. Half of Africa’s 1.16 million newborn deaths occur in just five countries – Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda. Nigeria alone has over 255,000 newborn deaths each year.
Guardian, Don't make poverty permanent
Seventy percent of the population in poor countries work in agriculture and millions have seen their livelihoods devastated by western agri-business dumping subsidised products - such as corn, rice, sugar and wheat - on local markets.
Most of these subsidies are not paid to small farmers in Europe and the US but to large-scale farming operations and rich corporations.
Michael Williams -- Master of None,
Africa is SNAFU
Much of the economic problem stems from the fact that the average African has no way to make money. Just about all they can do is farm, but there's no one to buy their products because both Europe and America heavily subsidize their farmers and impose large tariffs on the foods Africans could grow, like sugar. Norman Borlaug -- father of the Green Revolution and savior of more than a billion lives -- is convinced that Africa could grow food for the world if its people were politically free to do so.