Villagers With Pitchforks

The flaming torches were delayed in transit, sorry.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Message from Eli

Chris and I are so proud of daughter Eli, and here's a little part of why:

The US has the highest GDP in the world. So why is it dead last in the ranking for donors of official development assistance to developing states? We're talking last behind: Italy, Austria, Japan, Greece, Portugal, the list goes on... 16 more slots till you hit #1, Norway, which gives .92%. Good on 'em. Most Americans absolutely believe we hand out 3-5 times as much aid as we do. In fact most Ameicans believe we are leading donors - we aren't, not even close. Check the accounting - oftentimes when officials claim they're increasing aid, it only makes up for a fraction of the aid they have previously cut (without publicising this). One shining example is Bush's Africa claims - he claims to have tripled aid to Africa. Yeah, after he cut it in half, and then pathetically failed, quietly, in the end. to actually deliver even half of what he promised to deliver. (See Sachs, "The Development Challenge" in Foreign Affairs March/April 2005, for further info on this).

In the worlds of Jayne, "half of nothing, is, lemme see, nothing into nothing, carry the nothing, is... nothing."! I find this despicable - and what is more, though we didn't know, I didn't know, they never let us know - I think it's time we did know, and time we stop letting it happen. It's morally wrong.

Why, despite promising first in the '70s and subsequently over and over again has the US failed to budge an inch toward meeting the UN target development assistance goals of 0.7% of GNI - hovering currently around 0.15% (In fact we've slipped backwards over the years)? Sachs has a bunch of diplomatic and logical fancy pants reasons why - but it boils down to this: we're a bunch of complacent greedy bastards, and we need to do better.

I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but our aid has resulted in less than 6 cents per African - 6 cents is diddly, we can do better. So I'm doing better, because I can.

For Yule, she's donating goats to Africa in our name. That's great with us.


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