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Thread: A 'Marshall Plan' for Africa/SE Asia

  1. #1

    A 'Marshall Plan' for Africa/SE Asia

    "Europe's requirements are so much greater than her present ability to pay that she must have substantial additional help or face economic, social, and political deterioration of a very grave character." - G Marshall

    If we substitute Europe for Africa don't we have the same problem, and therefore, I beleive a similar solution could be applied. The SE Asian areas could also be included in this plan although this area has obviously benefited (Please don't think i'm being flippant. I use the term in its loosest sense, and realise that at this time it is not neccesarily seen as a benefit, but beleive it will go some way to economic regeneration for the future) from the altruistic donations of the European and US public and their Governments.

    Comments please...

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    While I think the US and other western countries have an obligation to help develop Africa and SE Asia I think that the colonial history, a lack of national identity (more emphasis on tribal/ethnic), and lack of institutional capacity of the government and civil society as well as ongoing war (e.g. sri lanka, indonesia, etc, etc) makes a 'marshal plan' a simplistic solution for these nations.

    Returning a country to a previous standard of development after a calamity is easier than bringing a country to a level of development it has yet to achieve.

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    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Don't spend the first dollar/euro.

    When the Marshall Plan sought to rebuild Europe, it was providing assistance to ressurect an advanced political and economic structure that had been reduced by war. That is not the case in most of Africa or parts of Asia. These are countries that have only recently emerged from outside rule and subsistence economies. Any money we spend is wasted until they can stabilize themselves, and that cannot happen when we are propping them up artificially. We simply encourage them to (barely) live beyond their means.

    Contrast these countries to China. China did not receive foreign aid. It may be a communist dictatorship, but it has survived and addressed its problems on its own. That includes population control, a policy it adopted knowing that it could not support more people. The recent growth of its economy has not been due to foreign aid, but foreign investment. China exploited its resources (especially people) to encourage its own development. Kudos to them.
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    Even as an African-American, I'd have to agree somewhat with Cardinal. I think the US should take an active political role in Africa, and encourage some political reorganization and nation-building, with basic foreign aid; but an African/Asian Marshall Plan would be like colonization to people who've had too much of that.

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    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Interesting discussion on NPR this morning. Some crackpot who wrote a book was arguing that all of the "rich" countries should forgive the debt of the "poor" countries. If we don't they should just write it off. Just who should be responsible for the debts these countries accumulate, and what they spend the money on?
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    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    Interesting discussion on NPR this morning. Some crackpot who wrote a book was arguing that all of the "rich" countries should forgive the debt of the "poor" countries. If we don't they should just write it off. Just who should be responsible for the debts these countries accumulate, and what they spend the money on?
    I think most economists believe that some level of debt forgiveness is appropriate. A lot of countries were driven into debt by corrupt regimes and don't see the levels of development necessary to manage their debts. A program of some debt forgiveness tied to the presence open, fair, democratic elections and fair, open markets would be a great idea.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Breed's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    Interesting discussion on NPR this morning. Some crackpot who wrote a book was arguing that all of the "rich" countries should forgive the debt of the "poor" countries. If we don't they should just write it off. Just who should be responsible for the debts these countries accumulate, and what they spend the money on?
    There is an argument that it is in our corporate interests that undeveloped countries remain poor. Undeveloped countries having massive amounts of debt have a role in artificially deflating their standard of living, which reduces wages... which makes them more attractive as a workforce to globalized countries.

    Part of the problem is that during the Cold War, we funneled loads of loan and seed money into countries that didn't have the checks and balances to make sure the money was not embezzled. Unfortunately, the same corruptive influences are still in many undeveloped countries today.

    I'm not sure what the best solution is, but my personal philosophy is that we shouldn't even entertain the notion of providing anything to any country that doesn't have free speech and some type of democratic process (to address corruption). But on the other hand, when you have a disaster of such a size ans scope, it's difficult to simply turn away from those who need help.
    Every time I look at a Yankees hat I see a swastika tilted just a little off kilter.
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