Week 9: Sachs’ vs Moyo

In Chapter 15 of The End of Poverty, Sachs’ suggests that the wealthier nations help out the countries in extreme poverty. He states that the cost now is likely to be small compared to any relevant measure—income, taxes, the cost of further delay, and the benefits from acting. Sachs’ explains that the tasks can be achieved within the limits that the rich world has already committed: 0.7 percent of the gross national product of the high income world, a mere 7 cents out of every $10 in income. I do agree with him. I think that it is important for the wealthy to help out the poor. The amount of money it would cost is so minimal, that it should be expected for the privileged people to help out those in need. The world needs to work together in order to fight off the current problems and help to reach the Millennium Development Goals.

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Yes, I think that his suggestion is sustainable. However, I think there would have to be an outline of exactly how much the rich would have to donate, and a possibility for growth in the developing countries. It would be difficult to convince some of the wealthier parties because people in the world can be greedy and less likely to share the wealth. In order to have a convincing argument, an ample amount of information would need to be presented in an orderly way specifically pointing out the details of the future plans. Once this is achieved, the wealthy would continue to donate until sustainable growth can be measured in the suffering countries.

The country I am focusing on is Zambia. Their main needs consist of other social infrastructure and health and population. The United States is by far the largest donor to this country.

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In 2003-2010 time period, Zambia had the highest annual average poverty rate at 68.5%.

However, Zambia has had strong growth in the last decade and the country has reached lower middle-income status. Even though the country has made positive steps towards economic growth, 60% of the nation still lies below the poverty line and 42% are considered to be in extreme poverty.

In Chapter 16, Sachs’ mentions “myths and magic bullets.” These myths include:

  • Money down the drain
  • Aid programs would fail in Africa
  • The absence of democracy leads to corruption in Africa
  • Africa lacks modern values
  • Market economies outperform centrally planned economies, Africa needs economic freedom
  • The AIDS pandemic has led to long standing assumptions about sexual licentiousness and irresponsibility in Africa that has led many to presume that a crisis of culture and morality lies at the core of Africa’s problems
  • Helping Africans would lead to a population explosion
  • The remaining problems of extreme poverty will take care of themselves because economic development spreads everywhere
  • Social Darwinist myth, holds that economic progress is the story of competition and survival of the fittest

I have heard of these myths, and learned more in depth about them as I advance in this course. I agree with his evaluation of the myths. I think these are reasons that the population is coming up with in order to make an excuse as to why more help isn’t being offered to Africa. Sachs’ states that eliminating poverty at the global scale is a global responsibility that will have global benefits, and I think this sums up the defense to all of these myths.

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Thinking globally refers to the fact that not one country alone can help achieve the goals we have to fight against poverty. Everyone needs to be aware of the problems going on in Africa, and we need to world together in order to improve the situation occurring in the impoverished nations. A myth that would combat these conventional rich world wisdoms about Africa that could be counteracted by thinking globally would be that extreme poverty will take care of themselves because economic development will spread everywhere. Because this “rising tide” does not reach most countries in Africa, due to being land locked, it makes it much harder for them to create sustainable growth. These countries will need some amount of help initially in order to improve their current situations. We can achieve this by thinking globally. We need to be more aware of the situation and geographic location of these African countries in order to make progress in economic growth. The countries that are not in poverty can help them out by making more opportunities to export and import goods to and from these landlocked areas.

In Dead Aid, Moyo identifies objections about China’s involvement on governance and human rights. She mentions the Western liberal consensus, who believe that it is their responsibility to look after Africa. The underlying political fear that China will use Africa as a stepping stone on relentless march towards world aggrandizement was also mentioned. China’s record on governance and human rights, and the suggestion that Africans are getting a raw deal. However, the Chinese trumped a World Bank deal for aid to Nigeria by providing $9 billion dollars in order to improve the railroads. In nearly all African countries surveyed, more people view China’s influence positively. I think China’s approach to invest with no strings attached is productive in the short term, but these developing countries need to know they are being held accountable for these donations. The developing countries need to understand that this is not going to be something they should depend on, and should make sure they are using their resources correctly in order to create sustainable growth on their own.

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