|Calling the tune|
At the Pacific Island Forum in Auckland Johnny (paying-the-piper) Howard
has indicated a new approach to giving aid to failed Pacific
nations by linking aid money to 'good governance' - specifically, reducing
corruption. Johnny has realized that in the political climate of 2003 it is
acceptable to say that much of the aid money given to corrupt tin-pot pseudo-democracies has been
Giving money to governments who have
squandered their entire nation's wealth, and expecting them to spend it wisely
may seem like foolishness to anyone who has thought it through, but in the
past, the few voices of reason were drowned out by the many amid popular calls
for 'self determination' of our 'less fortunate' neighbors.
Reducing corruption is a good start - corruption undermines private property
rights - the key to production and prosperity. Unfortunately Johnny's
vision of 'good governance' is unprecedented high taxes, which undermine growth and
prosperity just as much as other kinds of theft.
But Johnny's plans don't just stop there. He is also pushing for unification of
the pacific nations - a kind of United States of the Pacific. All proudly using
Australian currency, and engaged permanently on the Australian welfare tit.
The only sensible comment came from Fiji's representative who said that
Australia had the right to attach whatever conditions she liked on aid money,
but equally that Fiji had the right to refuse that aid. He appears to be the
only man in the Pacific who understands the free market, and its relationship
with corruption and his bank balance.
In corrupt countries, politicians get kickbacks (one of the perks of office).
They get benefit from the kick-backs (money in the bank), and benefit from
Australian aid money (it buys electoral pork). If these two
become negatively linked (corruption kickbacks means no electoral pork) they
must choose one or the other. Johnny must make sure his corruption-reduction
demands lose the politicians less money than they can get from the extra
Johnny can win this one, but only over a long period of time (like several
decades), by reducing the corruption bit by bit, continually waving the
carrot and only occasionally bringing out the stick for the worst of the
That's why today Johnny stepped back from the brink, and denied any
direct link between corruption and aid cutbacks. He's also been quick
to insist that the new push 'isn't neo-colonialism, it is just just common
sense'. Actually Johnny - they are both.
He who pays the piper calls the tune, and Johnny's demanding we all march
to the beat of 'good governance'. If only he wasn't paying the piper with other
UPDATE: 2003-08-16 19:00
Money truly does talk! Johnny (do-ya-wannit-or-not) Howard got his way and
had Australian Greg Urwin appointed as the Pacific Island Forum's new
secretary-general. Common sense would suggest that Australia (not normally
considered a Pacific Island) wouldn't be eligible for this position, but the corrupt little tin-pot
countries pulled the forelock and succumbed to the man with the cheque-book.
In a surreal twist, Johnny has described the changing emphasis as
for these struggling nations.
Ahh, the things you have to do for money.