|Aid trickle becomes a flood|
The word 'tsunami' normally conjures up images of fat chicks jumping into
swimming pools, but Mother Nature had the last laugh on this one. The last few
days have been an education for many, and a
reminder for many more that even in the age of nature's conquest, nature is to
be respected and even feared.
Baring the four riders of the apocalypse (pestilence, plague, famine and
war) the tsunami in the Indian Ocean has to be the worst human disaster on
record. How could we have missed this? All those scientists who found
themselves in need of funding after the end of the cold war pursued other
avenues of alarm - global
warming or catastrophic meteor strike: why didn't anyone think of a plain
old tsunami after a run-of-the-mill (albeit rather powerful) earthquake?
Maybe 100,000 people drowning in filthy sea water from a natural disaster
just wasn't sexy enough.
But as horrible as major catastrophes are, they frequently don't compare to
the horrid political
stench in the aftermath. A cynical view of capitalism is that all
human suffering provides an opportunity. The complimentary view of course, is
that capitalism is a system which turns suffering into opportunity. As
distasteful as this sounds to to those at the other end of the political
spectrum, there is no shortage of 'social justice' proponents who have an
uncanny ability to turn other people's suffering to their own benefit too.
Kofi Annan, head of the global public service,
had a pretty bad year. Just 8 days ago he described 2004 as his "annus
horribilis", and said that he was glad that it was almost over. 2004 saw
(once again) the clear demonstration of the UN's ineptnes and corruption. But even worse
for Kofi was that his own son was shown to be 'involved' in the Iraqi
oil-for-food bribery scandals ('involved' is UN-speak for 'financial gaining
from', which in turn is a nice way of saying 'criminal').
After fighting calls for his resignation, Kofi got the best Christmas
present he could hope for - 100,000 rotting third-world corpses, and the
perfect reason to call for greater subsidies from the first-world to the
'developing' nations who are now even more 'in need'. 'This is an
unprecedented global catastrophe which requires an unprecedented global
response'. Right - just like AIDS, global warming, world poverty and
Coalitions of the Willing ignoring the UN.
Already he is calling for not just short-term relief to save lives, but
longer term 'donations' to
aid the 'reconstruction' of devastated areas. That means more money flowing to
the UN; more power to the centralized wannabe world government; and greater
justification for an international taxation regime to reward
need. (ie transfer money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in
Kofi is back from the precipice, back in his element, and his ability to
take a long term view rivals that of any venture capitalist investing his own
And he has support. We already have people complaining that governments
(particularly the Australian and US governments) haven't been
generous enough with donations. Your ABC reports:
The Federal Opposition is calling on the Government to match donations
Australians have made to the tsunami relief effort.
OK, so for every donation you make willingly, they want to force you to donate that much
again whether you want to or not. Talk about rewarding generosity!
Foreign aid damages the local economy, and makes it more dependent on
future aid money. Short term, organized aid will save lives. Long term aid will
ensnare the local population in a more severe poverty trap.
To every private corporation or individual who voluntarily donated their
own money to help these victims - good on you. To everyone who voluntarily
donated someone else's money - shame on you. Compassion is when you give
your own money. When you give someone else's money it's theft. No matter how worthy you
regard the cause.