Thursday, March 16, 2006

God Money Let's Go Dancing On the Backs Of the Bruised

Via Body And Soul: Bush's Fake Aid.
...the MCC [Millennium Challenge Corporation] was dominated by a pro-business orientation. In fact, buried in the MCC's own charter is a statement committing the program to "achieve market-driven economic growth." A review of the program's compacts reveals that the MCC has favored projects closely linked to the private sector - especially those that benefit commercial deals and investors. Rather than funding projects that directly aid the poor - building schools and hospitals, providing electricity and clean water to rural villages - the MCC takes a trickledown approach.

It gets worse.
Poor nations are being told, in effect, that projects won't be considered for funding unless they can generate a profit. "Every indication they get from the MCC is that this is about economic growth," says Asma Lateef, senior policy analyst for the aid organization Bread for the World. "You have to yield economic rates of return in three to five years." But for many impoverished nations, such profitability is simply impossible. "In such poor countries, you're not going to be able to guarantee things like economic growth," says Patrick Cronin, a former U.S. AID official who helped create the MCC. "You might lose money [on projects like health and education], but you'll help people. But if you're used to making investments, you may be biased toward that instead."

I hate being the Voice of Reason, but just this once I'll say this calmly, teeth gritted but I'm calm. Ready? Here goes.

If the poor could turn a profit they wouldn't be starving to death. Further: if helping the poor were a profitable endeavor everyone would do it. For profit.

Read the whole article. And no shortcuts. I've got a chandelier to swing from and you can bet your boots when I get back there'll be a quiz.


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