Wednesday, June 08, 2005

double or nothing



The BBC puts it like this …

Bush and Blair in Africa pledge

Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George W Bush are meeting in Washington to talk about Mr Blair's relief plan for Africa.

President Bush is set to pledge $674m (£350m) to fight hunger in Ethiopia and Eritrea - a figure that aid groups say is a "drop in the ocean".


While The Washington Post leads with this …

Bush, Blair Work on Plan for African Aid

President Bush on Tuesday pledged to work with British Prime Minister Tony Blair to forgive the debt of developing African nations.

Standing alongside Blair, Bush also defended a stance on global warming that is at odds with the views of the British and many other American allies.


Now, having seen Britain and America pat themselves on the back through the media, check out this page from allafrica.com – in particular the section pertaining to aid and assistance - and see how far down the page the news about two of the world’s most powerful leaders discussing future support for their continent is positioned. It comes about twentieth as I look at the page right now.

The words “heard it all before” spring to mind.

Doubling aid really is the very least the G8 can do.

22 comments:

James Howard Shott said...

I'd be interested to see what other countries have given, like France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Scotland, Belgium, Russia, Belarus, Hungary, Croatia, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Greenland, Japan, Syria, Saudia Arabia, Egypt, Iran, Kuwait, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Venezuela, Australia, Canada, to name a few.

Have all of them given something? If not, why not?

Do all of them equal the U.S. contribution? Double it?

The U.S. could give all it had, and it wouldn't satisfy some people.

JL Pagano said...

Once again, Mr Shott, you paint the USA as the merciful giver merely by use of gross figures, when it seems to make much more sense to use per capita data to compare countries, don't you think?

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) goes even further by comparing total aid to per capita wealth.

And, since you would be interested to see them...

The following are the figures of Official Development Assistance (ODA) as a percentage of Gross National Income (GNI) for various countries in 2003.

(all figures %)
Australia 0.20
Belgium 0.60
Denmark 0.84
France 0.41
Germany 0.28
Ireland 0.39
Netherlands 0.81
Norway 0.92
Japan 0.20
Canada 0.24
UK 0.34
EU countries combined 0.35
G7 countries 0.21
Non-G7 countries 0.46
Average country effort : 0.41

United States of America 0.15

Would it be too much to ask the USA to double its proportion to 0.30%???

Or would it be easier to link the OECD with some kind of scandal or other?

Buffalo said...

Charity begins at home. Screw the world.

BlondeSense Liz said...

Hilarious cartoon, BTW.

I watched the clowns on television yesterday as they pretended that the UK was a super power and spewed their nonsense as if that pathetic contribution to Africa was going to help anyone there. Of course the USA couldn't afford to give any more because the USA is spending billions killing Muslims at the moment.

Aside from that, watching bush on tv is such an embarrassment. He shouldn't allowed to speak in public. We northerners were taken back by Clinton speak at first, but he turned out to speak brilliantly and never sounded defensive or condescending. Bush, on the other hand sounds like a dumbass hick who just stepped out of the barn and is trying to defend himself against allegations of cow fucking. The people of Texas are so lovely and he gives such a bad impression. It's like Tony Soprano being a representative of New Jersey. Mortifying.

We have a total moron with no sense of decorum representing the US and sometimes I just want to jump into the parallel universe from which I came.

Buffalo said...

Sounds like a winning idea, Liz

JL Pagano said...

"Charity begins at home. Screw the world."

Way to summarize American foreign policy in seven words, guy!!!

smee said...

http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/19/52/34352584.pdf

Look at Chart 1 just below the list/link you posted. The U.S. contributed 16 1/4 BILLION dollars while still trying to recover from 9/11. Where does Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emerates or Brunei fall on this list? Is the U.S. supposed to place others ahead of it's own? Name one country sends aid to the U.S. poor...

JL Pagano said...

Thanks for your comments everyone.

Smee, I think I already addressed the issue of quantity. The topic of this post is a comparison between contributions of different countries. The only way to do this is to calculate contributions in comparison to the average person's income.

For every $100 an American citizen makes, he/she contributes 15c to Overseas Aid. Increasing that to 30c is hardly "putting other countries ahead of its own". You can see by my list how that compares to the other countries.

You went out of your way to name countries that were not on my list. They too could offer more, but their leaders were not looking for a photo op in a pretense that they were major players on the aid giving stage. All makepovertyhistory.org is asking is that they double their contribution to come somewhere near that committed by the rest of the world.

If 9/11 was so crippling financially, why then has America committed so much money to liberating Iraq?

And finally, I sincerely hope you are not comparing what America considers to be "poor" and what that word means in Africa. Part of America's prosperity was built on the back of slaves transplanted out of Africa. Making an equal contribution to the rest of the world is the least she can do in return.

Buffalo said...

Here's where I'm coming from, Jeff.

As an American that is extremely patriotic and more than a little Nationalistic I am weary of the constant barrage of negative comments directed toward this country, its people and its leaders. This country has made countless contributions in money and lives to others. While I have lived long enough better than to expect gratitude, I do feel the sting of the insults.

And it does get damned old.

JL Pagano said...

And here is where I am coming from, Buffalo.

As a human being, I see how much technology we have created to do incredible things, like putting a man on the moon, curing previously incurable diseases, and splitting the atom.

Despite all these advances, we still accept a situation where some people live in ludicrously unnecessary luxury while others, and I mean others in their millions, can barely manage to feed themselves let alone their starving children who they must watch die before their very eyes, provided they themselves live long enough to do so.

Then I see two world leaders parade themselves in front of the cameras as if they are somehow saviours of mankind with their contributions which are far inferior to that of other nations who can afford it less.

It's not just about money either. The Live Aid experience from the 80's was all about giving a man a fish.

makepovertyhistory.org is more about teaching a man to fish.

When I think of all this it hardens my heart to such an extent that I just don't give a damn if America or any other nation has their feelings hurt by a declaration from outside its borders that it should do more.

In this light, nationalism means nothing to me.

You can't show me a border, but I can show you a grave.

smee said...

What you're asking is the average joe to donate almost a 3rd of their income to aid. That's too much to ask of any blue collar working joe.
What you're not taking into consideration is this: you're thinking in terms of GROSS income. That's income before taxes. The average blue-collar worker is taxed almost a third of their pay. Do the math and allow for housing, food, utility & other bills, medical treatment (as you know we DON'T have national health care) and clothing.
I did not go out of my way to name countries not on the list. Knowing they are rich countries naturally piques my curiousity as to why they are omitted from the list.
And if you don't feel America was crippled financially by 9/11, you're sadly mistaken, but you're fully entitled to your opinion. Just keep in mind, not all of us agree with the vulgar amounts of money being spent on a senseless/needless war in Iraq.
As for implying I am comparing American/poor to African/poor, I feel like this: hunger knows no predjudice. A hungry child is just that, a hungry child. Whether that child is from the Appalacian Mountains or whether that child is from the Zambian Mountains.
No point trying to show you another view on the subject. You'll probably delete my posts anyway.

JL Pagano said...

OK, first, the math.

Out of $100, ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS, I am suggesting Average Joe pledge 30c, yes, THREE DIMES as opposed to the three nickels he gives now. That is not a third of his income, it is a less than a third of one percent.

I do not want to appear patronizing, but the point had to be made.

I am well aware of the other view on the subject.

I am PART of that other view on the subject.

I ate a healthy meal with my two kids only this evening, and what's more, I'm not exactly planning to hop on a plane tomorrow morning for Africa to lend a hand.

What I am talking about here is political will.

There are millions around the world, just like me, who stay away from ballot boxes because they claim to be sick of politicians and corruption and corporate back-handers.

If those millions want something to believe in, something they can do to make a difference in the world, then demanding of their leaders a small increase in aid to places like Africa (yes, I recognise it's not just Africa, but that is where hunger remains at its worst) is a way they can make that difference.

All opinions are welcome on this blog - not once have I deleted a comment from it, nor would I unless someone was downright offensive.

Thank you all for expressing your opinions here.

James Howard Shott said...

Which country's total donation provides the most help, the United States (.15 per cap) or, for example, Norway (.90 per cap)?

JL Pagano said...

It is not 15c per cap, it is 15c out of every $100 an average American earns. An average Norwegian pays 90c from every $100 he/she earns.

You seem to be implying that it is ok for the Average American to contribute one sixth of what his Scandanavian counterpart does simply by virtue of the fact that his/her country has more citizens?

If you have a super-tanker full of water and I just have a gallon, and someone who has no water asks us for a drink, and you contribute two pints to my one, does that mean you have been twice as much of a help to that person? Consider the element of sacrifice involved in the help.

The stats give one message and one message only - the rich countries can do more. The reason their leaders don't is that there's no votes in it.

That fact may very soon change.

James Howard Shott said...

Sorry I missed the stat.

"You seem to be implying that it is ok for the Average American to contribute one sixth of what his Scandanavian counterpart does simply by virtue of the fact that his/her country has more citizens?" You have it wrong. The average American is not involved in the contributions of the U.S. government. The government may give an amount equal to one-sixth of Noway's citizen, but that is the government's contribution. The American people give lots of their own money to causes all around the world that you have neglected to report.

"you contribute two pints to my one, does that mean you have been twice as much of a help to that person?" Absolutely. Two pints of water go twice as far as one pint. Now, you may want to press the issue and say that because I have more I ought to contribute more. But that is just your opinion.

I am not the least bit ashamed of the billions of dollars the U.S. government gives away in aid, and I know that that amount is only the government's share of the total U.S. contribution.

Smee said: "The U.S. contributed 16 1/4 BILLION dollars while still trying to recover from 9/11." That ought to make you think a little. And by the way, can you tell me of any nation that gave money to the U.S. after 9-11? Or after the 4 hurricanes hit Florida last year? Or ever?

I thought not.

JL Pagano said...

makepovertyhistory.org is about putting pressure on government leaders to both increase aid and reduce if not cancel debt to Third World countries. Individual contributions are not part of this debate, though I do notice you neglect to include the fact that other countries have also had substantial donations from private sources.

I chose to ignore Smee's comment re:9/11 because it was a proposterous comparison. Tragic though the New York atrocity was, Africa experiences 9/11-style casualty reports EVERY DAY. And not by terrorist attack or freak weather storms either - not by things that happen in a flash and don't come back the next day.

These casualties happen because greedy nations came in, took what they wanted, divided the locals to keep them under control, and took off leaving warlords in charge with no hope for any semblance of an equal distribution of resources.

Now those same greedy nations are going to meet in Edinburgh on July 2nd to effectively give the finger to the rest of the world.

As I said in response to Buffalo, I do not care if America has her feelings hurt by suggestions that she should do more to help. This is not about her and her pride. It's about a continent full of starving people, and what the rest of the world plans to do about it.

James Howard Shott said...

A whole lot of Africa's problems are caused by other Africans, not the least of which is corruption with all the aid dollars that the U.S. and other nations send. Much of the starvation/poverty in Africa that has so firmly gripped your consciousness is African-induced and can be cured by Africans.

Helping others is a good thing. When people help themselves, that is better. If people are unwilling to help themselves, and to the extent that the problems are caused by the deliberate actions of other Africans, aid money is a wasteful and harmful idea.

I don't believe anyone made an issue of America's supposed hurt feelings, except you, Mr. Pagano. It's easy enough for you and others to call names when the U.S. fails to give as much as you think is appropriate to a cause that you think is important. If Africa's problems are so important to you, why don't you urge the Irish government to do more?

And by the way, among those greedy nations who raped Africa and left warlords in charge you won't find the U.S. Furthermore, those warlords are Africans. Why don't you take up the tradegies of Africa with them? Convincing them to not rape, kill and otherwise oppress their own people would be a huge step toward fixing Africa's problems.

The only people who have the right to criticize the U.S. and it's policies are U.S. citizens. Others may carp and whine if they like, but it's the money from U.S. citizens that funds foreign aid and the other actions of my government. And frankly, U.S. citizens who actually live and work in the U.S. rank higher on my list than those who don't.

JL Pagano said...

A whole lot of Africa's problems are caused by other Africans

Iraq's problems were caused by other Iraqis.

And by the way, among those greedy nations who raped Africa and left warlords in charge you won't find the U.S.

Where did she get her slaves from then? Do we have differing history books?

I don't believe anyone made an issue of America's supposed hurt feelings, except you, Mr. Pagano.

I believe this whole hostile reaction to my original post is a result of criticism directed at the USA, which seemingly one is not allowed to do, wherever they come from.

If Africa's problems are so important to you, why don't you urge the Irish government to do more?

Indeed there is an outcry here in Ireland, as our government's contribution of 0.38% falls well below the 0.7% we committed ourselves to. If you read the original post, however, you will see the topic is a photo-op availed of by Messrs Bush & Blair in attempt to make it look like they were making a worthwhile contribution when it appears they can do much more. The Irish Prime Minister (or "Taoiseach" as is his proper title) at least admits the shortcomings.

And frankly, U.S. citizens who actually live and work in the U.S. rank higher on my list than those who don't.

That is your list which under the Constitution you are entitled to keep.

James Howard Shott said...

Iraq's problems were caused by other Iraqis.

Yes, I remember. He was the one who used WMD against his own people and was suspected by the world of continuing to produce them. He was the one who supported and encouraged terrorism. He was the one who attempted to assassinate a President of the United States. He was the one who repeatedly defied U.N. resolutions.


Where did she get her slaves from then? Do we have differing history books?

Different books? Apparently. The slaves were first sold into slavery by other Africans, and transported to America by slave traders who primarily were not colonists.


I believe this whole hostile reaction to my original post is a result of criticism directed at the USA, which seemingly one is not allowed to do, wherever they come from.

People are free to criticize whomever they wish, and we are free to not correct the object of that criticism. Criticism from those outside the U.S. carries with it no obligation to follow the suggestions inherent in the criticism. We in the U.S. are, of course, free to respond to any criticism, as you are free to offer it.


Indeed there is an outcry here in Ireland, as our government's contribution of 0.38% falls well below the 0.7% we committed ourselves to. If you read the original post, however, you will see the topic is a photo-op availed of by Messrs Bush & Blair in attempt to make it look like they were making a worthwhile contribution when it appears they can do much more. The Irish Prime Minister (or "Taoiseach" as is his proper title) at least admits the shortcomings.

So, in your mind a worthwhile contribution is only worthwhile if it meets your expectations? Interesting.



That is your list which under the Constitution you are entitled to keep.

Thank you.

JL Pagano said...

Just one point of information...the 0.70% was an international commitment from the members of The United Nations at a summit in New York in 2000.

So to summarize, starving children gets my goat, and international criticism towards America gets yours.

I wonder which problem the human race can manage to solve first.

Either way, this discussion could go on for ever.

How about we tie up our goats for now.

smee said...

JL Pagano said: "I chose to ignore Smee's comment re:9/11 because it was a proposterous comparison. Tragic though the New York atrocity was, Africa experiences 9/11-style casualty reports EVERY DAY. And not by terrorist attack or freak weather storms either - not by things that happen in a flash and don't come back the next day". Actually, a large part of Africa's casualties ARE from terrorists attacks. Via the Hutu's ethnic cleansing of the Tutsi's, and of the Muslim extremists annililation of anyone considered in need of converting to Islam. Obviously Africa's WEATHER conditions DO come into play, when considering growing crops.


JL Pagano said: "I believe this whole hostile reaction to my original post is a result of criticism directed at the USA, which seemingly one is not allowed to do, wherever they come from". I wasn't being hostile at all. As I said before JL, I'm just trying to show you another side of the story.

James Howard Shott said...

Very well, Mr. P. It's your site, and I wouldn't want to push my luck.