Wednesday, 16 January 2013

How Much Help is Too Much?

Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime. -- Chinese proverb

Afghanistan. Libya. Mali.

The names and locations of these and other countries have become common knowledge not for their culture or tourism potential, but because of war.  And the fact that other more powerful countries have stepped in to "help" them with their upheavals.  I used to think that it was a good thing for the more liberal-minded countries to step in and provide arms and troops to help other countries become more stable and usher in a "new era of democracy".

Now, I'm not so sure.

The United States and many European countries are approaching financial ruin.  Can they really afford to be "helping" other countries any more?  Is it feasible to continue to send money, armaments, and troops to places where they might not necessarily be doing any long-term good?  Some people are saying to bring the troops and resources home and let those other countries sort things out themselves.  We have no business interfering in their domestic affairs.

My grandmother actually used to laugh at those Christian Children's Fund commercials.  You know the ones: ten cents a day will help a child somewhere in Africa to go to school or have access to medication.  She would say there were similar money drives by the churches when she was a child. "Help the starving children in Africa."  Well, nothing has changed in the last hundred years because the children in Africa are still starving despite all the aid that is being sent there.

It's time to stop throwing money and resources at the problems, and teach people to deal with things more effectively on their own.  We have enough of our own problems to take care of instead of worrying about everyone else's.

1 comment:

  1. Afghanistan, they should never have gone in. It is the umptieth installment in The Great Game. Have you read Flashman in the Great Game? If not, hilarious series of historical novels, by George MacDonald Fraser. Libya, they should have left it alone. Mali, I am not so sure. Of course Mali is the consequence of flooding the region with weapons after the Libya thing. ARRGH.