This blog started out as a companion piece to my book, Musings from the Christian Left (excerpts of which can be found in the July 2004 link) and to support a planned radio show. Now, its simply a long term writing project from a Christian Left Libertarian perspective (meaning I often argue for liberty within the (Catholic) Church, rather than liberty because the church takes care of a conservative view of morality.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Focussing on Africa

In the Fiscal Times, my old colleague, Bruce Bartlett, summarizes what has been written recently on economics and development in the motherland. You can read his summary on http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Blogs/2010/07/07/Bartletts-Notations-Focus-on-Africa.aspx Many of the articles he summarized highlighted the population policy impacts on African development, with the usual connotation that development demands controlling population. I commented on the site. What Bruce did not address, and I did, is how this all links to development policy that is made in this town. You may hear an echo between my comments and the Vatican's stance against population control in the recent encyclical Caritas in Veritate. That echo is intentional. You can read the comments there or you can keep reading and leave your comments below.

Africa v. OEDC is largely improving because OEDC is in the crapper. I quarrel with the view that rising populations are a bad thing in a subsistence economy. Indeed, having an excess of people is historically a precursor to industrialization. Eliminating family planning policies would likely help Africa in the long term. Chinese workers are begining to demand higher wages and consumer products. Indian workers will likely soon follow suit, although there is much Indian labor that is still untapped. The global south has much potential for industrialization, particularly Africa. Indeed, Buckminster Fuller's dreams of automated factories and Nicholas Kelso's dream of two-factor income won't be realized as long as there are low wage labor markets which are untapped.

A final note: the other reason family planning policies for Africa should be considered as tenuous is that one day someone will tell the President that they are directed at his relatives and others that look like him - not for their benefit but because they are considered inconvenient. If he gets that message, expect the family planning budget for Africa to sink - especially if Obama shames Gates and Buffett into defunding them - or raises their taxes enough so that they can no longer afford to do so (and takes family planning off of the list of legitimate charities).

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