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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Let's give money to dictators, it's always worked before...right?

Kelly McParland at the National Post writes an excellent Column today. She (he?) points out that the assumption at Copenhagen is that poorer countries can be trusted to use the money allotted to them to fight climate change. I don't know about you but I'm not really willing to trust Hugo Chavez with my wallet.

Actually the history of foreign aid has demonstrated that we shouldn't be trusting them with our wallet. Money that was meant to help economic development has routinely been pocketed by tyrants and thugs. So why does anyone think that they can be relied on now?

When history has written the story of Copenhagen it won't be about the environment. It will be about the attempt of dictators to extort money from wealthy democracies.

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on December 17, 2009 | Permalink


I would love to believe that simply giving other countries money would alleviate generalized poverty; but it simply does not work that way. Only wealth creation can alleviate poverty. You don't create wealth by giving away money.

Posted by: Charles | 2009-12-17 6:49:10 AM

This has been one of my main concerns with Kyoto from the start. As if increasing taxes wasn't enough, sending large sums of money - potentially billions a year - to the developing world so that they can build sustainable economies is a horrible idea. The leaders in these countries would receive vast sums of money, but the Kyoto bill has no incentives to use the money correctly, and no sanctions to prevent abuse. They could, as has been shown in the past with foreign aid money and access to credit, buy luxury goods and other prestige items (Swiss bank accounts, Paris apartments, villas in Spain). Their people would suffer, and prevent any attempt to build up their economies.

Whomever came up with this idea is a fool. It must be opposed to the bitter end, no negotiations or compromise. Kyoto is to be rejected without delay. All the banter and rhetoric has been all for nothing.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-12-17 8:48:42 AM

I don't think I've ever met Kelly, but I've heard him on some NP podcasts. Definitely a he.

Posted by: Kalim Kassam | 2009-12-17 11:33:27 AM

I wonder if equalization payments could work on a global scale? It seems to be working in Canada, at least reasonably well. Perhaps the world could start small; say, using the Balkan states on a trial basis. Those states could determine a good equalization scheme to distribute their individual wealth amongst themselves. If that works, maybe the African states could give it a try. Canada could act as advisor. If that works, then equalization could be tried globally. Does anyone think this equalization concept would be a better idea than the Copenhagen idea? If the Copenhagen scheme is adopted, will the Balkan states, for example, be happy with what they get? I think this whole idea of payoffs will backfire with bad consequences.

Posted by: Agha Ali Arkhan | 2009-12-17 2:32:09 PM

@Agha Ali Arkhan:

Copenhagen is Canadian Equalization and Foreign Aid combined.

A guaranteed failure.

How is it you imagine Canadian Equalization and transfers "seems to be working reasonably well"???

What country are YOU from?

In Canada Equalization is a rip off of prosperous provinces in order to foster corruption in, and pay provinces like, Manitoba, Quebec and Nova Scotia to NOT develop economically.

Doing the same on a grander scale via Copenhagen would not only be unwieldy and MORE punitive to regions like Alberta, but would result in exponentially more damaging outcomes.

Posted by: John Collison | 2009-12-17 5:22:02 PM

John Collison: Your argument is unassailable. No one could disagree with you. Oh! They may bitch a lot. But they cannot refute. The socialists have always tried to screw Alberta. Albertans have paid more wealth to support Canada than, say, ...[plug in a province of your choice] Remember the eighteen cent voters who booted Joe Clark? They're still here. They are all over the Liberals and Socialists in Canada. They are tearing down barricades in Copenhagen. They are trying like Hell to get into your wallet and bank account. I hope no one is offended by this post. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Feliz Navidad y Prospero Anno.

Posted by: Agha Ali Arkhan | 2009-12-17 5:54:22 PM

@"Agha Ali Arkhan":

I have no idea what you just said.

At any rate, I am from Manitoba; socialism and corruption in that province is funded by transfers and equalization. Economic development is stifled. Fact.

Posted by: John Collison | 2009-12-17 6:01:07 PM

If you love Canada's social safety net, especially Medicare, then you must oppose Kyoto. Since no one knows how much it will cost, funding for social program funding could be placed at risk. Worst case scenario = no hospitals or schools outside of major cities, and most funding concentrated in southern Ontario where the votes are. Alberta will be the exception - they had the sense to secede beforehand. They're thriving.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-12-17 6:23:15 PM

JC: Equalization? Remember the fighter maintenance contract Manitoba never got even though it was the lowest bidder? Did not the contract go to another province because of political decisions? Perhaps it's not equalization and corruption in the province but something else that stifles economic development. I would hate to see it happen, but perhaps separation and independence could produce marginally better outcomes. And "marginally" means survival. [Bonne Noel]

Posted by: Agha Ali Arkhan | 2009-12-17 8:41:51 PM

if only those greedy western capitalists would give money to Mugabe, he could make the crops grow again.

Posted by: set you free | 2009-12-17 9:05:23 PM

Even if the UN were given permission to run such a program there are two problems. You have correctly identified the problem of corruption in the receiving country. The second problem is with the UN itself. How much of the money collected would be bled off to feed the bugeoning UN bureaucracy?

Posted by: DML | 2009-12-17 10:32:28 PM

@"Agha Ali Arkhan"

Being lowest bidder on government work does not = economic development. Government is not qualified to qualify a bidder, and the work being awarded is already distorted in terms of raison d'etre, allocated budget and other considerations.

I do agree with you that separation is the only logical escape from the welfare/warfare, socialist dumbocracy and tyranny that is the Canadian "confederation".

Removed from the Equalization teat, its economy no longer distorted and displaced by "free" money, even Manitoba would not only survive, but thrive.

Posted by: John Collison | 2009-12-17 11:37:38 PM

JC: Shades of Louis Riel. 1885 may have been a defeat of freedom. If the Dominion had lost the Northwest in 1885, the west now could have been independente and free of the equalization thing. Louis and Gabriel would be heroes, celebrated across the west. [Independente with an e]

Posted by: Agha Ali Arkhan | 2009-12-17 11:50:59 PM

@ Agha Ali Arkhan:

Louis Riel is indeed a hero.

Unfortunately his image has been hijacked by the social democrats when in reality he was a champion of liberty.

Posted by: JC | 2009-12-19 11:28:32 PM

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