Category Archives: aid

The folly of von der Leyen

A mixture of cliché, slogan, and evasion

The president-elect of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, is quoted as saying:

The last four years have taught us that simple answers don’t take us far. All that one heard was ‘Close the borders and migration will stop’ or ‘We must save everyone on the Mediterranean.’ We have seen that the phenomenon of migration has not stopped, and that there is a limit to the ability to integrate [the migrants]. Therefore a global approach is necessary. We must invest massively in Africa to reduce the pressure to migrate. At the same time we must fight organised crime so that we ensure that the Schengen agreement [which allows free movement of people between countries party to it] can function because we protect our external borders [i.e. the EU’s borders].

Dalrymple comments:

This evades almost all the difficult questions about immigration. With a superb indifference to practicalities, von der Leyen fails to tell us how either the push or the pull that drives migration is to be lessened, apart from ‘massive investment in Africa’.

Von der Leyen, he notes,

does not tell us who is going to bankroll this massive investment. Is it to be financed via the forced contributions of European taxpayers and be administered by European bureaucrats? The history of massive aid investment on the part of Europeans in Africa has not been happy.

Dalrymple asks:

If the massive investment is not to come from government, with its almost infallible ability to turn investment into liability, who is it to come from, and for what purposes?

The answer

must be the private or corporate sector. But why is it that the private or corporate sector, supposedly ever on the search for commercial opportunity, does not already make such investments? How is it to be persuaded to do so? Is the purpose of its investment to make a profit or to reduce migration?

Dalrymple observes that cliché has

entered the very fabric of von der Leyen’s mind. Surely it must have occurred to her that it is a little late in the day for investment, however massive, to halt the pressure that has led a third or more of sub-Saharan Africans—who will soon be three times more numerous than the Europeans—to want to migrate to Europe.

Besides, he says,

it is not the poorest of the poor of Africa who arrive clandestinely in Europe; it is those who can — or whose family can — pay the air fare, giving them the chance to overstay their visa, or pay people-traffickers (often several thousand dollars) to smuggle them in. Many migrants enter under family reunification schemes inscribed in European law.

A rising standard of living in the emigration centres of sub-Saharan Africa brought about by massive investment, were it to occur (which is far from certain), would

more probably increase than decrease the migratory pressure, in so far as more people would have the means to undertake the migration.

This thought

does not in the slightest inhibit von der Leyen from using the language of the imperative—a way of thinking that might result in the compulsion of reluctant countries to pursue a futile policy at great cost. Moreover, it is very difficult to see how any effective or selective migration policy could be carried out without a closure of borders.

Oxfam, criminal conspiracy

Dalrymple writes that for years he banged on that Oxfam was

a criminal organisation.

People, he says,

would roll their eyes.

He asks:

Are they rolling their eyes now?

Orgies with underage prostitutes in Haïti are, Dalrymple writes,

the least of it. The orgies are a market-driven stimulus for the Haïtian economy, if an extremely tasteless and immoral one. That is more than can be said for most of Oxfam’s activities.

Bogus charity’s extreme hypocrisy

Oxfam’s real aim, he points out,

is to provide employment to those who work for it. (Governments are of course the biggest donors to this corrupt scheme.)

Legalised fraud

Money donated to Oxfam ends up in the pockets of those who work for it, including the staff, numbering 888 at the last count, at the fake charity’s grandiloquent head office in London.

Dalrymple notes that

the hypocrisy of this legalised fraud is symbolic of very many modern activities.

Oxfam

is not the only criminal in this field, and may not be the worst. The field itself is criminal.

The fundamental error of Oxfam’s approach to poverty

Oxfam operates at an abysmally low moral level.

  • In Haïti, it appears to be given over to venery and the exploitation of frailty.
  • In England, its grandiloquent headquarters is bursting with overpaid, rent-seeking, ferociously avaricious staff.
  • Corruption at every level of the ‘charity’ mocks taxpayers, donors and volunteers.

But there is something else we need to bear in mind. Oxfam’s worldview is cock-eyed and harmful. Dalrymple writes:

Oxfam’s ideas of how poverty is to be overcome — by means of foreign aid — are deeply flawed. The organisation, supposedly focused on poverty, has contrived to overlook the greatest reduction in mass poverty in history, namely that which has occurred in India and China in the last 30 years, and to reflect upon how it was brought about. This reduction had nothing to do with foreign aid, or even concern for social justice.

How aid workers get around

For those lords of poverty, the aid workers, the Toyota Land Cruiser is the only way to go

For the lords of poverty, a Toyota Land Cruiser is the only way to go

Finding himself in Malabo (formerly Santa Isabel de Fernando Póo), capital of Equatorial Guinea (the former Spanish Guinea), Dalrymple spends

a very happy afternoon counting the number of aid agencies whose white Land Cruisers pass me in the street (the only vehicles there are).

He counts 27 agencies in all,

which goes to show that corrupt dictatorships are the boon of aid agencies.

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Francisco Macías Nguema

Francisco Macías Nguema

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The aid-and-development racket

Bonanza for British firms Bonanza for British firms

Dalrymple explains (from 21:05) how he was once a beneficiary of pork-barrelling.

He was a doctor for a roadbuilding project in Tanzania. The experience

turned me against foreign aid. I saw that it was a corrupt way of subsidising inefficient British companies.

Save the Aid Workers

State-funded Save the Children's grandiloquent new headquarters in the heart of London:

State-funded Save the Children’s grandiloquent new headquarters in the heart of London: salaries can reach nearly £140,000

A bogus charity

The Save the Children Fund, Dalrymple points out, is

not a charity at all, as many similar charities are not. It is a department of state, or at least of the politico-bureaucratic class.

Last year, Dalrymple notes, Save the Children

received nearly two-thirds of its income from governmental or quasi-governmental sources. The British government and the European Union were by far its largest donors. Without such funding it would cease to exist.

Creature of the British State

There are more than 880 employees at Save the Children’s headquarters. The wages bill last year of those employed plus the costs of raising voluntary (privately donated) funds was equal to just over 84 percent of those latter funds; raising the funds alone cost just short of 29 percent of the funds raised.

By the standards of commercial companies, the wage structure was not particularly regressive: the average salary was £27,000, while the two most highly paid received just less than £140,000.

Flush with taxpayers' cash, helping to put second-hand bookshops out of business

Flush with taxpayers’ cash, helping to put second-hand bookshops out of business

Without state funding, Save the Children

would have had just £17m over and above its wage and fund-raising costs. Its brochure says that it raised £370m last year, without mentioning that £228m came from government sources.

In short, says Dalrymple, employees of this fake charity are

publicly funded bureaucrats.

Save the Children has, it should be added, played a leading role in attacking the livelihoods of British second-hand bookshop owners and staff. Among the victims of Save the Children and other disingenuous ‘charities’ are those who used to run second-hand bookshops in, for instance, small towns (as distinct from exclusively ‘antiquarian’ operators serving collectors, or those dealing solely on the internet).

Indeed, many have given up their shops and have shifted to dealing solely on the internet, because the state-funded counterfeit-charity shops like Save the Children with their free book donations make it impossible to compete.

Thus is a worthy trade sabotaged.

Incontinence of urine and fæces consequent upon severe inebriation

The British no longer manufacture anything the world wants or provide any services the world wants, but in one field they are world-class: binge-drinking

Dalrymple describes his experience of working as a doctor on a British government aid project in Africa.

We were building a road through remote bush. The contract stipulated that the construction company could import, free of all taxes, alcoholic drinks from the UK. These drinks the company sold to its British workers at cost, in the local currency at the official exchange rate, which was approximately one-sixth the black-market rate. A litre bottle of gin cost less than a dollar.

Drunkenness among the British workers

far outstripped anything I have ever seen, before or since. I discovered that, when alcohol is effectively free of charge, a fifth of British construction workers will regularly go to bed so drunk that they are incontinent both of urine and fæces. I remember one man who very rarely got as far as his bed at night: he fell asleep in the lavatory, where he was usually found the next morning.

Half the men

shook in the mornings and resorted to the hair of the dog to steady their hands before they drove their bulldozers and other heavy machines (which they frequently wrecked, at enormous expense to the British taxpayer). Hangovers were universal. The men were either drunk or hung over for months on end.

In these circumstances

even formerly moderate drinkers turned alcoholic and eventually suffered from delirium tremens.

When the company inquired of its workers what it could do to improve their conditions,

they unanimously asked for a further reduction in the price of alcohol.

Lords of poverty

Contribution from a former Sub-Saharan aid physician

'Former Sub-Saharan aid physician Theodore Dalrymple  divulges how luxurious life as a relief worker can be (a household of servants and a tax-free income are not unusual)'

‘Former Sub-Saharan aid physician Theodore Dalrymple divulges how luxurious life as a relief worker can be (a household of servants and a tax-free income are not unusual)’

How aid workers pay off their mortgages

Dalrymple explains that, with cash saved from his taxpayer-funded salary while employed on an aid-and-development project in the Gilbert Islands (formerly the King’s Mill Islands), he was able to purchase a whole house. And working on such a project in Africa, he found that it

enriched an inefficient British company and its personnel, and those officials whom it bribed, while the country remained poorer than ever, a tropical Merthyr Tydfil.

Screen Shot 2013-05-04 at 17.44.10Aid, Dalrymple argues, is

neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition of development. There is no country that has been lifted out of poverty by aid, which is international social security for corrupt governments. To lump poor countries together as if they were in the same category is false, a form of uninterested and morally frivolous condescension.

He describes Britain’s obsession with sending aid to India as

the hangover of a colonial superiority complex.

It is

a manifestation of the national administrative, mental and ethical torpor, as well as incompetence and corruption, that is leading us to economic and social disaster. It is time we stopped such aid, and not only to India.

Hindustan, he points out,

has a long, varied, glorious (and terrible) history of civilisation, with the sophistication necessary to absorb influences from abroad, including Western scientific ones. It is outrageous that we condescend to it with our paltry aid, just to pay the mortgages of aid workers.

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Sir Ronald Ross (1857-1932)

Ronald Ross’s poem India (Madras, 1881) is cited:

Here from my lonely watch-tower of the East
An ancient race outworn I see —
With dread, my own dear distant Country, lest
The same fate fall on thee.

Lo, here the iron winter of curst caste
Has made men into things that creep;
The leprous beggars totter trembling past;
The baser sultans sleep.

Not for a thousand years has Freedom’s cry
The stillness of this horror cleaved,
But as of old the hopeless millions die,
That yet have never lived.

Man has no leisure but to snatch and eat,
Who should have been a god on earth;
The lean ones cry; the fat ones curse and beat,
And wealth but weakens worth.
 
O Heaven, shall man rebelling never take
From Fate what she denies, his bliss?
Cannot the mind that made the engine make
A nobler life than this?