Aid and Welfare

The whole point of aid is not to endlessly give money to poor countries, but to build a platform from which they can then look after themselves. However, what usually happens is that rather than build a platform with the aid money the leaders of these poor countries steal the aid and then ask for more.

It surprises me that many people in the west think this is all ‘our fault’. These people, who are generally on the political left, tell us that the West isn’t doing enough to help poor countries and that we should give even more aid and find better ways of building platforms for development without lining the pockets of corrupt leaders. However, they also stipulate that we shouldn’t treat Third Worlders like children or interfere in the running of their countries. Neither should we impose a puppet government on the people of any country.

I have come to the conclusion that these lefties aren’t really interested in why some countries are poor. All they see is poverty and never ask themselves why the country is so poor. The idea that poor countries only have themselves to blame is an idea totally foreign and repellent to them. The West must be in some way to blame for all the tyrants in power and all the poverty in the world. There is something deeply patronising and even racist about these views. Black and brown people can’t even mess things up without it being our fault. Third worlders are viewed as mere pawns in a game where we are the players.

There is an analogous problem with our welfare system. In Britain the government has by now managed to construct a platform from which everyone should be able to succeed in life if they so desire, which is the dream of many people who live in poor societies. In Britain everyone gets free schooling, free health care and free housing where necessary. However, what a government can’t do is to force a child to actually study. Some children are simply lazy or not very bright and so leave school barely able to read or write. They perhaps also have no social skills that could be used in a service industry. They are unreliable and lazy and of no use to a prospective employer, or anyone else.

However, we are told by people of the left that society and government have failed these young people. Now, how can this be? Is David Cameron supposed to come into every classroom and force each lazy child to pick up his pen? The truth is that it is practically impossible to inculcate knowledge in a child who is not interested in learning. And while some people like to blame the teachers for not providing a ‘dynamic environment’, these same teachers somehow manage to teach other pupils relatively successfully.

One objection to all this is that there is no point in educating yourself because there are simply not enough jobs to go round. This is too simplistic. The job market is dynamic and there is not a fixed number of jobs available. If the workforce is good, that society will out-compete rival societies and the job market will grow. Yet what job could there possibly be for someone with no skills, no talents and who is lazy and unreliable? Such jobs don’t exist, unless the government decides to create imaginary jobs that make employment figures look better than they actually are.

It is no surprise that it is generally people of the left who criticise the government for its lack of support for these young (and often not so young) people and the general cry is that we live in an unequal society. That’s certainly true, there is inequality between people who save and people who spend every last penny, between people who took the trouble to educate themselves and those who didn’t. But whose fault is this? And what would an equal society look like? One in which everyone earned the same, regardless of what the job is? And if someone saves up to buy a house, must they then be penalised for owning a nicer house than someone who has never saved anything or even worked?

Rather than place any responsibility for success on the shoulders of individuals, it’s easier for some people simply to blame the government and not think any more deeply than this. Many left-wingers work in the public sector and any extension of government responsibility usually works in their favour. Social workers and youth workers who are paid from public money would be out of a job if young people ever got their act together, educated themselves and were prepared to do jobs that at the moment only immigrants are willing to do.

Many left-wingers don’t realise that the government actually has no money of its own and to pay people in the public sector it has to take money from the wealth-creating private sector. The more this private sector is squeezed, the more difficult it becomes for it to compete with other countries. The more a public sector burgeons the more the private sector finds itself burdened with the task of having to finance this.

Of course, any functioning society needs essential services like politicians, teachers, police, army, firemen, prison staff, perhaps doctors and nurses and a few others. But it is only a society that has gone seriously wrong that needs a huge army of social and youth workers, plus whole divisions of other invented and totally unnecessary government-paid groups.

The two countries I know best are Japan and Britain and I see big differences in the behaviour of the people of these two nations. I would be willing to bet that Japan spends a lot less public money on social workers, youth workers and the criminal justice system, simply because very early in life the onus for a person’s success in life is placed on their own shoulders and those of their family. You never hear a Japanese person complaining that they are the dispossessed and the victims of inequality. However, you will often hear them admitting to being lazy and talentless, even when by British standards they are neither.

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