Monday, June 25, 2007

How America is betraying the hungry children of Africa

One of the things I often talk about in my public speaking is the continuum that goes from pure profit orientation to pure charity. Most social entrepreneurs I know operate somewhere in between, and for good reasons. Charity is an important and good thing, but charity can be a powerful negative force when misapplied. My example of this is the abusive use of foreign aid in ways that support the giver and damage the recipient. A book I read that made a big impression was "The Road to Hell" by Michael Maren, who described how U.S. food aid played a big role in the destruction of Somalia couple of decades ago (helping lead to the continuing problems of today).

Steve Cisler heard me mention this book recently and sent me a spot-on article from the Observer, How America is betraying the hungry children of Africa. The article shows how we manage to damage agricultural economies and the sustainability of countries with food aid, this time in Malawi. Why are we shipping many tons of American corn to a country that has a bumper crop this year, when it would be cheaper and better to buy Malawi corn? Why indeed?

1 comment:

Robert said...

Another good book along these lines is:

The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good
Author: William Easterly
Publisher: Penguin
Format: Paperback 448 pages
ISBN: 0143038826 EAN: 9780143038825
List Price: $16.00
http://www.directtextbook.com/prices/0143038826