Recently, I was discussing Africa with a colleague on the topic of poverty. His view was that the poverty in Africa was so bad that it was incumbent upon the rich countries to provide aid. When I pointed out that the rich western countries had poured aid money into Africa for decades, particularly since the end of colonialism, and many Africans were no better off, and possibly worse off, he said he wished he knew what the answer was.
The answer certainly will not be found in any aid budget. Most African countries do not have the pre-conditions to allow wealth generation which is why they remain desperately poor. Rich western countries became rich only because those pre-conditions existed. They are: free markets, the rule of law, private property rights, small Government and trust. In the absence of these fundamental conditions, there is no point in pouring aid money into African countries – it simply ends up in the hands of tyrants, dictators, and the operatives of bodies such as the UN and aid organisations, happy to siphon their cut in perpetuity. Many such organisations are contemptible as a consequence of their participation in this scam.
Meanwhile, back in the west, it is worth remembering that civilisations do not die by murder, they die by suicide. Made wealthy through the efforts of generations of our forebears under the necessary conditions above, the populace becomes complacent and forgets, or never learns, what is necessary for a high standard of living. Many have no understanding of what made their country wealthy. They begin to assume wealth is the natural state of affairs. It’s not.
Small government? Forget that: all western governments have been growing as a percentage of GDP since 1960. Free markets? The constraints, red tape, green tape, pricing controls, occupational licensing, interference in business have continued to grow rapidly. Rule of law? Too big to fail government regulation of some but not others, cronyism, activist judges, elitist institutions that scorn democracy, union bastardry all contribute to schisms in society. Elsewhere, this has been referred to as generating the difference between the somewheres and the anywheres. Private property rights? Look at the taxation system – capital gains tax, open consideration of death duties, retrospective taxes on retirement savings, penalty taxes if an individual does not buy private health insurance. Trust? Who trusts their bank manager? (Who knows their bank manager?) Do you trust insurance companies, superannuation funds and the legal system? Do you trust the police force to uphold the law? Do you trust schools to educate your children?
Trust is under threat. Rich countries are rich partly because of the trust in institutions and the other people we meet and interact with. Trust is absent in tyrannies and hell-holes. It is replaced by mistrust and fear. The decline into identity politics, groups within society fighting each other rather than accepting all individuals is a notable point along the way. Trust is local: it requires the nation state. Trust cannot exist under the globalist one-world Government objective held by many left-over Trotskyites, most of the Greens, the UN and some naive university students particularly in the departments of humanities. We know this because it has been attempted before on a smaller scale and, fortunately, never got as far as the whole world. The usurpation of power by unelected bureaucrats in institutions, the media, schools and universities have been chipping away at the necessary foundations of a wealthy society since the 1960s.
Where to from here?