The Twentieth was the Century of the Welfare State. Governments the world over built and then continuously grew their domestic aid money delivery apparatuses. Tens of trillions of dollars were spent in attempts to raise poor people up and out.
It’s been disastrous.
Much of the planet was dominated by the Soviet Union – whose satellites and clients were just welfare states under the Red umbrella. Communism is the Welfare State in full bloom – and to say it doesn’t work is the century’s greatest understatement. One hundred million people died – and billions more lived nasty, brutish and short lives in abject desolation and destitution.
The United States has on welfare spent more than $7 trillion – just in the last fifty years.
And President Barack Obama has failed utterly to learn the last century’s lessons. He is in his mere eight years set to more than double our disastrous outlay.
Some remain steadfastly impervious to facts.
That’s just domestic. Nations around the world – led by the U.S. – have spent trillions more making other nations around the world into Welfare States. Which has for them been just as disastrous as it has been for us domestically.
Africa has largely become a Welfare Continent. It has received tons of free coin – and has been for the most part been mired in perpetual, dire malaise.
Time for a rethink indeed – not just in Africa, but throughout the world.
U2 singer Bono – a decades-long global Welfare State promoter and believer – certainly thinks so.
“So some of Africa is rising – and some of Africa is stuck. The question is whether the rising bit will pull the rest of Africa up – or whether the other Africa will weigh the continent down. Which will it be?
“The stakes here aren’t just about them. Imagine for a second this last global recession – but without the economic growth of China and India. Without the hundreds of millions of newly-minted middle class folks who now buy American and European goods. Imagine that. Think about the last five years.
“Rock star preaches capitalism. Shh…wow. Sometimes I hear myself and I just can’t believe it. But commerce is real. What you’re about here – it’s real.
“Aid is just a stop gap. Commerce, entrepreneurial capitalism takes more people out of poverty than aid. Of course we know that.”
I wish we all did. Global Welfare Statesmen – take note of the Rocker.
Commerce and entrepreneurial capitalism practiced inter-nationally – between nations – is called free trade. Utterly unfettered by the “assistance” of government.
You know who’s learning it? More and more of Africa.
“Trade lanes in Africa have increased significantly as a result of relieved trade barriers, which have had a positive impact on many local businesses. A key driver of this growth has been the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which has stimulated trade and investment between Africa and the United States….
“Africa is the ‘last frontier’, the more we collectively focus on connecting it with the world, the more sustainable its economies will be and the more jobs we will create –creating a virtuous cycle of success.”
Rather than the 20th Century vicious cycle of Welfare State poverty.
Free trade allows peoples everywhere to lead exponentially better lives.
Governments need to do less – less free money-ing, taxing, tariff-ing, subsidizing and protectionism-ing.
And simply get out of the way – and let the magic of the marketplace clean up their messes.
Editor’s Note: This first appeared in the PJ Tatler.