Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hunger as Motivation

Kevin Myers writes in his article Africa is giving nothing to anyone -- apart from AIDS:
Even as we see African states refusing to take action to restore something resembling civilisation in Zimbabwe, the begging bowl for Ethiopia is being passed around to us, yet again. It is nearly 25 years since Ethiopia's (and Bob Geldof's) famous Feed The World campaign, and in that time Ethiopia's population has grown from 33.5 million to 78 million today.

So why on earth should I do anything to encourage further catastrophic demographic growth in that country? Where is the logic? There is none. To be sure, there are two things saying that logic doesn't count.

One is my conscience, and the other is the picture, yet again, of another wide-eyed child, yet again, gazing, yet again, at the camera, which yet again, captures the tragedy of . . .

Sorry. My conscience has toured this territory on foot and financially. Unlike most of you, I have been to Ethiopia; like most of you, I have stumped up the loot to charities to stop starvation there. The wide-eyed boy-child we saved, 20 years or so ago, is now a priapic, Kalashnikov-bearing hearty, siring children whenever the whim takes him.
It is interesting that no one seems to be able to learn a lesson on that whole lousy continent. The West doesn't help by sending over countless oodles of aid that props up bad governments and worse societal institutions. The aid may assuage the guilt associated with manipulative photographs, but it also prevents nature from running it's course in these places and allowing a better long term life for the survivors to take hold.

On the other side (of the ocean) is this NPR story on food struggles in Ohio:
Nunez, 40, has never worked and has no high school degree. She says a car accident 17 years ago left her depressed and disabled, incapable of getting a job. Instead, she and her daughter, Angelica Hernandez, survive on a $637 Social Security check and $102 in food stamps.
....
People tell Nunez her daughter could get more money in public assistance if she had a child.
....
The rising cost of food means their money gets them about a third fewer bags of groceries — $100 used to buy about 12 bags of groceries, but now it's more like seven or eight. So they cut back on expensive items like meat, and they don't buy extras like ice cream anymore.
This, my dear readers, is the picture from the story that details the horror of starvation in America:

Could someone please explain to me why the government encourages those worst off to have children that they cannot afford?

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