OK, the immediate response: shock - apathy - disgust - horror - guilt - compassion - self satisfaction is drawing to a conclusion. The world is beginning to turn to long term solutions. My favorite starting place for a debate on the long term response to global poverty and living standards is the Copenhagen Consensus. Check it out!
Tony Blair has begun pushing for debt forgiveness for the stricken countries. Good idea. Blair has been pushing debt forgiveness for the developing countries world wide for a while now and he seems to be taking a page from the Book of Bush here - namely use traumatic events as a justification for actions you've advocated for years before the trauma.
I would add my little pet peeve here too. If we in the developed world want to really help the people of South and South East Asia the best thing we can do is end agricultural subsidies. Here is an article about how agricultural subsidies are distributed in the United States. Rich farmers get most of the subsidies and rice growers (grown in the south) and cotton growers (grown in the south) are the disproportionate beneficiaries of subsidies. Agricultural subsidies are the Republican Party's secret weapon for getting out the rural vote in the South especially. If the GOP is for it, progressive people should seriously consider being against it. Here is what OXFAM says these subsidies are doing to Mexican farmers. Of course, Mexico isn't in South Asia but it has a very similar relationship to trade and the developed world. Ag subsidies are not the exclusive domain of the United States. The EU's system is at least as bad, as is Australia's. This is one of a number of situations where the pro-market approach is actually the most progressive. These subsidies disrupt the market in ways that benefit the rich at the expense of the working poor throughout the world both "North" and "South". They also create incentives for illegal migration as farmers from developing countries are put out of business by unfair trade practices and go "North" looking for work.
So what do the Citizens and friends think about other long term solutions? What do you think of these two?
Thursday, January 06, 2005
Posted by Raised By Republicans at 9:29 AM