Free Trade vs Free Aid

March 28th, 2010 at 3:50 pm by David Farrar

of Takapuna Grammar has been selected as Phil Twyford’s Youth MP for this year’s . Each of the 11 contenders had to do a short video on “what they thought NZ should do to make the world a safer, fairer and more sustainable place”, according to Phil at Red Alert.

Amelia’s video is above. I want to argue an alternative point of view to what Amelia advocated. Now if people comment, I don’t want any negative comments on Amelia – just a discussion of the topic. Personally I’m a huge fan of young people taking an interest in politics, and think the Youth Parliament is an excellent way to foster this. Anyone who gets to be selected as a Youth MP, has my respect – even if I disagree with their views.

Incidentally I thought her video was very quirky and well done. But turning to the substance:

I actually agreed with her on the need for armed intervention in Sudan. But sadly China blocks UN action there – one of the problems of needing a UN mandate.

Amelia calls for fair trade, but says this should happen through education, not through cutting off ties with China. Now while I think fair trade is more a slogan than anything else, I am pleased to see realism that cutting trade links is not the way to go.

At 3:50 Amelia says we need to stop importing so much un-necessary stuff, and asks why on earth is it necessary to be importing oranges from California when Kerikeri can do it perfectly well.

This is where I seriously disagree with the notion that importing is bad. But before we talk importing generally, let me address the specific – one reason we import Oranges from California is because they are seasonal, and that is the only way to get them 12 months a year.

More generally one country’s imports is another export’s. If we take a position that one should discourage imports, then we are asking for our dairy, lamb and wool exports to be blocked by other countries.

But more importantly it is about comparative advantage. Let’s use an example of apples and oranges for the US and California. If NZ produce apples for $1/kg and the US produces apples for $2/kg, while NZ produces oranges for $3/kg and the US does oranges for $2/kg also.

The best use of resources is for NZ to produce apples and the US to produce oranges.

Amelia says “less importing means more money for our economy to be spent elsewhere”. This is not always the case. Often NZ will be better off importing something, and exporting something else.

Amelia goes on to say that the money saved from importing can be used to increase aid for developing countries.

My view is that free trade would do far more for developing countries that free aid. The EU and US have massive protectionism in place against imports from developing countries, and that the best thing they could do for Africa, would be allow them to sell their goods in Europe – even if it undercuts local suppliers.

Why have China and India reduced massively the number of citizens they have in absolute poverty, compared to Africa? Because they have freed up their economic, and embraced trade.

This is why even left wing parties like Labour, sign free trade deals with China. Because trade benefits people in both countries.

While well intentioned, I don’t think the solution for poverty in Africa is to trade less, and give more aid. I think it is to trade more, and allow countries to become sustainable without aid. Singapore used to receive aid, as did Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea. Aid is necessary for many countries, but it is not a long-term solution. The long-term solution is good governance, property rights (to attract investment) and trade.

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114 Responses to “Free Trade vs Free Aid”

  1. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    Comment on Red Alert made me lol:

    sweetd says:
    March 28, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    Watch out Phil, she might get a seat before you do.

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  2. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    “safer, fairer and more sustainable”. Why is it assumed that wealth re-distribution creates safety or fairness? Didn’t work in the Soviet Union.

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  3. Banana Llama (1,105 comments) says:

    Other freedoms than just trade are important as well otherwise it is just freedom to make a buck at someone elses expense.

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  4. MIKMS (164 comments) says:

    NZ also once took an aid grant or two not far in the distant past…

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  5. Mark (497 comments) says:

    Another advantage of free trade is that is consumes less resources for the planet to do so (which why it is cheaper), and allows products such as oranges all year round to be available to NZders which are healthy for us.

    Or we could put on tariffs and run giant coal burning plants in winter months to supply oranges to the local market.

    Price (in a free market economy) is always a good indicator of the amount of resources used to produce the product.

    And this whole issue around providing more welfare to third world countries smacks of racism and the politics of failure, that they cannot become successfully countries in there own right if given the chance to trade freely with the rest of the world. The western world has done it, Asia has done it mostly, so why can’t other countries not do it. They can do it without the patronising attitudes of other countries particular in the western world.

    In fact, I think we would do better to hold these countries better to account for the money they currently receive which never seems to reach the people it was intended to help.

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  6. Jim (35 comments) says:

    The initial call for armed intervention in the Sudan is an example of what Matt Welch has called a ‘temporary dove’.

    To quote his Reason magazine review of Madeleine Albright’s memoirs and books by George Soros and Wesley Clark:

    “Like Gulf War II, the 78-day NATO air campaign in Kosovo was waged without the explicit authority of the United Nations. Like Iraq, Yugoslavia was a sovereign country that was bombed into submission for essentially internal infractions. … Slobodan Milosevic, like Saddam Hussein, was described as a modern-day Adolf Hitler, eager to practice genocide against minority tribes while scrambling for horrible weapons to menace peaceful neighbors. Supporters of both wars frequently invoked the Munich Agreement of 1938, in which the West appeased Hitler rather than defend allied Czechoslovakia. Opponents of both wars warned that the target countries were colonially conceived multi-ethnic basket cases not conducive to postwar democratization. And the United States led the fight against both dictators despite urgent warnings from antiwar activists and multilateralism enthusiasts that each new bomb would lower the threshold for waging modern war. Kosovo made Iraq possible. … The ghost of Neville Chamberlain has been exhumed to justify American interventions in Korea, Iraq (twice), a ragbag of Third World hellholes, and Vietnam.”

    Why do those who supported Bill Clinton’s 1999 intervention in the Balkans, and/or now propose military intervention in the Sudan oppose the Iraq War?

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  7. MikeG (416 comments) says:

    “The best use of resources is for NZ to produce apples and the US to produce oranges.”

    Really? Doesn’t it depend on the price (and therefore the margin) you can get for a kilo of whatever?

    The argument about all-year round fruit availability is also doubtful – we used to be able to choose between NZ or US oranges in our local supermarket at the same time as they will store fruit for months on coolstores. The NZ ones didn’t look as good (not as orange), but had a lot better flavour. Now for some unknown reason they don’t stock NZ oranges.

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  8. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    DPF, first you say one reason we import Oranges from California is because they are seasonal, and that is the only way to get them 12 months a year

    Then, you go on to say But more importantly it is about comparative advantage. Let’s use an example of apples and oranges for the US and California. If NZ produce apples for $1/kg and the US produces apples for $2/kg, while NZ produces oranges for $3/kg and the US does oranges for $2/kg also.

    The best use of resources is for NZ to produce apples and the US to produce oranges.

    Which wouold, of course, mean we no longer have oranges all year around.

    Why have China and India reduced massively the number of citizens they have in absolute poverty, compared to Africa? Because they have freed up their economic, and embraced trade.

    You may not have noticed, but China and India are nations, Africa is a continent with many nations. Guess you’re still no good sorting oranges from apples.

    [DPF: Actually the problem with most of Africa is that the nations are pseudo-nations. Tribal loyalties tend to be stronger than national loyalties, and you have that reflected in the sub-standard governance. There are a few exceptions only like Ghana]

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  9. sweetd (125 comments) says:

    Comment on Red Alert made me lol:

    sweetd says:
    March 28, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    Watch out Phil, she might get a seat before you do.

    Looks like I have a warning now on red alert and my comment was deleted. Oh well

    [DPF: Wow Phil must be sensitive as that was a very funny comment]

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  10. V (694 comments) says:

    What subjects does this youth MP study?

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  11. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    Having just re-watched this I’ve become more aware of the challenge facing us in terms of economic literacy. Amelia, like so many her age, is the product of an education system which is heavily skewed to the far left of the social and economic political spectrum. She implores our government to give more of ‘our’ money in aid. I hope she stays in NZ to become heavily taxed so that the definition of ‘our money’ becomes clearer to her.

    I think our government should spend less on direct aid, but commit resources to create an environment where individual NZers are encouraged to directly access and participate in humanitarian initiatives. Initiatives like http://www.kuva.org are very, very cool. I’ve supported this in the past as I have http://freesetglobal.com, and a host of other direct initiatives.

    Government-initiated and/or received aid has more strings attached than a grand piano IMO. So direct is good.

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  12. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    The whole thing was Green Party policy in five minutes. Directing people away from cities and into “communities?” WTF? She’ll make a good protege of Twyford’s.

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  13. Paul M. (26 comments) says:

    > Other freedoms than just trade are important as well otherwise it is just freedom to make a buck at someone elses expense.

    Why do some people always assume making a buck is at someone else’s expense?? I’ve made plenty of bucks in my time, and can say with much certainty that none of them was at someone else’s expense (unless you get into childish leftist arguments about one person working hard disadvantaging others, as they then have to work harder to achieve the same).

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  14. kowtow (7,953 comments) says:

    When did Hong Kong receive aid?

    Once upon a time just about every one was receiving aid…….the Marshall Plan got Europe off its knees and stopped Stalin cold.

    Thank God for the generous Americans. People are always trying to minimise their positive contributions and very quick to forget the sacrifices they made and make to keep the world safe,free and peaceful.

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  15. mattyroo (1,012 comments) says:

    V said:

    “What subjects does this youth MP study?”

    Clearly not economics…..

    So, this is what unfettered aid has done to Africa thus far: http://www.independent.ie/opinion/columnists/kevin-myers/africa-is-giving-nothing-to-anyone–apart-from-aids-1430428.html

    Hands up who thinks we should carry on tipping “our” money on the fire?

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  16. Dazzaman (1,132 comments) says:

    Why do those who supported Bill Clinton’s 1999 intervention in the Balkans, and/or now propose military intervention in the Sudan oppose the Iraq War?

    Because they hated the right-leaning Christian Bush.

    Back to the girl, a product of our leftist educationists,…quite cute though ;-)

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  17. big bruv (13,571 comments) says:

    I watched 34 seconds of this [deleted by DPF] girls video before I turned it off.

    The last thing we need are more of these idealogical left wing idiots wasting their time and my money playing at being politicians in the joke we call our “youth Parliament.

    We have far more deserving causes than this, why on earth am I paying for 120 odd pretentious little shits to go and play “pollie” for a few days.

    A complete waste of time and more importantly, a complete waste of my fucking money.

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  18. kowtow (7,953 comments) says:

    Sudan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen pah!
    The Arab League is meeting in the land of mad Gadafi.So while tens of thosands die in these crisis spots whats top of the agenda? East Jerusalem and the bloody Jews!

    The Arabs have the money and man power to sort their own shit but why would they when they got the Jews to blame?
    and George Bush and the British and colonialism and Crusaders,………..

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  19. V (694 comments) says:

    On the subject of African aid, this interview with Dambisa Moyo is quite useful.

    http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/10175

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  20. Fletch (6,151 comments) says:

    [deleted by DPF - I said discuss the issue not the person]

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  21. Banana Llama (1,105 comments) says:

    Sorry Paul M not quite what i was meaning, but i don’t see how it is right that some poor bastard in china dies due to a mining collapse so i can collect my next pay check safe and sound in NZ.

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  22. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    Banana Llama – Ask your employer to print your pay cheque in a Chinese mine. Problem solved :)

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  23. MT_Tinman (3,055 comments) says:

    BB, how the hell did you last 34 seconds?

    I heard the first bit in gobblety-gook then agreed with the cockatiel and turned it off.

    big bruv (5754) Says:
    March 28th, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    I watched 34 seconds of this [deleted by DPF] girls video before I turned it off.

    The last thing we need are more of these idealogical left wing idiots wasting their time and my money playing at being politicians in the joke we call our “youth Parliament.

    We have far more deserving causes than this, why on earth am I paying for 120 odd pretentious little shits to go and play “pollie” for a few days.

    A complete waste of time and more importantly, a complete waste of my fucking money.

    Well said!

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  24. TimG_Oz (924 comments) says:

    Good to see mention of Sudan and Dafur. Perhaps she could send the memo to John Minto who focuses all his attention on Israel as the Pariah.

    Not sure about her suggestion about World Vision though, in light of this:

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/how_world_vision_helped_fund_a_monument_to_a_jew_killer/

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  25. Michael (899 comments) says:

    I see some US Senators – including John Kerry – are complaining that New Zealand’s Dairy Farming practices are anti-competitive, as our dairy farmers are (mostly) organised into a single co-operative that takes all their supply. However, the US subsidies it’s dairy farmers.

    It’s the same issue with Chinese manufacturing: They have a large pool of cheap labour, whereas New Zealand has none. But we know that we have to concentrate on other activities – like designing a product, providing the raw materials, and marketing the finished product, or we will lose to a competitor who does will.

    The notion of what construes “fair trade” depends on seeing your own advantages as fair, but seeing your competitors advantages as unfair.

    I agree with Amelia that NZers need to know about child labour goods – but that is a job for NGOs to do. If the Government passed a law to prevent items made by child labour into NZ it would be ineffective as companies who engage in child labour are then more likely to hide it from view.

    Russia kept blocking any progress in the Balkans because of it’s traditional support of Serbia (back to the Romanov days when Bosnia and Croatia were part of the Austria-Hungarian empire). So Bill Clinton used NATO as a forum to take multi-lateral action. At the moment the African Union is the main peacekeeping force in Sudan, and I think the US are a little wary after the deployment to Somalia went so sour.

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  26. MIKMS (164 comments) says:

    @MT_Tinman & @ Big Bruv

    It makes the MPs feel good and gives the youth a cv credit / bragging rights :P

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  27. Spoff (275 comments) says:

    All for free trade but:

    New Zealand

    New Zealand is reputed to have the most open agricultural markets in the world after radical reforms started in 1984 by the Fourth Labour Government. As the country is large agricultural exporter, continued subsidies by other countries are a long-standing bone of contention.

    United States

    The United States currently pays around $20 billion per year to farmers in direct subsidies as “farm income stabilization”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agricultural_subsidy#New_Zealand

    This does not cover the multitude of fuel, water and other subsidies available to U.S. farmers.

    Friend of mine grows lemons for export. Recently he noticed no lemons in the supermarkets so offered his excess at 80% of his cost. No interest and it was a month before lemons were back on the shelf – imported lemons.
    No doubt there is a rational explanation, I just haven’t heard it yet.

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  28. Captain Neurotic (206 comments) says:

    “use our amazing Armed Forces and peace keeping troops” – thanks for the compliment sweet heart but we’re fucken killers not counsellors!!!

    Also – where is she from? She had a nice house, perhaps she may realize that she is probably within the top 10 percent of kiwis
    - how about we save south Auckland first before we commit troops to Africa.

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  29. Captain Neurotic (206 comments) says:

    Also I wonder what university she is going to next year to study international relations and political science? Them she will get a thorough left wing bias and shaping of views…. Perhaps I should send her a ‘free tibet’ t-shirt

    [DPF: Again please discuss the issues, not Amelia. I think she has raised important issues, and think they deserve debating. I don’t want people putting down someone who is passionate about politics because her views are different to others.

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  30. Kimble (4,417 comments) says:

    OMG, it is all so obvious! How did I miss it all these years? How could something so simple and obviously true escape my consideration for so long and yet be so clear to this child?

    We must all be incredibly dumb/lazy/bigoted/selfish not to have seen the light.

    Seriously though, I wonder if this kid has ever had to justify her opinions. I wonder if she has ever had someone put to her the arguments that DPF wrote in the post above. I doubt it. And I am willing to bet that if anyone did, she would just dismiss them out of hand. Teenagers do that.

    The more children are included in political discussions, the more childish that discussion becomes. Look at the parties that most highly regard the inclusion of children in politics and you will see the party with the most childish policies.

    [DPF: The reasons I made the post, was precisely because politics and Youth Parliament should be about hearing contrary views. But I don't think young people being involved in politics is a bad thing - they get affected the most from today's decisions, and I think it is good to hear from them]

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  31. Kimble (4,417 comments) says:

    Spoff, your friend probably just ran into some large company bureaucracy. The manager probably had to fill out a dozen forms in triplicate to get the lemons on the shelf.

    Or maybe 80% of your friends cost was still higher than what they were willing to pay. Maybe his goods were worth it because they were of great quality, but the supermarket was wanting to pay less for lesser quality.

    Importing subsidised produce from the US basically means that we are being given money by the US tax payer. They are keeping their prices low artificially. That means we pay less to get the same amount of stuff. The money that is left over can be used to produce other stuff, some of which we can sell them. And because we don’t subsidise that stuff we are selling to them the discounting only works one way :)

    Think of it like this, there are two businesses, each one selling one good to the other. One business takes more and more money from their shareholders so they can keep their prices low. Who benefits? Who loses?

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  32. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    IR/foreign policy is the only relatively untainted politics course left, Captain Neurotic. Nah, she’ll be going down the comfortable road of media politics, “Capitalism and Its Critics” and the sociology of evil neoliberalism.

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  33. starboard (2,492 comments) says:

    …what BB said at 17:11…

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  34. Swiftman the infidel (329 comments) says:

    Vote for me, or the children die.

    Same old, same old. Pity she didn’t study history (or economics)

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  35. ameliamacdonald (3 comments) says:

    The question is… How can any of you be sure that I don’t study history or economics?

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  36. Phil Twyford (4 comments) says:

    @ sweetd, Hurf Durf, DPF – Quite right. Unnecessarily grumpy response to sweetd’s comment at Red Alert. I have reversed it. It was pretty funny.

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  37. Captain Neurotic (206 comments) says:

    Hurf durf – not at otago mate…

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  38. David Farrar (1,874 comments) says:

    Phil: Classy call.
    Amelia: Welcome, and good point.

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  39. menace (407 comments) says:

    I like what she has to say, i have similar opinion on many of the issues, as DPF said good to see some youth getting in there!

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  40. Jordan Stent (1 comment) says:

    Amelia is quite possibly the coolest cat out, she is amazing in at least 56 different ways.
    Just leave her the flip alone, she will dominate Tim in an arm wrestle any day.
    I think all you tools should just hush, Amelia is easily the most intelligent girl I have ever met – and I’m sure if she was confronted by someone to justify her opinions, she would do it with ease.

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  41. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    ameliamacdonald – the question is not whether or not you studied history or economics. It is perhaps more pertinent to ask what you have learned from that study (assuming you have both studied these topics and learned from that study). How did the Marxist wealth-redistributive policies implemented in the Soviet Union work out? Did they result in equity, safety and care for the environment. Nope… they most definitely didn’t!

    My advice is that you personally live the values you aspire to, irrespective of whether or not others follow or applaud you for your stance. Longing for government-inspired ‘rule changes’ to force others to adopt your values, however commendable, should be beneath you.

    Well done for stepping up and speaking your mind. And welcome to the shark tank!

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  42. Dazzaman (1,132 comments) says:

    Look at the parties that most highly regard the inclusion of children in politics and you will see the party with the most childish policies.

    Yes, the greens & half of labour all took blows to the head at age 17 and never recovered, tis the politics of the Shortland St. base,…’splains everything!!

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  43. menace (407 comments) says:

    @krazykiwi

    “safer, fairer and more sustainable”. Why is it assumed that wealth re-distribution creates safety or fairness? Didn’t work in the Soviet Union.

    You arguments dissects itself, your argument assumes that, political form is simply either communist or democratic. The way i understand it is that New Zealand is not communist therefore you should be satisfied because because you have the 1 of two choices that you want, but you are commenting and debating here? Perhaps its not so simple?

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  44. Shunda barunda (2,972 comments) says:

    Interesting, while I think a lot of what she said is typical youthful idealism, I think there are signs of some more intelligent thought there.
    The idealistic attitudes are forgiveable for someone so young, not so much from our older politicians.
    It would be interesting to see if she has any more indepth ideas on how a sustainable society could actually be achieved.

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  45. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    menace, I make no such assumption. Odd that you’d suggest that I do. I’m highlighting a case of large government and wealth centralisation & distribution policies leading to misery and economic failure. Like it or not there are similar, albeit less obvious tendencies with lots of western economies. We are one of them, and many of the ideas expounded so keenly by Amelia head us further in that direction.

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  46. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    I’m starting at the top so I have to work my way down. This caught my eye:

    DPF said

    I actually agreed with her on the need for armed intervention in Sudan.

    But as Kofi Annan said in the lead up to the slaughter by the US in Iraq, “War is always a humanitarian disaster.”

    The trouble with armed intervention is that locals take exception and tend to put aside their differences to fight the invader. Think Afghanistan.

    And Somalia is a good example of armed humanitarian intervention gone wrong. The Balkans in the 1990s is a counter-example, but even that caused suffering and casualties amongst civilians who did not necessarily support the ethnic cleansing.

    I suspect, though, that Palestinians, similarly subjected to ethnic cleansing, would have welcomed intervention on their behalf in 1948.

    And armed intervention has been tried in Sudan previously when Bill Clinton, desperate to divert attention from his famous blow job, bombed the only factory producing both human and animal pharmaceutical remedies.

    So I would say to Amelia, on balance, please don’t think guns are a solution. Soldiers are trained to kill, not nurture.

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  47. Phil Twyford (4 comments) says:

    DPF, now that I am here, let me respond to a couple of your points. I am not, and Labour’s not advocating a return to import substitution (whether for economic development or ecological reasons). However I wouldn’t rely too heavily on the law of comparative advantage as a catch-all justification for just letting the market rule…which is what happened in the 80s and 90s. The result was scorched earth with a good part of the productive capacity of the economy wiped out. See Brian Easton’s comparative work on Australia-NZ reform process. We need more diverse value-added local firms. Firms that can grow in size and take on global markets. I reckon we should be using every policy tool at our disposal to support them, like R&D, infrastructure, education and training, industry policy, and rethinking our approach to monetary policy. To use Amelia’s example of Keri Keri oranges, and putting aside the seasonal issue, if local consumers want to buy more local produce for whatever reason (freshness, quality, air miles) all the better for Keri Keri orchardists. And for the local economy.

    On aid and trade, I agree with you that the best thing the EU and US could do for developing countries right now is end their protectionism. But free trade is not the panacea. In developing countries there is a risk that it just advantages the big producers like Brazil, China and India, further disadvantaging smaller, poorer and more isolated countries. Rich countries typically use the WTO and FTAs to lever open markets in developing countries often putting at risk small farmers and infant industries. Which is why the developing countries are constantly calling for more special treatment so they aren’t forced to open their markets over night. Trade is important to developing countries getting head – but perhaps more important are good policies and good governance. Aid is a smaller part of the picture but don’t underestimate its potential when it is combined with the other two factors.

    [DPF: Ta. I don't think 80s and 90s were scorched earth and I note that in 2000s we achieved record low unemployment despite minimal tariffs. I think there may be a case that pace of change was too fast - but not the destination.]

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  48. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    Wow

    I was about to address this remark by DPF:

    My view is that free trade would do far more for developing countries that free aid. The EU and US have massive protectionism in place against imports from developing countries, and that the best thing they could do for Africa, would be allow them to sell their goods in Europe – even if it undercuts local suppliers.

    But Phil beat me to it and did it better. Well said Phil.

    I especially like the idea of “getting head.”

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  49. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    The trouble with Sudan is that it’s twice the size of France and mostly desert. Good luck policing that lot.

    Though, Amelia, if I give one piece of advice, it is this: ignore Luc Hansen. His acidic self-loathing and ignorant preaching is the type that would fully destabilise young minds into anti-semitism and acts of violence.

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  50. Kimble (4,417 comments) says:

    [DPF: The reasons I made the post, was precisely because politics and Youth Parliament should be about hearing contrary views. But I don't think young people being involved in politics is a bad thing - they get affected the most from today's decisions, and I think it is good to hear from them]

    Dogs get affected by politics, do we ask them what they think about it? I am not saying children are like dogs, I am just pointing out that that particular point doesnt hold up to criticism very well.

    There is nothing inherently wrong with children having political views. The problem comes from having adults listening to them as if they are particularly original or useful.

    There is also the problem of adults listening to them and then patting them on the heads because they are ‘such a delight’! It is condescending to congratulating a child for having political views.

    And Amelia, the notion that imports are bad and that importing less would “free up” money that can be used elsewhere is both a failure of economic thought and knowledge of history. The idea of comparative advantage is still taught fairly early on in economics I am sure. Things are imported BECAUSE it frees up money. If they can be produced locally cheaper than they cost as imports, then why would anyone bother importing them in the first place? If they cant, then not importing them will mean they will cost more.

    There are many adults who make the same mistake over and over again. They also call things like importing oranges from California “unnecessary”, without ever thinking why this “unnecessary” thing is actually being done. Those people arrogantly assume they have all the information the need, revealing that they are only capable of first level thinking. These are the sorts of people who think in terms of directed consumption and production, usually with themselves as the directors. If you are saying that the government should direct people to stop importing certain things then you are advocating centralised control and/or tarrifs. Neither of which have shown themselves to be successful at meeting their intentions. In this case, the talk about the Soviet Union is fair.

    The assumption that an increase in aid is helpful is another failing of economic thought and historical knowledge. Its a nice thought, that giving money to people will always help them. Which is why its usually the first solution that people turn to. But it is a dangerous one. The literature on the failure of foreign aid in lifting people out of poverty is abundant. Don’t worry, you probably haven’t come across it yet or had time to read it so your ignorance of it is understandable if not excusable.

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  51. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    As for oranges, who likes the US ones?

    I bought some Keri Keri ones at a farmers market a little while ago and they were so sweet and juicy, just like when I was a kid.

    We just don’t buy fruit from the US: it’s mushy and tasteless and you don’t know what they have put into it.

    And the same goes for fruit juice made with imported concentrate.

    Water is good.

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  52. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    And Hurf

    Just where does your racism come from?

    Aside from the nonsense that Europeans are Semites (actually, Arabs are the Semites), my opposition to the ethnic cleansing and the current attempted genocide of Palestinians is rooted in my sense of justice, not prejudice.

    Your prejudice is as blatant as it is sad.

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  53. Kimble (4,417 comments) says:

    “I reckon we should be using every policy tool at our disposal to support them, like R&D, infrastructure, education and training, industry policy, and rethinking our approach to monetary policy.”

    Every policy at your disposal would include tariffs and quotas, and Labour has gone to great lengths to ensure that nobody can trust them not to go back on their word. The use of monetary policy to promote trade just shows how little you regard either.

    The argument that you are just interest in “protecting our vulnerable infant industries” sounds awfully familiar. It sounds just like what was said before trade was restricted. Uncanny.

    Then of course, it is impossible that those “infant industries” that need protecting turn out to be government owned businesses, or even industries that make large political donations. Perish the thought.

    The good thing is the government has a really really good record of picking winners. So they will know just which goods the NZ public ought to pay more than market price for, without any chance of negative outcomes.

    If local consumers want to buy local produce (and pay more for it) then good for them. Having the government tweak the rules of the game to make them do it is the problem.

    Free trade is not a panacea, but how would we know?

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  54. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    Kimble

    What if a nation just has NO comparative advantage?

    We just let them starve?

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  55. Kimble (4,417 comments) says:

    “I bought some Keri Keri ones at a farmers market a little while ago and they were so sweet and juicy, just like when I was a kid.”

    So do you think that the government should be there to stop people buying or selling US oranges? Do you think the government should use its awesome power to coerce people into making the same choice you have?

    If the oranges are bad enough people will stop buying them. There is no need to restrict the freedom of people to ensure they make the right choice in oranges.

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  56. Kimble (4,417 comments) says:

    Luc, this has nothing to do with emergency aid. So cut that crap about starvation.

    I dont think there will be any countries that do not have SOME advantage. They don’t need a global advantage, just a regional one. Usually a poor country will have low wages, which is itself a source of advantage.

    Also there is no need for an absolute advantage, relative ones do fine.

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  57. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    Racism? What racism? Kindly direct me to one racist statement I’ve ever made. In actuality, your hatred to our traditional allies and outrageous hyperbole is rooted in your sense of self-loathing and misguided idealism. Deal with it.

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  58. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    I prefer Israeli oranges. Can’t get them in NZ, but very scrummy.

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  59. tom hunter (4,568 comments) says:

    Luc demonstrates stunning ignorance. Sun rises in East.

    In this case the absolute failure to understand what is meant by comparative advantage. And Luc says he ran a businesses? Into the ground perhaps?

    Rather than beat Luc over the head with dry references to Ricardo’s principle I’ll hand you over to to P.J. O’Rourke – with Courtney Love as the bonus:

    Let us decide, for the sake of an example, that one legal thriller is equal to one pop song as Benefits to Society. (One thriller or one song = 1 unit of BS.) John Grisham is a better writer than Courtney Love. John Grisham is also (assuming he plays the comb and wax paper or something) a better musician than Courtney Love. Say John Grisham is 100 times the writer Courtney Love is, and say he’s 10 times the musician. Then say that John Grisham can either write 100 legal thrillers in a year (I’ll bet he can) or compose 50 songs. This would mean that Courtney Love could write either 1 thriller or compose 5 songs in the same period.

    If John Grisham spends 50 percent of his time scribbling predictable plots and 50 percent of his time blowing into a kazoo, the result will be 50 thrillers and 25 songs for a total of 75 BS units. If Courtney Love spends 50 percent of her time annoying a word processor and 50 percent of her time making noise in a recording studio, the result will be one half-complete thriller and 2.5 songs for a total of 3 BS. The grand total Benefit to Society will be 78 units.

    If John Grisham spends 100 percent of his time inventing dumb adventures for two-dimensional characters and Courtney Love spends 100 percent of her time calling cats, the result will be 100 thrillers and 5 songs for a total Benefit to Society of 105 BS.

    (Just to make things more confusing, note that Courtney Love loses 40 percent of her productivity by splitting her time between art and music, while John Grisham loses only 25 percent of his productivity. She has the “comparative advantage” of making music because her opportunity costs will be higher if she doesn’t stick to what she does best.)

    David Ricardo applied the Law of Comparative Advantage to questions of foreign trade. The Japanese make better CD players than we do, and they may be able to make better pop music, but we both profit by buying our CDs from Sony and letting Courtney Love tour Japan. And if she stays there, America has a definite advantage.

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  60. bobux (349 comments) says:

    What if a nation just has NO comparative advantage?

    We just let them starve?

    Please, read an econ 101 textbook. Every country has comparative advantages, as it is impossible to suck equally at producing everything.

    It is possible for a country to lack an absolute advantage in everything, and many poor countries are probably in that position. They are still better off (in a trading environment) producing what they are best at, even if someone else can produce it more easily.

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  61. bobux (349 comments) says:

    tom

    Sorry, didn’t see your comment. Nice example for those of us who dislike Grisham and Love.

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  62. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    kimble and bobux

    How easy. Every country has a comparative advantage…like in providing slaves? What is Sudan’s advantage? Afghanistan? Bangladesh? Get real.

    Hurf Durf:

    Your blind support of Israel is evidence of racism. To you, Arabs don’t matter.

    You accusing me of anti-semitism is simply to cover your racism.

    I repeat, I don’t give a shit about what faith people adhere to, it’s just about human rights and justice.

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  63. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    Tom Hunter

    If P J O’Rourke is your answer, may God help us.

    It’s just all so easy when you are white and king of the world.

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  64. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    Your blind support of Israel is evidence of racism. To you, Arabs don’t matter.

    Arfarfarfarfarfarf. Is that how you justify your rampant hatred for anyone who disagrees with you? That they be raccizzts? Really, you’ll have to do better than that, considering there are also Arabs outside your Pali bubble. In Kuwait, for example. A friendly Western country. What about Jordan? And Egypt? Who I have suggested share the burden of the I-P Conflict, as they’re to blame for herding them into concentration camps and leaving them to rot? They’re Arabs too.

    If you wanted to be intellectually consistent, you’d want to hate people because they’re wrong, like I do, but you just want the moral highground like every other insecure leftist. You really are a total joke, Puke.

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  65. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    Speaking of Kuwait, they kicked out the entire population of Palestinians after the Gulf War. Where’s your passion for justice for them? What about the ones thrown out of Jordan in 1973? What about the justice of Muslims killed in Indonesia? They only want self-determination, after all. Where’s your constant rage against the Indonesian government?

    Your continually inconsistent approach with these issues can only make someone conclude that, yes, Luc Hansen, you are an anti-semite, and this anti-semitism isn’t built on traditional grievances such as killing Jesus or lending money but because they’re evil “colonialists,” just like your ancestors. That must sting you every morning when you look in the mirror. I can’t imagine punishing myself for something I had no part in. But then again, I’m not an irrational moron like yourself.

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  66. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    Why should those countries share what you call the burden – a Freudian slip? The IP conflict is a western construct. It’s up to us to solve it.

    Kuwait – a former province of Iraq that gets its oil from Iraq’s oil field. A privileged rich few while the masses over the border get Saddam and US bombs.

    Jordan – lots of Palestinians in Jordan, and any who show too much support for their kin across the border are quickly killed or locked up or tortured by the Eton educated “King.”

    Egypt – ruled by a ruthless, murdering US client dictator.

    Just who is the intellectual joke here, mate.

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  67. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    Wow, sounds you like hate those non-Palestinian Arabs, Luc. All that self-righteous rage. Pity you can’t put it into a more productive pursuit, like Origami.

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  68. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    Hurf

    You want me to rage against the Indonesian govt? You weren’t alive when I was doing that while our govt was complicit in mass murder by Soekarno and Suharto. And we made their apologist Don McKinnon SC of the Commonwealth? WTF!

    What has anything you say above got to do with the basic injustice of Palestinians dispossessed, with western support, by European Jews escaping constant persecution in…Europe!? By Europeans. Not Arabs.

    You are definitely racist.

    White is right, eh?

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  69. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    Wow, sounds you like hate those non-Palestinian Arabs, Luc. All that self-righteous rage. Pity you can’t put it into a more productive pursuit, like Origami.

    Great projection, Hurf.

    What is it that enthuses you about supporting the US backed oppressors of most Arabs?

    Bloodlust?

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  70. tom hunter (4,568 comments) says:

    Shorter Luc

    I got nuffink!

    By the way, it’s spelt raaaaaaaccccciist, and it should always end with an exclamation mark – in order to strengthen the assertion.

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  71. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    You want me to rage against the Indonesian govt? You weren’t alive when I was doing

    What’s stopping you now, Jimmy?

    By Europeans.

    And here comes the underlying cause.

    Not Arabs.

    So the Jordanians you whined about earlier aren’t Arabs? Raaaaacist.

    What is it that enthuses you about supporting the US backed oppressors of most Arabs?

    Politics, Puke. Pure and simple. It’s either us and the various unsavoury characters we have to put up with sometimes or Iranian proxies such as Hamas, or al-Assad backed by Russia or who ever China will undoubtedly support in the future. Course, I bet you think anyone else not backed by the West is a “liberator.” I bet you were part of the LEAVE NASSER ALONE crowd, back in the day. Useful idiots. Contemptful idiots as well.

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  72. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    Go to bed, Hurf.

    You are even more incoherent than usual.

    I see you have plenty of enemies lined up to fulfill your fantasies, so don’t let me stop you by saying things like…they are all people, just like us, except that we pay “unsavory characters” to oppress them on our behalf.

    Nice work if you can get it, I suppose.

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  73. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    I know you’ve lost when you whine that a perfectly sensible and coherent post is “incoherent” or “non-sensical.” I’m not surprised, common sense and basic logic is lost to people like you. It’s sad you’d rather stick your fingers in your ears rather than confront your prejudices and insecurites head on.

    Good luck trying to get emotional gubbins like that to work anyway. Unlike you, I think with my head, not with my heart. That’s partly why I’m not a leftist.

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  74. Rex Widerstrom (5,330 comments) says:

    Welcome Amelia. I hope you’ll return and comment on subjects other than yourself :-)

    Good to see someone applying intelligent thought to politics… there’s vastly more effort gone into an application to become a youth MP than many people put into their decision to vote. While others might criticise the conclusions you’ve drawn (and I myself disgaree with some) I’m sure they were as appalled as I was when DPF highlighted, just prior to the last election, some dimwitted person around your age who intended to vote Green but had no idea why other than something along the lines of “…they’re kinda cool and all my friends are doing it”.

    If I may make a suggestion, hyperbole along the lines of “coffee tasting of blood” harks back to the 60s (and indeed put me in mind of Enoch Powell’s “rivers of blood” speech… perhaps yours was an obtuse reference to that, but somehow I doubt it). It sounds a little hackneyed, especially to those who’ve heard it all before when it comes to rhetoric.

    Overall, as someone whose experience has brought me to the point where, if I were King for a day I’d impose a compulsory general knowledge quiz as a prerequisite to voting, it’s great to see someone who’d not only ace such a test but also potentially make an excellent MP.

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  75. eszett (2,374 comments) says:

    Luc Hansen (1276) Says:
    March 28th, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    kimble and bobux

    How easy. Every country has a comparative advantage…like in providing slaves? What is Sudan’s advantage? Afghanistan? Bangladesh? Get real.

    Sudan: oil, cotton, sesame, livestock, groundnuts, gum arabic, sugar
    Afghanistan: opium, fruits and nuts, handwoven carpets, wool, cotton, hides and pelts, precious and semi-precious gems
    Bangladesh:garments, frozen fish and seafood, jute and jute goods, leather

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  76. Jim (406 comments) says:

    Rex, “if I were King for a day I’d impose a compulsory general knowledge quiz as a prerequisite to voting”

    Amen. And then we could drop the voting age restriction.

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  77. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    Its unfortunate to see this sort of opinion – held as an absolute truth – by young people.

    In schools (I think next year – or maybe even now) they are teaching the ‘truth’ about global warming and that humans are the cause of it all. What is mostly being taught is that we are on the path to a hellish future and that the seas will be at your door in the next year or too- – thats if you dont die of heat stroke first.

    In other words its all been politicised.

    Most financial aid is wasted. Even the best run outfits spend 30 to 40% of the gathered money on administration – and most of that is spent (in NZ’s case) with in New Zealand. Then there is no way that an organisation is going to get into – in this case – the sudan, without greasing the hand of the controlling thugs. Maybe in the best situations only 30% of whats gathered gets through.
    In fact if one looks at history, the more aid that goes to Africa, the worse the place gets. Further, there is a moral argument that giving aid to the starving and/or the disease ridden is actually not helpful at all – because all it does is extend their miserable life until the next drought (next year) or the next famine or the next visit from the terrorists.

    And fairtrade is just a big con. Take coffee. 99% of fairtrade coffee is mexican. Mexico is wealthy enought to hold the olympics. Its not a country full of impoverished farmers. Further, the 10% premium fairtrade offers the farmers is not going to make any real difference to truly impoverished farmers – especially as fairtrade rules mean they have to spend more than the10% to comply with the rules.

    The only solution to these problems is to remove the corrupt leadership.

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  78. bobux (349 comments) says:

    Luc

    If you don’t know the meaning of terms like ‘comparative advantage’, perhaps you shouldn’t use them. Just a thought.

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  79. Swiftman the infidel (329 comments) says:

    I will take Twitford’s and aMElia’s comments seriously when they announce that until the Labour (and Green’s) demand-and have as party policy-that Member’s of NZ Parliament are ON THE AVERAGE WAGE they will TERMINATE THEIR ASSOCIATION WITH THEM.

    (holding breath now…)

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  80. ameliamacdonald (3 comments) says:

    Hi there
    It’s great to hear everyone’s opinions on what I have to say. Despite what some of you may think, I am open minded and really interested in discussion to do with this sort of material and always willing to hear new things! I haven’t closed my mind to any opinions other than my own, so it’s great to hear from some of you that really know your stuff in this area!

    However, Kimble, : “Seriously though, I wonder if this kid has ever had to justify her opinions. I wonder if she has ever had someone put to her the arguments that DPF wrote in the post above. I doubt it. And I am willing to bet that if anyone did, she would just dismiss them out of hand. Teenagers do that.”

    I most certainly am willing to justify my opinions. The DPF has raised some really good points here. Don’t box me into the category of ignorant teenager with a mouth but no ears! I put a lot more thought, research, and energy into many of these areas than you may assume. I’m welcome to discussion and of course realise that I’m not the world’s greatest expert on any of this.
    Judge me as you will but doing so, just because I’m 17, isn’t doing anyone any good. Teenager doesn’t always equal dismissive and ignorant. Belittling me will do nothing. I never said that giving money to people will ALWAYS help them. But in some cases, does it? Yes. If you’ve never travelled into a third world country and spent time with the people – you probably haven’t come across that kind of thing yet or had time to see it so your ignorance of it is understandable if not excusable.

    Shunda Barunda: I agree that yes, I’m idealistic. In many ways I think I’m also realistic. I think that some people NEED to be idealistic, otherwise our world would never move forwards towards an ideal place. I’m not suggesting that the whole world will become ideal if we do all the things I suggested! Not at all. Of course the world will never be a perfect world, and there is no perfect solution, as history most certainly does forewarn us. But I think that as a complete society, we can tend to be a little TOO pessimistic. Each life is one in its own. If a little positive difference can be made then it should be. If we aim for positive things then there’s a possibility of them happening. If we give up and say nothing will ever change, lets not be so idealistic, then nothing WILL ever change. At least if I died tomorrow I will have tried to make a change.

    Yes, I do have many more ideas about how a sustainable society can be achieved and would love to discuss. Again – some of them may be good ideas, some may be unrealistic. My whole mindset cannot be crammed into a short video :).

    krazykiwi: I definitly personally live the values I aspire to. To those of you that assume that I’m just an ignorant white girl in a nice house wanting to save ‘Africa’ but forgets about South Auckland – again, you have no idea what I do or advocate in my life, how much money I have, or what I do with my money. Yes, the Marxist wealth-redistributive policies were a failing point. Which really backs up my point of, there is no ‘ultimate solution’ for saving the world. In no way would I suggest that we all take all our money and just throw it into Africa so the whole world can be saved. Yet again though I do think that inequality is the key to why the world is such a brutal place. I’m no communist. I think re distribution of a lot of the world’s wealth (done so very, very wisely) would, in essence, make the world a better place. Because in some cases, it works. Money individuals give to NGOs does save lives. And improve lives of millions. It may be on a small scale in comparision to the whole world but making a difference is still making a difference.

    So I will keep living the values I aspire to and in doing so I hope to inspire others around me to do so. And it’s working. I don’t want followers or applause. Ghandi said we must become the change we want to see in the world and I most definitly believe this. I do long for government-inspired rule changes, because every change counts. It’s not about forcing others to agree with me, because the government is voted in by the people. Every policy the government employs will have people that disagree, but these people still must abide by the rules.
    Example: speed limits. Many people hate having to slow down to 50km/ph, but they are ‘forced’ to do so. Yet because of this, many lives will be saved. Sure, there’s still going to be crashes for a multitude of reasons. Car crashes won’t ever stop happening simply because there’s a 50km/ph speed limit in suburbs. And many people will be pissed off that they have to drive slowly when they’re in a hurry. But a difference is made nonetheless.

    Yes I aim for government inspired rule changes because the government can make large differences in the world. But, as you suggest, regardless of whether or not it ever happens, I’ll still live the values I aspire to. As I said in my video, it starts with the people.

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  81. dime (9,675 comments) says:

    hey hey hey! lets lay off importers!

    you people need Dime’s trinkets!

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  82. Falafulu Fisi (2,177 comments) says:

    Amelia, you’re in a wrong party. Labour doesn’t approve of any intervention (in which you’re advocating for) by any country (especially US) on other sovereign states.

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  83. mattyroo (1,012 comments) says:

    Oh dear Amelia….

    “If you’ve never travelled into a third world country and spent time with the people – you probably haven’t come across that kind of thing yet or had time to see it so your ignorance of it is understandable if not excusable.”

    I would love to know these third world countries you have travelled to and the work you have done, that has given you this attitude of: “I’ve been there, so I know better”.

    As someone who has worked extensively in the poorest and often war torn countries of the world, I have seen first hand the effots of a lot of your comrades. For example, Men taking baths in beer, because they were given USD$1000 by an NGO, so believed they were now among the rich!

    Reality and experience tells us that the only long lasting and truly capable projects of lifting people from the clutches of poverty are trade based, run by private enterprise. Whilst aid may help lift a few of the poor, and a lot of rouges, from poverty, it is like the junkies heroin fix, a quick hit that feels good for a short time, but will leave the recipient needing another dose tomorrow.

    The best aid I have seen coming from an QUANGO or NGO is courtesy of the World Development Bank and the JCB, whereby they get in behind a large project, financially backing it to get it off the ground, usually because the country the project is in will not allow foreign enterprise to own or control the project. Do you know why this is Amelia? And this is where it all goes wrong, foreign companies are not allowed to control these projects, because it means the top brass in the government cannot siphon off the money so readily.

    So, whilst well intentioned, both the World Bank and the JCB usually drop the ball, once the project is underway and money has been handed over to the controlling interests – usually governments.

    Now, if those projects were run by commercial enterprise, one, they would never get off the ground if they were unviable, therefore better appropriating that capital, but more importantly, they will be managed better, controlling costs, targeting reinvestment, creating yet more enterprise, and therefore directing profits to further productive investment – all the while creating more jobs and an economy locally.

    Whereas, using the goverment and NGO’s to do these things, only comes back to the redistributive policies of the left and corruption, where money vanishes to the few very wealthy at the top.

    I built a power station in the jungle a few years ago, financed by a large European corporate, all very above board and very little corruption – read zero gpvernment interference. Prior to this power station there was nothing, but ruinous houses, extreme poverty and uneducated people along our drive between our accommodation and the plant – except for the people running the local drug enterprises, but they were easy to spot, in their Hummers….

    As the plant developed, using locally employed labour and foreign expertise, it was truly amazing to see the transformation of the people along our drive. Little businesses started to spring up, people started to develop businessess as they knew they were going to soon be getting electricity. The European corporate stumped up money for a teacher for the school – the government wasn’t interested, (didn’t you say you wanted the government to make more rules?) the corporate could see the benefit of having an educated workforce in the future, as opoosed to importing expats.

    Get the bloody government out of our way, and let micro-enterprise flourish, therefore building a solid foundation for an economy to grow. As I always say, the micro reflects the macro and vise-versa, if the government (macro) is doing a piss poor job of managing the economy, how the hell do you think the people (micro) are going to be able to do any better?

    Finally what always pisses me off about the left, whom hate big business, is, they always want the gummint to make more rules and regulations. Yet, these same big businesses thrive on these rules and regulations, as it forces the small players out of the market, because it is too expensive for the small players. Witness GE, a huge American conglomerate, whose CEO is so far up Obummers ass, that the only thing hanging out are his shoe laces, always pushing for more regulation and more control, as the know they are one of the few that can compete in this environment. How ironic it is, the left want big gummint, they hate big business, but big business craves big gummint!

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  84. ameliamacdonald (3 comments) says:

    Hi there mattyroo.
    Firstly, by saying the part that you quoted, I was just referring to the way someone said to me – “The literature on the failure of foreign aid in lifting people out of poverty is abundant. Don’t worry, you probably haven’t come across it yet or had time to read it so your ignorance of it is understandable if not excusable.”. I think we’re all ignorant in many ways. I’d never, ever say ‘I’ve been there so I know better’. I don’t. All I meant was, having seen people being lifted out of poverty by being given aid and empowerment, I think it’s possible. For someone to tell me it isn’t possible is, in my opinion, a call of their own ignorance. Because, in the ways you have suggested, it IS possible.
    Thanks for your input. I find it really interesting to hear from someone who obviously has a lot of expertise in this area! Especially how you have seen how it doesn’t work in most cases. Which is something I think should be adressed, don’t you? Trade based and private enterprised schemes obviously are something that really works. I agree with you that money being thrown at people for a ‘temporary fix’ is a problem – that many NGOs waste their money on. However, not all do, and I think it’s these ones that need to be more invested in.
    Your work that you’ve done with the power station sounds great! I 100% agree that it’s about empowerment and development. Not about buying short term solutions such as food and throwing money away. Relief is needed but development is the important thing. I’d really be interested in hearing more about this scheme you’re talking about?

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  85. Phil Twyford (4 comments) says:

    @ Falafulu Fisi

    “Labour doesn’t approve of any intervention (in which you’re advocating for) by any country (especially US) on other sovereign states.”

    Where on earth did you get that idea?

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  86. big bruv (13,571 comments) says:

    “Where on earth did you get that idea?”

    From 1999 – 2008.

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  87. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    At the recent CITES meetings, there were statements made about people in a certain African nation being poor and hungry but sitting on a gold mine – e.g. they have an abundant populations of elephants and thus a sustainable supply of ivory. But certain developed nations refuse to permit them international trade in these items, seemingly because they derive from one of the “charismatic mega fauna”.

    Ironically the funds reaped from international trade could also be directed into beefed up conservation efforts.

    And it appears that poaching is most rife in Kenya, where they have a philosophy of protectionism as proscribed by those certain developed nations.

    The best solutions aren’t always the easiest to implement, unfortunately.

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  88. freshta (2 comments) says:

    To bobux
    You recommend studing Econ 101 to get a grip of these issues? What a joke!!!! The problem with your comment (and about 80% of the drivel on this page) is that it seems you’ve only ever studied Econ 101. I’m taking a guess you’ve never been to a developing country (like 80% of the people leaving unbelieveably naiive comments on this page) and that you learnt some rudimentary theory at university and somehow think that that actually applies in the real world.

    You can take pretty much everything you learn in economics at university and chuck it out the window when it comes to real life. There are many many many countries with no comparative advantage in anything whatsoever; who are stuck in a cycle of absolute and extreme poverty. I’ve lived in many of them and worked in the private sector, NGO sector and government. I’ve worked in private sector development for agricultural development in Afghanistan – trying to develop the only vague advantage they have in saffron and rose oil and was kyboshed at every turn by their underlying poverty (no road, no cold starge, no fuel, no phones, no market information) and international trade laws. So you can grow a crop? Big friggen deal – that’s nothing compared to what is actually required to get it to market. We couldnt’ even get their products over the border to Pakistan or Iran… how do you deal with that with your neo-liberal (right wing facist) economics theory?

    Forget what you learnt at uni – it’s just theory by old men who have never had any practical experience. Try actually going and living in a developing country (and I don’t mean on an Intrepid bus tour to a beach in Thailand) and see that it’s far more complicated that what you think.

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  89. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    @mattyroo – “Get the bloody government out of our way, and let micro-enterprise flourish, therefore building a solid foundation for an economy to grow.”
    Totally agree. “Governments aren’t the solution, they’re the problem” (hat tip to a deceased actor)

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  90. freshta (2 comments) says:

    To eszett

    “Sudan: oil, cotton, sesame, livestock, groundnuts, gum arabic, sugar
    Afghanistan: opium, fruits and nuts, handwoven carpets, wool, cotton, hides and pelts, precious and semi-precious gems
    Bangladesh:garments, frozen fish and seafood, jute and jute goods, leather”

    What’s your point? These countries can produce these commodities? So what? In Afghanistan the gem trade is virtually entirely in the hands of Taliban who have financed much of their operations through the mining of emeralds; opium is highly illegal and not taxed so provides no income for the government; carpets are massively hard to produce and expensive compared to Iranian, Turkish and Chinese carpets, and their fruit and nuts are of such a sub-standard that no one will import them. Just because a country can produce something doesn’t mean they have an advantage.

    And in case you haven’t noticed, Afghanistan, and Sudan are both at war. Ever tried doing economic development in a conflict zone… didn’t think so. You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

    Bangladesh is doing a great job; they’ve reduced their child and maternal mortality rates by over a half in the last 10 years, their literacy rates (particularly female) are increasing steadily …. and it’s all thanks to aid, not trade.

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  91. nicolebegg.com (13 comments) says:

    Can anyone name the background music? If it’s copyrighted that would be very ironic as one of the topics to be discussed at Youth Parliament is: “Copyright infringement is hurting NZ music – how can artists use new media to get their music sold rather than stolen?”.

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  92. Kimble (4,417 comments) says:

    “I think re distribution of a lot of the world’s wealth (done so very, very wisely) would, in essence, make the world a better place.”

    Mmm yes, wise redistribution. Perhaps thats what was missing in the past. The redistribution wasnt wise enough?

    “It’s not about forcing others to agree with me, because the government is voted in by the people. Every policy the government employs will have people that disagree, but these people still must abide by the rules.”

    Look what you have written here. Its not about forcing others to agree with you, but you want the government to make rules to which other people MUST abide? If you dont see what is wrong with those two sentences then you need to study them until you do.

    You need to rethink what the government is there for.

    “Yet again though I do think that inequality is the key to why the world is such a brutal place.”

    This is just a complete failure of logic. Consider if everyone had very little. There would still be brutality, right? In the absence of inequality, brutality would still exist. Universal poverty/equality wouldnt make things all sunshine and happiness. So inequality cannot be the main cause of brutality.

    I think your logic failed right at the start; you assume that the properity exists by default. Then when others are NOT prosperous things BECOME brutal. But the opposite is far more likely to be true; the default position of the world is brutality. and when some gain prosperity they become less brutal. Overall brutality would also decrease.

    You need to ask yourself why you hold the opinion above. In order to remain of that opinion you need to defeat the logic.

    What many on the Left do is assume away the gains from trade. If trade is a zero sum game then your position becomes somewhat more logical.

    Of course, that assumption is ridiculous. If trade wasnt beneficial to both sides then one side wouldnt engage in it.

    The person on the Left then comes up the with idea of exploitation of the poor. This is where the rich side of the equation (the West) uses their power to force the poor (the down-trodden masses of the world) into making themselves poorer by forcing them to trade at a loss.

    So in order to make their original assumption hold true (in truth, to avoid admitting that resources are limited, because that is what it comes down to) the Leftie becomes anti-capitalist, anti-West, anti-business, etc. The West is mean and steals from the poor of the world.

    This goes some way to explain why young people are so enamoured with the Left. It is far easier to follow this path of befuddlement than to change what you have assumed to be true in the first place.

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  93. big bruv (13,571 comments) says:

    ““I think re distribution of a lot of the world’s wealth (done so very, very wisely) would, in essence, make the world a better place.”

    It is time we stopped playing nicely with this silly little girl.

    She wants to steal our money and give it to those who cannot be bothered getting of their backsides and working for a living.
    She must be resisted at every turn, one day when she reaches her thirties she will begin to see the error of her ways, the only problem is that if we turn a blind eye to her and all the other stupid little boys and girls (James Sleep) they can do immense damage in the mean time.

    The youth sections of left wing parties do not play nice, invariably they are the ones who cause the most problems and disrupt the plans and events of those they oppose, I am buggered if I can see why we should treat them with respect of tolerance when they do not offer any in return.

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  94. Dylan W (1 comment) says:

    To whoever made the post:

    About the importing, Just putting it out there that too many imports create a current account deficit and this is currently what new zealand is experiencing. You say it’s good to import in one area and export somewhere else, well we simply arent doing that. We are simply importing too much and its putting us into deficit.

    What is wrong with self sufficiency? The oranges example she uses is not paticularly a good one as supply of that commodity is judged by the wheather but she has a very good point. The need for less reliance on importing was recognised by National a while back and was one of the main goals of the Think Big Project which failed tremendously because of bad management. It would be nice if Labour could take up a simular project and hopefully manage it better.

    I applied to be in Youth Parliment myself but never really expected to get in, I don’t stand a chance to these sorts of people mainly for two reasons; one that youth parliament just seemed like another event for the teenagers who just win at everything and that this will simply be another opportunity and achievement under their belts (I know she fits this model because I go to her school and am in her year, she wins like every award every year). I doubt she really cares about politics, I mean it’s respectful that she joined world vision and went on an overseas trip with them (very respectful) but that isnt quite in the political spectrum. If her joining this prooves she has a strong passion for politics then it also prooves she has a strong passion for everything else in the damn world.

    The second reason is that she can regurgetate three minutes of political correctness into one video better than I can. In my youth mp application was the fact that I ran a politics club for two years, but it wasn’t filled with this sort of PC dribble and that’s probably why I didn’t get in… and this really makes me wonder about politics in general. How far up the age group does this rule go? Is politics a place only for these super PC/win at everything/smile all the time people? Is there a place for men who go into politics without having already built up this huge self profile and persona and come into it only with the spirit of the people, with nothing but the willpower to forge a nation and economy that is great enough to sustain success without sincerity of bust, with nothing but the courage to face up to the cult of individualism that is corroding away at our societies values and that has bred an entire generation which has forgotten the importance of a unity…

    Perhaps not. Perhaps there is no place for me in politics. Perhaps this breed of women and men which we see in this video are the ones who will entirely inherit the leadership of our world. It seems the generation above us already has. I would like to propose that this is the reason why the current so called ‘Y’ generation has a severe lack of care for the world and for things like politics. The care is there, I hear it in my fellow students voices, it exists but it is dormant, and it is dormant because it has no fuel. And that fuel to drive people to care about the world is inspiration. We are not inspired. Our politicians have no charisma. John Key seems like your average joe character down the country road. To make a generation care about the world you not only have to educate them, you have to Electrify them.

    Where is the place now for ideas like these? Where am I meant to go? What am I meant to go with the one true passion that I have that burns within my soul? Am I to just grow old and bitter and to never fulfill my only dream? Are the seats of politicians only reserved for weak minded smile and wave PC men and women such as the one seen here?

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  95. lilbruv (1 comment) says:

    Dearest big bruv
    How on earth is Amelia a silly little girl? By the looks of her reasonable, open minded replies she’s very intelligent and well thought out – unlike you, who is simply hassling her opinions but offering none of your own.
    It looks like you really are buggered.
    Amelia has done nothing to suggest that she won’t offer respect of tolerance. Your test – can you name one moment on this blog where she hasn’t offered the respect of tolerance? As opposed to you, who is intolerant and basically really rude towards her?
    I don’t know her. But from what I see it seems she welcome’s others opposition to her opinions. You seem to be the intolerant and insulting – may i say – douchebag on here.
    My advice to you – get off your ass and form your own opinions rather than putting down those of a young person who is willing to fight for change and what she believes in.

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  96. nicolebegg.com (13 comments) says:

    Aha! The background music is a copyrighted song by Greg Laswell called Off I Go. I highly doubt permission has been gained from the rights holders in order to use this music in this way. This is very ironic as one of the issues identified for discussion at Youth Parliament 2010 is ““Copyright infringement is hurting NZ music – how can artists use new media to get their music sold rather than stolen?”. Clearly Amelia MacDonald believes nothing should be done and seems to endorse copyright infringement (even believing it is acceptable to breach other’s intellectual property rights in order to win a comptetition).

    [DPF: No permission was sought I am sure, but I think it is silly to expect people to gain rights holder permission for background music on a non commercial You Tube video. I mean technically even recording you singing a copyrighted song in the shower can be a breach, but lets be realistic]

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  97. Kimble (4,417 comments) says:

    “It’s not about forcing others to agree with me, because the government is voted in by the people.”

    I just thought of another, less charitable interpretation of this line. She could mean that it doesnt matter if anyone agrees with her, if she can get the government to make it a law everyone will HAVE to obey. And because the government is voted in, everything will be good an democratic.

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  98. andrewmcindoe (3 comments) says:

    As another young person interested in politics and global development, I would first like to say that these ad hominem attacks on Amelia as an attempt to discredit her views are quite childish – and it is fairly clear that childish behaviour is something not well liked by many commenters. So that’s ironic. Amelia acknowledges her own idealism, but then raises the point that without idealism, the status quo will never be challenged. This is so true. Sure it’s good to be realistic as well – the Soviet Union has been raised as a prime example of the failure of pure ideology as a governmental system – but idealism is the only way that the political paradigm in which society operates can ever be questioned and challenged.

    Idealists will inevitably have to compromise, as Amelia will probably learn at Youth Parliament, but if you start with a purely ideological position, your compromise will be closer to your ideology than if you started with a totally realistic point of view. Take the current National government; they sit like an unimaginative toad squatting on the status quo, totally devoid of any ideological underpinning to their policies. The maintenance of the status quo is not in and of itself a bad thing, however in this case, NZ’s insular focus ignores and thus exacerbates (as we DO have the power to do something) the undeniably devastating effects of global poverty and inequality. So we need some ideology in there.

    Wealth distribution may seem extreme, but she’s not advocating Marxism. To me it just seems fundamentally RIGHT to help others less fortunate than ourselves to get to the point where THEY HAVE THE SAME OPPORTUNITIES AS EVERYONE ELSE. What they do with those opportunities is up to them, but it seems manifestly unjust that people who are born on the other side of the world are disadvantaged from birth specificly because of their financial circumstances. Surely, as a developed nation that benefits from a capitalist global economy (and that is not necessarily a bad thing), we have a duty to support those at the base of the pyramid of capitalism?

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  99. mattyroo (1,012 comments) says:

    Amelia, I understand the context of you using that line now.

    Where did you see these people lifted out of poverty by being “given aid and empowerment” What is this empowerment that you speak of??? Are these people still outside the poverty cycle?

    I haven’t seen an NGO that doesn’t waste money, they have no concept of where this money comes from and usually no understanding of the value of that money. The only NGO I would ever consider to donate money to is the Red Cross, and some of things I have seen done by them, make me think twice.

    In my opinion and experience the best aid we can give people is trade based employment. This gets the money right to the community where it can be effectively used, establing that micro-econmomy I mentioned earlier.

    I would love to see NZ dump the minimum wage (an anathema to all you lefties) and suspend all aid payments to Pacific island countries. How do we then help these people you might ask?

    By importing their labour here on a temporary or domestic visa. Get them in to pick fruit, clean houses, cook meals, look after children etc. So our productive members of society can get on doing what we do best, innovate and value add, creating export $$$. The money this domestic help earns, goes directly back to where it is required in their community. Yes, I agree with you, there may be gummint regulations that would need to be put around a scheme like this, to stop exploitation, but we only need to look to Singapore and Hong Kong for what are already fantastic systems. All expenses such as food, lodging and medical are borne by the employer, the employee gets to keep their monthly salary, which is then remitted home. Whatch the true hard workers rush here if we had a scheme like this – hint, it won’t be the Islanders, but the Indonesians and Filipinos.

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  100. Fletch (6,151 comments) says:

    As far as poor countries and being poor…
    My brother has just come back from spending 14 months in the Phillipines, and he says that although the standard of living is less over there (ie, the people are “poor”) he reckons they are actually happy. Happier than the people in New Zealand.
    I’m not saying we shouldn’t try to help poor countries, but I think a lot of what we in the Western World consider to be ‘wealth’ doesn’t actually make us happier. The inverse seems to be true

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  101. mattyroo (1,012 comments) says:

    Freshta –

    “I’ve worked in private sector development for agricultural development in Afghanistan – trying to develop the only vague advantage they have in saffron and rose oil and was kyboshed at every turn by their underlying poverty (no road, no cold starge, no fuel, no phones, no market information) and international trade laws. So you can grow a crop? Big friggen deal – that’s nothing compared to what is actually required to get it to market. We couldnt’ even get their products over the border to Pakistan or Iran… how do you deal with that with your neo-liberal (right wing facist) economics theory?”

    You weren’t kyboshed by every turn, you picked something that did not have a comparative advantage and was not economically feasible to trade in. Why do lefties always believe that it was someone else’s fault, someone else should have developed the roads etc? If what you had was a sustainable (and I mean economically, not in lala lefty saving the planet speak) business, then surely it would be still operating now and be a succesful commercial venture. Yes, there would’ve been problems with getting your product to market, but you would’ve had other advantages – lower costs – over other producers. You simply did not have the right comparative advantage.

    Yes, I have worked in war zones and developed businesses there. Another place you mention is Bangladesh. It is a long time since I was there, but most progress was being made because of trade and enterprise, because of one man, Muhammed Yunus and his Grameen bank, again a business not aid.

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  102. Fletch (6,151 comments) says:

    ps, Amelia, I have to say….DON’T put your trust in the United Nations.
    Younger people seem to have this unquestioning trust in the UN for some reason.

    As far as children dying, you can see the counter here for abortion – at least two babies dying every second :(
    And it’s ourselves killing them. We should be doing something about THAT.
    From what I can see, your United Nations considers abortion a human right…

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  103. bobux (349 comments) says:

    freshta

    My university education was much more focused on crop rotation and kg/dm/ha than on economics. I’ve mostly picked up economics later in life, and it has made the world a much more comprehensible place.

    I have worked in developing countries, including one where a civil was was breaking out. I realise development work in these conditions is incredibly frustrating, and this frustration comes through in your post. But is doesn’t pay to assume everyone who disagrees with you is stupid or naive.

    I’ll respond to you at greater length when I have more time.

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  104. mattyroo (1,012 comments) says:

    andrewmcindoe said:

    “Wealth distribution may seem extreme, but she’s not advocating Marxism. To me it just seems fundamentally RIGHT to help others less fortunate than ourselves to get to the point where THEY HAVE THE SAME OPPORTUNITIES AS EVERYONE ELSE. What they do with those opportunities is up to them, but it seems manifestly unjust that people who are born on the other side of the world are disadvantaged from birth specificly because of their financial circumstances. Surely, as a developed nation that benefits from a capitalist global economy (and that is not necessarily a bad thing), we have a duty to support those at the base of the pyramid of capitalism?”

    Andrew, it would appear that you have not read the comments in this post….

    Most of the commentors have said we should, can and want to help people in poverty, however these same commenters have vastly different ways and ideas of how to help these people, rather than idealism. What we have proposed is to turn them into capitalist economies, whilst keeping our economy capitalist, so everybody can trade and everybody who puts in the effort can prosper.

    It seems what you propose, is that the poor countries can become prosperous by way of capitalism developed out of aid from developed countries, that you want to become socialist under a redistributive mantra. Sounds just like what the chicken little’s who have been trying to get all redistriutive with my hard earned money were trying under the guise of AGW.

    And you say that the National gummint is unimaginative, jesus h christ, what was the last 9 years of Herr Helen then?

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  105. andrewmcindoe (3 comments) says:

    mattyroo:
    I don’t see there being a conflict between between being a capitalist economy and an aid donor. Aid is not a simple handout, but entails investments in microfinance schemes that the vast majority of NGOs fund. Therefore this is not an idealistic wish, but one grounded in realism and achievability.

    You say that in an ideal world developing countries would become capitalist and allow any citizen who works hard to prosper. I agree. But the problem is that the majority of these countries are capitalist already, and yet the vast majority of their citizens do not have this opportunity. This is primarily due to poor infrastructure, weak central government, and corruption. If we want all citizens to have a chance, there has to be change at a governmental level, and the freemarket will simply not facilitate this change. This change has to be achieved through diplomatic intervention and increased aid focusing on increasing governmental transparency

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  106. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    So when is all the Obamatard scum descending on parliament then?

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  107. sonic (2,818 comments) says:

    What a lovely bunch of commentators you have here at times David, Compare and contrast.

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  108. mattyroo (1,012 comments) says:

    Andrew – No, your wish based on NGO’s distributing (or whatever you might like to call it) aid is not as you say “grounded in realisim and achievability”. Unfortunately this is the view of too many of our young people today, coming through an education system that is seeding them with these idealistic thoughts. Might I suggest to you Andrew, get out and work for a private enterprise who actually does work like I have mentioned in my earlier comments. That way you will see the stark difference of realisim and acheivability between a private organisation and an NGO. Question for you Andrew – Why do most third world countries inhabitants want no more NGO’s?

    You go on to say “….. majority of these countries are capitalist already, and yet the vast majority of their citizens do not have this opportunity. This is primarily due to poor infrastructure, weak central government, and corruption. If we want all citizens to have a chance, there has to be change at a governmental level, and the freemarket will simply not facilitate this change. This change has to be achieved through diplomatic intervention and increased aid focusing on increasing governmental transparency”

    No, no, no!!!! I agree with you only on the point that the change has to be at governmental level, but the change is exactly opposite what you are advocating! Your assertion that the problem is “weak government” is ass backwards.

    The problem is that government is too strong, oppressing the people and limiting foreign enterprise developing assets and labour markets therefore a strong foundation economy. It is these strong governments that are siphoning off all the cream on top to keep themselves strong, remaining in power and oppressing people. Look at Cuba and North Korea for an example…. The people cannot even leave N Korea to better themselves, and return money home to enrich their country, and you blame this on weak gummint????

    I think Amelia maybe understands this, but it is clear that you don’t. It is commendable that you are both getting engaged in politics at a young age, but what scares me, is that this is a chosen career path, and you will carry on doing all the political science degrees under the sun and then ending up as a Labour or Greens lackey. When a more appropriate career path would be to get out and work for private enterprise and get an understanding of what does and doesn’t work, instead of blindly believing what New Zealand’s socialist education system indoctrinates you with.

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  109. andrewmcindoe (3 comments) says:

    Mattyroo: obviously you have more experience in this field than I do, so could you please clarify something for me. What do you mean by a private organisation as opposed to NGOs? are you talking about corporations as opposed to not-for-profit organisations?
    Since you’ve worked in that field I’m not going challenge you on that, but I do know that Chinese firms working in poor (but oil-rich) African countries like Sudan are merely propping up dictators, and by no means facilitating the distribution of wealth to the nations’ poor.
    Why do you say that most 3rd World Inhabitants do not want NGOs? If you were to go to the Niger delta, I would imagine that you would find that the vast majority of people there do not want private Western enterprises (read: oil companies). Hence the insurgency in this area.
    In nearly all third world countries, as you say, there is a ruling elite that siphons off aid money etc. I did not intend to imply that weak central government is present in all these countries – as you say, look at Cuba and N Korea. However, there are many countries which have WEAK ruling elites, who have very little control over their countrry. Look at Somalia, Sudan, the Central African Republic, the DRC, Uganda. In all of these places, the ruling elite has little or no substantive control of vast swathes of their own countries. So in these countries, a weak central government, combined with the corruption of the elite does prohibit any wealth coming from foreign aid or investment to trickle down to the citizens. So governmental change is needed, and I am glad we agree on this.
    In countries like North Korea, Cuba, and Burma, governmental change will not be easy. This is where (to come back to Amelia’s point) military intervention could be considered. Neither aid nor private enterprise will be effective in effecting substantial change in such ‘closed’ nations.
    Finally, I do not believe everything the education system tells me – in fact I hate the proscriptive curriculum at secondary school. I am open to new ideas – everything I have said is simply based on what I believe. I recognise that I could well be wrong, but it would be unfair of you to imply that I had never even considered the other side of the story.

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  110. Kimble (4,417 comments) says:

    “What is wrong with self sufficiency?”

    Dylan W. You could probably google this question and find out.

    Cliff notes.

    1) Self sufficiency means we will be producing things at a higher cost.

    2) Higher cost means we cant produce as much.

    3) Consider the standard of living of individuals who try to be self sufficient. The lesson is the same even on a national level, though not as obvious, which is why people who refuse to really think about the idea (more specifically, people who refuse to question their own beliefs) cannot see it.

    The idea that an elite group of experts can control of the economy is one held by most young people. They think the principles were right, it was just implementation that was wrong. That the right experts would have succeeded if they hadnt screwed up.

    As far as reasons go this is an easy one to fathom; somebody screwed up. The difficult one to fathom is that maybe it is impossible for any “experts” to control and direct the market in a way that will succeed. Young people tend to go for the easy answers, because those are the first that occur to them. Then when those ideas arent challenged, which they usually arent, they go on living their life by them.

    Only a few adults will consider the second reason, and virtually no children will, because it isnt obvious, it challenges a persons original assumptions. This is why there are only a small proportion of adult Hayekians and no child Hayekians.

    A lot of people are blocked from reaching this realisation because they assume the opposite of government control is anarchy. They think that anyone who says that government control of markets is detrimental also thinks that there is no role for government. But this isnt true.

    Most people that believe in “free-markets” realises that there IS a role for government in markets. To understand the majority opinion in favour of free markets it is important to understand what that role is.

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  111. Kimble (4,417 comments) says:

    And Mattyroo, I think you may have misspoken about the majority of 3rd worlders not wanting NGOs.

    This is one of the problems with aid. The aid-givers want to give it, and the aid-recipiants want to receive it. There is little role for anyone else in the transaction. So the opinion of those who think aid should be restricted is not even in the main conversation.

    The aid givers wont think past the immediate impacts of the aid; a smiling person thanking them for their generosity.

    The aid recipiants wont think past those same impact; someone is giving them something for nothing.

    It feels good to give and it feels good to recieve.

    There is little contemplation of the secondary impacts of the aid by those two participants. The opinions of those who disagree, who are concerned about the secondary impacts, are not going to have much influence on the two main players.

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  112. Aaron Galey-Young (2 comments) says:

    As someone who has run for parliament it always amazes me the inability of many people to engage with the issues being talked about, and instead use whip-words that are emotive and personally directed (I know am also guilty of this). This is why I believe this nation appears to be apathetic towards politics as most of us don’t know how to disengage ideas and beliefs from the person raising them. People are too afraid to speak their mind for fear of being cut down rather than engaged with. I congratulate those who have taken the time to respond to the issues that Amelia has raised rather than using emotive or attacking whip-words to cut her down or correspondingly to others who have raised agreement or disagreement with Amelia.

    I have the blessing of knowing Amelia personally and have seen her grow and mature over about 8yrs or so. She is a delight to be around and a delight to talk to as she is both confident enough to share her mind and know her mind but mature enough to engage with the other persons views and knowledge, being able to put her own thoughts into moratorium until she able to fully assess the new information or to reject the new information through rigorous reasoning.

    It is important that we instil in young people a sense of civil duty that is so clearly seen within Amelia, but the consequence to you “adults” of doing so is that they will question and challenge the way that we are doing things if they see injustice, inequality, abuse of power. The worst thing we can do is breed another generation of people who either are indifferent and undeducated or too scared to speak about things that matter because of a distorted and dysfunctional cultural way of doing things.

    Amelia I commend you for doing this and while I don’t agree with everything you have said in your video I know we will be having some good rigorous discussion about things next time we meet.

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  113. Kimble (4,417 comments) says:

    A misguided ideal of “civil duty” could be the very last thing we want young people to have. Very often their ideas of what is an abuse of power (the marketing budget of Coca Cola or McDonalds, or the position of large companies when hiring in the third world) are simplistic and inaccurate. Very often their solutions, which almost invariably involves the Government “doing something”, come about from first level thinking rather that rigorous reasoning.

    Most kids havent been around long enough to really questions their underlying assumptions, and much less time to be in a position to change them.

    The more children that are involved in political debate, the more the political debate will suffer from childishness.

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  114. Aaron Galey-Young (2 comments) says:

    Kimble your premise is based on the allusion that adults use rigorous reasoning and even know what their own underlying values are. I know many young people who are more aware of their worldview than many adults in this country and as many of those unaware people are in politics this is the reason politics is childish, not because young people are wanting to be involved or become informed.

    This whole issue of ‘equality’ vs ‘liberty’ that this and many political arguments are about would be avoided if the question of ‘dignity’ was applied to all decisions and policy. Are my actions that benefit me honouring the humanity and dignity of all persons effected by my actions? If business and trade asked this simple question whenever making a decision then regulation and government intervention wouldn’t be necessary at all would it.

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