Re: Beggars in Spain

Jeff Bone (
Wed, 07 Jul 1999 22:48:51 -0500

> Also, it's not clear to me that the programs you mention ---
> for instance, UNICEF --- have ever really had any social
> impact in any part of the world that was of any economic
> consequence whatsoever.

Wow, serious parse error, that came out sounding really bad. What I
meant to say was that it's not clear that UNICEF's efforts have resulted
in any noticeable economic impact in any area of the world; I was not
writing off whole areas of the world as being economically

Here's a "green" hypothetical. Large portions of the South American
rain forest are being clear cut to provide farm land and resources to
the populations in those areas. Farming and other pursuits seem to be
the best position for those folks to take; however, it's not in the
best interests of the world to allow this to happen --- those forests
are in the ecologically delicate position of being the planet's lungs,
and hold numerous potential medical and scientific resources. So is the
solution for first-world governments to tax their people in order to
send large subsidies to those countries, and turn all these UN social
organizations loose down there? I don't think so.

Those very same areas are a huge, cheap labor resource. Light
manufacturing industries would be well suited to locating in those
areas, and would find large amounts of "cheap" labor there. In
addition, the infusion of external cash and resources into those areas
would dramatically improve the social situation there, far out of
proportion to the expenses involved; companies locating in those areas
would necessarily need to insure appropriate and adequate infrastructure
such as communication, medical care, housing, and so on. It would be
both cheaper and more effective to allow private sector concerns to
address these issues; and in the absence of governmental and public
organizational "interference," private industry would be motivated to do
so simply by straightforward economics, i.e., lowering

It seems to me that there are very few functions traditionally provided
by government and public sector organizations that cannot be better,
more quickly, and more cheaply addressed by private concerns and an
interference-free free market. Public organizations tend to be large
bureaucracies that are monstrously inefficient, grossly wasteful,
generally ineffective, and move at a glacial pace. And yet over time we
continue to poor increasing amounts of various resources --- time,
people, money --- into trying to get these kinds of solutions to work.

Just a few more thoughts,