International development community wants global welfare

By Alex Singleton (22 July 2008)

One of the most worrying ways in which the international development community has been regressing has been the move of focus from short-term relief aid and wealth-creating infrastructure towards the creation of a global welfare state.

Governments, including our own, are now increasingly funding poor countries' consumption, in particular by supporting healthcare services and primary schools.

International development should be about helping poor countries lift themselves out of poverty, so that they can fund their own public spending, rather than relying endlessly on the (forced) generosity of overseas taxpayers.

Unfortunately, many in the international development community want the creation of a global welfare state. So it's no surprise that a new report form the Chronic Poverty Research Centre, the Adam Smith Institute reports, is calling for:

"a massive scaling up of state welfare in developing countries, ranging from cash benefits to 'minimum income guarantees.'

"Later this year, the World Health Organization is also likely to recommend expanded social protection - including minimum wages - as an essential means of improving the health of the poor."

None of this addresses the real causes of poverty - weak support for contracts, excessively high taxes and tariffs, business-destroying corruption, and restrictions that discourage private enterprise.

And, as the Adam Smith Institute puts it, "in fragile African economies, asking the private sector to provide 'minimum income guarantees' is tantamount to telling them not to bother employing anyone at all."

Published on here.

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