Recent news about debt relief for poor African nations might give the impression that governmental corruption, inefficiency, and irresponsibility are unique to developing countries. This is simply not so.
Take, for example, the situation of the United States government. As of June 14, 2005, the total outstanding U.S. public debt is $7,804,534,405,437.48. That amounts to a share of debt for each U.S. citizen of just over $26,000.
With the G8 countries preparing to cancel $40 billion in debt owed by several African countries, a fresh start is promised. But what has really changed?
Check out Acton commentary related to African aid and debt forgiveness at our “Aid to Africa” special section. Here you can find an interview with the Rt. Rev. Bernard Njoroge, bishop of the diocese of Nairobi in the Episcopal Church of Africa, and a member of the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission, and Chansi Chanda, chairman of the Institute of Freedom for the Study of Human Dignity in Kitwe, Zambia. In this insightful interview, these two African leaders discuss the debt cancellation agreement and the moral nature of business.
The One Campaign, an advocacy group formed by international relief agencies that is promoting greater U.S. spending on foreign aid, has drawn support from prominent evangelical Christians and a pack of celebrities including U2’s Bono. But Anthony Bradley observes that the campaign, with its focus on greater governmental action rather than personal sacrifice, “promotes a depersonalized and sterile form of help characteristic of the secular appeal to radical individualism.”
After SpaceShipOne was awarded the Ansari X Prize last year, Paul G. Allen became "the best-known member of a growing club of high-tech thrillionaires, including the Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who find themselves with money enough to fulfill their childhood fascination with space," reports John Schwartz in today’s New York Times.
A contentious energy bill passed by the House is scheduled to be taken up by the Senate today. House Republicans are calling for swift passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, but some Senators are threatening to put off a vote until their concerns about offshore oil drilling are met.
“Wind Farms Costly for Kansans, New Study Finds: Consumers would pay higher bills, reap few green benefits,” by James M. Taylor, Environment News, May 1, 2005, The Heartland Institute.
Via the highly recommended Evangelical Ecologist.
The Wall Street Journal editorializes today on the latest thuggish brutality from one of Africa’s saddest stories – Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe (subscription required):
One of Africa’s poorest countries, Zimbabwe, is suffering through a brutal forced relocation reminiscent of the Khmer Rouge’s “ruralization.” Hundreds of thousands of people in and around the capital, Harare, have been evicted from their homes, which are then bulldozed under the order of dictator Robert Mugabe, the poster child for Africa’s governance problem.