Thursday, June 11, 2009

How dependency is created

In a world of bad ideas this latest "quick win" ranks high:

The idea of paying people in the developing world to preserve their forests (known in climate jargon as a global framework to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, or REDD) represents a paradigm shift.

Instead of making money by harvesting forests for wood products and for crops like palm oil, governments and citizens in the developing world would need to accept a different model based on so-called conservation payments, which could be used for education, health care, and alternative economic development.
Plainly put, let's pay people in the developing world to do nothing.

The arrogance of this type of "idea" should be plainly visible to anyone not confined to the purity of the académie or the rarified/reality-deprived air of the professional do-someting conference circuit. Other than a self-righteous posture, from what morally superior perch do denizens of such an "idea" come off dictating the economic choices of a developing (or any) country?

What if the Indonesians think we should pay IT professionals in Silicon Valley to stop innovating? Pay wine-makers in France to stop producing? Pay German automobile manufacturers to stop engineering? Using the same "save Gaia" template, each of these pursuits go an equally long way in "destroying" the environment as well. Ahh, but these are western goodies without which we would notice, can't have that. Let's make the developing world suffer economically, developmentally and aspirationally. Afterall, they are on the other side of the world, nobody will notice.

There is also the political hypocrisy of those espousing this new dependency creation/aspirationally crushing "idea". Greendom is constantly espousing neo-agrarianism as a panacea for every eco-ailment, by halting real-o-agrarianism won't this new plan put lie to that claim? What is this "alternative economic development"? Is that code-talk for sweatshops? I thought those were bad too. Besides, haven't you heard, we can't have (insert western country here) manufacturing jobs going to "foreign" workers now can we?

Two easy predictions (among many) should such an "idea" fester to fruition:

1) Developing countries will receive large amounts of cash
2) Developing countries will find a way around the strictures of such a "plan" and continue on their economic trajectory (all along keeping the cash in #1)

Our developing world brothers and sisters are especially keen to the scams of the western do-gooder class and use these various scams to their own self-interest, can you blame them? Amazingly enough, a room full of western PhDs can't seem to figure out they are being played for the suckers they are. Then again, why should the PhDs care? It's all under-written by you, the tax-payer.

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