Tag Archives: Foreign Investment

Jonah Goldberg explains why we should export capitalism

Column from USA Today.


In one NPR vignette, a mango farmer needs a small canal from a river abutting her property if she wants to expand her crop beyond two meager trees. Technology “Sumerians probably took for granted 5,000 years ago” could transform this single mother and her kids from “some of the poorest people on earth to much better off,” according to reporter Adam Davidson. But despite a surplus of both cheap ditch-digging labor and aid agencies, she can’t get a loan to build it.

“This is what kept striking us in Haiti, just a little upfront investment and people could be living so much better,” added fellow correspondent Chana Joffe-Walt.

Instead, Haitians themselves explain, most aid agencies spend much of their energies trying to justify their own existence rather than helping Haitians help themselves. There are important lessons here for U.S. policymakers, not just in regard to Haiti (hardly a national security priority) but also for such places as Afghanistan and Iraq, particularly now that President Obama has announced the combat phase of the Iraq project is coming to an end.

The “root causes” crowd always had a point about the effects of poverty on political stability. Where their case truly fell apart is in the remedy: economic planning from above. For decades, the “international community” bet on big-ticket state-run make-work jobs and white elephants. The West, including America, is expert at pouring aid into poor countries; it’s less adept at teaching poor countries how to stop being poor.

Capitalism and foreign investment work better than foreign aid. We should feel good when what we do produces good results. We should not fel good when we cause harm out of our uninformed good intentions. Results matter. We need to try different ideas and then stick with what works. Capitalism works.

Socialists defeated by free-market conservative in Chile election

Story from Investors Business Daily.


Amazingly, Concertacion’s center-left candidate, Eduardo Frei, lost the election… to pro-free-market Sebastian Pinera, a self-made billionaire who vows to expand free markets even more. Following his exuberant 52%-48% victory Sunday, Pinera vowed to make Chile “the best country in the world.”

Saying he meant to be an “entrepreneurial president,” Pinera promised to cut red tape, improve investment, make it easier to hire and fire workers, make bureaucrats accountable and improve the climate for Chileans to start businesses.

He wants to partially privatize state copper giant Codelco to attract investment. He also wants to get tough on crime. Because he’ll have to work with the Concertacion congress, he may not achieve all of it. But given the political winds, he’s sure to achieve some of it.

[…]So instead of the 3%-range economic growth seen lately, Pinera vows to grow in the vicinity of the 7.2% pace Chile racked up in the first heady years after Pinochet’s dictatorship, when economist Milton Friedman’s Chilean Chicago Boys were in charge.

Instead of producing just wine, fruit and fish, Pinera wants new measures to encourage new industries to enrich Chile and its buyers around the world.

Can a billionaire like Pinera lead Chile? His past suggests he won’t rest on his laurels. As a businessman, he liked introducing new things to Chile; during the ’80s he introduced credit cards when these were barely known and made them a fact of life.

He also has a knack for rescuing failing industries and transforming them. In the 1990s he bought Chile’s battered state airline and turned it into LAN Airlines, now South America’s biggest carrier.

Chile’s markets are optimistic. The stock market rose 1% to its highest level ever on news of Pinera’s election.

Although Chile was being run by socialists, they were actually really good on fiscal issues.

I blogged before about how a pro-free-trade economic policy had produced so much economic growth that Chile received an invitation to join the prestigious OECD, an organization of 30 economic super-powers! Well, Chile accepted the invitation – they are the first South American nation to ever be in the OECD!

The Wall Street Journal has the new rankings for the freest economies in the world. Chile is #10! Talk about punching above your weight!

Rank Country Year Score Change
1 Hong Kong 2010 89.7 -0.3
2 Singapore 2010 86.1 -1
3 Australia 2010 82.6 0
4 New Zealand 2010 82.1 0.1
5 Ireland 2010 81.3 -0.9
6 Switzerland 2010 81.1 1.7
7 Canada 2010 80.4 -0.1
8 United States 2010 78 -2.7
9 Denmark 2010 77.9 -1.7
10 Chile 2010 77.2 -1.1

Chile is the number one place I would like to live if I could choose to live anywhere. But they have these terrible earthquakes! I don’t know what to do about that. I have this crazy idea to live in an earth-sheltered house, just to save money on utilities and to lower maintenance costs, so that I have more time for pets and friends. I wonder if they have those in Chile?

I also like Honduras (#99) and Colombia (#58). I was showing off my Honduras-made shirts today at work to one of the atheist-Democrat guys who is suspicious of free trade. I explained the difference between between foreign investment and foreign aid. I prefer foreign investment. The clothes are well-made, and I like to help poorer nations to grow their economy by trading with them – so that they have jobs they can be proud of. Today, clothes, tomorrow, LCD monitors! My parents were born in a poor country, just like Honduras or Colombia.

How environmentalist extremism hurts the poorest developing countries

I wrote before about how environmentalists banned DDT in Africa, causing 25-50 million innocent deaths. And I also profiled the murderous views of leading environmentalists, including the radical views of Obama’s pick for Science Czar. The real goal of the secular-left is to equalize life outcomes by controlling the economy, and they don’t care how many poor people have to die in order to get control.

Consider this video from the Competitive Enterprise Institute about Ecuador.

It isn’t businesses that hurt the poorest of the poor in these developing countries, it’s eco-socialists who want to restrict development.

And now let’s take a look at an article that provides more detail.

Understanding Eco-Imperialism

Consider this article by policy analysts Willie Soon and Paul Driessen, in which they argue that environmental extremism hurts developing nations by forcing them to remain in poverty.


Eco-colonialism keeps Africans “traditional” and “indigenous,” by insisting that modern technologies are harmful and not “sustainable” in Africa.

Abundant, reliable, affordable electricity could power homes, offices, factories, schools and hospitals, create jobs, bring clean running water, and generate health and prosperity. But Rainforest Action Network and other pressure groups oppose coal and natural gas electricity generation on the grounds of climate change, and hydroelectric and nuclear power for other ideological reasons. They promote wind turbines and solar panels that provide electricity unreliably and in amounts too small to meet any but the most rudimentary needs.

Biotechnology could produce bumper crops that overcome droughts, floods, insects, viruses, and even global warming and cooling. But Greenpeace and Sierra Club oppose this precision hybrid-making technology, and instead promote land and labor-intensive subsistence farming.

DDT and insecticides could slash malaria rates that Al Gore and other climate alarmists falsely claim are rising because of global warming. But Pesticide Action Network and other activists stridently oppose their use, and the European Parliament recently imposed new pesticide restrictions that will further restrict African access to life-saving chemicals.

This is important, because a lot of well-meaning, uninformed Christians are taken in by environmentalist rhetoric about saving the planet. We need to do good not just feel good while actually doing harm.