Here we go again with Somalia

I have noticed that the aid agencies have been ringing the bells once again about mass starvation about the events in the Horn of Africa. This is really déjà vu for me. I remember in the 80s when there were all the aid concerts for that area because people were starving.
It has become clear that, like so many other things (like cancer) nothing ever really seems to change. Every donation that we give is promised to help resolve the problem, and yet here we are 30 years later back where we restarted. I remember seeing a sign 30 years ago promising that they were closing in on a cure for leukemia, if only we would give more money to them. Well here we are all these years later nothing has changed despite endless billions poured into the cancer industry.
This failure to resolve the problem in Africa raises a lot of interesting questions about what we were doing wrong, especially concerning the fact that we have had over half a century of intensive aid development and the situation in places like Africa is no better, and is often worse. Maybe we need to rethink our strategy since it offers appears not to be working.
I have thought and said for several years that in many ways aid development in places like Somalia is probably actually counterproductive. The reason why is that when we go into a place like Somalia, and start digging wells, and providing oral rehydration salts, and mosquito nets, and basic basic healthcare, etc. What we are doing actually is making sure that a lot less babies die, and that helps ease our consciences. But, it does not really deal with the long-term problem. By saving all of these babies we consequently begin to create rapid population pressures, because in the old system families often had many children, but a lot of them died, which kept the population in a type of balance with nature. Now that we have come in and saved lots of babies, you must keep in mind that every bit of land only has so much carrying capacity, and in places like the one of Africa which are dry, the caring capacity is quite limited due to water shortages.
So, what happens is that there are more and more people, which puts stress on water, farmland, firewood, and most of all food. It doesn’t take a genius long to realize that a population growing out of control upon a fragile environment is going to lead to big problems. Furthermore, humans have a strong tendency to be conflictive when there’s not enough to go around. When push comes to shove, people start fighting.
So, I believe what we’ve had the Horn of Africa for the last 30 or 40 years, is overpopulation caused by a modern development, which has led to fierce competition for scarce resources, which has led to endless wars and conflict, which has led to underdevelopment, which has led to having too many babies, who grow up to continue the cycle all over again….
This is on the main reasons why I believe the situation in that part of the world never resolves itself despite all the efforts that we put into trying to fix the problem. I’m sure that there many people saying that I am heartless and mean, but I don’t really see that we are helping these people by saving a bunch of children who are simply going to grow up and quite likely be killed due to overpopulation. Even if they survive, they are going to be subjected to a lifetime of misery and hardship. I think sometimes in order to deal with a difficult situation one has to think clearly and not be swept up in the emotions of the moment, but to think long-term about the consequences of one’s actions, and whether what one is doing is actually helping the problem in the long run… or in reality making it worse. We need resolutions to problems, not short-term palliatives that merely make us feel better, and do nothing to resolve the problem, and often make it worse in the long run.
It seems to me that the best thing that we can do in that part of the world is to try to vigorously promote family planning, abortion, contraception, and as much as we can, to instill in them the need to control their reproduction, and only have the number of children that they can adequately support. This may be impossible due to their culture and their religion, but I think that so far we have not really made a major effort to do so, and I think that we should at least try, because I believe that getting population growth under control is the best thing that we can do for this part of the world — and for the rest of the world by extension too.


One Response to Here we go again with Somalia

  1. JLB says:

    A fitting response from bloated America, where over 30% of the people are obese.
    Let’s just kill the excess people before they live too long and become a strain on resources.

    If Africa had oil you’d be over there in 10 seconds.

    I think I’m going to puke.

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