The fact that others here disagree with you does not necessarily mean they are ignorant, or even stupid or evil. On the contrary, the fault could be yours. Among the likely possibilities are (1) You have not fully informed yourself as to the facts of the matters at hand; (2) You do not fully understand the meaning of the facts you have; (3) You have not bothered to read or understand the information and arguments provided you by others on this thread.
I'm going to go with "no" for numbers one through three.
For example, Thomas has already explained how, all relevant factors considered, The United States contributes about as much to developing countries as do any of the other G-8 nations. You have not rebutted the facts he offered, yet you persist in your inaccurate claims. You have labelled others as ignorant and stupid for such actions. What shall we call you?
It is revelatory that the biggest beef in this discussion has arisen from the fact that Europe trumps America in foreign AID. The millions of dead and dying Africans didn't cause much discussion. The thousands who die yearly in South East Asia every year didn't seem that important to most. But, the suggestion that America may have been outdone in the foreign aid pissing contest leads to extended debate. Often, the people engaged in the debate fail to understand the reasons the comparison was given in the first place. Revelatory.
For the umpteenth time: the issue is not how much we give, it is how much we give relative to what we could easily give. The comparisons to Europe to a) sink the theory that America is generous, b) demonstrate that we could easily give much more, as the Europeans are doing.
Also, I did respond to Thomas' post - I asked for substantiation. The only concrete evidence he offered in support of his claim was a vague allusion to an old Economist article.
Thomas' claim may - I emhpasize may - be true, and I am skeptical as to whether such a conclusion could even be objectively made. For example, if we are to consider factors that reflect well on America, like tariffs and immigation, as Thomas proposes, then we would have to consider all the factors where America's influence is disproportaionately objectionable as well. For example, American laws that prevent people from buying generic drugs. Also, the World Bank amd IMF, who have arguably contributed to global poverty on a large scale, are largely guided by America. This, too, would have to be factored in.
So, the kind of equivalence Thomas was trying to make seems dubious at best. Even if it is possible, it certainly goes beyond the scope of Thomas's one paragraph post, no?
You have also made some sweeping, but wholly inaccurate statements concerning AIDS in Africa.
Show me one inaccurate stat I posted. Thanks.
While the HIV rate in the continent is high at about 8.6% of the population, the rates in various countries vary quite significantly, depending mostly on the wisdom (or lack of it) exercised by the various govermnments. For example the HIV rates in Senegal and Gambia are 0.5% and 1.5% respectively. This compares favorably with rates in the developed world. In Uganda and Angola the rates are 5.0% and 5.5% respectively. While in Zimbabwe, Botswana, and South Africa they are many times that at 33.7%. 38.8%, and 21.8% respectively.
Yeah, I was fully aware of the variances in HIV infection rates in Africa.
You seem to be quoting the stats in such a way that it leads me to believe you think these variances somehow lessen the sheer magnitude of the problem. It's absurd. Is the fact that millions of Africans die annually, while Western nations wastefully hoarde resources that could help them, made any less of an abomination by the fact that these Africans are dying at various rates depending on demographics?
I think not.
The difference isn't due to poverty at all
I never claimed that it was all due to poverty. Poverty plays a big role, but so do things such as lack of education, lack of access to birth control, myths about birth control, and governmental incompetance.
South Africa, Botswana, and (until recently) Zimbabwe enjoy(ed) the highest per capita GDPs on the continent, while Uganda and Angola are relatively quite poor. The explanation is the persistent stupidity and blindness of the governments of these countries which indulged themselves in fantasies about the origins and causes of AIDS, and took no preventive action, while the disease ran rampant in their populations. Ten years ago Uganda and South Africa had about the same HIV infection rates. Uganda embarked on a well organized public awareness program while South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana indulged themselves in fantasies about a conspiracy by racist white men. During those ten years the infection rate exploded in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana: in Uganda the rate declined - today the rate in Uganda is less than half that in South Africa and one- third that in Zimbabwe.
Hard to blame this on any suposed lack of generosity on the part of the United States.
I don't blame the African AIDs epidemic on America. I never said that, and it is a transparent act of desperation to simplify the argument by suggesting that I did.
I blame America for allowing the epidemic to bring an entire continent to it's knees while we have the means to either stop it or control it.
In any case, it is simply not true that the AID's epidemic can be blamed on a consortium of African leaders who thought it was "a conspiracy of racist white men." It is true, howver, that a lot of absurd fantasies about AIDs exist. The difference between us is: I would propose that we launch a camapaign to dispell such myths, while you think it is okay to let millions die because of thier own lack of education and thier leaders ignorance.
It is important to have some knowledge and understanding of what your talking about - even if you aren't the President of South Africa.
I do. And, although I admittedly have a lot to learn and I am certainly no expert in the area, I think the arguments I've put forth and the knowledge I've used to buttress them is a testament to the fact that I am at least capable of debating the topic coherantly.
The claim has been put forward that America gives the same as comparable nations when one factors in things like immigration and tariffs. Now, I haven't seen the article Thomas' was alluding to, but all of the information I have seen is contradictory to his claim.
Judging a nations commitment to foreign aid based solely on the number of raw dollars they contribute can indeed be a little misleading. After all, the policies of first world nations - in terms of immigration, debt relief, tariffs, etc - also drastically affect the developing world. So, it is important to take these factors into consideration.
In this thread, I've focused mostly on raw forign aid dollars because a) they are much easier to quantify than the far flung effects of policy, b) to make the point that the united States gives far, far less that it has committed to giving, that it gives less than all other comparable natrions, anf that it could sustainably and easily give much more, c) because foreign aid dollars, if used properly, are still by far the best way to help the third world.
The only comprehensive assessment of first world nations commitment to foreign aid that I know of is the CGD/FP development index. It is a ranking of first world countries that takes into consideration forign aid, trade, investment, migration, peacekeeping, and environmental policies and how those policies affect the developing world. Now, contrary to Thomas' claim, the United States finishes second to last on that ranking of 21 nations, next to Japan. Allow me to elucidate:
Trade is the only area where the United States helps out the developing world to any meaningful extent, and even then our trade policies are only slightly average. In every other area - aid, peacekeeping, and migration, among others - the United States is outdone by a laundry list of other nations.
The ranking is pretty comprehensive. For example, several people in this thread have insisted that we should include the eleemosynary contributions of private American citizens via churches and charities. I've already pointed out why this is retarded, however, even if such contributions were considered, America would still place only 14th out of 21 on the list of forign aid commitment (and that's if we don't consider the eleemosynary contributions of private citizens in other nations.)
The ranking is as follows:
4. New Zealand
11. United Kingdom
20. United States