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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Saturday, June 01, 2002

Three for One

On Friday, Paul Krugman tackled Bono, O'Neill, and international aid. On Saturday, Bill Keller of the NY Times wacks at the same pinata with much better results. And to complete the trifecta, the Economist (registration req'd) has a piece in their weekly issue (Pakistan, "The Weakest Link", on cover).

Bill Keller's piece attempts to be balanced, and develops the thesis that the politics of internaitonal aid today are similar to that of welfare reform in the early 90's: a consensus is emerging that something can and should be done, and potentially effective plans are actually being discussed. Why? The Right is abandoning its notion that aid is futile; the Left is opening up to the possibility that evil corporations and more evil trade can actually improve standards of living. OK, I am further simplifying what he describes as an oversimplification, but I expect that there is something in his column to annoy everyone.

The Economist discusses this, and also discusses the importance of agricultural expots to African development. Uganda would like to export peanuts to the US, sugar to Europe, and rice to Japan. Protected domestic markets make this impossible. Thus, the new US farm bill gets bashed from a new angle. Interesting factoid, which I have not attempted to verify: over the next decade, the US farm bill will cost the average family over $4,000 in higher food costs. Wow. And whither the tax cut, and the elimination of toll gates on the road to prosperity? But the Economist does not give a source for this estimate.

UPDATE: Hoystory always does something interesting on Krugman. I assume you all know that, but props to him anyway.

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