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8.17.2005

What is the best way to help the people of Niger?

5 Comments:

At 2:33 PM, Blogger Ivan said...

So the solution is to give those greatest in need cash.

This seems inline with other welfare-if-you-must programs, like a reverse income tax.

The easiest way to solve a great deal of Africa's problems would be to end all agricultural subsidies in America & Europe. Second, end trade restrictions.

 
At 2:38 PM, Blogger Miguel said...

I would say that the major problem is the one Hernando de Soto (the ecomonist) has devoted his life to trying to fix. In poor countries, there's no incentive for property rights to be codified, since people's farms and houses aren't worth much from a tax collecting point of view. But since there's no deeds to any of that property, the free market system is not accessible to most citizens of the country. Because assets are not valued in any standardized way, they're worthless to their owners. The market excludes most potential players and fails. Solution: not known. I suspect wealthy countries could afford to pay the political class of impoverished countries to establish a property rights system, if the ruling class in wealthy countries actually cared to improve the people of Niger (I'd presume they don't) .

 
At 2:43 PM, Blogger Miguel said...

I agree re: agrisubsidies in the US & trade restrictions, but would say that many moves to "end trade restrictions" are poorly thought out/ supervised and that they often don't do much of what they claim (ie CAFTA). Also, my above comment should be about improving the lives of the people of Niger, not improving the people of Niger; my mistake.

 
At 4:48 PM, Blogger Ivan said...

A government's failure to establish clear private property rights is not a market failure. Maybe in the market for politicians...

But, yes, de Soto is very right. He was recently awarded the Milton Friedman Prize for Liberty.

 
At 9:02 PM, Blogger oded said...

A government's failure to establish clear private property rights is not a market failure. Maybe in the market for politicians...


a more general case of this statement is. "Real life is not a market failure. Just a failure of Real life."

 

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