Thursday, March 26, 2009

Chicago Reader Comments On Congo Aid

The most recent question from my Chicago reader is more of a thought-provoking observation:

"I think you are right on the mark about the distinction between investment and aid. It is important for the development of the DRC to benefit other countries because it will improve the quantity and the quality of the assistance provided. Sadly, I suspect those in power who resist foreign investment simply lack the education necessary to understand complex economic principles. I am only speculating on this point, however. What do you think?"
I think you may have carried your speculation a bit too far in the wrong direction. The DRC has many very well educated leaders in government and otherwise. This may be a benighted country, but that doesn't mean its citizens are backward or unsophisticated.

Those who resist foreign investment are simply expressing opinions based on short-term thinking similar to the insistence by the US Congress that only American steel should be used in infrastructure projects financed with stimulus funds. Or the US limits on foreign ownership in industries like shipping, aviation, and broadcasting. Or building a wall across the Mexican border. There are plenty of "educated" people all over the place who take extremely simplistic approaches to complex issues.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the

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