Thursday, June 02, 2005

Why socially convervative Christians should actively support MakePovertyHistory

In the comments to my post on Tuesday about why socially progressive Christians should support MakePovertyHistory, Jeff wrote an excellent argument against the MakePovertyHistory campaign from the socially conservative Christian viewpoint. Today's post is for him and all that agree with him.

The 42 most Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) owe $189 billion to creditors. Zambia, an example country, spends 35% of government revenues servicing external debt. Adopting the 3 core principals of the MakePovertyHistory campaign will almost certainly help America. Below are some of reasons each American would benefit.

Reduced terrorism and increase our homeland security-As President George W Bush has said: "Persistent poverty and oppression can lead to hopelessness and despair. And when governments fail to meet the most basic needs of their people, these failed states can become havens for terror... in many states around the world, poverty prevents governments from controlling their borders, policing their territory, and enforcing their laws. Development provides the resources to build hope and prosperity, and security." Debt cancellation allows countries to focus on law enforcement and intelligence gathering. The Middle East is now the center of our war on terror, but Africa has been highlighted because so many governments are in ruins and can easily be bought off. The terror attacks in Kenya in 2002 could be the prologue to the next chapter in the War on Terror.

Reduced immigration- If truly free and fair trade were adopted it would open up developed nations markets to many goods produced in developing nations. This would open up the job prospects for many potential economic migrants at home. The wouldn't need to immigrate to the US or Europe to find a job with a good paycheck and future.

Reduced demands on health care systems MakePovertyHistory wants more and better aid. The key part is better aid. The 20th century way of giving aid to governments that supported the US in the Cold War doesn't work. It enriches a few despots at a cost to the entire country. MakePovertyHistory wants the more and better aid spent on things that a government can be accountable for: schools, roads and health care. If we provide money for better health care facilities in developing nations, then immigrants won't come to America to take advantage of our better system.

Make goods and food stuffs cheaper Freer and fairer trade would result in lower cost to consumers at home. As we've seen with goods made in Asia, we can have more at a cheaper price when we truly open up trade. Instead, both Europe and the US operate protectionist policies toward agricultural products so that basic foodstuffs at your supermarket cost more and are worse quality than in a truly competitive market.

Reduce in drugs Again opening up American markets to foreign farmers would stem the production of drugs in other countries. Right now, the protectionist policies make it nearly impossible for a farmer to send their cotton, silk, etc to America. The current price of cotton in $.45/pound versus $100/gram for cocaine. Make it easier for a farmer in Columbia to send cotton to America and they can get out of the coca business, and if we've forgiven the debts of Columbia, they will have extra money to get those farmers that don't.

Reduced foreign expenditures We've spent the last 50 years sending emergency aid to Africa to put out fires. We could make an investment now to improve conditions so that war, famine and other calamities are less frequent. Only today, President Bush refused to offer more money in aid to Africa. Recently Congress approved $50 millon to help Sudanese refugees, yet the irony is that Prime Minister Blair only wants $25 million in aid for Africa.

It is everyone's interest, progressive and conservative, to get the G8 to MakePovertyHistory. Convinced? Use the points provided to e-mail or call your Congressman, Senators and the White House. If you believe, like I do, that our men and women in public service are good people that want to do the right thing, let them know they won't pay a political price for supporting lifting millions of Africans out of poverty. Take the time to call or write. Then let others know. We must show our political representatives this intiative has popular support.

Still unconvinced? Let me know why in the comments.