How Can We Alleviate Third World Debt?


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This would be a valid question if there were third world countries that were both actually *in debt* (eg, Jamaica) and working to get out of that by allowing free trade and creating incentives for the people to do well (eg, China)

the problem with this is that all the countries who have done the second thing either get out of debt or stop being third world countries, and for the countries that do the first thing, it's basically a waiting game to see if they'll change themselves or to see what will have to happen for them to change themselves. I've seen firsthand the corruption in places like laos and burma, and there is not a single thing I will do to help the governments with their debts because I know that every second I spend will be wasted, along with any penny I give.

On the other hand, if a country really wants to change itself to be better, there are things it can do. South Korea, in the past 50 years, has gone from a third-world agrarian country to one of the largest suppliers of electronics worldwide. How? Everybody got an education in something meaningful- not sociology (not a science), not underwater basket weaving (not useful for *ANYTHING*), but real degrees- engineering, medicine, education- and they learned real skills, how to work with metal, how to work with plastic, etc. The result is that korean plastic are the world standard- they're the ones behind the largest single-pane aquarium window, which is a large piece of acrylic plastic.

Vietnam can be cited as another case study. Vietnam, culturally, is so competitive and culturally the people are so used to doing something with nothing that this has always been inevitable- although I still think vietnamese gangsters are silly and would be too embarrassed to act like that in vietnam.

burma? Rampant corruption, state-sanctioned and state-ordered genocide. Africa? This is a whole mess I don't even want to get into, but I will point out that northern somalia- which is attempting to break away and become somaliland- is functional, but has no real industry except, famously, piracy. I personally know people there, and they are moderately educated, well spoken, polite, etc. The people there aren't spectacularly stupid- but they have no industry that they are able to export, and they have no infrastructure besides religion and tribal blood lines. There is no effective political government, only tribal systems- which works, to some extent, but I'd be very worried about how well it can scale to be a larger system of government. The thing that I think needs to happen is that small countries like this that have these kinds of situations. The piracy thing, based on my interraction with these people and the things I have observed, has happened first as a retaliation against other nations dumping things in somali waters and then as a means of survival.

so, I guess my final answer: Two parts. First, educate the people in any given area, as korea and vietnam have done. Second, you need to create a situation in their own country which is conductive to them living there, so, in a way, the people have to educate themselves, otherwise they just go to other countries and you get the 'brain drain' scenario that happened in laos because of the khmer rogue and the country itself gains nothing.

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