Friday, July 10, 2009

Planners v. Searchers

I am reading a tremendous new book right now entitled White Man's Burden. I am uncomfortable with the title, but thankfully my wife bought me the Kindle for a wedding present, so I do not have to have the book on display as I ride the metro. Anyway, the whole push of the book is that Western foreign aid is completely wrong in its paternalistic approach to economic problems. The example he uses is that our economy is easily able to distribute 16 million Harry Potter books to fans the day it is released, yet $4 mosquito nets do not reach the vulnerable populations who need them to live. Why? Because foreign aid doesn't enable ground-up markets to form to distribute goods in accordance with need. He contrasts Planners, those who have a large scale plan of ending poverty in poor countries, and Searchers, those that search to enable the people to solve their own problems with direct financial support.

It is much more complicated than that and my amateur attempts at teaching myself economics is coming in handy, but the idea is much bigger than the book. One of the problems with Planners is that they want credit more than they want a solution. If they enable the poor, they are no longer the ones solving world problems. The self-actualized poor are solving their own problems. This reveals the innate racism of liberal government in suggesting that the privileged few know what is best for the disadvantaged many. The government will allow us to be taken care of for the rest of our days, as long as we are willing to enter a child-parent relationship with the trappings of allowances, curfews, and house rules.

What is scary about this is when the privileged few are able to take away the means of self-help/improvement. Once this happens, there is only one way and it is acquiescence. This is why government control of markets and our very health is terrifying. Another item in the book that I have not yet reached is how Planners can not only NOT help, but also stand in the way of improvement. An example of this in Western democracies is the welfare state that in practice discourages the family unit and creates a marginal tax for gainful employment from unemployment.

I heard the funniest argument on the radio the other day. Maynard from Ed Norris was arguing with a left wing stand in for Ed (really changed the show) who stated that since there were a lot of things our federal government did that were not in the Constitution, providing health care shouldn't be considered Unconstitutional. Left wing guy also fell back on the liberal stronghold of the "Elastic Clause" also known as the Necessary and Proper Clause. Well let's read it:
The Congress shall have Power - To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

Think about all the things our federal government does, and try to imagine how our Founding Fathers thought that the whole mess would have leaked out of this small hole. Another fall-back (big government people hate Constitutional arguments, and will fall back often) is the supposed "General Welfare Clause", which is bumkus.
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

Taxing and Spending...means Health Care.

We have "a Republic, if we can keep it." The question becomes whether we are entering a stage where the power in elected officials maintains our democracy while dissolving its republic nature. Just as most states may allow you to vote on how you would like to be executed, you're still ending up in a box at the end of the week.

1 comment:

  1. ...planners want credit more than they want a solution...

    As usual, this macro concept is painfully felt at the micro level, down past Md state, past the county govt, down to the daily workplace. It's thoroughly miserable to be results oriented, project oriented and work closely with a 'planner' who never wants to start a project the right way (planning is really never done), much less successfully finish and hand off anything at all. Must be one of the circles of hell, punishment for some infraction in my past.