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Discussion > How to spend $1.7 trillion in foreign aid

The other day, stewgreen was complaining about the $1.7tn that had been spent on renewables in the last 20 years.

$1.7 trillion over the recent years that's nothing dismisses Raff in her/his usual style
Tell that to the people whose lives could have been saved ..or the world's poor who could have been lifted out of poverty. The United Nations Millennium Development Goals had a target to reduce under 5s annual mortality by two thirds from 12 million , they have failed
..they did get it down to 7 million so yes the extra money that we waste on Green gimmicks with no proper cost/benefit analysis could be used better.

- $2.5 trillion is needed for the next phase the UN 2015-2030 Development Goals,should super poor, super indebted countries like the UK & US say no & hand over the cash to the wind/solar renewables subsidy mafia instead ?

He seems to suggest that the United Nations Millennium Development Goals would be a good avenue for spending $1.7tr and so I wondered who would be willing to contribute and how exactly you would like to spend the money.

I know many of those here consider all foreign aid to be harmful, so I'm interested in how this will work.

Nov 2, 2014 at 5:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

You've been rumbled, son.

Nov 3, 2014 at 10:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

People claim the money could have been used to help the poor. Nobody wants to explain how, given that they think all foreign aid is harmful. The obvious explanation is that far from helping the poor, they wanted the money for themselves. But then greed is good; isn't that the mantra?

Nov 3, 2014 at 4:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

Like BYIJ said.

Nov 3, 2014 at 7:33 PM | Unregistered Commentersplitpin

Leave it in the pockets of those who would have been taxed, because most of that $1.7 trillion has been extracted from those who toiled for profit to support themselves and their families.

Nov 6, 2014 at 7:40 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

So Bishop, you say on your "Irreversible" thread that you, "can certainly think of some irreversible impacts that require more immediate action."

Lets have a list of those actions you think should be taken to alleviate poverty, disease, hunger and pollution in Africa, Asia and South America for a start.

Nov 9, 2014 at 12:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

Raff, you appear to be totally ignorant of how foreign aid works. Foreign aid is a sticking plaster, it provides temporary relief. It is used against a backcloth of political corruption and therefore it won't solve the problem until the political corruption is addressed. In almost every country where political corruption has been eliminated and replaced by democracy the people have been brought out of poverty, disease, hunger and pollution - the exception to this is China, where a communist government has allowed industry to flourish and whose people are moving up the scale in terms of the above.

So if we could spend $1.7 trillion on foreign aid, poverty, disease, hunger and pollution would still be there after it's spent. What the poor of the world need is jobs. Jobs arise out of trade, you grow, or make things and you sell them, and with the money you buy things. Trade, of course, is dependent upon the availability of cheap, plentiful, energy, the very thing that the AGW scare is intended to suppress. Therefore, as far as the poor of the world are concerned it is irrelevant how we spend the $1.7 trillion provided it's not spent on the development of expensive, intermittent energy subsidies.

Nov 9, 2014 at 10:22 AM | Registered Commentergeronimo

Interesting, geronimo. Did you say you were an engineer at some stage in your life or have I got you wrong? Was there some logic involved in the engineering you studied?

"it is irrelevant how we spend the $1.7 trillion" - So we can spend the money making or growing, buying and selling, anything including potatoes and spinach, farmers and farm equipment, diesel generators and gas turbines, coal and coal mines, oil, gas and Gulf oil spills, plastic ducks and flappy birds, air-to-air missiles and frigates, soldiers, sailors and pilots, sports cars and bicycles, even sex, drugs rock and roll. Anything goes!

"provided it's not spent on the development of expensive, intermittent energy subsidies" - just as long as we don't spend the money making, buying or selling purified silicon ingots (but only the ones the go to solar production), solar panels, solar panel fixings and mounting brackets, cables (but only those that get used for renewables), wind turbines, wind turbine foundations, support vehicles, maintenance crews. Because that will harm the poor!

Do I have to point out how stupid that sounds?

Nov 9, 2014 at 1:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

You can't build an economy on unreliable renewables. It only works as a bolt on to a reliable existing network or as a supply of last resport. China has dragged itself out of poverty by having industry. That industry needs lots and lots of reliable energy. Providing unreliable renewables for free does not solve the problem of them being unreliable. Worse it postpones the point where they'd get one. RELIABLE, RELIABLE, RELIABLE. How many times do we need to repeat that word before you understand it?

Nov 9, 2014 at 2:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Incidentally China expended a lot of money, raw materials and energy building solar panels, putting a great many western companies to the wall because they couldn't compete with a subsidised glut in the market. As it turned out the West didn't really want solar panels and practical China has just taken the loss and put them up locally. We call it making the best of a bad lot.

Nov 9, 2014 at 4:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

So how would you spend $1.7tr to help the poor? What "immediate action", to quote your Bishop, do you want to take to alleviate poverty, disease, hunger and pollution in the 3rd world? Are you agreeing with geronimo, when he said, "as far as the poor of the world are concerned it is irrelevant how we spend the $1.7 trillion provided it's not spent on the development of expensive, intermittent energy subsidies"? He's not talking of spending any of that money in poor countries, but in rich ones like the UK (now there's a surprise). He thinks that however the money is spent it will help poor countries. As far as he is concerned it seems you could build working scale models of wind turbines and as long as they weren't used to generate electricity they would help the poor.

Nov 9, 2014 at 4:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

Do everything I could to encourage poor countries to follow in the footsteps of those countries that have made or are making their way from poverty to wealth. That means manufacturing (things people want, even if it's solar panels but probably not). When those in power need those below them to work hard and make things then they treat them better. Not perfect but better. Prosperity leads to a reduction in reproduction. Indusrial and prosperous nations tend to be less volatile and safer. Nations relying on commerce value education and innovation. Health care becomes important and an educated population can largely see the value in vaccination. They certainly seek medical care if they're sick.

To do these things they need centralise energy. Drawing people from scattered communities into cities and towns. Giving them the cheap energy and density of effort that make their work saleable globally.

Nov 9, 2014 at 4:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

So how would you spend $1.7tr to help the poor?

You are making the assumption that throwing $1.7Bn using Govt agencies or NGO's at a problem will have some effect. Well the Sudan was awash with money from Band Aid and what has been the effect, well none, the population has grown and then another drought ends up causing the same misery as the first one.

You don't spend the money but instead give people the means to make their own money, but while the corruption continues this is pointless, corruption is an illegal tax and like all high tax's stifles economies.

Nov 9, 2014 at 4:56 PM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

TinyCO2, "Do everything I could to encourage..." ... "To do these things they need centralise energy" So in other words you would be busy building centralised power stations and supplying the fuel and everything that goes with them - sort of build it and they will come strategy. Or would you be just encouraging them to build power stations but not actually helping (with money, fuel etc) - so the $1.7tr stays at home?

BoFA, so in other words, aid doesn't work. And in the context of stewgreen's suggestion that:

Tell that to the people whose lives could have been saved ..or the world's poor who could have been lifted out of poverty. The United Nations Millennium Development Goals had a target to reduce under 5s annual mortality by two thirds from 12 million , they have failed
..they did get it down to 7 million so yes the extra money that we waste on Green gimmicks with no proper cost/benefit analysis could be used better.
what you are saying is that UNMDG would not be a worthy recipient of the $1.7tr and that the money could not in fact have been "used better". Or not on helping poor people anyway.

Nov 9, 2014 at 5:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

We already fund power generation, it's only since AGW fear took hold that they've switched to renewables (hydro aside).

Nov 9, 2014 at 5:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

You are putting words in my mouth that do not reside there.

You are not reading other peoples posts and just ploughing on regardless with your own prejudices.

You are suggesting that I do not care for poor people when I am only disagreeing about how to help them.

Nov 9, 2014 at 5:52 PM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

Tiny, the question was what you would do, not what we do now. So would you use $1.7tr to build power stations or keep it at home and just encourage countries to build power stations. I infer the latter, but if you would build them (or pay for their construction), just say so.

BoFA, I imagine your concern for the poor is not much different from mine, Tiny's or the next person's. The question is whether, as stewgreen suggested, $1.7tr could be better spent towards achieving the UNMDG than spent on renewables. And if so, how. And related to that, given that the Bishop "can certainly think of some irreversible impacts that require more immediate action", what those actions should be to alleviate poverty, disease, hunger and pollution in the 3rd and developing worlds. Tiny suggested the encouragement route, which is certainly cheap and has the benefit of keeping the $1.7tr at home (unless he really means to build/fund power stations). You suggest, as I read it, that $1.7tr has no utility in the 3rd world in its unconstructed state.

I might even agree with you to some extent, but then it was not me who suggested that $1.7tr could be better spent than on renewables or that there were areas that need immediate action. I'm pretty sure that the Bishop is not going to let on what he had in mind - suggesting solutions is not his shtick. And stewgreen seems unusually silent on his preferred investments in the 3rd world. So that leaves the rest of the contributors to suggest what they might have meant.

Nov 9, 2014 at 7:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

Raff, if you are interested in a serious answer to your question, consult Lomborg.

Nov 9, 2014 at 8:14 PM | Unregistered Commenterosseo

I see Geronimo amongst others fell for his ruse. Shame on you.

Nov 10, 2014 at 9:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

You are rather fast to wish shame on people, aren't you? Is it up to you to decide whether it is morally wrong for someone to want to talk to (argue with, shout at, insult) me? Are you the arbiter of what is right at Bishop Hill.

And you haven't accused me of lying for a few days. I miss it so.

Nov 10, 2014 at 4:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

Yes, everyone is the arbiter of the world around them, and you my friend are satisfying a supremacist urge by trolling this board pretending to ask questions but in reality just poking a bamboo stick in for your own amusement.

Nov 11, 2014 at 9:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

"Do I have to point out how stupid that sounds?"

Yes you do, I was unaware of the staggering ignorance of the person I was addressing.

Nov 11, 2014 at 10:19 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

> Is it up to you to decide whether it is morally wrong for someone
> to want to talk to (argue with, shout at, insult) me?

Note that TBYJ didn't mention anything about morals, is this an insight into the spammers mind set?

It knows it's righteous and good and has the great god "Pscience" at his shoulder.

Is this why it constantly replies to what it thinks people have said, it can't comprehend that we're not all evil right wing oil funded deniers so interprets replies as if they were from that angle, because we haven't seen 'the light'?

Nov 11, 2014 at 12:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterNial

Well it can be amusing, especially when you get a genius like geronimo who thinks,

it is irrelevant how we spend the $1.7 trillion provided it's not spent on the development of expensive, intermittent energy subsidies
in effect, that we could build anything we want, even working scale models of wind turbines and as long as the turbines weren't used to generate electricity they would help the poor. But if we turned them on, they'd harm the poor. Come on, be honest, you can't help but find that funny.

What is not so amusing is when people feign concern for poor regions of the planet and yet can reject with indifference any research that shows those regions to be most likely to suffer first and most from climate change. Or claims by right wing Tories or Kippers that we should keep the overseas aid money in our own wallets. Or suggestions, as the Bishop made on his "Irreversible" thread, that he, "can certainly think of some irreversible impacts that require more immediate action" but then fail absolutely in identifying any. I find that sort of attitude quite sickening and a full justification for any disturbance I might cause to proceedings. If just a few people here think twice about the company they are keeping, it is worth the effort.

Nial, do you really think wishing "shame" on others for talking to me is not a moral judgement?

Nov 11, 2014 at 12:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

Oh Raff, you would argue about the colour of sh*te.

Nov 11, 2014 at 1:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames