Wednesday, September 29, 2004

My, my, quick off the mark, aren't they

The Times reports today from Washington that a new World Development Report published by the World Bank places the blame for Third World poverty squarely on corrupt governments. Like duh!
“Unfair or unpredictable enforcement of regulations and laws, lack of confidence in courts and weak protection for rights of property ownership are some of the key problems which the Bank found are hitting investment.”
No kidding. How long did it take them to find that out? Not only most people have worked it all out long ago, but the prize-winning economist and author, Hernando de Soto summed it all up brilliantly in his 2000 book, The Mystery of Capital.

If the highly paid researchers of the World Bank cannot be bothered to read that remarkable book they can refer back to various blogs here, in which we argued that aid, of which the EU is remarkably fond and remarkably proud, not only does not help Third World countries but, actually, retards their growth by supporting corrupt, authoritarian governments. We shall be returning to that subject soon.

In the meantime, the general rejoicing at the release of the two Italian aid workers from unknown Iraqi captivity has been marred by strong rumours of $1 million ransom paid by the Italian government. This may explain why these two ladies were targeted. The kidnappers clearly thought Berlusconi to be a soft touch. Then again, one can argue that aid workers do serve some purpose: fund raising for various groups in strife-torn countries.

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