Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ameruraughl, Part Two

I'm still a big fan of the idea to either convert the automobile factories into public transportation factories, or give former auto workers first dibs on a publicly funded, nationwide mass transit system, but here's a slightly more benevolent alternative.

I think a lot of people don't really understand why so many African nations are destitute. We have this idea in our American heads about bootstraps and such, so a typical response to the problem is "Well, just work harder, jerks." (Thank you Mr. Reagan, for your brilliant insight into all topics.) Part of the problem is that there's not enough infrastructure in Africa. For example, a complete lack of roads. Even if you grew enough food to sell, you couldn't sell it, because you couldn't get to a place that sells food. Even if you had money, you couldn't buy anything etc., etc. The same issue arises with getting clean water or even water for crops. There are no irrigation ditches, and not enough manpower (re: AIDS and malaria) to build them.

To send American workers to Africa to build irrigation ditches, roads and the like would not solve both areas' problems, but it would certainly be mutually beneficial. They need roads and manpower; we need to spend money and provide jobs. It combines the economic strategy of the New Deal by spending money bottom-up, with the cultural strategy of the Peace Corps. I'm sure there must be somebody out there whose broke and wants to travel, and the blending of cultures wouldn't be too bad either.
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