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Home | Blog | But Can He Get Rich, and Stay That Way?

But Can He Get Rich, and Stay That Way?


Tags Production Theory


A Malawian farmer, discovering and applying principles worked out by the Romans millennia ago, has brought plenty to his small part of a drought-ridden part of Africa, as this article in the Christian Science Monitor describes.

He points out what is now obvious to those who think about it: (a) that food aid relieves people of the incentive to grow their own food; and (b) that education aid qualifies people to escape the rigors of working the soil for clean, indoor work that grows no food.

But will anybody be attracted to his approach to the matter, even if all this destructive aid somehow magically disappears? Not if they don't see him grow rich — and keep what he earned. This is very unlikely by the track record of governments, in Africa as elsewhere. Not only are they likely to provide no defense of his property to him against jealous and larcenous neighbors and countrymen, but further, they are very likely to join the looters by taxing his earnings, taxing his property and ultimately, perhaps because they'll somehow find he's a member of some group that has lost favor, expropriating his golden-egg-laying goose.

I'll watch Chunkhuntha the best I can from this distance, but I'm not optimistic.

N. Joseph Potts studies economics at his home in South Florida. Send him mail.

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