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Aid doesn’t

Instapundit quotes from this, which is about how the North Korean regime may finally be coming to its last days.

The bit he quotes concerns aid. Apparently foreign donors are refusing to just throw good money after bad, because they are not being allowed to see if the aid they sent last time has reached its intended donees. Instead, the assumption is that the North Korean army is gobbling it all up, as I am sure it is.

This is all excellent and a credit to the aid givers. First your target the vile regime you intend to topple. You then give it a succession of vast aid bribes. The regime accordingly becomes addicted to your aid for its continuing survival, and stops bothering about finding resources anywhere else. Then you cut off the aid, and start dangling the thought of resuming aid if certain political concessions are made.

Instead of crushing the regime militarily, we simply buy it.

Bad luck for the millions of poor bastards on the receiving end of the vile regime in question, of course, but at least this way they have hope that their torment may end one day, provided they can live to see “one day”.

On the other hand, maybe the aid givers achieved this outcome by mistake. They were trying truly to help the vile regime. No matter. When it comes to toppling a vile regime, idiots trying to help can be just as effective as competent people trying to topple.

I recall how the Communist regime in Poland never ever really recovered from all the aid it was given by idiot merchant banks in the nineteen seventies. The rulers of the place became addicted to a lavish lifestyle that their bankers eventually got bored with paying for, and it all unravelled from there.

As Instapundit says of North Korea just now: stay tuned.

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10 comments to Aid doesn’t

  • Sandy P.

    –The rulers of the place became addicted to a lavish lifestyle that their bankers eventually got bored with paying for, and it all unravelled from there.–

    We can only hope the European taxpayers send the same message to the brusselsprouts.
    Oh, wait, we’re talking about the NorKs, right?

  • Martin Adamson

    Your Poland doesn’t really hold. The bankers did not “give” Poland the money, they lent it. The regime’s problems began when they had to start meeting the repayments, having squandered the capital. That’s hardly the case with NK, as the money they’ve been getting is simply charity.

  • R. C. Dean

    The bankers did not “give” Poland the money, they lent it.

    A distinction that is lost on too many borrowers, especially sovereign states.

  • Harr Powell

    Somewhere amidst the we-bankrupted-the-evil-empire triumphalism of the nineties we lost sight of the fact that transition to a market economy was handled disastrously in Russia. The brand of robber capitalism unleashed by Yeltsin and the oligarchs has resulted, in part, in a haemorrhaging of capital from the ex-Soviet Union. It wont win me any samizdata brownie-points for saying so, but currency controls and social provision might well have ameliorated some of the destruction of asset values and the collapse in living standards seen in the last ten years.

    Now consider North Korea; here is a country who’s economy is based on slave labour and war production, who’s citizens have know two generations of indoctrination such that their fears of American imperialism may be genuine even if they are groundless. My concern is that when Kim Il-Jong’s regime falls (and surely it must) the belief that instant, unfettered free markets administered by the IMF will cure all of North Korea’s problems will prove to a bitter and unwelcome pill. By all means let’s make economic warfare on evil governments, but let us not allow the rejoicing at the Dear Leader’s departure make us forget that the peace will have to be paid for too.

  • LB

    At least the NorKoreans have some relatively rich cousins that the Russians didn’t. The East Germans also had that safety net. While the implosion of the Kim regime won’t be cheap or pretty, the North Koreans won’t have to wait for aid from round-eyed devils from across the sea or corrupt international agencies. They have a pool of people who are well aware of their familial responsibilties (though they’d hope to put off this one for awhile).

  • Rob Read

    Privatisation IMHO was another example of why the state is your enemy.

    “Nation”alisation: First the state steals property off individuals, sometimes they give the former owners property stolen of others to keep them quiet.

    State Control: Run the thing into the ground, never let it go bankrupt, ban local competitors and punish those choosing to buy from a different supplier (trade tarriffs).

    Privatisation: The state then looks for some well connected people to get some phat fees to work out how the organisations liabilities can be passed on. It then gets the people who allready paid through the nose for it via taxes to pay for it AGAIN!

    Regulation: The state having sold an effective monopoly then finds the organisation “overcharges” and tries to impose cost controls (which means shortage creation). Any profits are declared a windfall and are stolen by the state!

    The mafia have nothing on the state for bare faced theft.

    When these industries are “privatised” just hand out shares based on how much tax you’ve paid in your lifetime.

  • What we will see when North Korea falls is rapid reunification with the south, administration from Seoul, and the South Koreans asking for aid from everyone else to help them pay the (immense) cost of bailing out the north. What we will not get is any political instability or any need for UN administration or anything like this.

    One thing that may be an issue is that when this happens the south is going to steal the north’s women. South Korea has a vary large imbalance between the sexes amongst young people, presumably due to a strong preference for sons and the resultant aborting of female fetuses over the last decade or two. Many South Korean men who can’t find South Korean wives are going to look north. I can’t imagine this will make North Korean men all that happy.

  • ed

    Funnily enough, if that’s possible, the same situation exists over the border in China. The Chinese have the same cultural selectivity towards sons vs. daughters so the Chinese living near the NorK border have been purchasing and importing NorK women.

    No offense to anyone but this population imbalance is a lot more important than it seems. China has this problem and so does India. Does anyone see the potential for “friction” when two of the biggest countries, who have had a extensive history of acute competition and who share a border, must deal with a nearly poisonous number of excess men? Nobody really knows how many there are the but there are estimates that China has at least 70+ million unmarried and unmarriageable men. I.e. men who aren’t educated enough or wealthy enough to be attractive to the reduced population of available women to elicit marriage. The number in India might be the same.

    So what do nations traditionally do if there is a large number of unmarried men causing social instability?

    Anyone? Anyone?

  • Mashiki

    That’s easy ofcourse, they usually goto war and bash each others brains in. Old as the hills that one is, ofcourse you could be talking about something else.

    I am abit tired, and maybe I’m just misreading what you wrote.

  • ed

    Yup that’s my fear.

    Having a huge population of unmarriageable men in societies that traditionally require men to gauge success by having families is bound to cause a lot of trouble. Additionally the stability generated by the presence of families is lost in China as many of tha factory workers live in huge single-sex dormitories. In those dormitories you can assemble the very worst traits of hard-working and bored bachelors. Drinking, prostitution, gambling, drug use and violence is the norm rather than any sort of exception.

    As the population of such men grows it’ll add an unwanted political and social instability into each society.