Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Good Sense From Cafe Hayek and the New York Times!

Over at the excellent economics blog, Cafe Hayek, Don Boudreaux, posts a short piece on African development in Niger, recently in the news for gross malnutrition appearing. I post it here because it deserves the widest readership.

This 'debate' is on (the main) part of the problem: the lack of commercial enterprise. The need for a society to move to the commercial age ('at last') was a prime theme in Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations" and in his "Lectures on Jurisprudence".

From Cafe Hayek Blog (

"Nigeriens Kept Poor by Government
Don Boudreaux

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has more insight and wisdom in
his column today than you'll find in any fifty randomly chosen volumes on economic development or in any pronouncement whatsoever on poverty and "foreign aid" by Jeffrey Sachs.

The people of Niger are poor not because that country is densely populated. (It's not: it's population density is nine persons per square kilometer.) They are poor not because of drought; not because they lack resources; not because Americans and Europeans are rich.

They are poor because, for example, local regulations stipulate that companies must give all employees six weeks and two days of paid vacation a year. Not surprisingly, there are almost no employers in Niger.

Commerce is the foundation of civilization, the font of prosperity, and the key to peace. Niger's government -- either because of foolishness or evilness (take your pick) -- squashes commerce in that country. No amount of aid, mosquito nets, op-eds by Sachs, or serenading of Bono and Paul McCartney will do Nigeriens any good until commerce is allowed to florish there.

October 17, 2005"

Bookmark Cafe Hayek. They talk good [in my view, Smithian, though they may disagree] sense over there.


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