RE: ECONOMICS: Globalization and corporate power

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Wed Aug 22 2001 - 23:18:29 MDT

Robert Bradbury wrote

> Extending credit to [third world] countries [which have for some
> reason or another little potential to create wealth] is like giving a
> platinum card to a recovering shopaholic who lives on welfare: i.e. a
> really really dumb idea.

Yes. I like to challenge liberals with this problem: suppose
that you were a multi-billionaire and wanted to use exactly
one of your billions of dollars to benefit the people of some
poor third-world country. How would you go about it?

I expect to hear proposals from the especially naive that the
money could simply be given to the desperately poor in that
nation. Why not split the billion up among the poor of Calcutta
and Bombay, for example? The more sophisticated, I would expect
to suggest that schools and hospitals be built. While I think
that indeed some good---even if only for the short term---would
result, this kind of idea is never going to get the wheels of
wealth production turning. I further expect that I can refute
most of the ideas that liberals would come up with that would
make use of the billion dollars in any *generous* or *compassionate*

What I propose in place of the more "compassionate" suggestions
---well, after all, I *must* lack compassion, right, since I
am one of those evil libertarian/conservatives?--- is the

You find some steely-eyed banker who has a sterling reputation
for making *very* profitable loans to business, give him the
billion dollars, and ask him to start a bank in the poor
country. Your instructions, of course, are that he is to
make *the largest possible profit* with that billion dollars,
but he *cannot* invest it outside the target nation. Going
strictly for the (Evil) profit, our banker would turn down
loan after loan from aspiring entrepreneurs in this poor
nation, extending his investments *only* to those who he would
bet would be able to pay him back *with interest*. Now I
submit that people from the left end of the political spectrum
have a very hard time with that idea, because of its ostensible
goal of self-interest.


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