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jacqueline Fernandez

High School Student,

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Is it our responsibility to help 3rd world countries?

As a single country, we are struggling with our own economics. So, is it appropriate for our government to take on foreign tasks. Will this eventually have an impact on us? All thoughts, and opinions are welcome.


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    Jun 17 2011: No, it's not our "Responsibility", we have no obligation to.
    But, just like helping our neighbours and those less fortunate who know directly, we generally might want to show compassion and help folks.
    Ideally, let's achieve global peace and prosperity with trade, not aid.
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      Jun 17 2011: "we generally might want to show compassion and help folks"

      yep. so we just go to acumenfund.org and start clicking around.
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        Jun 17 2011: Krisztian, I like the idea of acumenfund.org:

        The key is patient capital. We use philanthropic capital to make disciplined investments – loans or equity, not grants – that yield both financial and social returns. Any financial returns we receive are recycled into new investments.

        Perhaps there is way to bring more investments and this is indeed the challenge to many wealthy and influential people. http://bit.ly/TrueLegacy
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        Jun 18 2011: yes thank you Krisztian..looks good.. I took a look at the web site..Loans with no strings and good terms will be interseting to see whether existing IMF and World Bank debt obligations will impede, or even preven,t particpation in programs such as those supported by accumenfund.org.
    • Jun 17 2011: "Ideally" that trade will not happen, it hasn't yet. Responsibility means I am actually responsible for my actions and those of others. The we, countries and individuals are responsible. It means taking action where action is needed. We do not live in an atomic world where each person is "put to his own." Rugged individualism died somewhere in the Old West. It was not rugged, just selfish and left to its own devices, did itself in in the old enlightenment paradigm. Good riddance I say.
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        Jun 17 2011: > "Responsibility means I am actually responsible for my actions and those of others."

        Huh? How are you responsible for the actions of others?
        • Jun 17 2011: In our supposed first world democracies, I am responsible for actions of those I have elected. They obviously have choices and they take them. I however am supposed to be responsible, as a citizen for making them accountable. This topic is not just about personal, but corporate responsibility as I see it.
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          Jun 18 2011: that's right Michael.

          . I agree completely..it all comes back to "we the people" each of us

          .I dont even understand enough to know what to ask for for the countreis now totally crippled with debt to IMF and World Bank ( under the terms of which governments may not undertake any government projects or expand any government services until the debt is repaid )

          .We can say to the U.S. stop doing that..change the whole focus of the Wolrd Bank and the IMF or get rid of them and start over

          ..We can say we want countries now encombered to have a chance to renegotiate their debt and its terms.We can publicize what we know..network it through our own spheres of influence

          .What else?
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        Jun 17 2011: Michael
        Clearly, we do live in a World of individuals, and we seek to trade and contract with each other as freely as we can. Sometimes, governments get in the way, and take away our Freedom and our Rights, and indeed erode personal Responsibility.
        There is no Responsibility other than the personal. We have no obligations to others, other than not to infringe their rights. It really is very simple. I have no personal responsibility to help my friends in less well off countries, any more or less than I have a responsibility to help my distressed neighbours.
        This a question of obligation and responsibility versus why I might think is right. I think it's right by the way that I show compassion and help folks, but I don't have a Responsibility to do so, I am not obligated to do so, and indeed those folks have no Right to demand that I help them.
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          Jun 17 2011: james
          vous avez faussé le débat dés que vous avez fait la comparaison entre les relations de voisinage les et relations internationales deux choses qui à mon avis n'ont rien a voir .Pour vous personnellement vous n'avez aucune obligation de venir en aide aux population du tiers monde c'est votre droit d'autant plus que les populations du sud ne sont même pas demandeur .Ce qu'on voudrais c'est que vos états cessent d’empiéter sur nos droits et acceptent leur part de responsabilité dans l’état actuel du monde. que Vos pays prennent des mesures pour corriger ce système injuste qui gouverne le monde depuis des siècles et dont vous citoyens du nord êtes les premiers à en profiter et nous citoyens du sud les premières victimes.
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          Jun 18 2011: Mamadou makes a very good point — we do bear responsibility as nations insomuch as many of the problems third world countries face are the result of actions and policies our nations have taken. Africa has found itself in the crossfire of the American slave trade, used as a pawn in European realpolitik power struggles and during the cold war, and is still suffering with American energy, security, and trade policies. If there is to be no responsibility other than the personal, how do we deal with the lasting legacy of international politics, imperialism and unfair trade practices? The actions of nations continue to have huge consequences on contemporary people, yet an ethic based only on individual responsibility can't possibility account for those consequences. It is clearly unjust even from the most conservative point of view.
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          Jun 18 2011: The same point I have made above Mark & Mamamdou

          . We have to make it a priority to get all those nations encumbered with IMF and World Bank debt out from under the crippling terms of that debt..it affects everything..trade, environmental and worker protections, government service and programs..they are hamstrung.

          They can't get on with anything else until they get out from under that .Corrupt governments of those nations, looking to line their personal pockets and "playthe game" placed their peoples in these conditions..in many cases these governments are still in place and still getting very high scores on the corruption index

          .How do we reach past that to serve the people? I really dont see how we do that. The only way is to unhook the IMF and the World Bank.
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          Jun 21 2011: You set yourself up again, James!!! I'm thinkingyou like this tag game..

          .I have walked through this arguement with you and so now understand it and also know , from your posts, that your values are very other directed. compassionate and generous

          .A shame it has once more evoked a angry and visceral response..
        • Jun 21 2011: Not sure it was me you were talking about Lindsay, but my response is neither angry no visceral, but it is direct. I can and will directly speak to issues and positions I think to be wrong. It is not "off-topic", but rather gets to the heart of this topic, responsibility.

          I am not sure why some do not like that word. It is a good word and is part and parcel of any functioning society. People are responsible for their actions. As I describe above, collective individuals are collectively responsible. The enlightenment oriented view James holds that "individual" is the heart of existence is something I just do not hold to be true. Instead of "I think therefore I am" how about "I relate therefore we are"?

          Because of that we, not just me, have a responsibility to give aid to third world countries in culturally appropriate ways.
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          Jun 21 2011: Hi Michael.

          .It's just that many conversations have gone round and round on this exact same statement from James. I'll let him explain his own point, if he chooses to

          .I can only say

          red herring

          at the end I think you'd find you have no diffreence with James on charitable values.
        • Jun 21 2011: Linsay
          I hate Kool-aid...but i was not trying to be mean or acerbic toward James. He put his ideas out there and I tried to respond. Hearing someone out is fine. Some responses demand direct responses.
        • Jun 22 2011: Many feel we do have corporate responsibilities and can offer corporate responses to these problems. The atomistic and very self-centered view of personal and corporate responsibility for our lives and our world just does not express the current state of affairs. Thank god the world is not made up of billions of me and mines, but whole communities of us. The view of “individual only” concerning the government and life is so particularized that it makes it impossible to see how life really is multiple, complex, communal and dynamic.
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          Jun 22 2011: Michael..since James drops this little gem into many conversations always with the same reaction ( understandably..it was my first too but I know understand his point , I thnk)..that would make a good TED conversation..what do we mean by "resposnbility".

          But this is not the place to explore what James measn by "resposnbility"


          red herring

          I am thoughinterested in your take on the early U.S. policy reflected in Salim's link ( dd you see it or have achnace to read it? Or even better know any thing about that?

          I have been doing a lot of reaserach and writing about the IMF and the Wolrd Bank mostly focusing on the 80's forward. Salim's link seems to show that the troublesome policies of these insitutions are actually deeply anchored in declared U.S. policy going back to the 50's.

          Had you ever seen or heard about that?
        • Jun 23 2011: Let me say it this way Lindsay about James. Whether or not he throws out an idea, I will say what I feel I need to say about his themed responses. Responsibility is at the heart of this issue. My point is we do have a coporate responsibility on both local and world levels.

          Subsistence farmers use the grain they produce in one year for the next years production. They choose what they have come to see after years of experience as for example, in Mexico, "the best ear of corn". They cull the harvest and store the seed for the next year. The introduction of hybrid seed has changed that in some regions, where now, farmers must buy seed every year. I have been directly involved in projects to produce better crops and used "semilla mejorada" not hybrid seeds.

          I have no direct experience with IMF or the World Bank. Many of the projects I was involved in came from NGO's, including religious organizations. However, from reading I have done, I would generally agree with Salim's points. Aid often comes with "strings attached." Yes, I do believe the US over the years has tried to bully some countries into moving towards using more US products, like fertilizer.

          Recently, in an interior discussion in Mexico between the President and a local governor, the give away of tractors to framers (mechanizing their farming) was being discussed. The President opposed the tractor give-away, wanting to seek out instead better infrastructure support to farmers. While modernization seems terrific it comes at a fairly high price: gas, maintenance, use of tractors on small plots, other general upkeep questions. The question arose if the governor was only "giving away tractors" as a means of political reward. Again this was an internal discussion, but shows how "aid" can sometimes be skewed for political and other reasons.
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          Jun 23 2011: Hi Michael,

          Thank you for that sharing on tractors and Mexico.. a specific example of what Salim & I and others have been exploring and trying to bring to light.

          Jacqueline originally framed this question as should we be spending these dollars to help others when we are hurting here at home, more or less.

          I thought it was useful to put that question in the context of the morality and ethics behind how we actually are spending our tax dollars, what that is actually serving.I thougt it was useful to play that against what Ronald and others have said here..that developing and undeveloped nations don't want to be controlled and manipulated by outsiders.

          They, of course, want wealth development, self direction, self determination

          Of course I agree we are a global community de facto. We can nolonger live our lives and run our governmnets to serve our selves or to dominate and maniuplate others and take their resources.. We need a radical change in U.S., Canadian and EU policy

          .We need a global policy that honors universal human rights everywhere; honors cultural heritage and traditions; serves life--all life not just humanity but all living things--not just what is on earth now, butthose who will inherit our earth; we need a global policy that reduces our own greedy over consumption of the wolrd resources ( see Adriaan Kamps startgey for oil, for example); we need a global policy where we take our place with every nation on earth as co-stewards for our atnopshere, our oceans, for the biodiversity that feeds and sustains us.
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      Jun 18 2011: well, hopefully that trade will be on different terms that the crippling ones set by the IMF and the World Bank..
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      Jun 19 2011: James.................Whatever happened to ."Am I my brother's keeper" ?
      We should not be passing out money as it easily gets into the wrong hands but making trade possible by means of education and facilitate whatever the population can make on their own.:)
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        Jun 20 2011: But Helen right now, as others have also commented, the term sof trade are hononerous and atted honerous debt obligations...and the ose benefiting form the trade are not the citizens or even the nation as a whole.
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        Jun 24 2011: Hey there Helen and Michael.
        Look, Lindsay is correct.
        Words have meaning; the notion of Rights, Obligation and Responsibility are different from what is right, what I choose to do, and what i applaud in others.
        The question at the top here has some super-interesting elements, it uses the word "our" and uses the word "responsibility", and it's an interesting way of asking the question, with a precise meaning. If the question was, hey, don't you think it's a good idea if you help 3rd World countries? I'd of course say yes, because i do.
        I might well shower my esteem on folks who stop kids dying in Africa, I might indeed actually be very active myself in many social causes near and far from home.
        But you need to understand what is an Obligation (or a Responsibility) versus what is a choice.
        As to the question of my point of view on individual rights versus collectivism, again, it's about obligation versus free association with friends and business partners through a free choice to be friends of contract together. I have no obligation to my neighbour, although by chance, he is one of my best friends.
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      Jun 20 2011: While I confess not to have solid information to back up what I think, but if you see it the way I do, the capitalistic structure that many 1st world countries operate on would not be as successfully operative if it weren't for 3rd world countries, exploitation of resources always come up from somewhere. The still-expanding gap between first and 3rd world countries is part to blame on the never-ending cycle of political and structural failures of those countries themselves, companies and figures that lead trade with 3rd world countries are only making it worse either intensionally (through exploitation) or unintentionally (through believing that the international company will decrease unemployment rates at a certain area, but not realizing that in many cases by doing that your growing problematical by-products such as kids/adults dropping out of school to get paid as the simplest example ).
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        Jun 20 2011: there is no such thing as "expanding gap" between the 1st and the 3rd world. that gap is diminishing fast. i recommend to watch the TED talks by hans rosling, for an eye opener.
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          Jun 22 2011: Krisztian..we can all find it I'm sure but if you have aink to facilitate that would be great..also what you see in the roling talk that has a bearing here would be great
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        Jun 21 2011: what you think has been well documented..what you see and feel is what is. and you are right, that has to change.

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