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 21 2011: Speaking as a native of a 3rd world country, I say NO, we don't need help. We actually have all it takes to turn our economies around, and in my view, we are the cause of our own problems. We consistently elect incompetent, corrupt and outright incompetent people into leadership, and expect that they will deliver us from our our problems. We define every important decision on the bases of our ethnic roots and we generally believe the west has all the cures for our problems ignoring the obvious fact that they too have their interests. Developed countries did not need "help"- yes, they used resources gained from other nations, but more so, what they took from others they invested in their own. We on the other hand have every opportunity to learn from todays "west". Nothing stops us from taking our young brains out there to gain from the advances in science and technology developed in the west and pick what will work best for us, to import appropriate technology that'll turn around our agriculture, improve energy production, financial infractures and other social-structures that will propel our citizens and economies out of poverty. Africa remains very rich in all sorts of natural resources, and has very highly educated people- we just need to wake up and start treating this continent as if it were our own, rather than wait for yet another explorer to come and discover us.

    So the question is, how come, after many years of so called independence from colonial rule, how come so many African countries are so poor?Where is the dignity and pride we like to associate our heritage with? Is there something peculiar about us that we really can't do better than kill each other every time a different opinion is raised? For how long shall we remain dim witted, blaming our plight on others and forever seeking sacor from those we believe are brighter than us rather than find the strength & courage to fix our own problems?
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      Jun 22 2011: Ronald,

      You write so eloquently and powerfully..always a pleasure to read your psots.

      Do you feel that view, which everyone here agrees with, is now American policy? EU policy? Canadian Policy?

      In Maine, we have a saying "you can't get there from here"

      How do developing nations get there..get to self determination, get out from under their debt, get control over their own resocurces and destinies.

      What we in Amerca for example, demand of our elected officials that would change the equation? What should we say about the G8?
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        Jun 24 2011: @ LinsayI dont think this view is a policy adopted by any country in the 'west'. Why, because they are still busy churning out big dollars in 'aid' and other such benevolent gestures. Just last week we were treated to a spectacle where billions of Kshillings given by Britian and meant for supporting primary education in Kenya were declared embezzled by corrupt ministry officials.. Britain promptly asked for its money to be returned (think the definition of embezzled = lost hasn't quite hit them yet) and the governement is busy defending its top officials while all but pointing fingers in the sky. We still see regimes whose leaders are often accused of either being corrupt or supporting (enabling) corruption by not acting on it firmly, being hosted in VIP luncheones by governments in the west. Lets face it, poor leadership in Africa and developing nations offer golden opportunities for certain nations and institutions to make huge profits AND the space to maintain political grandstanding. The US, French and Britain will do anything to keep the Chinese and other Asian giants from gaiining a foothold in Africa, including looking the other way when such would best serve their interests. So untill we no longer serve western interests, or until there are new leaders and new ways of making profit that consider the best interests of the peoples, not the political or national interests, then the status quo wont change much. I have often pondered that Somalia, a dry, dusty patch of sand, makes no weapons but is involved in a war costing billions of dollars in ammunitions. Who is the main beneficary? Those guys up there making and selling big guns and rockets. Its def NOT in their interest for there to be peace in that region, or anywhere else for that matter.The citizens of nations involved in such trade or policies, both here and there, are crucial in creating much needed changes withing leadership. All we need here is self empowerment, what about there?
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          Jun 24 2011: I am not happy to have this view, but evrywhere I turn the fcats say it is so...America, Canadia andEu interests want puppet dictatorships susceptible to corruption..they want people who will agree to any thing the U.S/ EU and Canada want no matter how honerous..devavluaing currency, no laborlaws or enviornmental protections which would incrrase the cost of cheap exports, "frieindly" attitudes to U.S. and other businesses on oil drilling or other natural resources.

          The last thing the U.S. wants in countreis with reources to exploit is democratization or self determination. ( That was clear;y the issue in Libya)..And no Egypt is out from under U.S. control..or is it..all Mubarak guys in the "interim government..all the militray elite who are corrupt..how much money in "aid" did the US promise in the G8???

          So there needs tobe a mster plan for how countries saddled alreday with debt with honerous terms and limitations..( through the IMF and the Wolrd Bank) for how to get nations out from under this burden and there needs to be amster plan for we the people of the wolrd..we global citizens..to force ou rown nations to stop these polcies of exploitation.and domination.
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    Jun 18 2011: Helping others who need help is to be encouraged. Foreign aid, directly managed by governments, has a troubled history. Unfortunately government provided aid comes with 'strings attached' driven, in part, by controlling motives. What I would like to see at the government level is United Nations GDP based levy together with a UN central list of aid projects. Aid could then be funneled through the UN to the most needy situations. Not perfect, but a better system than the one we have today.
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    Jun 18 2011: I think we seriously need to evaluate what we mean by "help". The US has often "helped" by trying to make another culture/country look like us! That is often not helping. If we are going to help our neighbors, we need to honestly evalutate what they need and how the help will support them to fulfill their own potential. Building roads and airports in countries where people are starving, doesn't make sense. Often, we are helping ourselves for political or economic gain. We need to honestly, respectfully, willingly, be able to help in a way that is actually needed.

    Give a person a fish and he/she can feed the family for a day...give him/her a fishing line and they can feed their family forever.
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    Jun 17 2011: America cannot save the world alone. I think there are countries that could help more than they do. We should take care of what goverments we support.

    Give a man a fish and you have fed him for one day. Teach a man to fish and he will be able to make his own living.
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      Jun 17 2011: On ne demande pas a l’Amérique de sauver le monde ni a l'occident de nous sauver ce qu'on demande c'est plus de justice et d’équité dans nos relations commerciales et des mesures correctives au niveau de ce système mondial inique qui nous maintien dans la pauvreté et l'assistance.
      on sait comment pêcher nous somme même de très bon pêcheur mais quand l'occident met en place un système qui nous empêche d’accéder à la mer comprenez madame qu'on ne pourra jamais mettre en pratique nos talents de pêcheur pour vivre décemment.

      We do not ask al'Amérique to save the world or the West to save us what we want is more justice and fairness in our trade and corrective action in this wicked world system that keeping us in poverty and support.
      we know how to fish we are even very good fisherman but when the West set up a system that prevents access to the sea Ms. understand we can never put into practice our skills to live on fishing.
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          Jun 18 2011: Hi Helen,
          Looks like we are on the same page with the fishing analogy! I think sometimes we ARE going about it in a way that is not truly beneficial for the people. I agree with Mamadou that it doesn't help, when we set up systems that prevent the fishermen from getting to the sea, and that may be another analogy.
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        Jun 18 2011: Mamdou..I am with you 1000%..unpack that for us a bit..what have you seen first hand in your country about we pretend is aid and poverty eradication?
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    Jun 16 2011: no, but you have the responsibility not to hinder their development. undeveloped parts of the world are quite capable of achieving progress on their own, provided that they are not artificially held back, for example by stupid protectionist tariffs and quotas, or CIA installed military juntas.
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      Jun 16 2011: oui Krisztián je trouve que vous avez parfaitement raison en plus de manquer a ses devoir de réparations l'occident se permet d'entraver notre essor économique par un protectionnisme abusif et une ingérence inadmissible dans nos affaires internes nous Africains on dit not aid but traid
  • Jun 16 2011: Yes, we (meaning all of us: all nations, all individuals) have a responsibility for everyone else. We are so interconnected today, not in the sense of the old colonialism, just wrapped in each other. A bowl of food will do much more good than hundreds of bombs. Helping with education will not "lift" everyone to some Western intellectual standard, just perhaps give everyone a fair chance.

    We need to walk in more food producing fields in the world and ask how we can help. We need to make sure people who are suffering at least can be fed. We need to work to insure a better quality not quantity of life around the world. We need to help extend real justice to others, make things aright.

    We are not in the West: world policemen, thought police, economic theorists, or just consumers of cheap goods. We have to stop looking in the mirror and look out the window more. We can't fix it all, help every starving child, but we can do something.

    Responsibility yes, we are blessed. Repsonsibility yes, we are able. Responsibility yes, we are in this together.
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      Jun 16 2011: Beautifully said Michael.; it is "we the people' each of us that has to do be responsble for this work; you have given a good rallying cry to do just that.
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    Jun 17 2011: Being a citizen of 3rd world country , before making any country to be responsible , thought a bit (it's not only thought of the moment as being well aware of it all the time) in to the past history & ongoing politico-economic trend that pushed my country to the current situation.

    My conclusion is that
    --No country can help other country to develop , it's self help is the best, but that has to be free from any interference.
    --In this era of free market global economy, developed economies are coming up with so called help to keep their economy alive (think of the growth of matured developed economy & huge consumer base in 3rd world with it's growth potential), so called high interest rate loans comes to encourage consumerism
    -- From my experince I could never find any "Free Lunch" given by any developed country to my country.

    Well that's my side of the story , you might have other side which I don't know. Would be happy to hear.
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      Jun 17 2011: what do you mean by that?:

      "so called high interest rate loans comes to encourage consumerism"
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        Jun 18 2011: Well, the loans come with specific clause of buying items from specific country which actually is not needed for the recipient country at all. That's direct way of dictating consumerism at macro level.

        Other point is that money coming thru so called NGOs mostly covers the administrative cost of those organizations, most money spent in paying salaries ,buying nice and costly cars , office equipments, 5 star hotel stays etc of the top executives coming from the donor countries (why the name is donor don't know) though nothings there called donation.

        That's what I wanted to mean.
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          Jun 18 2011: this is something needs to be changed. capital must flow from individual to individual.
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          Jun 18 2011: You tell 'em Salim..tell it like it is
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          Jun 22 2011: Krisztian..that's a good point "capita must flow fromindividual to individual" not for development or further explorationin this context but an very interesting and important principle to explrrrre together..
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        Jun 19 2011: The fallacy about so called HELP from developed countries need to be cleared to the citizens of those countries to a great extent.......... No need of deep dive just a bit curious look in to IMF and World Bank activity will clarify enough

        We recipients also want to get rid of those "HELP" as well. It's like "Monster of Shindbad" on our shoulder.

        Lot of politics around......
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          Jun 19 2011: Salim can you share with us some specific examples.?

          I think this reality is not well understood

          .As an advocate and activist I have always had to keep my radar screen pretty well fine tuned to events in my area but I always considered myself well informed and a global citizen. It is only in the last few months researching and writing about the truth in Egypt and Libya that I stumbled on the truth about the IMF, The World Bank and even the U.N

          .I've been in public service my whole life, a "Kennedy Kid". I was taught to revere these institutions .I would hazard a guess that most Tedsters have no idea what the IMF is or the World Bank

          .So this post is a great opportunity to help bring to light some of what is actually happening.
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        Jun 20 2011: Hi Lindsay
        Yes, from your posts it's clear that you are well informed and as you were being in Public Service , I am sure you know more inside stories.

        Well things I pointed out in my earlier post in response to Krisztian's query are solid examples. It would be long thesis really and I am not a specialist in the area but being citizen of a country which is generally known to be so called beneficiary (actually victim) of aids just try to know a bit how my life is ENRICHED with the KINDNESS of developed world. Couple of examples linked with aid & loans are as below

        The economy of my country is agro-based and it's our strength. Everyone knows to be successful individuals /organisations / countries need to focus on their instinct strength while improving weakness as well. But what happens , every year during our country Budget period government receives prescription from UN,World Bank & IMF which tells what to do for our development ! One constant suggestion is "cut subsidy on anything related to Agriculture" to get the next loan. Means we have to weaken our strength.......... so far politicians are agreeing

        2ndly US never gives any monetary aid / loan. It comes in the form of food while we are almost self sufficient. The Food Politics of US of 70s , 80s are old stories, sure you are well aware of that... the way US controls food prices of globe. They give their surplus food but transportation cost has to be taken care of my country (destruction cost of food by US will be higher). This food comes in country before the harvesting season of & right then UN, WHO all will say their is silent famine kind of thing going on in the country (as just before harvesting there is not much work or money flowing in the village and around 75-80% people still live in village) , so start some development work like making roads (temporary ones as with next flood these will be washed away) in villages and give food as wage. Result prices of crops fells and farmers lose money..
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          Jun 21 2011: Salim I am glad you focused on agriculture which is one of the great scandals of the IMF and Wolrd Bank..perhaps we could unpack the specific of that a bit here.

          My general understanding is that thepolicies

          (1) emphasize the production of food for trade an export not for feeding the peoples who are hungry

          (2) impose on the country that it will not implement any envioenmental or fair wge laws that impede the perscribed export program

          (3) have tyreid to force Minsanto and other products which threaten indifgenous seed heritage

          I wonder if yo can confirm/expand on this as it has happened in your country?
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        Jun 21 2011: Lindsay thanks for your interest about my country situation. Me not an expert in the field but just a bit aware so giving some light what happened to our agriculture sector by the grace of "humanitarian aid / loan" and how US used PL 480 food aid as a political weapon to increase sufferings of people of my country in 1974 while country was facing famine due natural calamity.

        As you mentioned we lost all our indegious seed of hundreds of rice variety. Farmers who were natural scientist now forgot how to produce seed as they are now fully dependant on hybrid seeds sold my companies from developed country.In 60s & 70s World Bank, IMF & UN funded to educate farmers to use insectiside & fertilizers selling the idea of increased food production. Side by side they introduced hybrid seeds which have low threshold against insect what indigenous varieties used to have. So the that drove higher use of insecticide & fertilizer. Once farmers become educated enough , they just withdraw the aid / loan , so the MNCs started selling insecticides. Now they making goverment to reduce subsidy on those !! Result ? Loss of huge natural fish population , deficiency of national protein supply !!

        Those aid also supported irrigation and all the machines for irrigation came from those so called donors. Result, now we are suffering from loss of ground water.

        How US used PL 480 food program for political reason , killing thousands of people through a man made famine , you can check for detail in the link below. The SIN my country did was got liberated against with will of US through the power of people and then government of newly born country was selling Jute to Cuba ...... so PL 480 was used as a deadly weapon...............:) :) :)


        Yes I am laughing out loud ........ thinking how innovativly NICE our Big Brothers really are.... that's why they have the opportunity to be NICE again and again.........
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          Jun 21 2011: Salim,I am still reading your link with shame and shock ..disgust

          ..I ask everyone here in this conversation to please read this. Here is one quote from it..Nehru had grown tired of being used as a U.S. pawn over dependence on U.S. food. and was looking to self sustenance for India

          ." Nehru's concerns seem, in retrospect, to be well placed. When drought threatened millions of peasants with starvation in 1965-66, the Johnson administration seized the opportunity and used its "food power" to press for political and economic concessions from the Indian government. The United States demanded that India open its fertilizer markets to American exports, devalue its currency, institute population control measures, and soften its criticism of American involvement in Vietnam as a precondition for the release of much-needed food aid (Sharma, 2002; Tarrant, 1980).Even after India agreed to the conditions laid down by the US, Johnson refused to release more than one month's worth of aid at a time. India was to be kept on a "short tether" to ensure India's continued compliance with American demands (Bjorkman, 1980; Castore, 1982)"

          This is hard for me to read and realize Salim.. especially the quotes from Hubert Humphrey who has always been one of my heroes in public service.

          This must end as a basis of U.S. Foreign policy.

          This must end..
        • Jun 21 2011: Salim, Thanks for that explanation. I know things like that have been carried out in other countries.

          You are right Lindsay, it needs to stop. Food is not a weapon.
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        Jun 22 2011: Lindsay thanks for your compassionate heart !!

        Sorry for bringing out the bare truth that hurt you. I had no intension to hurt anyone so was talking in a very generalised sense. I understand how you feeling with your empathetic view point , when you see the qoute of public service legend. I have very minimum number of legends in front of me though there were many at my early age. More I tried to be inform more legends came down to earth , which was painful for me.

        That's only part of aid story of Bangladesh. In 1972 the first Finance Minister of war torn newly born Bangladesh , disagreed to comply World Bank request , so later he paid the price being killed. The founder of Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib was in the top of the Enemy List of Henry Kissinger. To humiliate Mujib and Bangladesh , Kissinger termed Bangladesh as "Bottomless Basket" , the media barrons used that to create a gloomy and humilating picture of Bangladesh in global community. Finally Mujib was killed alongwith his whole family including child son, pregnent daughter in law etc (any one can say hje was killed by Bangladeshi Army, yes that's true but who was behind ? who funded them ? who still protecting them ?).

        This is the picture of taking responsibilty by Big Brothers for the 3rd world country.

        @ Michael I agree similar things happening everywhere in so called 3rd world. Africa is Poor , who is controling mineral resource of Africa, like diamond, copper etc etc. What Africa gets in return , funds for Civil War to be continued.

        I realized availability of information doesn't make people informed. I agree with TedSterJamie Lubin about general comments of community here , which indicates the maturity level though TED community may feel it's a Elite Community ....... it's another fallacy......

        Please don't take me wrong , I have no intension hurt anyone but to uncover some facts behind traditionally believed truth.
        • Jun 22 2011: Conspiracy Theories are a funny thing. I am sure that sometimes they are true, but all too often, we take a bit of truth, wrapped in opinion, spun by political gain or sensationalism and don't get to know the entire story in order for the complete truth to come out.

          I am not attempting to discredit this story, I am only proposing that this is one possible perspective and may not be 100% accurate. There is a lot of misinformation, propaganda, etc spread by all governments. U.S.A. is no different. The problem is that people are too quick to make up their mind about a topic by reading small pieces of information. To be truly informed takes much more than one or two pieces written from the same perspective and not knowing the honest motivation behind them.
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          Jun 22 2011: Jason

          ,First I would say..do your homeowrk on this..all that Salim has said is true..undeniably true..obviously true.once you look for information outside the "manufactured consent" and manipulations of the these government agenies and institutions.

          Read what our leaders have said . Those are facts.(Salim's link)

          Interesting that you mention the conspiracy angle though because I think that might just possibly be an intentional part of "manufactured consent". I actually started a TED Conversation on this on the day Bin Laden was assasinated because the the "official " story was so patently absurd and full of gaps..it seemed almost to intentionally feed conspiracy theories, intentionally to create this cloud of questioning so that further inquiry could be debunked as conspiracy theoreis..all thrown into one basket..truth seekers and wierdos who live on memes and fantasy.

          .I haven't read Noam Chompsky's "manufactured consent" so I may not be using it here exactly as he developed it but I gather its pretty to close to his main point..I was feeling a little queezy about my new found views on the U.N., the World Bank, the IMF and even our own national policy and what we have really been in the wolrd, how we really work in the world.Those view came from research using credible and indisputable sources including numerous state department memoranda. I never ever rely on "popular opinion" I do my home work. I dot my i's. I cross my t's.

          When I read the PL 480 statements by our presidents and people like Hubert Humphrey, it all came together in perfect clarity as the absolute truth

          . We have not been helping the third world, we have not been fighting poverty..we have been exploiting and manipulating.Ane we pay fo that..this can't happen without the consent of the governed, without "we the people"..it will go on unless "we the people" wake up, check it out and start demanding an end to these horrifc foundations of "foreign policy".
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          Jun 22 2011: Salim..no need to apologize..I live to seek the truth and speak the truth..sometimes that truth is shocking as it was in seeing our past presidents and post war heroes laying out in plain english how food was a great way to main tain "allies" through forced consent.
        • Jun 22 2011: Lindsay,

          Read my reply again and rethink your statement on me doing my homework. I never said anything Salim had stated was false. I said that we should not be so quick to make our minds up when limited information is available.

          The link you were reading with "shame and shock ..disgust" was full of partial quotes taken completely out of context. Again, I am advocating the truth, nothing more. I am saying to dig deeper and find additional materials to inform yourself instead of stopping at the first hunk of "information" thrown your way. All of these accusations may very well be true, but from the link provided, I am a bit skeptical. You can not watch a movie, read an article, or even a book and pretend to be an expert on a subject. All of things can be and often are misleading and do not show all sides. Right wing, Left wing, Religious, Monetary gain, Rich, Poor, Oppressed, Oppressors...There is usually a spin put on the information you find. I am simply saying find as much information as you can before jumping to conclusions.

          Finally, your comments on the Osama Bin Laden situation tells me a lot about how your mind works. Yes, for the most part, I will say that those who believe in the "conspiracy theories" are whack jobs. HAARP, Aliens at Area 51, 9/11 being an inside job, The Birthers on the Obama citizenship situation, etc, etc...Whack Jobs!!!
        • Jun 22 2011: Yes Salim I know of the manipulation and that is what must stop. It is time we did more than help when "it is in our best national interest." Everyone has a right to food, clean water, and a chance at education. That is what we should be working towards.
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          Jun 22 2011: Jason,

          I apprecate your concern for good solid work and rock solid sources. That is always my rule too.. I never cite any thing but rock solid sources ( I am a life long advocate and activist..shabby sources and half truths don't advance truth and don't build credibility

          What I have written and spoken to here is discoverable by anyone who wants to invesitage on their own. Hardly even debatable actually

          ...If you have any actual information from your own meaningful and creditable work you'd like to bring to this discussion, we are here to listen and respectfully consider it.

          . .
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        Jun 22 2011: @ Jason I agree with you what you told about being truely informed. I usually abstain from giving any particular reference as I can pick and choose to twist the story in my favour but here I gave a link as only one reference point, which does not mean I am telling the story only being biased with information from one source.

        Internet is a fairly open source, anyone can google a bit and find lot more stories regarding same subject.

        Moreover here the discussion point is so called AID & LOANs of developed countries and how they were taking care of 3rd world countries. Lot more information is out there about that how IMF, WORLD BANK , UN etc plays the game which may sound to you as Conspiracy Theory but that was not my focal point. PL 480 used as political as well as killer weapon many times by US.

        Clearly in my previous post here I told that what I am writing is only my perspective not only from the history I know about my own country from loads of sources but also being an avid aware observer.

        If anyone has got some other perspective of same truth using other numerous sources, I am eager to hear that as well. Thanks
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        Jun 22 2011: Jason, the link I posted is full of references and it's not some unknown internet source, it's a paper linked with one US & another European University . The other point one can easily check the full length of those references to get the full context of those qoutes that gave Lindsay her feelings of "Shock, shame & disgust".

        There are lot documents pubilcized by US state department as they routinely do after may be every 20-30 years, so to get full context those may be considered as valid source I guess. Don't want to talk about recent WIKILEAKS documents..........

        Moreover Noble Winner Economist Amartya Sen has his work focusing how famine can happen despite having enough food......... well I don't want to beat drum in favour of my story...........

        Yes with same thing same fact different person can have different perspective as well.
        • Jun 22 2011: I didn't want to do this, but in the interest of both sides of the argument getting heard and feeling that I have been challenged to a certain degree to prove the weaknesses of the link in question, I will put a little time into doing just that.

          "By situating the decision to send genetically modified maize to Southern Africa in the context of US–European debates over agricultural biotechnology, it becomes clear that the promotion of biotechnology has nothing to do with ending hunger in the region. Indeed, American food aid shipments to Southern Africa have little to do with the famine at all. Instead, I argue that US food aid policy following the 2002 crisis was intended to promote the adoption of biotech crops in Southern Africa, expanding the market access and control of transnational corporations and undermining local smallholder production thereby fostering greater food insecurity on the Continent"

          This is the one accusation of the piece that I have the most problem with. Noah Zerbe, the author, makes a claim and then attempts to back it up with "evidence". The policies and quotes that he shows are from 20 years in the past. The Genetically Modified Food programs were not even thought of at that point. He fails to show any real links between his accusation and real facts. I also find his motivation questionable as someone who is affiliated with the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium may have a reason to not want to mess with "God's perfect plan" in genetically altering anything?

          I will provide some arguments for GM food and some arguments that will argue on both sides of the issue.


          Recent Youtube clip with Aussie Scientists. Very strong arguments for GM Foods.
          (Part one)
        • Jun 22 2011: The genetic modification of crops is seen Globally as a viable solution to combating food shortages now and moving forward. Climate change, Population increases, deterioration of soil, etc make it necessary to use technology to increase yield. These arguments for introduction of GM foods into reality across the world, but most quickly into countries where famine is an issue are strong enough for me to think that the U.S.A.'s introduction of biotechnology into the region could have had everything to do with the "noble" reason, and not the "evil" one.

          As this technology moves forward, we are seeing it reach the private sector as in China. The American innovators had to have seen this happening in the future. The idea of a monopoly in this field is weak.

          I am more likely to believe the most simple cause for genetically modified foods being introduced and marketed is due to their need and benefit, not a "conspiracy theory". I am not totally discounting the alternative possibility, but I feel the argument for it is silly when real facts are brought to the table.

          As far as IMF and World Bank policies go, that is a completely different argument all together.
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          Jun 22 2011: Jason,

          the article referred to "hybrid seeds" not genetically engineered seeds

          I believe they were referencing non indigenous seeds from U.S. seed companies but I am not sure.

          So information on when genetically engineered seeds became part of the picture would not have any bearing I can see on discrediting this article..if that is your intention.

          I am more familiar with IMF/Wolrd Bank practices of the past two decades and know that their policies impose american produced fertilizers, inseciticide, herbicides seeds etc. on other countries. That's an undisputed fact..verifiable with very little effort.

          We can look together and see what products and (who manufactured them) were involved in the incidents Salim is referring to. That would be very helpful and also on topic.

          Glad to have your partcipation but don't appreciate or welcome your apparent intention to debunk the commenetsr and cites especially when it appaers so far you didn't come to this conversation with any facts of your own.

          Again, truthful and reliable information is more in the spirit of our forum here than a determined effort to debunk. Especiallyb when we are in a conversation about a very serious issue of global relevance and acting in good faith to bring what truth and information we can to our community here at TED..

          What was shocking to me about Salim's article is that the policies and practices of the IMF and the World bank are exactly what is outlined in Salim's memo as explicit U.S. policy for so many decades .

          The importance of the article is exactly that it is referring to the the very early foundations for U.S. foreign policy
        • Jun 22 2011: Lindsay,

          The quote I used is directly from the link in question. My use of the phrase "conspiracy theory" comes directly from this quote. I still have issues with the use of partial quotes taken out of context to argue a point, but I won't go into that. I will stop at saying that it is often easy to make information fit your argument if artfully crafted.

          Just to repeat one more time...I am only advocating being more informed on topics by researching further than the first piece of evidence found and to try to utilize material from both sides of an argument before jumping to a conclusion.
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          Jun 22 2011: @ Jason On Genetecally engineered Crops

          ( we have to all explore this further at the new conversationon Monsanto..did you see it? another very serious global issue..and other issue generated by highly questionable U.S. policies)

          In the link at issue here, that introduction referring to genetically engineeredseed can seem a bit confusing at first blush but it has nothing to do with the validity or authenticity of the historical quotes of U.S. officials which follow..except perhaps..as has been my point, to underscore that foisting American products on developing countries ( as part of their debt) is a long standing half centruy old American policy

          .I am a certifed organic grower..used to have an organic farmstand when I first moved to the island for my surplus produce.

          . The insistence on the use of non-indeigenous seed, which is at issue , the insistence on the purchase of such seed as part of a strangling third world debt is devastating .Local seed is uniquely apadpted to the growing conditions of the locale. Seeds created in Idaho would be very confused in most of Africa even for the same crop. To do well a seed has to have about the same latitude and climate of its heritage.So forcing foreign seed on another nation , as part of a debt, is pretty much unconsionable in my book.The harvesting and heritage of local indigenous seed is a very important part of good agricultural practice, as traditional growers have known for thousands of years. Even introducing large plots of non local seed can undermine the integrity and quality of the indigenous heirloom seed. ( contamination through pollination).So even before you get to all the other very serious issues about genetically modified seed, just the insistence on use of no indigenous seed is a degrdation.Also seeds..local seeds are a precious cultural heritage precisley because they produce the highest posisble yields in that locale.

          Th epoint of the complaints is that the seeds foisted on them didn't improve yield
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          Jun 22 2011: @ jason..".I am only advocating being more informed on topics by researching further than the first piece of evidence found and to try to utilize material from both sides of an argument before jumping to a conclusion. "

          That's great..then again, for the third time,bring us information that is meaningful ot this disussion..the topic is our obligations to developing and undeveloped nations.We would be glad to see and consifder any materila you can provide to deepen and further our inquiry.

          So far we have mostly talked about what's wrong with what we have been doing.

          Further veiws and background in that..great

          We haven't discussed or explored too nuch what we feel the global obligation is for economically and militaryily dominat nations to poor and undeveloped nations. Would be great to hear from you on that

          .One of ourTED members, Adriaan Kamp (Energy For One World -I'll bring the link here) has a fascinating approach to that on oil resources. His global project in essence asks the "over users" of oil to cut back through national policy to give developing nations a fair shot at oil for their needs until better indigenous and renewable. Krisztian referenced a very different model to the iMF and Wolrd Bank above. Might be interesingtoi explore and get your ideas on these alternative strategies

          Again, we invite and would all welcome what you have to offer by way of background and better more informtive links
        • Jun 22 2011: "In the link at issue here, that intoroduction referring to genetically engineered can seem a bit confusing at first blush but it has nothing to do with the validity or authenticity of the historical quotes of U.S. officials which follow"

          I say it has a lot to do with the use of the quotes and the manner in which he made his points. His tone, to me, is much more meant to inflame than inform. He is hell bent on a conspiracy theory and he is gonna prove it! (with no evidence) I just want facts given to me with no spin so that I may make my own mind up. I have mentioned a few times that these quotes were partial and taken out of context. This was done for effect; to incite emotion for his cause.

          I am not an expert on U.S., IMF and World Bank past transgressions. I am aware enough to know that between a mix of bad policy and bad ideas, they have done much harm in Africa. Although I would argue that there is a different side to many of those stories as well--maybe not all, but many. I would also add that those 3 entities have done a lot of help in Africa too. What I can't stand is the quickness to jump to conspiracy theories when the information is there to make an informed decision.

          As far as genetically modified crops go, they are here and they are spreading rapidly. The up side looks to be great with them---No more pesticides, we won't have to clear cut the rain forest to make room for farms to meet demand, vitamins built in that will save countless lives, drought resistant, etc, etc. I have looked into this enough to form my own opinion on the pros and cons. My thought is that people were in too much of a rush to get them out there in the beginning. Now that there has been extensive research on many of them, there is a great deal of scientific proof as to their safety. Still more testing to do on some others.

          The talk of need for GM crops is far away from my point and meant for another debate. My point is still that more information is better.
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          Jun 23 2011: Salim,
          should we trun from this thread to a consideration of Ronald's point that developing countrie sdon't want help they want self determination?
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          Jun 23 2011: So Jason

          you think it is appropriate to force genetically engineered seeds or any other non indigeous seed on nations who don't want them? to risk corrupting or worse losing there own heritage seed, to force debt on them for that? That s moral?

          If you want to discuss genetically altered seed per se, as I said there is a conversation on Monsanto for that. This is about the nature and focus of of the relationship between developed and developing countries. What comstutes our moral and ethical place with respect tothese nations.

          If you have any actual solid factual information you can share with us to show that genetically engineered seed forced on poor countreis with many hungry hasn't harmed lindigenous seed, has produced more food, has fed th e hungry..by all means bring that here. That's a real challenge. I haven't run across anything thing on that. I don't think it is to be found..
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        Jun 22 2011: You are welcome Lindsay.

        I thought the source is a credible one as it was not written out of wishfull thinking or opinion of someone. It's full of references of multiple sources , anyone having doubt can check those in full , that's why referred the link.....
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        Jun 23 2011: Jason let's be focused to the premise here , which is neither about Conspiracy Theory nor about viability / fesibility / necessity of application of bio-technology or genetically engineered food to fight food crisis. The premise is about so called donation/aid/help/loan to 3rd world generously offered by developed world , IMF , World Bank , UN etc came in to picture as those are the machines used for this reason.

        You might have found what was the morally justifiable context for Earl Butz,Hubert Humphrey & Brook hays qoutes, please share those.

        Well they can have morally justifiable context to make those comments and apply it same way as per their comments, but after applying those, in our term those no more remains as donation / aid, those becomes loans with "Shylock terms of Merchant of Venice" of the great Shakespeare. In my language donation / aid has got specific definition which says it should not have any string attached & should be offered in a way so that "left hand does not know that right hand is giving something to someone" (strongly saying we don't want it from any corner though). So may be we are having different view due difference of defintion due to cultural reason.

        You might have found the jsutifiable reason for president Jhonson's act with food to India as mentioned by Lindsay referring that link, pleas share.

        What were the justifiable reasons of playing that deadly game with Bangladesh in 1974 with PL 480 , eager to listen that.

        Humbly mentioning you skipped the involvement of US university and focused on the name "Catholic" part of Belgian university to create a question mark of the motivation of the author.

        Logic for logic's sake

        Firstly father of Modern Genetics Johann Mendel did his breakthrough experiments in monastery.

        Secondly if US after printing "In God We Trust" in every dollar bills & having lawsuit against Darwinism can strive for science that applies to that university also can even if it is fully catholic.
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        Jun 23 2011: Lindsay , yes I agree with Ronald's point of self determination with zero interference from any corner.
        I have every diificulty about agreeing with term HELP we recieved if ever (I might be myopic , please help me to see those HELPs Bangladesh got so far !!!).

        My another opinion on the basis my side of facts is US was never top donor (donor in the sense of US). So far top 3 assistance in terms of dollar value came from Japan, ADB (Asian Development Bank) & IDA of World Bank. US is not even in top 5 but no#1 manipulator of our policies are US and World Bank
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          Jun 23 2011: Hi Salim my friend, I had a quick look through this conversation, though not all of it.

          What do you mean by "please help me to see those HELPs Bangladesh got so far"? It is obvious to me that Bangladesh has got aid from foreign countries and has benefited from it.

          Do you mean to say that that aid could have been better utlised? Or it has come with strings attached and those strings, or some of those strings have been harmful?

          You say "US is not even in top 5 but no#1 manipulator of our policies are US and World Bank". On what basis do you say that? Also regarding any lender if they lend you or grant you money there will always be conditions attached, such as that money is not supposed to be embezzled, not all those conditions are harmful. Japan also must have set some conditions.

          So what are the harmful conditions, you think that have been set?

          PS I just saw this "With the population of 120 million and a GNP of US$170 (UNDP), Bangladesh remains heavily dependent on foreign aid for its development, scio-economic programmes and waging war in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). Statistics indicate that military expenditure in Bangladesh is officially 15% of the budget. Bangladesh spends about US$400 million on defence annually. Official figures of military expenditure give a distorted picture. It is common knowledge that many military expenses, such as food, housing, infrastructure, are accounted for under other budgets and therefore are not marked as military expenses. According to unofficial sources, Bangladesh spends an extra $125 million on counter-insurgency in the CHT annually. The USA, Great Britain and China continue to provide training to the Bangladesh armed forces."

          That is not so good, dont you think?


          PS this seems to show Bangladesh's economy is doing well:
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        Jun 23 2011: Good to hear from you Richard my friend. Was missing you for sometime... really

        Understand from your question that you couldn't go through the full discussion.
        Well the term HELP I mentioned according to tone of the premise , which gives a notion it's just generously given money without any clause attached and with out the intension of getting any return. That's difficult find really.

        Don't want go in to classification of Aid, interms humanitarian aid, bilateral aid , soft loan, hard loan etc.

        The discussion was not even US centric it was supposed to be an overall discussion regarding aid from developed nations to the poor countries. But in course of discussion it become so as the issue of PL 480 came in picture & comments of US policy makers to turn that aid to be used for political and economic gain.

        Yes Bangladesh gets assistance from developed countries but it's not free help (which I also don't want, as that gives me a status of Begger), that was my point.

        I agree lender will come with their clause , but what should be the limit? I am fine with clause which will protect money not to go in wrong hand & to prevent corruption around. My view was about the harmful strings as you rightly coined.

        Yes money could be better utilized even. The rates of interest can be question mark.

        You are right Bangladesh economy is doing fine over last decade having a 6-8% GDP growth, but that was driven by mainly private entrepreneur specially garment sector and immigrant workers remmitance.

        I didn't tell Japan is string free, just mentioned , many years it was the Top country to assist. Though I am reluctant to paste any link because the reason of validity question raised here even than I am giving one for your reference from where I came that US is not on top of assisting country list to Bangladesh

        I am always amazed with your power with data !! Know you can find more :) Good day Richard ...
  • Jun 16 2011: Its not our responsibility, but its just being nice. we can help then get back on their feet and maybe in the future they'll help us when we need it
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      Jun 21 2011: Christian..nice to see you in on this discussion.

      Did you have a chance to take a look at what people from developing nations ( and me) have had to say about the character of that so called "help"?

      What do you think about that.?

      You might enjoy the documentary I referenced somewhere here:World Water Wars:Blue Gold

      It is really about the worlds so called "Campaign to Eliminate Poverty"..really shocking. available on netflix watch instantly.. I'd be interested in your thoughts.( and also your personal reactions.it .hit me very hard)
  • Jun 16 2011: I would also like to add, that even the name"Third world" countries is not much to my liking. Having lived in what some consider a "second world" country and having visited many "3rd" ones, I say we drop the categories entirely. They are just people. We need to stop talking about "how developed" they are and talk about how we can develop a sensitivity to them. Industrial development of the kind of the 18th century is an impossible goal for the rest of the world, and totally uneeded. We need to help with a quality of life that says: sufficient food; clean water; access to healthcare; and educational opportunities for all. I know you could add other things, but these things are basic.

    Let's not say "Third world", let's say everyone in the world.
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    Jun 16 2011: I can answer your question though it is designed for people in developed countries and as a citizen of a third world country I would say yes without hesitation: it is your responsibility to help countries of the Third world as long as you're largely responsible for the difficult situation that we live actuellement.Mais we do not ask for help or charity but of respect and fairness in our trade relations and less interference in our internal affairs. if we rely on the story we realize that the third world and Africa in particular has experienced a deceleration or rather a sudden stop of its economy from the 16th century with the arrival of European and later with the colonization and during that time the West has benefit from the exploitation and plunder of Africa to develop, so in the 21st century I think it's normal to make a gesture, not to repair, because that developed countries can never repair the injustice that was imposed on the rest of the world but at least alleviate our suffering, even if your economies through difficult times.
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    Jun 16 2011: Sometimes helping can do more harm than good.

    Any support we give a third world country should be well thought out before executed, With the state of politics in most first world countries I'd be skeptical of their plans
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    Jun 23 2011: Jacqueline.

    I can see that you framed this question from a very different point of view than has been explored here.

    Your original question was more or less, when things are so tough right here at home for so many shouldn't we be cutting back on foreign aid and focusing more on our own domestic issues...yours in Canada, ours in the U.S., and the European Nations are struggling as well

    .I think in part the big meander this conversation has taken on how we have been spending our tax dollars on foreign aid and why..what it's really about..how we really use our so called aid to the poor and hungry actually puts your original question in a very diffreent light

    .What we have discussued here is that our tax dollars are not really going to feed the hungry or elevate the poor to decent standards of living, safety and security. Our tax dollars are not serving life and humanity through foreign aide

    ..The purpose of that aide isn't empowering people to self governance and wealth building it's about furthering other U.S. interests, quite often in service to the plutonomy..creating markets for U.S. businesses through forced purchases of US goods through debt to the U.S. ; it's about creating cheap export pproducts from poor countries by requiring them not to have fair wage laws or enviornmental protection laws; it's about controling valuable resources like oil, gold, and water.

    So your question doesn't pose a moral choice at all. Our tax dollars in foreign aide to eradicate poverty, in "nation building" aren't serving life or humanity.

    What Ronald has posted below and Salim speaks for many developing and undeveloped nations.. They don't want what we are handing out with our tax dollars. They want self determination, freedom from exploitation, control of theri own resources,welath creation of their own peoples, a real opportunity to trade and export their own resources for the benefit of their own people not foreign corporations

    .What we as citizens can do is awake.
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    Jun 22 2011: See also this newly started conversationn the "Insternationalization of the Amazon" which seems closely related to what we are discussing here:


    I don't know much about it personally ..but hope to learn there.
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    Jun 22 2011: First of all I dont like this word 3rd World which is often used. The world is only one.

    There are so many countries that are now developed but just 50 years back they were not in this place. After world wars US helped europe in so some sectors that now we see most of europe almost developed. I know that it was not just the US who changed the fortune but people played a vital role.

    This world is becoming globaly village, if we dont help ourselves who should.
    • Jun 22 2011: I totally agree Rafi...see my post below.
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    Jun 22 2011: For Western countries to which we turn to borrow money to purchase the technology and know we are nothing but a bunch of "Peoples lazy, lazy people who spend time in Siesta that Do not hesitate to kneel before the financial institutions to forgive that debt. Beggars we are ruled by corrupt men. It is therefore normal that we are poor. "
    These Peoples of Europe and America who work every day for their own social welfare and who pay their taxes, think that we deserve POVERTY. This image that many shock is inked in the West is unfortunately sometimes justifiable.
    When you look at countries like Guinea, and Mobutu's Zaire, Somalia, Chad, Cameroon and Nigeria among others, can you blame someone?
    Yet, without denying the responsibility of our governments, financial institutions also have a great responsibility for the impoverishment of Global Humanity.
    It is true that they lend money to Africa. But when you look at the figures and their interpretation in economic terms it is appropriate to ask:
    Financial Aid Is not a source of poverty in Africa?
    The Sub-Saharan collapses under the weight of external debt, whose exorbitant interest require States to borrow more to meet their obligations to very high levels between 25 and 30%, while those same banks for the same financial reasons require only 3-7% to investors in rich countries. The World Bank receives more money in poor countries than it spends.
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    Jun 22 2011: Pour les Pays de L’Occident vers lesquels nous nous tournons pour emprunter de l’Argent nécessaire à l’achat des technologies et du Savoir , nous ne sommes rien qu’une bande de « Peuples paresseux , de fainéants qui passent le temps à siester , qui n’hésiste pas à se mettre à genoux devant les Institutions Financières pour qu’on pardonne leurs dettes . Nous sommes des Mendiants gouvernés par des hommes corrompus . Il est donc normal que nous soyons pauvres . »
    Ces Peuples D’Europe et D’Amerique qui travaillent tous les jours pour leur propre bien être social et qui payent leurs Taxes , pensent que nous MÉRITONS LA PAUVRETE . Cette image bien que chocante est bien encrée à L’Occident est des fois malheureusement justifiable .
    Quand on regard des pays comme la Guinée et le Zaire de Mobutu , la Somalie , le Tchad le Cameroun et le Nigeria entre autres , peut-on en vouloir à quelqu’un ?
    Pourtant , sans nier la Responsabilité de nos Gouvernements , les Institutions Financières ont aussi une grande responsabilité dans l’appauvrissement Global de l’Humanité .
    C’est vrai qu’elles prêtent de l’argent à l’Afrique . Mais quand on regarde les chiffres et leur Interprétation en termes Economiques il y a lieu de se demander :
    l’Aide financière n’est-elle pas une Source de Pauvreté pour Afrique ?
    Le Sub-Saharien croule sous le poids de la dette Extérieure , dont les intérêts exorbitants obligent les Etats à emprunter encore plus pour faire face à leurs Obligations à des Taux très élevés entre 25 et 30 % , alors que ces mêmes Banques financières pour les mêmes raisons n’exigent que 3 à 7% aux Investisseurs dans les pays riches .La Banque Mondiale reçoit plus d’argent des pays pauvres qu’elle n’en débourse .
  • Jun 21 2011: I know Benin. It is a small West African country next to Nigeria. It was home for some of the most inhuman slave trade. It is also home to Vudun, a native religion we call voodoo. This is an example of how taking responsibility in a 3rd World country, with responsible cultural methods, can make a difference.

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    Jun 20 2011: could it be that we (the "first wolrd") keep the 3rd world as it is, through consumption?
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    Jun 20 2011: Besides the point, the nature of 3rd world country problems revolve around matters of life and death, simple terms such as food, non-life threatening water, medicine is what 3rd world countries need. In my humble opinion, choosing not to "help" is the same as someone watching a less fortunate person die out of lack of basic necessities..
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    Jun 19 2011: Jacqueline & all ,Water Scarcity ( and its exploitation by outsiders) is a very key issue in some of the world's poorest countries. It is currently a topic of conversation at


    Hope you will join and bring what information you may have there to highlight this critical issue in nations struggling to raise their people out of poverty.Ther have been 8 pages of TED Conversations posted on water and the water crisis, all closing with only one or two comments or 0 comments.
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    Jun 18 2011: Yes, and for one reason; humanity.

    Humans are in this world together, vs everything else. Sure, we co-exist, but put something in place that will threaten our existence as humans and you'll find we band together to squash that threat.

    So yes, I believe it is every nation state's duty to help each other, in every way possible. First we have to change people's minds and show everyone that we're actually all on the same team. The human team.
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      Jun 18 2011: aha. so it is not your responsibility, but state's? this is not my idea of being on a team.
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        Jun 18 2011: Well, I live in a Democratic country. The members of the country are the state, since we vote them into office. We are part of a singular team, and the best way to provide assistance to others is collectively.

        So I would argue that by being part of a democratic society, and being active in it; when your state helps 3rd world nations, you are in fact helping them by proxy. Many people go beyond this, and I certainly was not advocating people do nothing on their own accord without the state's help. It is a collective venture, issued by all peoples involved with the state.
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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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    Jun 17 2011: Jacqueline, for the sake of global security and stability, we should. While doing these, as we are today I think, we have to transform our developed nations too into an equitable and earth-sustainable economic system (consequently the rest of the world). http://bit.ly/SolutionStrategies
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    Jun 16 2011: Yes, given that we share colonial history with many of these countries, we owe it to them. But even if the answer was no, helping the 3rd world will increase the number of trading partners we have, make their countries desirable enough to avoid illegal immigration and make the human condition just that much more bearable.
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      Jun 18 2011: But matthieu..that isn't what is happening ..what has been happening for decades

      ..the question now is how can these countries that acceoted this pig in a poke get out from under the honerous debt burden the "aide" has left them with .All their GDP is going to paying off their debts to the IMF and the World Bank

      .At another talk this morning ( Water Scarcity) I posted a link to an award winning documentary movie Wolrd Water Wars: Blue Gold. I highly recommend it if you haven't seen it. Made me cry with shame and anger at what we have done, we U.S. we E.U to the poorest and neediset in the world under the guise of "eradicating poverty"

      Well documented and long complained about elsewhere..tons of stuff out there on it but this movie was so powerful because it showed what it had done to poor villagers, what it had done to beautiful landscapes, what it had done to fragile soils.
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      Jun 21 2011: Matthieu

      Thanks...great talk and he is quite a diplomat isn't he when he knows the truth of what the U.S. has done to African nations

      .."weath creation", yes
      independence, yes.
      , self determination yes.

      .but the U.S. doesn't want that.for them or for any developing nations

      See Salim's link..really shattered some heroes for me..just shocking.
  • Jun 16 2011: Under globalization, all countries are connected, which means that the economic struggle of one country becomes a struggle of another, and that with or without help from each other, we will all be affected. If rich countries are keen on protecting their own economic interests, like being able to keep a steady stream of cheap labor and materials coming from the third world, they have to help their poor neighbors.

    ALL countries need some form of economic help, but I think rich countries, the G8 for example, are in a way better position than the poor countries. They have long histories; therefore, they have more stable politics. They also have better credit ratings in the IMF and usually a huge say in various trade agreements, just to name a few. In short, they are in a better position to assist their poor trading partners.

    However, when helping, developed nations should put the best interest of their beneficiaries. Coming from a country that has received billions of dollars worth of international aid, I see that many of these foreign aid come with strings attached. While I appreciate the impact this aid has caused, I am of the opinion that rich countries should make a sincere gesture in helping their poor neighbors. They can, for instance, cancel long-standing debts many poor countries owe them. Over the past years when world markets have to contend with spikes in interest rates, the rich countries may have already earned more from the interest than the principal alone.

    Having said all these, I do understand that poor countries have to be able to fend for themselves and that there are repercussions to dole-out financial help. Therefore, any form of help coming form rich countries should be done prudently and that leaders from poor countries should wisely use them. I do not see one exact way rich countries can do this, but it is clear that they have to help in one way or another.
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    Jun 16 2011: A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

    Without a complete picture of the dynamics of economies and politics, it seems easy to just say Yes or No with regards to concerns like these.

    But I trust that to begin with, goodwill goes a long way in maintaining peace and mutual creation of prosperity.

    I want to say simplistically that progressive countries should not exploit developing nations. I want to say that if developed countries will extend no help or aid, they should at least make sure to get out of the way of progress of those still in the backwaters of wealth.

    But everything is interconnected and no simple answer can be had.

    It can even be said that when one looks at history, a lot (not all) developed nations stood on the shoulders developing nations to get where they are through forced free labor, conquest, colonization, and etc.

    Geography and climate plays a role. Timing and culture has its effects.

    We can look at this from an economic point of view or from a political point of view. Where ever one looks it is inevitable for any nation (rich or poor) to consider, as part of its concerns and responsibilities, the welfare, peace, and prosperity of others.
  • Jun 16 2011: we live in a biological environment and everyone of us occuppies a niche in the ecosystem hence food chain.Lets all accept this our ecxosystem is facing hardships as a whole the higher up in the food chain the more the mess caused.thonk its time all members of the ecosystem embraced production of basic needs i.e food.For developing countries lack of production from their ecological niche means less for the consumers-developed countries.
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    Jun 16 2011: Thank you for this thoughtful and important invitation to explore this question with you

    I think it is our duty at a minimum to not continue to exploit them It's our duty to allow them self determination, to assist them in that. I see no changes on the horizon. And even more frightening I see no call for change.

    I hear president Obama and Hillary Clinton use those words."allow self determination".but what they actually do doesn't jibe in my heart or my brain with what I mean by those words

    .In our littleTED poll on global values (check in and vote at www.goo.gl/mod/0073 ) I posted a value that each nation has a right to its own natural resources free from exploitation by oustide forces. It has gotten no support at all as value held by the TED community. Happily the idea that there is a universal right to freedom from homelessness, hunger, oppression and exploitation has made the top 10 in our TED poll of universal values

    Speaking only for myself, I am ashamed to say that age of 65, I just figured it out myself..almost accidentlally I stumbled on it researching some things that just didn't set right me. I took a good hard look at American Foreign policy and what its aims really are. Who it really serves. I took a good hard look at the World Bank, the IMF,,our principal instruments of exploitation under the guise of "eliminating poverty" and I was shocked at what I learned. The same for the U.N. actually, which I was raised to revere

    .If we believe we owe a duty to end poverty, hunger, oppression and exploiation wherever it occurrs in the world ( and so , we have to also wake up and see what is actually happening in these countries most in need and we have to start working on changing national policy in our own countries.Perhaps through this conversation we can explain more what actually is going on and point to some ogarnization and initiatives that are trying to change that.

    Thank you again for you rinvitation to explore this togther here at TED convresations