Suppose you’ve got yourself a pet project, one that’s very near and dear to your heart. You’ve spent a ton of time, sweat, and treasure to get this thing up and running on its own, but try as you might, it just doesn’t seem to be working out. How do you approach it?
If you’re Jim Rogers, the answer is: Cut it off, say sayonara, and let it fix itself.
Step 1. Canceling all the African nations’ debt, he claims in “Adventure Capitalist,” will save the continent $30 billion in annual financing fees (in 2001 money). That’s of course, assuming that these nations would put those savings to productive use (instead of on things like armies, private jets, and lavish palaces—but really, who would do that?).
But ah, there’s a solution for all those wars as well, says our pal Jim.
Step 2. Simply have the existing African nations form a parliament and re-draw all the present borders, many of which were set up by the colonial powers with no idea of the conflicts that would result. No UN involved, just them. Of course, getting more than thirty nations together not only to calmly talk things out but also take action (!) makes the formation of the EU seem like a cakewalk.
Oh, and part 3 is that all the foreign aid to Africa gets shut off as a condition of the debt cancellation. Of all the parts of this plan, this is the one that makes most sense to me. Most of it ends up being stolen by warlords, corrupt officials, and sham NGOs anyway, which no one really contests. It wouldn’t be such a problem if we just, I don’t know, bothered to watch the money—but who wants to do that? Better to just say, “I increased foreign aid” to win votes.
Like many of the strident libertarian ideas he espouses in his book, this one operates on some generous assumptions. I admit after so many decades of frustration, the plan is appealing at least as a means of shutting up the critics who scream that Africa’s problems are entirely the fault of the West. But if Jim’s plan doesn’t work, we’ll still be left holding the chicken. Seems like a lose-lose situation, almost.
Or is this the right way to go? Is it crazy enough that it just might work? Or is something more moderate/practical the way to go?