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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 30, 2005 / 23 Sivan, 5765

Righteousness comes cheap

By Jonathan Tobin



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Concert is a good party but the cure for poverty it promotes is off the mark


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | There is nothing better than combining support for a good cause with a good time. That's the point behind the Live 8 rock concert that takes place this weekend here in Philadelphia.


The event, which will be held simultaneously with similar concerts in eight other spots on the globe, is organized by British promoter Sir Bob Geldoff, who gave us — and the city of Philadelphia — the 1985 "Live Aid" concert. But unlike that extravaganza, which sought to raise money for the hungry of Africa, Live 8's purpose is political, rather than directly philanthropic.


Geldoff, along with some other members of the glitterati, such as U2's Bono and Sir Elton John, wish to attack Third World poverty at what they believe is its root cause: the debts incurred by Third World governments, and the perceived failure of prosperous nations like the United States to give enough in aid to the debtor nations.

MOBILIZED BY ROCK
Their prescription — supported by former South African president Nelson Mandela, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and Annan's advisor, Columbia University's Jeffrey Sachs — is to cancel all Third World debt, and pump in wads of cash to these destitute countries. Both measures would, they believe, be a major step toward the end of poverty around the globe.


Geldoff wants concert-goers to exert pressure on the Bush administration and other heads of state in advance of the annual G8 conference of industrial powers, to be held next month in Scotland. It's simple: Listen to music, and then make the rich give to the poor. Self-righteousness comes pretty cheap these days, and you'd have to be an incorrigible curmudgeon to say anything bad about it, wouldn't you?


But there's a real problem with this mass-produced activism: It isn't likely to help the Third World poor.


As it so happens, the developed nations, including the wicked Americans, have already donated untold billions for this very purpose. The United Nations, the World Bank and the G-8 countries have all tried their hand at it. And yet, the result hasn't been what they intended.


Instead of ending poverty, the money earmarked for aid to impoverished Africans and expensive development projects has had little effect on the availability of clean water, the control of diseases or even the AIDS pandemic. What aid to Third World nations has instead done is reinforce the power of the small, undemocratic and corrupt elites in those countries, and enrich them while consigning virtually everybody else to despair.


The leaders of these countries gather at the United Nations to cry for help while enjoying the pleasures of New York. Outside of the occasional coup, which puts into power a different group of cutthroats, few checks and balances on them or their spending exists.

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But past experience with the aid paradigm seems to have had very little impact on people like Sachs, whose schemes the Geldoff concerts are intended to boost. While Sachs notes past failures in his book The End of Poverty (though not in a Philadelphia Inquirer opinion piece on the subject published last week), his plan for debt relief and targeted aid ignores it completely.


Even worse, Sach's plan is top-down-oriented. Foreign experts and nongovernmental organizations will come in to these countries as they have before and tell the locals what to do.


But as Wall Street Journal reporter Claudia Rosett wrote in a blistering review of Sachs' book, "even if you happen to be the smartest man on Earth and have visited more countries than Santa Claus, you still cannot possess all the information dispersed among the individuals who make up a society or an economy."


She then makes another telling point: "What stymies the people in poor countries, as a rule, is not a lack of aid. It is forms of government, often corrupt and tyrannical, that do not allow people to exercise free choice under fair law."


But these concepts don't seem to interest Geldoff or even Sachs and Annan. What they believe in is the guilt of developed countries for the ills of the poor, whose failings can be variously ascribed to capitalism, colonialism, insufficient foreign aid and military spending — anything, that is, but the absence of the rule of law or free economies. What they plan to do is to pour money down the same corrupt sinkholes as before. But there has been no explanation as to why they think the outcome will be any different.


Since Geldoff's platform is built on fashionable notions, who can blame the millions who will attend and, no doubt, bombard Washington with appeals for support of the Live 8 agenda? The poor won't be helped, but the rest of us will be warmed by memories of a good time.

A DIFFERENT MODEL
But there is a model for how a debt-ridden nation can free itself of the bonds of foreign economic control. Interestingly enough, it took place right here in Philly. Some 215 years ago, when the American republic was in its infancy, the United States was weighed down with debt, and newly inaugurated President George Washington was faced with a bankrupt economy.


But rather than follow the advice of followers of Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and allow debts to be repudiated, Washington listened to Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton.


Hamilton believed that America could prosper only by establishing a government that paid its debts, supported its currency and encouraged a free economy for its citizens.


And that's exactly what he did. To the amazement of the world, the credit of the United States was soon good, and the American economic engine was primed to take on Europe. If we live in prosperity today, it's because of the vision of Hamilton, whom biographer Ron Chernow aptly described as "the prophet of the capitalist revolution in America," and not that of the agrarian Jefferson.


Though America faced few of the challenges associated with the Third World today, the linkage between the rule of law, free markets and free economies remains the same.


Ending poverty is an outcome we should all desire. But you would think the 20th-century provided enough examples to show us the utter futility of central economic planning. But in the world of Live 8, maudlin sentimentality trumps history and the laws of economics every time.


So have a good time at the concert, and feel as good about yourself as you like.


But this Fourth of July, rather than excoriating America, the poor of the world and their sympathizers should look to it for an example of how freedom and prosperity are ultimately indivisible.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. Let him know what you think by clicking here.

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© 2005, Jonathan Tobin