Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Who supplied the goats?

Remember the big idea of giving money to a charity so they could buy someone in Africa a goat?

Sounded great, right?

But where did the goats come from? I don't remember seeing any news of ships (such as sheep carriers) being stuffed full of European or Australian goats and sailed to Africa.

(When I was 12, I worked on a sheep station for 2 weeks during the school holidays. Towards the end, we did a big goat muster and shipped off several road trains worth to the abattoir. We are not short of goats).

I suppose the money was collected here and then wired to the African office of the charity. The locals then went to the market and bought a gaggle of goats.

And what do you suppose that did to the local price of goats? A sudden influx of western money, and demand, when supply is fixed could only mean a big increase in the price of goats in Africa.

Now that's nice if you happen to be selling a truckload of goats at that moment, but what if you are not one of the lucky recipients of western charity, and you need to buy a goat? Suddenly, it's not going to cost you 10 shekels - it's going to cost 50.

That's how we help the poor. Giving some feel good aid to the few, and shafting the many.

1 comment:

daddy dave said...

You know I'd never thought of that before, but dammit, you're right! There's no point in buying them something that is produced locally... and if you buy them something from elsewhere all you're doing is undermining their local industries.
Let's face it. aid screws up markets in third world countries.