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Thursday, 12 May 2016

Is Western aid causing famine, misery and death in Africa?

Here's one for Uncle Bob; is all that charity money channelled to the starving people of Africa actually the cause of even greater misery and death? Der Spiegel is one of the very few news outlets now warning about a coming drought and famine disaster in Africa - an event that will send millions of Africans on the move Northwards in search of food and shelter in Europe. 

And that's the difference between Uncle Bob's first famine and today. Then, the poor buggers stayed in place and died. Today, they've sold their emaciated goats for a 2G phone and a bus ticket to Libya. 

And the proximate reason for the crisis is not climate change, MMGW or fossil fuels, but improved health care and greater global prosperity which have overtaken Africa's endogenous ability to manage itself. As Der Spiegel describes;
"Since the massive famine that struck Ethiopia in 1984-85, the country's population has swollen from 41 million to 102 million. One-third of the population is already considered to be malnourished today: There simply isn't enough to go around in many parts of the country. Much of that situation is attributable to the country's antiquated system of subsistence farming. Millions of small farmers are incapable of yielding larger harvests because of their inability to access investment capital, equipment, fertilisers and high-quality seeds. In addition, their property belongs to the state, meaning they can cultivate it, but are unable to use it as collateral on any potential loans. They thus slave away just as in biblical times, using hoes, oxen and wooden ploughs to till low-yield soil."
In a quote that proves that Malthus should be compulsory learning throughout Africa, an Ethiopian local government official said "We are simply too many people - People are starving because we have run out of everything -- water, grain reserves, livestock feed." It is not a problem restricted to the Horn of Africa; South Africans are suffering under the effects of an explosion in food prices that could see many more poor white South Africans queueing to leave. 

You'd think the Guardian would be leading with this story - but there's nothing but a stony silence from our Stalinist luvvies. As when they managed to ignore the Holodomor - it took the Times to break that story.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Ten more consequences of Brexit

The Remainians are holding nothing back when it comes to the outrageous, absurd and risible claims made by the Whitehall Lie Factory, which has now started a night shift and is working at weekends. After Cameron's claim yesterday that Brexit would start the Panzers rolling across the Polish border, here are ten more claims to expect over the next few weeks;

1. The prices of French wine and cheese will double if we leave, and Brits will need a special license to buy champagne
2.  Ryanair and Easyjet will have to charge a new £100 supplement on all tickets to Europe, on account of the risk of it becoming a War Zone
3. Thousands of Portuguese farmers will starve to death as Port exports plummet
4. Manchester will be destroyed by an outbreak of Bubonic plague due to EU banana regulations being flouted
5. Everyone will gang-up to devalue the £ so it's only worth €0.50 cents
6. The NHS will collapse as Bulgarian X-ray technicians head home, leaving thousands of Brits with badly-set broken limbs
7. When we tell German intelligence about terrorist threats, they will put their fingers in their ears and go 'nah nah nah' (actually, they probably do this already)
8. The British advance Battlegroup stationed on the Oder (two tanks, a platoon of RLC dog-trainers and a QM Sergeant) will be asked to return home
9. Brits will be banned from buying Audis in cool colours and everyone must have them in a yucky tangerine orange metallic flake finish
10. UK life expectancy will plummet as the Mediterrannean diet becomes unavailable and we all switch to deep fried Mars bars instead

Any more suggestions welcome...

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Time off for non-parents could close the sex pay gap

One of the talking-class' subjects this weekend is the notion that employed non-parents should enjoy the same paid leave as parents away on maternity / paternity leave. Before you splutter your Yorkshire pudding in rage, consider the equalities effects. 

I'm talking about the pay gap between the sexes. last time I looked at this, it was about 18%. Lefties ascribe the whole 18% to taste discrimination, i.e. misogyny, but this not supported by the economic evidence. Hiring and pay and reward decisions are made by non-discriminating employers on the basis of qualifications, experience and 'y', an 'employability' factor. Thus a man and a woman with the same 2:1 working for the same firm for the same number of years and with equal 'employability' should enjoy the same reward. And very largely they do - the difference attributable to taste discrimination hovers somewhere about 4%. 

So how do we account for the other 14% difference? Simply, women score lower on 'experience' overall on account of spending significant time out of the workforce having children. Our man and women with identical 2:1s are different in this respect; she's had two kids and has spent 2 years at home on maternity leave. He hasn't. She earns less than he does. And the firm is acting perfectly responsibly. 

All that splitting paid time-off between male and female parents will achieve is to remove the sex correlation from lower pay; all parents will be paid less than non-parents. And in a world of perfect equality, the only way to redress the gap is either to allow non-parents to take the same-time out or to abolish maternity / paternity leave altogether. 

Don't bite my head off for summarising a massive area of academic research in a short blog post, please. And no, I won't give academic references - if you want to know, go and do the same Masters that I did.