Monday, April 24

Research Confirms Meles Inc. Desperate for MDG Billions

From Business in Africa (courtesy of EthioIndex) comes this fascinating headline: Research Confirms Ethiopia's High Growth.

Just from the title, dear reader, you know something is fishy right?

Here is what EthioMedia had to say in Ethiopia registers economic growth: fact or fiction? quoting a Norwatch document from From the Anti Yara 2005 Award committee in Norway
"The impressive figures regarding the growth in food production do not derive from the greatest authority in the field, the World’s Food and Agriculture Organization – FAO. Nor do they derive from the World Bank or the development program of the UN, UNDP, but from an Ethiopian research institute controlled by the government of the same person [Meles Zenawi], who receives the [Yara] award for his extraordinary contribution to fight hunger in the country."
EthioMedia continues:"But for the 15-year-old government of Meles Zenawi whose staple diet has been media manipulation and misinformation, all is OK and the economy is a horse galloping mightier than ever before." Here is the actual article that has to be seen to be believed Research Confirms Ethiopia's High Growth
Addis Ababa – Independent research has confirmed that Ethiopia’s growth recent growth activity has been remarkable.

Ethiopia has managed an average GDP growth of seven percent over the past three years and brought inflation down from 15 percent to five percent. The figures, which are the most impressive amongst the six African countries striving to attain the millennium development goals (MDGs) and this has resulted in sceptics as to the accuracy of the figures.

However, research compiled by the African Development Bank (ADB), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the World Food Programme (WFP) has confirmed the country’s noteworthy growth.

Researchers have linked the growth to government’s role in diversifying the economy away from agriculture while searching for new markets.

The government said that growth would remain sustainable as it increases partnership between agriculture and industry sectors.
EthioMedia has it right. The story is plain silly.

First of all whose independent research? It is highly unusual to make a claim like that, then attribute it to 'independent research' without naming that think tank or agency or academic institution. That is unless it is all made up or the information originates from the government in question itself.

Second, the names of several agencies are thrown in to give credence to the whole business. Those agencies don't say what they are accused of and those that have agreed with the government in the past generally accept its numbers at face value in public to keep the peace and have their own real set for in house use or available to those with minimal curiousity in open documents.

Third, every mention you ever hear about 'sustainable development' is suspect as is unexplained catch phrases like diversifying the economy, searching for new markets and linking agriculture and industry. What does it all mean anyway? A country either develops or it doesn't.

What is unsustainable is the litany of economic lies and eternal beggar status that goes hand in hand with it. Economists and politicians would like us to believe that like interpreting modern art, economics is some arcane subject that can only be approached by its own exclusive language that common ears could never hope to understand.

That is wrong. If you are talking about Econ 101 and M for money supply and a whole lot of equations it is complicated. But like most of life its core is good old fashioned simple common sense.

Countries with no private property rights do not develop. Look around the globe, find the countries where the state owns all land (meaning a tiny feudal aristocracy really does) and you will find poverty and dictatorship. Find states that have moved in the right direction or that have always had property rights and you will find development and relative plenty and freedom.

Countries where the ruling party is indistinguishable from the government and from businesses and monopolies owned by both and by cronies don't develop. That is built in corruption that makes Ethiopia one of the least favorite destinations for capital on earth.

Countries that are eternal international beggars do not develop. What ends up being created is a social contract between corrupt dictators and donor governments with NGOs as junior partners. The actual natives are not included and development becomes measured by dollars spent only. The basics of actual development as witnessed from China to Botswana are dependent not on what anyone was given but what they were allowed to do for themselves.

All of this nonsense along with a suspiciously incurious press make for a grand effort to get at the wallets of donor taxpayers and for eternal fangs to remain to sunk into the arteries of poor folk who only need a chance, just like that given the rest of humanity, that they have so far been denied.

The government lies on this issue like it always does on everything else big and small. Indeed lying is a reflex for the regime since the truth beyond their own day to day power and enrichment is generally inconvenient. The only straightforward part of the article was the mention of the MDG which is the gold ring for the rulers of countries made poor by their governments - especially ones like that in Addis whose atrocious human rights record has put them in line to lose donor budget support.

Essentially, the MDG boils down to a firm belief that institutions, accountability, transparency, fighting corruption and property rights don't matter for the likes of Ethiopians - although that is the kind of stuff that made donor nations rich and most other poorer nations actually grow.

The whole MDG theory is to throw so much money at Meles Inc. that even it can't manage to steal it all and that at least some good can be done for all those quiet suffering millions.

Ethiopia's revolutionary / feudal / party / government OWNS the economy of a whole country, OWNS every square meter of land and strives to OWN every soul there while seeing its people as convenient sources of pity to get foreign aid and as sources of trouble to be put down.

Meles Inc. is unlikely to oblige even the reduced expectations of the MDG crowd. Those MDG people have no idea who they are dealing with do they? Ethiopians do.


related posts of note

Ethiopians are not poor even by the standards of Biblical suffering and they are not oppressed even by the standards of familiar African dictatorship by accident or fate. It is all about government and policies that many of the posts below investigate in depth.

The authors of these policies are the ones that aid donors and other development partners embraced and continue to value after a decade and a half of economic and social de-evolution masked by tens of billions of aid to one of the most corrupt, poorly governing and brutal governments on earth.

The 7% Maskirovka details how claims of economic growth are lies carried out with the complicity of willingly gullible partners in the international media and aid organizations. The 7% Solution looks into the particular origins of the claims to 7% growth - that is what is supposed to happen to get MDG money so by pretending it is not needed the flow of money is assured.

Economic Absurdities details how all accounts of Ethiopia's economic performance must not be considered at face value and that the economy is in fact a stagnant mess utterly dependent of foreign aid and remittances.

lies, damn lies & statistics re-examines false claims of high Foreign Direct Investment that are part of the ongoing and defining propaganda campaign that the Ethiopian government runs instead of governing the country.

The Tragedy of the Commons discusses how common or far worse government ownership of land has always been a plan for disaster.

Cargo Cult Economics Pretense of freedom and a free market is alive and well in Ethiopia with absolutely no attention given to the institutions and accountability necessary for free and prosperous nations. The whole edifice of the massive money transfer to Swiss banks (aka MDGs) is like the Pacific Cargo Cults based on the idea that prosperity comes from rituals.

Cargo Cult Economics 2 - All About the Benjamins? Development is about more than cash - it is about institutions. In fact any money in the absence of reason and rationality will hurt more than help by breeding corruption and the destruction of needed institutions.

Cargo Cult Economics 3 - Structural Corruption Corrupt and unaccountable party and government owned businesses and monopoly service providers in an effectively single party state do not provide a setting where you can expect freedom and prosperity or accountability.

Cargo Cult Economics 4 - Short Term Memory Recent African history from the era of independence in the late 50s and 60s on is full of the serial discovery of visionary rennaissance leaders that the world has fallen in love but whose policies have only bought tragedy for their people.

Cargo Cult Economics 5 - Cheerleaders and Cargo Cult Economics 6 - Sachs & Violence Intellectuals and academics who give cover and encouragement to third world despots and their bound to fail economic schemes imagine that it is OK for some to live under different rules than they would expect for themselves. That is an example of the vile sentiment of actual romance and purpose that is found by some in other people's suffering.

The World Is Yours Is an introduction to anothers series from numerous sources detailing the essentially corrupt system that Ethiopians suffer under. A system that simultaneously wastes billions in aid dollars and euros while impoverishing millions:. Basically, the Ethiopian government at present is difficult to distinguish from an organized crime network. The World Is Yours II - The Syndicate, The World Is Yours III - The Commission, The World Is Yours IV - "An Offer They Can't Refuse", The World Is Yours V - Capo di tutti Capi, The World Is Yours VI - Our Thing

'Zenawinomics' and the Aztec gods, let the ferenjis feed 'em again and let the ferenjis feed 'em take a look at the game of 'bumper crops' and 'looming famine' that is played out regularly with the result that taking care of Ethiopians or even allowing them to take care of themselves has been abandoned in preference for letting aid donors take care of it all.

The Birth of Plenty, Do the Right Thing and Luck and the Idea Trap show exactly how other nations have escaped destitution and tyranny, why Ethiopia as currently governed never will and how such horrible decisions are purposefully made by governments.

On Borrowed Time focuses on the agricultural economy and how all present trends given current policies point downwards. Malthus, Hobbes and the Red Queen looks to the future and further finds that without changes Ethiopia is heading for a horrible appointment with destiny so that a few can remain powerful and rich.

The Politburo Knows Best series looked at the prospects for liberal democracy and found them poor indeed. Almost all of the same factors predict prosperity as well and they have all been abandoned in favor of eternal power for a few. The following provide clues to the ideological undperpinnings of Ethiopia's current suffering and the policies that define it. Basically, the controls provided for below explain why the trade-off was made for eternal beggar status vs actual development.

Politburo Knows Best III - Revolutionary Democracy The national guiding ideology is still Marxist-Leninist-Maoism - so you can assume there aren't great prospects for freedom and prosperity. Since about the time this seminal essay ;-) was posted the government has not mentioned Revolutionary Democracy aloud again but it still defines their world view exactly.

Politburo Knows Best IV - Revolutionary Feudalism There are no rights to own private property whose protection is essential to all prosperity and personal & political rights worldwide throughout any period of history.

Politburo Knows Best V - The Wretched of the Earth Ethiopia's system of tribal divide and rule 'bantustans' has more in common with medieval feudalism than anything modern or decent for humans to live under.

Politburo Knows Best VI - Defending the Revolution An intense system of of control inherited from the Communist Dergue of Mengistu (known in Cuba as 'Committees to Defend the Revolution') exert absolute government control and fear at the lowest (neighborhood or block) level in unseen rural areas (85% of the people) and urban lives as well.

A Bodyguard of Lies looks at the art of untruth and Ethiopian government in the bloody aftermath of the 'election'.

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