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Saturday, 25 April 2009

Dead Aid, revisited....

Kaela Mulenga (Zambian Economist guest blogger) has weighed in on the Dambisa Moyo's Dead Aid thesis over at UK Zambians. Judging from the comments section, it appears the anti-aid brigade have the knives out. Its unfortunate when people are not willing to debate substance and respond to thoughtful pieces with ad hominem attacks. I am glad that on this blog we continue to uphold a culture of respect and when we disagree it is focused on ideas - that is how dialogue should be. We can do better than our politicians! We previously reviewed the book on this blog - see Dead Aid, By Dambisa Moyo ( A Review).


  1. "Its unfortunate when people are not willing to debate substance and respond to thoughtful pieces with ad hominem attacks.There appears to be a worrying trend by some Zambians taking to profanity on the web, considering the relatively few Zambian websites at the moment. If you look at Lusakatimes, Zambia Online, and even YouTube, there're some unbelievable, utterly disgusting and uncalled-for comments.

    Looking at the locations of some of those people uttering unprintables on Lusakatimes, most are overseas!

  2. lol!

    Its poor regulation by the website.

    There are boundaries to free speech...

    I rather have 2 visitors who exchange views respectfully than 50 who just shout at each other incoherently...and insulting one another....

    The strange thing is that we are no better than our leaders.....

    You find that someone is uttering vulgar language at the Republican President because he fired Shaka..

    We need to respect those in leadership....

    A friend of mine always reminds me that as you blog... criticise those in power and opposition...but lift Zambia high...

    Its sad when we fail to distinguish between Zambia and the Government...

  3. Cho:

    I enjoyed your review of Dambisa Moyo's Dead Aid. It was the most perspicuous review I've read of the book. Too many of the reviews even in major publications are tonally strident, they don't outline Moyo's argument well, and they don't do a good job pointing out some of the problems with her thesis. You were able to avoid all these problems in your review successfully.

    I have a request for a book review. I don't know if you've read the book, but it is The Mystery of Capital by Hernando de Soto. De Soto's suggestion, if I understand him correctly, is that governments can create capital by eliminating draconian property rights systems and recognizing de facto homes or land holdings that are not currently recognized by the government. That way, the government can begin to tax the property and create national revenue from the holdings. I would like to know what you think about that proposal.

    Anyway, thank you for the great blog posts.

  4. Cho,

    You are right - Websites should control the movement of lose or profane language. Those who are reluctant is because they are interested in getting more hits than anything else. Unfortunately this foul language not only it interferes with the serious debate, but it also blocks good ideas. Genuine comments gets completely shut out.

    The encroachment of lack of seriousness in some of Zambians blogs/forums, started when the myth of respecting the Presidency was broken. I warned people about this bad by-product when comment after comment jumped on the bandwagon - led by The Post, of insulting ex president Chiluba.

    You see - if it was okay to call presidents names, therefore everyone else became fair game. Somehow these people think that this is a form of freedom of speech or funny. An element of jokes is welcome - Zambians are comedians, but insulting, rude, or misguided comments are not good.

    This cadre mentality or Kaponyalization of discussions slows down the flow of useful ideas, and perhaps impedes economic development. When our politicians (perhaps they don’t) visit these off balance forums - they get wrong ideas. In the end, you have this cadre mentality or the uneducated, unprofessional ideas becoming dominant view, and consequently influencing policy thinking. Some of this must be true. This is just too bad!

    That is why I am happy that this sort of behavior is discouraged on Zambian Economist. Its respectability is the one attracting government people using it as a source of information.

    In spite of these comments - in the name of free speech, I did not complain or recommend to UK Zambians to stop or close the posting of comments on my article. I let the people say what they wanted to say. But certainly, there is room for improvement.

  5. Billie,


    I am familiar with de Soto's "mystery of capital".

    I shall certainly look into it.

  6. Kaela,

    "Kaponyalization of discussions slows down the flow of useful ideas, and perhaps impedes economic development"lol!

    Thats a good one!

  7. Cho,

    Have you read "From Third World To First - The Singapore story: 1965-2000", by Lee Kwan Yew.

    There are a lot of useful suggestions for curbing corruption. Considering how the freetraders always throw up the city states of Hong Kong and Singapore as examples of how countries should develop along the lines of free trade, it may be interesting to find out what they really did to develop and why.

  8. MrK,

    No I have not read that one.

    Looks interesting indeed.

  9. "Its unfortunate when people are not willing to debate substance and respond to thoughtful pieces with ad hominem attacks."

    You then claim to be seeking a debate but open with "the anti-aid brigade have the knives out."

    You also don't notice the irony that the link is a review of the book by someone who confesses not to have read it!

    There's none so blind...


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