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Friday, December 16, 2005


The Aid Industrial Complex is Going to Love This

The noted travel writer Paul Theroux dabbles in erotica (painfully) and expounds at length in Dark Star Safari about his views on foreign aid. He should stick to writing about the world.

A Peace Corps volunteer in Malawi in the 60's, Theroux writes in Dark Star Safari about his return to Africa 40 years later to that, after decades of loans and direct foreign aid, not much has changed. He hits many of those same themes again, this time on the opinion page of the New York Times yesterday.

I agree with him that sane people should not attempt to ride from Moyale, Ethiopia to Isiolo, Kenya on top of a cattle truck (that journey still makes me want to cry) and I agree with him that the last thing Africa (or most places in the developing world) need is Bill Gate's computers or a lot more your tax money. What they do need is better governance, fewer rigged elections and less corruption.

Paul Theroux, as I understand it, got kicked out of Peace Corps for mixing Peace Corpsitude with domestic politics. Good on you, Paul.

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