Unexamined Assumptions: War and Poverty

There are two assumptions hiding in this meme:

  1. By properly distributing a hundred billion dollars it would be possible to eradicate poverty all over the world.
  2. Said distribution would bring world peace, presumably by eradicating poverty.

The first assumption is challenged by decades of foreign aid of which a large percent went to Swiss bank accounts belonging to various kleptocrats. It might be possible to ensure foreign aid actually goes where it is supposed to, rather than to the people who own the local government, but that is not what the evidence suggests. The local government has the guns, so it can usually persuade people to pay up. Of course, even if the foreign aid did get where it needs to, poverty has other causes than shortage of money. Without dealing with the underlying cultural causes, any injection of money would be at best a short term band-aid.

The second one refuted by any war fought for ideology or between countries that aren’t desperately poor. The west front in WWI, the American-Mexican war, etc.


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